Balloons and Chainsaws

There is one reason I wanted to go to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta:  hot air balloons.  Lots of them.  On Saturday, we woke up at 4:30 (yes, that’s AM) and left the hotel by 5:10 so we could see the dawn patrol at 6:45.  (The dawn patrol is where a handful of balloons lift off to check the wind and weather conditions prior to the mass ascension – where hundreds of balloons fill the sky at one time – which normally happens around half an hour later.)

No balloons…just tail lights

My husband, also fed up with camping on the freeway, managed to get off and took a road that went up a hill.  There was a gas station there with a nice sized parking lot, which happened to face Balloon Fiesta Park, so we parked.  We met a couple of families from out-of-state and commiserated about the traffic (through chattering teeth because it was cold!)  Ten minutes later, a security guard informed us that the mass ascension was canceled because of high winds.

To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.  I quickly found the bright side of the situation:  at least we hadn’t paid for parking and admission.  We celebrated our cheapness by going back to the hotel to partake in the FREE cook-to-order breakfast offered by the hotel.

Refusing to accept a wasted trip, we ventured back to the Balloon Fiesta Park later that day.  They had a 90-minute chainsaw carving demonstration that my husband and I both found intriguing.  What these men created in ninety minutes was simply amazing.  I took about thirty pictures of their work, but will only share a few pictures here.

This was my older son’s favorite – an adobe house in front of an eagle
Love the detail on this lizard (or is it a gator?)
An adorable tribute to a dog and her puppy
This was my favorite – love the detail on the reeds as well as the bird

What do you think – do you have a favorite carving?

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18 thoughts on “Balloons and Chainsaws

  1. GodGirl October 12, 2012 / 2:09 AM

    That’s disappointing about not seeing the balloons. But I’m glad you got to enjoy seeing these intricate carvings. I love that last one too – I’m always amazed how people can develop (or are born with) such unique talent.

    • jannatwrites October 12, 2012 / 7:03 AM

      By the end of the trip I definitely got over the disappointment. We kept so busy there wasn’t time to dwell on it. I’ll write about the chocolate fest, balloon museum, and Rio Grande soon. Thanks for visiting, GodGirl 🙂

  2. suzicate October 12, 2012 / 4:09 AM

    I know it was disappointing not seeing the balloons but definitely not a total loss…those carvings are amazing!

    • jannatwrites October 12, 2012 / 7:07 AM

      We normally wouldn’t have watched something like that, but it ended up being one of our favorite activities. They raffled of all the carvings to benefit the volunteer fire department. Wee bought tickets but didn’t win. A bonus of the day was they were unsure if the weather would cooperate for the evening activities, so they didn’t charge parking or admission. Thanks for checking out the carvings, Suzicate!

  3. Michael October 12, 2012 / 4:46 AM

    Chainsaw carving as a spectator sport? I didn’t know that was a thing. Awesome.

    • jannatwrites October 12, 2012 / 7:10 AM

      It does sound like an unlikely event, but if you ever have the opportunity to see it, I highly recommend it. I’ve seen my dad use a chainsaw, but his work didn’t look anything like that 🙂 glad you stopped by, Michael!

  4. Debbie October 12, 2012 / 7:31 AM

    We have festivals here with chainsaw carvers — I’ve never seen them in person, but I know their work is amazing. My favorite? The dog and her puppy, of course! That would make a good “burglar alarm,” sitting in a window or something. Especially if you’ve got the real thing barking in the background!

    • jannatwrites October 12, 2012 / 12:27 PM

      If you get the chance, I hope you’ll watch a carving. It is really fascinating to watch. Mostly because I’d probably shave off my thumb if I had a chainsaw in my hands. Funny idea for the dog carving. Might be fun to try it, Debbie!

      I honestly hoped we’d win one of the raffled carvings. Oh well 🙂

  5. chlost October 12, 2012 / 7:50 AM

    Very iteresting combination of activities! Sounds like everyone had a good time…and a memorable one.-the best of family vacations.

    • jannatwrites October 12, 2012 / 12:28 PM

      Thanks for reading about our trip, Chlost! The kids actually enjoyed it (my older son told me the balloons weren’t as boring as he thought they’d be, so I consider it a success :))

  6. philosophermouseofthehedge October 12, 2012 / 7:55 AM

    I want the puppy carving! (oh maybe not, Molly might carry it off to eat it). Sounds pretty cool to watch.
    I’ve always heard that balloon fest is amazing.
    The one here got high winds/rained out recently, but usually we have them go right over our house as one of the lift off sites is just down the block and they float over to the landing spot near NASA.
    Thank goodness fall is here with cooler weather – even if the ballon guys are mad!

    • jannatwrites October 12, 2012 / 12:36 PM

      Funny! I do think the carvings are best observed, rather than ingested 🙂

      It’s always breathtaking to view hot air balloons up close. Even better when you don’t have to leave the house!

      We met a couple families from Texas. One was from Lubbock, and I can’t remember where the other was from – long drive either way. If you get a chance to go to Albuquerque, it is great to watch. My son counted 164 balloons in the sky on Sunday morning, but I didn’t verify his count! The evening glow was my favorite part of the trip- you might like the pictures from that post. It’ll be my last Balloon Festival post next week. (I’ll have one or two more in between.)

      Thanks for stopping by, Phil.

  7. nrhatch October 12, 2012 / 7:11 PM

    I’ve seen chainsaw carving in action . . . and it is astounding. Looks like you had a chance to see some real pros. Amazing detail in them.

    I like the gator/lizard/croc the best. 😀

  8. Sandra October 13, 2012 / 9:59 PM

    I’ve never seen chainsaw carving before, and these are pretty amazing products! When you first mentioned hot-air balloons, I thought you were going to ride in one… LOL I felt much better when I realized it was a spectator event. 🙂 But don’t mind me; I’m afraid of heights.

    • jannatwrites October 13, 2012 / 10:08 PM

      We wanted to try a balloon ride, Sandra, but when we checked several months ago, it would be over $1,000 for us to go. With everything that’s gone on the last few months, there was no way we could do that. I’d probably be scared out of my mind anyway, so it might be better that my feet stayed on the ground!

  9. Imelda October 14, 2012 / 9:33 PM

    Amazing artworks indeed. The dog sculpture was pretty. Well, all of them are. I hope that you did get to see the balloons some other time though. 🙂

    • jannatwrites October 14, 2012 / 11:44 PM

      Thanks for dropping by, Imelda. I did get to see balloons. I’m saving my favorite pics for last…almost there 🙂

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