Hot Air Balloonists Honor Roy Walz 1953-2012

Blue Moon hot air balloon pilot Roy Walz photo by Cheyenne MacMasters

Hot air balloonists gathered in Marana, Arizona on February 17, 2013 to honor one of their own: pilot Roy Walz who passed away at the end of 2012. Roy was a man of good heart and loving generosity who would take you for a ride higher and longer than ever before. I had the privilege of crewing for him and his Blue Moon balloon. He gathered a wonderfully fun team to be a part of as we sent him soaring aloft at many a rally in Arizona and New Mexico.

Roy  Walz in photos

People brought their favorite photos of Roy. I’ll share some with you here.

Roy Walz and Richard Blue Moon hats photo by Cheyenne MacMasters

Roy, with his partner and crew chief, Richard, at his last rally in White Sands, New Mexico, September 2012.

Roy Walz Blue Moon photo by Cheyenne MacMasters

It was a lovely day for a balloon chase across the gypsum dunes of White Sands.

Roy Walz Blue Moon hot air balloon photo by Cheyenne MacMasters

We were blessed with another beautiful morning when Richard supervised the memorial flight of the Blue Moon.

Blue Moon hot air balloon photo by Cheyenne MacMasters

Dan Ewer, of Foolish Pleasure Hot Air Balloon Rides, served as pilot for Roy’s balloon. Everyone gave a helping hand to send the Blue Moon into the air once again.

Blue Moon hot air balloon photo by Cheyenne MacMasters

A balloon for each of Roy’s 59 years on Earth escorted him on his last flight while his ashes were scattered.

Blue Moon hot air balloon farewell photo by Cheyenne MacMasters

Many a tear fell as we wished Roy farewell. Yet, he lives with us now and always in our hearts.

Roy Walz Blue Moon hot air balloon farewell photo by Cheyenne MacMasters

The Winds have welcomed you with softness, the Sun has blessed you with its warm hands, you have flown so high and so well God has joined you in your laughter and set you gently back into the loving arms of Mother Earth and the Crew.

Roy Walz Blue Moon Glow photo by Cheyenne MacMasters

You will always be loved

You will always be missed

You will never be forgotten

Orbs Await Hot Air Balloonists

In yesterday’s post we saw a tree photographed by Therese Beavers that had an eagle’s nest. Those orbs may have been protective of the nest.

The tree in the above and below photos is a very different tree.

This tree is a party tree. People come from miles around and across the ocean to gather here in the dark to share food and tell stories. It took me two and a half hours to reach the tree this morning.

When you’re in one of the first two cars of people to arrive, you wonder, will anyone else show up?

Yes! It’s a party after all, the hot air balloonists have arrived, including those who live on the other side of the Atlantic.

The crew who won’t be staying for the party get to work immediately setting up their balloon.

Ballooning is really about fellowship and there is work of a different kind to be done. We certainly do seem to have the orbs attention.

First, while we determine which way the wind is blowing and if it’s a good day for flying, we establish a home base.

Then we can focus on actually putting a balloon up into the sky.

One of my favorite photographic moments in hot air ballooning.

An orb of a different color ascends into the sky.

Thanks to Dan, Lorrie, and Julia Ewer of Foolish Pleasure Hot Air Balloon Rides for organizing our holiday balloon rally in Marana, Arizona.

We had an orbs delightful time!

For those of you who are new to this blog, or would like to refresh your memories as to what orbs are, perhaps this will help:

Hot Air Balloons are Orbs of a Different Kind

Today I was chasing orbs of a different kind: hot air balloons. First, by getting up at 3 a.m. to travel two and a half hours to the balloon field in Marana, outside Tucson, Arizona. Even when we’re in New Mexico for the White Sands hot air balloon rally and the alarm goes off in the hotel room at 4 a.m., we know it’s really 3 a.m. Arizona time.

After standing around in the dark, catching up with each other since the last rally a month or more ago, and listening to the pilots’ briefing it’s time to get to work.

The ground is dry enough and weed free enough that Dan Ewer, pilot of Foolish Pleasure Hot Air Balloon Rides, has decided we can lay out the balloon envelope without putting down a tarp.

Number one rule: never step on the envelope.

This is a job I usually do, holding open the throat of the balloon while the fan blows it full of air.

Propane fuel heats the air so that the balloon can rise.

We’re ready to tip back the wicker basket and begin the final heating of the air before lift off.

Now we’re just trying to keep the balloon from flying off before the pilot gives us the go ahead to set it free.

The lucky ones are airborne!

In tomorrow’s post I’ll give you the view from on high after I wandered over to another balloon to help crew and was asked if I’d like to go for a ride.