Archive for June, 2011

The 4th of July Holiday Weather Forecast

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

The weather forecast through the middle of next week looks good for folks coming to the area for some vacation time. As far as hot air balloon flying weather, there will be opportunities to fly on a limited basis. As the upper low over Quebec moves out to sea, our conditions should improve at least into early Friday. They are forecasting a chance of showers in the afternoon on Friday with an disturbance rotating through, but the weather forecast maps do not indicate this. So, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see about Friday afternoon. Saturday morning should be good, then there is a front forecast to pass through the area overnight on Saturday, so that could affect the Saturday PM flight. Sunday may start out damp and improve as the day goes along. Depending on how far away the next high pressure area is after the frontal passage, will determine whether Sunday PM and Monday AM is flyable. Late Monday should be good as should Tuesday. An approaching frontal system will bring about a chance of showers on Wednesday. Well, that’s your 4th of July Holiday forecast right through the middle of next week.

The 34th Annual Freihofer’s Jazz Festival at SPAC

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Saturday’s flying weather was crappy and I had canceled my flights for the day, so the wifey and I headed down to Saratoga Springs to enjoy some great music at the present day version of the famed Newport Jazz Fest, the Freihofer’s Jazz Festival at SPAC. The Jazz Fest is a 2 day event, we went for Saturday. We got there about 12 noon and left around 10 PM after a full day of enjoying some great Jazz, except for the last act – I’ll explain later. For the last 30 years or so, I’ve always been too busy with my seasonal balloon ride biz to consider taking the time to appreciate and enjoy an event such as this in my local area, and just figured it was time, again. I say again because when I was in my late teens to early 20s, a friend and I went to Newport for the Jazz Festival. Can’t remember much about the acts or the music, it was the 60’s for-peets-sake, but I do remember running into Bill Russell at the beer tent. I was a huge Boston Celtics fan as a kid, so I was definitely impressed by standing next to him. He towered over me, and I was considered a big man back then on my high school basketball team at 6’3″. Not very big by today’s standards, and neither was Bill. Anyway, back to Saturday’s event, there were 7 acts playing on the main stage in the Amphitheater and 6 at the small Gazebo, so there was constant music playing. Most of the bands I’d never heard of (don’t mean much) except for the last headline act-Michael McDonald, who for the life-of-me, I don’t know why he was booked as a headline act at a Jazz Festival like this, and the Jack DeJohnette Group, who was the main attraction for me. The first act opened at noon, with the last around 9:15¬† PM, like I said, a full day.

Arriving at SPAC, greeted by Colleen Corcoran scanning tickets. Colleen's bro Pat was a buddy of mine from highschool days.

The walkway onto the grounds.

The Amphitheater

The first act up playing world infused music, the Lionel Loueke Trio from the West African nation of Benin.

Next group, the Ben Allison Band. The crowd gradually grew as the afternoon went on.

While we had some great seats inside the Amphitheater, the lawn is the most popular for the party crowd that likes events like the Jazz Festival

Another view of the lawn crowd, which most had prepared for rain.

The small second stage, the Gazebo with Hilary Kole playing

Next act up on the main stage at the amphitheater, Eliane Elias whose music blends elements of jazz, pop, soul and Brazilian Bossa Nova.

Next up, the main draw for me - The Jack DeJohnette Group.

Next was the bigger group sound of George Wein & The Newport All Stars. George Wein spearheaded the first Newport Jazz Festival in 1954. In 1978, he opened a second location for his Newport Jazz Fest in Saratoga Springs at SPAC. On his 85th birthday celebration, jazz pianist Wein, led a very talented group of musicians after the dedication of a bronze star in the SPAC Walk of Fame.

The crowd in the amphitheater is growing as we head into the evening hour.

Next up was the 2011 Jazz Journalist Association Female Singer of the Year, Dee Dee Bridgewater, performing a tribute to Billie Holiday. This lady had a powerful voice and was the high-lite of the evening.

And last up at around 9:15 PM, was Michael McDonald, who for the life of me, I don't know why he was booked for this show? If you were looking for a hard rocking, top 40, pop/motown Grammy Award winner, he's your guy. He's not a jazz singer in my humble opinion.

While I have to admit, that both of us were disappointed with the scheduled head-line act of Michael McDonald, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and the variety of music selected for Saturday’s show, the first of the two days of the Saratoga Jazz Festival.

A Peek at the Early July Precipitation Forecast

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

The precipitation forecast for next week into the first week of July is looking very good for getting some flying opportunities, as long as the 8-14 day outlook holds true?

The Weather Forecast into the Weekend and early next Week.

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Well, the forecast is not looking very promising for flying much until next Monday. We may get the opportunity to fly on Sunday depending on how wet it is after the rain between now and then. We did just have one our best streaks of weather for flying in a long time, and were able to take advantage of it to get a few flights-in, plus, also enjoy a real nice Father’s Day off from flying.

06/21/AM Hot Air Balloon Ride

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Tuesday was the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. It was a continuation of our streak of nice days, with clear skies, and comfortable temps and humidity. On the Tuesday morning flight, I had Warren and his daughter Ava on board for a private cruise over beautiful Washington County.

Warren and Ava help with inflating the balloon.

And away we go!

Enjoying the colorful view up inside the hot air balloon.

The view.

We're having fun.

Helping Baker pack-up the balloon after the flight.

06/20/AM Hot Air Balloon Ride

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Monday morning was another beautiful day for flying. We had clear skies and low humidity, very comfortable temps and clarity to enjoy the north-country views. On Monday, I had Joe and Natalia from Troy on board. During the flight, Joe proposed and Natalia said YES! It truly was a beautiful morning.

Joe and Natalia helping with the inflation of the balloon


Cheers, to a good flight.

The Proposal.

It looks like a YES.

The Ring!

6/18 PM Hot Air Balloon Ride

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Saturday evening was a beautiful late spring day to fly. Had 2 couples on-board for a cruise above our beautiful  valley between the Adirondacks of New York, and the Greens of Vermont.

Mike and Ellen from Saratoga

Anita and Robert from Schenectady and Voorheesville

The old barn on the Champlain Canal that Washington County Farmers used to bring their produce to ship by barge to markets south.

Looking south on the Champlain Canal toward where it intersects with the Hudson River and points south.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Flying Weather for the Weekend and Next Week

Friday, June 17th, 2011

The current forecast is beginning to look a bit more like summer, with less rain and more sun and fun flying opportunities. Friday is wet as will be part of Saturday as another front passes through sometime Saturday afternoon. Depending on the timing of the frontal passage, the afternoon may be flyable. Sunday looks good as does Monday and at least the first half of Tuesday. Late Tuesday we get wet again due to a warm front through Wednesday, then stay wet on Thursday with a cold front. Hopefully, this will set us up for good flying conditions late in the week into the coming weekend. On a positive note, it looks like Lake Champlain is finally receding to nearly below flood stage. I heard on the news yesterday that the car ferry at Ticonderoga is finally opening. I posted pictures of it’s ferry dock being underwater earlier this month.

6/16 AM Hot Air Balloon Ride

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Thursday, I flew a couple from New Rochelle who are visiting the area for a couple of days. You can really tell that summer is upon us, it really felt like summer up over beautiful Washington County this morning.

Jas and Charles

Flying up over Washington County with a little fog over the canal

My Crew extraordinaire, "Baker" snapped this pic of us coming in for a landing at our friend, Bernie Vaughn's farm on County Rt 43.

The flying weather’s not looking so good for Friday and Saturday. Sunday looks good, as does Monday and Tuesday next week. I’ll post a weather forecast tomorrow.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Flying Weather for the Week of 6/12

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Well, the weather forecast for the week is about what it’s been like so far this spring flying season, more rain than sun? As of now, it’s looking like we may have a window to fly on Wednesday and Thursday, and again hopefully over the coming weekend. We have a number of spaces available, so call if you want to go to secure a spot. The open window for flying is small.