Monday, September 26, 2011

#3 - Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride.......

I had just about decided this particular item on my 50 Things to Do list would have to wait until next year. Once football season starts, the change in weather isn't far behind, and I didn't think we would be able to work it in. The last time Hubby and I tried to schedule a balloon ride, we got on a waiting list and didn't hear from the guy for a couple of months. This time I decided to try a different company. Duh. He got right back to me and said, "How about this Sunday?"

We were in a balloon with six other people, plus the pilot, Daryl. He was super friendly, and his crew was excellent. They were all so friendly, not only to us the paying passengers, but to by-standers (a hot air balloon in a grocery store parking lot attracts a LOT of attention), and even to people on the ground as we flew over neighborhoods.

First the crew has to put the basket together....


Then the balloon part is stretched out. And out. And out. And out. And out. (Man, I thought a parachute was big.....)


Then they use two high-powered fans to direct air into the balloon...


I loved the American flag touch...


This is me standing in front of the balloon, just to give you an idea of its size. I'm short, but I'm not a midget...


Then Daryl fires up the burners to direct hot air into the balloon, causing it to rise. We were certain he was going to catch the balloon on fire. Then we remembered he had done this a time or two...


Skies were a little hazy, but you can see Lake Lanier in the background...



We cruised along at about 3000 feet above ground, then we started descending. Hubby asked Daryl if we were going to land in this field. Daryl said, "Nah. I'm not ready to land yet." As we got lower and lower, Hubby murmured to me that Daryl might not KNOW it, but we were definitely going to land in that field. Trees were getting closer and closer. Then when it looked certain we were going to have to land, the balloon eased upward and the basket brushed the treetops. Yes, Daryl has definitely done this a time or two.


I loved the shots with our balloon's shadow in them. I have about a gazillion of these, in case you're interested. That's Sawnee Mountain in the background...


We landed in a field behind an auto parts store (Daryl says you're ALWAYS trespassing, and most of the time the land owners are friendly), and the crew van took us back to where we left our cars. They had cheese, strawberries, brownies, cookies, crackers with cream cheese and pepper jelly. And champagne. Even though I swore after our last trip to the Dominican Republic that I would never drink champagne again, I did have a little bit. Apparently it's the part in the BOTTOM of the bottle that makes you sick. Who knew?

video 

Riding in a hot air balloon has been a lifelong dream of mine, not just since I put it on my 50 Things to Do list. I've been obsessed with hot air balloons I believe ever since I saw The Wizard of Oz for the first time when I was about 3 years old. I would go back again and again if I could. I'm so, so, so, so, so, so glad we did this.


2 comments:

DJan said...

How cool! I'm glad you got to do this one and share it on line. I've been in a few myself, and have jumped out of three or four of them, too. Scary but fun!

Kelly said...

This is great!!! I got a pilot's license when I was younger, but I've never been in a helicopter or hot air balloon. It looks so fun! You got a perfect "shadow shot" of the balloon, too!