Saturday, July 28, 2007

FLYING WITH SUZY BLUE PART II - 1981 International Balloon Fiesta

This picture is the cover of the 1981 official program of the 10th Annual Internation Balloon Fiesta held in Albuquerque, NM the first 2 weekends in October for a total of 9 days.

In this post I am going to write about this grand-daddy of them all .

As I explained here, our introduction to hot air balloons began in 1979 when we attended the 8th Fiesta just for a weekend as spectators only.

In 1980 we attended the 9th Fiesta for the entire 9 days as crew members for our friends ERA (Electronic Realtors Association) Balloon. They had introduced us to ballooning. Mickey had earned his Private Hot Air Balloon License and did fly their ERA balloon during part of this time.

By the time the 10th Fiesta rolled around in 1981 we attended with Suzy Blue. Above is our official chase vehicle pass, Mickey's Pilot ID, and the propane card to refuel the propane tanks each day.

This picture shows some of the balloons being inflated on the balloon field amidst the crowds of people that attend.

This is our fearless Pilot!!!! Ballooning is an early morning sport. We would set our alarms for about 4:30 and arrive at the balloon field by 6 a.m. YES, that early of a morning in Albuquerque in October it is cold and this picture depicts that.

It was just 9 days of pure bliss for us and our large group that made the trip from Tulsa with us. The high point of the event for us is shown here. The Australian balloon pilots had a drawing among the 300 registered balloons and Mickey won the drawing.

This certificate reads: This certificate is valid for one round-trip ticket for one individual from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Sidney, Australia. Must be redeemed within 12 months upon receipt. Contact6 Bob Dickson for redemption. October 10, 1981. Mickey was to be furnished a balloon in Sidney to participate in a Balloon Rally there. We were ALL so excited about this!!!

The sad part is that Mickey never took the trip. My mother was very ill and living with us at the time and I was unable to go. Mickey said if I couldn't attend with him he wouldn't go and he didn't. I tried my best to get him to go and take our 13 year old son Marc but he wouldn't. It is one of the things that all three of us really regret to this day.

This picture is of Ella and I in our Suzy Blue skirt and tops that we wore while at the parties in Albuquerque. Ella & her husband, Floyd traveled with us to Memphis and Albuquerque as part of our crew.

Since Mickey & my anniversary is October 4th we celebrated our 21st through 25th Wedding Anniversary every year in Albuquerque at the Balloon Fiesta. This is our 23rd Anniversary. The girl in the red dress is Anna Lee. She and her husband, Don, also traveled with us from Tulsa to Memphis and Albuquerque. From left to right is: Susan, Mickey, forever friend Joan, forever friend Bev and Bev's husband, Jim. The others were there too just not in this picture.

Part of the celebration is a parade down Central Avenue of the balloon chase vehicles, balloons and crew. This is a few of us as we were preparing for the parade.

We have MANY fun stories and experiences from this Fiesta. One of which is this: Suzy Blue was a "stock balloon". That means that we ordered her out of a catalog and she was not a custom made balloon. There was another balloon the exact colors and size that was owned by a Doctor from Kansas City. We kept running into this Dr. and his balloon at various Rally's beginning in Memphis and developed a very friendly rivalry with he and his crew. Our mascot, Mickey Mouse was always tied to the corner of Suzy Blue's basket. When we got to our chase vehicle on the morning of October 6th , where the basket and balloon stayed over night at the Holiday Inn, Mickey was gone. There was a note in Mickey's place that read that Mickey had been mousenapped by Big Bird. We were all quite upset. Two days later on the morning of October 8th they held what was called the Tumbleweed Drop event. All the balloons would start out where ever in the city they choose and the object was to drop a big tumbleweed onto a very large "X" in the center of the balloon field. Prizes were given for the winners. During this tumbleweed drop some of our Tulsa group were on the field watching and suddenly down comes a big tumbleweed with Mickey Mouse tied to it. We were so happy when we got back to the field that morning and were greeted by these enthusiastic Tulsa's who had rescued Mickey.

So far I have pretty much covered the high points of 1981 and Suzy Blue's adventures. Stay tuned for the next installment!!!


Anonymous said...

Another great bunch of fun. Still can't believe you guys did this! I'll never get over the excitement.

By the way Susan, 3:10 am...???? Silly woman!

weavermom said...

How fun! I love the Mickey Mouse story. :)

I'm so sad for you that you didn't get to go to Australia. :(

Sohailah said...

Wow - what a GREAT lifetime adventure to share with your loved one.

Tell me, how did you come to this circle of blogs? You live in Coweta, and I live in Broken Arrow - and we meet here. I'm very curious about your story. I know, I know, it isn't relevant to this blog (don't tell Karen...)

diana said...

thank you for continuing the story. so interesting. and as said before, sounds like so much fun for you guys.

i love the picture taken looking down on the balloons. for us that have never been up in a balloon, we don't usually get to see that angle.

thanks for sharing.

Nadine said...

What fun. Great pictures. I love the dresses...really cute. You look lovely. How very exciting to have done this. Thank you for sharing.

Candy said...

Hi Susan!
Thanks for coming by and for the sweet comments.
Love always,


What a great bunch of memories. I am glad your husband chose to stay with you when your mom was so ill. I think that shows real character. Good for him and you. connie from Texas

Momma Roar said...

What wonderful adventures Susan - I just think that would all be such fun!

I so enjoyed part 2, looking forward to more!! :D

jennifer said...

Susan How fun!

I love the skirts! You guys have done so much and I love reading about all your travels and activities!

Keep sharing!

Tammy said...

What great memories you have of this time! Love the pictures...
That is sad that you all regret his not going to Australia...but so many other wonderful things to look back on...such great stories and memories.

Jill@Who Could Ask for Anything More said...

Susan- I just love reading about your balloon. It's something I've always been interested and so, imagine my delight when I found you and your blog and y'all are REAL LIVE BALLONISTS! I think the Suzy Blue skirts are just adorable!

Susie said...

This is just such an interesting part of your life. I've so enjoyed part 1 and 2. Skipping the trip to Australia shows the deep and abiding love Mickey has for you. I'm sure he wanted to be by your side at that difficult time..
Perhaps the two of you can make the trip together someday??

Ruth said...

I just love these stories! Mickey Mouse was mousenapped. LOVE IT!! especially since he was returned. Sounds like a lot of fun to remember forever.

Myrna said...

Aounds like so much fun1 thank you for sharing the stories of Suzy Blue. I look forward to the next installment.

Just Mom said...

You guys are too much fun. I love it.

Kelli said...

I love the Mickey Mouse fun! I'm sorry to hear your husband never got to take the trip, but I think it was sweet that he stayed home with you.

You and Ella looks so cute in your Suzy Blue skirts!


Stephanie said...

Oh, my goodness, does that bring back the memories! We lived in Albuquerque from June '84 to Oct. '03, and I do miss craning my neck out the window trying to watch and drive, too. Was on a chase crew once, and several times was there when a balloon came down in a weird place before the crew got there and I got to help. That's where my 'puter name came from, btw--cloudtoucher.

I lived in ABQ all those years and never got to go up in a balloon. I'm still trying, though. Have had a gift certificate for 3 years, and want to go up in the fall, but everytime I'm scheduled, the weather intervenes.

I'll have to post pics of some of my balloon paraphernalia one day.

Thanks, Susan

Anonymous said...

I love, love, love Balloon Fiesta, too!! I loved reading about your adventures in Suzy Blue!!!!!!

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

Those balloons are gorgeous but I would never, ever ride in one!

PEA said...

I so enjoyed reading more about your hot air balloon adventures...something most of us have never experienced!! So much excitement and meeting new people...what a shame you guys didn't get to go to Australia but I can understand why he didn't want to go without you:-) Loved all the pictures!! xox

Frazzled Farm Wife said...

I love your Suzy Blue skirts!

I just found out this weekend that a dream of my mom's is to fly in a hot air mind automatically drifted to you and your stories....don't you just love this blogland. My step-dad wants to make that dream come true for her birthday so my job is to find the closest place that does rides.

Love hearing your stories!

Kristie said...

Thanks for sharing another chapter in your life I LOVE reading about your balloon days it sounds like such an adventure.

So sad that you didn't take that trip to AUstralia.

Lori said...

Thanks for sharing Part 2 with us. Looks like a fun time.
You gals look pretty in your blue skirts.

Barbara said...

I'm staying tuned Susan. Don't think I told you but a very close friend of ours did her first baloon flight for her 75th birthday. She had wanted to do it all her life.

Karen said...

Wow! This was an awesome read. I'm so glad you directed me to this.

Karen said...

Wow! This was an awesome read. I'm so glad you directed me to this.