Adventures with Jay King: October in Albuquerque and at HSN
Well, September has come and gone. It was fast and furious, and October is looking much the same. I was home this morning and putting together October’s and November’s travel schedule… as far as I can tell, I’ll be home just over four and a half days in October. As my dad used to say, “You have to make hay while the sun shines.” A good friend of mine also had a saying. It went something like this: I would tell him I’ve got to take a break and get some rest. His reply would be you can always sleep when you’re dead. I haven’t tried that one yet and think I’ll put it on the back burner of my bucket list of things to do. Although my list seems to keep getting longer each year.
I’m heading out west to Albuquerque, New Mexico this week. October is one of my favorite months for several reasons. First of all, every year in the first week of October the skies around Albuquerque are filled with hot air balloons. For those of you who have seen this sight you know what an amazing thing it is to behold. The whole sky is filled with all kinds of colors and shapes of these marvelous flying machines. I remember my first Balloon Fiesta experience like it was yesterday. Even though it was over thirty years ago. The fiesta is celebrating it’s 40th birthday this year, but I can remember it’s humble beginnings before it became the huge event that it is today…
I was returning home from a flight back east, and was running low on fuel in the plane I was flying and landed at a small airport on the eastern side of Albuquerque. The airport was closed several years ago, but I remember landing on the short narrow strip and parking my plane. Soon a fuel truck pulled up and started to top off my Cessna. It was very early in the morning and the sun had just started to peak over the Sandia Mountains. At the end of the runway I noticed several people busily moving about. At first I thought they were setting up tents. I thought maybe they were getting ready for some kind of fair or something. It wasn’t until they started to inflate that I realized they were hot air balloons. At the time this wasn’t a very common sight, and I had never seen more than one lone balloon before.
Today it’s not uncommon to see several balloons in the air on any given weekend morning in Albuquerque. It is now the hub, and hot air balloon capital in the USA. Being the curious type, I went down and spoke with a few of the pilots and found out it was a group of locals as well as a few folks from out of town who got together every year to celebrate their preferred sport. Over the years, I’ve participated in the fiesta in many ways; piloted my own balloon, as well as a vendor selling my wares. It was always a lot of fun and I have so many good memories from this period in my life. Lots of good fun and making lots of new friends over the years.
I can remember waking up in the morning to a house full of sleeping bags scattered about in almost any space available. We would all get up early and share an enormous breakfast then head out with our balloons before first light to get set up from wherever we were launching that morning. The first few days were incredible, but after ten days I can remember praying for bad weather so we could take a break… The balloonist breakfast is propane and champagne so it can get a little hard on you for any extended period of time.
For those who haven’t taken a hot air balloon ride I hope you’ll put it on your bucket list of things to do in your lifetime. It really is amazing and I can’t remember ever taking anyone on a flight and them not being thrilled about it. A few weren’t so thrilled at first and I had to drag a few on board, but, in the end, they always enjoyed the experience once they were airborne.
After Albuquerque and working with my crew on designs and new ideas I head home to Florida and to my sixteen-year anniversary show. It blows my mind that sixteen years have come and gone already. It seems like yesterday when Colleen Lopez patted my hand and told me to “relax, it’s all going to be okay.” I love working with Colleen and still do to this day. If it wasn’t for her and a lot of others, too many to actually list, I wouldn’t be able to do what I truly love doing right now. I want to take the time to thank everyone who has helped my dream come true.
Well, this is going to be a great event. Rachel Huber and I kick it all off on Friday, October 14th at 2pm EST. Then I’ll be working with Lynn Murphy, Shivan Sarna, and Suzanne Runyan all weekend long finishing up with Rachel on Monday. We have a fabulous Today’s Special. It is very rare and extremely limited. To say the least, it’s the most limited TS I’ve ever done. The material was mined in Australia and we used every single piece we could get to complete what we could of the project. This is truly a one of a kind, one shot deal on this one. It was a small deposit and it is now totally mined out. I can’t say what it is but it’s from Australia and people born in October will probably really like it. Hint , hint. We have so much new to show you I’m like a kid in a candy store I just don’t know which design I like the best. I hope you can take the time to join us in the fun and see what’s new.
After the show I’ll depart on a three-week adventure around the globe to check out new materials for next year and start sorting materials I’ve purchased over the course of this year and we have finally got them out of the ground and in the warehouse so we can start opening Mother Nature’s presents and see what we have.
So hope you can join us in celebrating sixteen years of Mine Finds. I look forward to showing you what we’ve been up to.
Until then save travels.