It is still dark at 4:30 AM as we prepare to go onto the Fiesta grounds, where 548 balloon teams are readying for their morning flight. Airplanes are circling overhead, gathering data on wind speeds, directions, and temperatures. The morning is crisp and clear, gentle winds, perfect for hot air balloons.
At 5:00 AM, the gates from the RV parking to the field open, and we enter, only to find 10,000 or so other early-rising day visitors already on the field!
A select few balloons launch before it is light enough to see landing sites. These early flights provide valuable weather and wind information to the rest of the pilots.
Once dawn breaks, hundreds of other balloons are inflated, stood up, and lift off. It’s a magnificent site. The gentle winds carry the balloons directly over our Airstreams, and they drift southward toward various landing sites a few miles away. Some go further than others. One balloon landed in a field about 100 yards away from our Airstream.