Sunday morning, September 25: I missed an excellent photo of the sunrise, because I thought getting dressed before stepping out of the camper would be a good thing… but I was down at the viewing area as the first balloons were lifting off. This time there were three setting up on top, by all the campers. The one with the bears is the one that had done that every launch; it was joined by two more.
Then I turned my attention to the airfield, where the majority of the balloons launched. The wind was light and variable – I watched as craft lifted off, drifted south, drifted east, drifted north, and west again, basically making a large loop! And “Here comes the sun” played in my head as I saw a new shape inflated. And this time the panda went up, not just tethered in place.
At one point, I saw a chase vehicle come up the hill, with balloon and basket, but lost track of them until I heard the whoosh of propane. It had launched from up above all the campers, and came down over them.
I did a little more visiting, getting a tour of an RV the size of mine but new, and four wheel drive, and with large battery storage so it’s running on electricity, not propane, for stove and refrigerator. Nice folks, doing my preferred kind of camping (boondocking), and with a very cute small dog. Then I ate breakfast, stowed everything, and headed out at about 9:30. Most activity down at the airport was over, although I saw several chase vehicles returning with their balloons and baskets in the next several miles.
I feel very ambivalent about this sport. It is beautiful, and it’s a great group of people – but the amount of propane expended for a recreational activity is mind-boggling – to say nothing of the fuel used by all us spectators to get there! I think I’ll stick with kayaking.
Saturday evening, September 24: By about 5:30 that afternoon, balloons were starting to lift off; I and my chair returned to the viewing area. I don’t know if the blue and purple one in the center is a test balloon, or just eager to be off – I think it was the first one out that morning, and it was the second in the evening. And the flag balloon was still in the same place. Did they deflate it during the day? Good question – I didn’t notice!
Again, the Magic balloon inflated behind me, and I think this time it was taking up the person who won the door prize from the NEHARVers. Behind the balloon, you can see about 15% of the RVs in the field!
They delivered chicken dinner, and walking back from the camper after getting a fork, I was struck by how the rounded roof of the vintage VW echoed the top of a balloon!
When all the balloons that wanted to fly had cleared out, they did what I think they called “Moonglow” where they light the balloons using their propane flame. The American flag showed up the best, and it soon became too dark for the phone on my camera to take respectable pictures.
Friday, September 23: Another Roadtrek owner had suggested I join her at this annual event. The Northeast Hot Air RVers use a large field just south of the county airport in Queensbury, New York, filling it with RVs large, larger, medium and tiny; dogs large and small, old and young; children of all ages, and the adults who get to tag along. By five that afternoon, our two Roadtreks and another larger RV belonging to friends of hers, were lined up among dozens of other vehicles. One must be self-contained, as there are no sanitary facilities, so there weren’t any tents. It’s obvious that the larger crowds were down at the airport – one runway was used as a parking lot, and the traffic was said to be horrendous, but that didn’t affect us, going in on a different road. The following photos were all taken Friday morning. I was on my way down to the viewing area with my chair when the first balloon rose – pretty much as the sun did.
I realized that one crew was inflating a balloon immediately behind me, so I went over to watch:
And it flew right over my head!
Shaped balloons are a big deal, and probably really expensive; there were several. The panda was probably my favorite, as it reminded me of my godmother, who loved them. But Taz was a hit, and the snowman. None of them went anywhere Saturday, and the American flag balloon was also stationary; I think maybe it took passengers up staying tethered.
I worked a volunteer stint at the registration tent, then visited through the afternoon until the evening launch. That will be the next post!
Friday, September 16: A friend and I went out for a brief paddle on the Connecticut River, leaving from Hoyt’s Landing, Springfield, Vermont. It was a beautiful day – perfect temperature, sunny, and calm.
Then it was back to the landing so my friend could get to work.
People have grown sunflowers in New England for a long time; this year, with the invasion of Ukraine, there are many more – along with Ukrainian flags, paintings of sunflowers on walls, flags with the country’s name and sunflowers. A trip to Connecticut meant that I’ve been in four states in four days; there were sunflowers, and more sunflowers – in cutting gardens, for sale by the side of the road, in yards, along the roadside. These are only the ones that were easy and safe to stop and get photos.
When I left Knit Night on Thursday, I realized that putting fuel in the car would be a prudent thing to do if I wanted to get all the way home, so I stopped for gas. Driving east toward the gas station I was admiring the sunset; the view east was unusually colorful. So while the pump was running, I walked over to where I could take the above photo. Then I turned around. Here is the view to the west:
The colors are too intense to seem real! I wonder if we are getting smoke from the fires in the west?
Tuesday, June 21: Outdoor Recreation for Seniors was out again – on an overcast and unseasonably cool day, on Mascoma Lake in Enfield, New Hampshire. Our group was more scattered than usual – people went in at least four different directions. It’s a larger lake than we usually paddle; some went up the river that feeds it, some went north, some south.
The above bridge, to one of the islands, marked my turning point. From there (after ducking to clear the bridge!) some of us headed west, to the other shore, a little south of where the historical Enfield Shaker Museum (https://shakermuseum.org/) is. Here, the cupola of the six story Great Stone Dwelling is visible through the trees.
Along the way, whimsy was evident:
The group I was mostly with only covered a little over three miles in the two hours we were out – we were too busy talking! Others went further. Then it was back to the parking lot, where we pulled out our lunches and visited more!
Wednesday, June 15: After landing kayaks on the beach yesterday, I needed to bring mine back around to the regular landing, where it’s a much easier carry up to the house (and the Roadtrek!) Aiming for high tide would make landing easier, so I set out well before the tide would be highest. First I paddled around the point, and out toward Pinkham Island where we’d been the day before. Wind was funneling through the slot between pieces of land, so I paddled back to the cove with the beach, and paddled around that – and that’s where the above photo was taken. If you zoom in, you can see the fish jumping – a school of menhaden (pogies) was being chased by seals. This is the first visit I’ve been able to observe this, but we saw it several times; the seals would push the school of fish (the dark area) into more shallow water, and they would try to escape becoming food by leaping from the water by the dozens. Or hundreds! I never did get a good photo of one of the seals, although we saw them many times.
Along the shore there were more lupines:
With more time before the tide was at its highest, I went as far up the creek as I could:
and then down, before hauling out on the flooded grasses.
My friends the homeowners have made some improvements since my last visit; the terns along the deck channel water away from the house quite effectively. I could have gotten a photo of them doing that – if I’d wanted to go out with my camera in the pouring rain! And I like how the shadows hit the columns when the sun is right. There’s also a new weathervane on the roof.
On Thursday I headed for home, and will end with one photo taken from along the road – another fish! (A rockfish??) This one is high and dry, not far from Conway, New Hampshire.
Saturday, June 11 – Monday, June 13: These days were spent hanging out, with a lot of knitting. The above is the view from my knitting chair on the porch. There was some rain, and a lot of sun; the rugosa roses were just getting going. These are different shades of pink, and white, and the area buzzes with pollinators and hummingbirds.
It is such a rough life! Those first few days, the most ambitious I was was to walk down to the beach with my hosts, and share cooking.
I think of these shaggy rockweed covered rocks at low tide as heffalumps, creatures from the “Winnie the Pooh” books.
One name of the full moon for this month is the “Rose Moon” – appropriate, given the great wall of them blooming now!