Posts Tagged With: outdoors


In yesterday’s blog, I referred to a ceremony that master balloonist, Fergie invited us to attend. We repaired to the motor home, changed clothes and washed up a bit and then found out we were the foil of this little ceremony,  not the observers.  Fergie is, without a doubt,  a genuine character. First he recited the balloonists prayer while everyone doffed their hats.

The winds have welcomed you with softness.
The sun has blessed you with his warm hands.
You have flown so high and so well
that God joined you in laughter
and set you gently back into
the loving arms of Mother Earth.

While we were at attention, we were given a cup of champagne.  And, we were not alone. Lynn and Jim to our right, were also part of the plot. I thought they were regular crew members. I found out   they were part of the veterans motorcycle motorcade from the Freedom Ride, and got invited to fly as we were.

Fergie uses stuffed animals to explain the history of ballooning during  this induction ceremony for newbies.  We gathered from the heckling of the crew during  his speech, he is required to fit every stuffed animal given to him (by them) into the history.  No mean feat.  Technically, I have ridden in a balloon, but it was a fly-by compared to this experience and I gladly submitted to induction. We started out as turkeys or virgins, take your pick. About three  weeks back we visited the ABQ Ballooning Museum and learned about the rich Frenchmen who made the first balloon inspired by a house fire that caused objects to rise high into the air. In Fergie’s version, it was the Parisians ogling of French women whose skirts rose when stepping over a heated vent that inspired the brothers in 1783.

“We’re drinkin’ and drinkin’ and thinkin’ of drinkin'”  (This from the crew.)

And, so the convoluted history continued from the original sheep, duck, and cock proving air was breathable high off the ground. The King of France wanted to sacrifice a  prisoner to try the balloon. The brother’s didn’t want a prisoner to be the first person to fly. He was released instead. In Fergie’s version the prisoner was  the first prisoner to participate in the “early release program.”  And the crews dirty underwear was used to fire the balloon  instead of rotting meat, old shoes, straw and manure.  “We’re drinkin and drinkin…”

It was tough fitting  the stuffed dinosaur into the history,  but the two donkeys better known as asses, became the first haulers of the balloon wagon.  

Fergie, part preacher, actor, comedian,  and all around good guy, getting high on flying and fun. “We are drinkin’ and drinkin’ and thinkin’ about drinkin’  is an essential part of the ceremony.

We kind of learned why his Balloon was named Itsa Touchie Subject, again by some off comments from the crew about “…burning fabric…” and “…a big hole in the balloon” and from event officials, “why doesn’t your balloon have a name?

At the end of the ceremony, we were  pinned as genuine flyers.

Crew member,  Patty,  pinned Jim in the vicinity of his brain.  Fergie pinned me over my heart. It was all in fun, and the crew  enjoyed  the celebration as much as we did.

So, hey, Fergie. What are you gonna to be when you grow up?

My second file of balloon pictures is available in the following link. It takes about two minutes for a full screen slideshow.

Yesterday, we outdid ourselves, putting in a nine-to-five,  visiting four museums, jewelry stores, The Gallup Cultural Center, and the famous El Rancho Hotel.  We leave for Window Rock this morning, so I’ll try and catch up with our last day in Gallup tomorrow morning.

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From our visit to Superstition Mountain Museum continued from yesterday,  what is an old western movie set without a gallows?  There is a real gallows still intact at the Tuolumne County Museum, in Sonora, California.  Much wider than this one; had to have room for the dignitaries. Hangings were as much about politics as a press conference is today.

Wherever there were fortune seekers, there were those who sidestepped the hard work.  I love museums that have “character stories” and this one has a number of them. The “hacksaw” bandit  robbed stage coaches on the Apache Trail.  He always robbed them at the a steep place where the horses found it hard going. Never caught, his cache of hold-up equipment, with his white hood with eye holes in it, was found over 50 years after his deeds.

Fortune seekers of all types arrived in Apache Junction.   An Opera Singer by the name of  Maria,  insisted that Weaver’s Needle, (a spire we passed on our hike) was hollow and filled with gold. She filed a claim on Weaver’s Needle and had a rope ladder built to the top of it. No one knows what happened to her and she apparently abandoned her claim, but two families, Piper and Jones,  believed it was hollow and a feud of several years, that resulted in the death of one person, quarreled over the  Dutchman’s claim and the gold in the “hollow” needle. Years later, in 1956, a very fit wrestling coach climbed Maria’s rope ladder but could not get to the top. “No fat opera singer ever climbed that ladder,” he claimed. There are many stories of the fate of gold seekers in the Superstition Mountains at the site below:

I chuckled at the  modern million dollar advertising campaign put up by Canadian Club. They hid a case of Canadian Club in the area and expected to have many seekers looking for it, while being publicized, of course. The problem was, a local found it in six hours the second day of the campaign and ruined their long term publicity stunt.  He claimed he was mighty thirsty.

The place is worth a visit.  I loved the painting of a stage rumbling over the Apache Trail. The rest of my pictures are outside.

Part of a once working stamp mill.

The well.

The assay office.

A saloon.

A barber shop.

The barn.



And, our good Christian pioneers always had a church.  (In this case, with the gallows nearby.)


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Grandson, Theo, was requesting a monopoly game, a game I dislike.  He settled for a “camera assignment.” I asked him to choose from three colors, blue, red and yellow and go outside and take pictures of (he chose red), red items  on his short street.

He is nine years old and did very well. I always learn something from my Grandson’s. He had read a library book  called Zoom, in which a photo is reversed from close up to far away, showing for example  a roosters comb, then the rooster, then the barn where the rooster lived, people looking in the barn, the magazine the picture of the barn etc. was on, a person reading the magazine, the chair he was sitting in and so on. Hmmm. Intriguing and challenging.

So he took this photo:

which is part of his:

slip on Croc.

Later in the day we visited my sister’s grandson, Jeff and great grandson, CJ.

And, I forgot my camera and had to steal this photo from facebook.

We did manage games after dinner. We settled on  Bananagrams and Quiddler instead, both  fast moving and can reasonably be played by all ages. But, now I know I have to try a “zoom” assignment.


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