Finally, I finally got my hot air balloon ride today.
Don't mind the chatter, I was just trying to capture the moment!
It was amazing!
We met at the pilot's house at 7am this morning in Highland. After checking out his amazing property (huge garden, pond, waterfall...) we watched them inflate the balloon.
Here the balloon on the ground, looking inside. The pilot and his son are the dark shadows on the other side. It was HUGE!
I like this shot. They were blowing the fire into the balloon to make it rise. That is my silouette you can see. It was hot. Way hotter than I would have guessed. Well, let's put it this way: My hair spray is very flammable...I use a lot of hair spray...I was worried that my hair was going to go up in flames!
Almost all done inflating...Guess where the balloon is right now? In the pilot's neighbor's yard. I said "so, are your neighbors pretty understanding of all this racket?" He replied "I dunno, they sleep in." Ha ha ha!
Here we are just after take off. There are a lot of nice homes in Highland!
From Fern's camera while on ground:
The wind was blowing a bit harder than expected during our flight so we ended up flying really low, like barely missing rooftops low. It was awesome! We could see all these kids come outside and scream "hello!" to us. Then it was time to land.
We were heading right for a cul de sac. On the way down we rammed into a tree pretty hard with our basket. The pilot said "you think we hit a tree, but that's just how we slow down!" and then SMACK! We hit pavement, bounced a few times and stopped. It was quite the rush! As the balloon was in the cul de sac a little boy ran outside from his house and squealed "This is the most exciting day!" It was so funny.
As we were up in the air, there were 2 vehicles that were "Balloon Chasers". They just look in the air, see where the balloon is, and then try to drive towards that location. It's pretty fun to watch and be a part of.
After we landed, Fern and Russ jumped in for their ride (happy birthday Fern!).
They landed their balloon ride in a random horse pasture. One scared dog who ran away (he was eventually found), manure on our shoes, and perma-grins on our faces, we were done!
After returning to the pilot's house, he poured a glass of Sparkling Cider for me, Sam, Fern, and Russ. We then had to kneel on the ground in front of the pilot (Bryan Kelly) while he told the history of hot air balloons.
Apparently, the first passengers of a hot air balloon were a turkey, a duck, and some other animal (can't remember). They landed just fine so then a prisoner was going to be the next "guinea pig" but a guy in Paris wanted the glory before the prisoner so he went. He ended up being fine, but their fire (to inflate the balloon) was made with coals and wood so it created lots of smoke in the balloon. When landing, a huge puff of black smoke would fly in the air. Nearby residents thought it was a dragon (this was in 1776) so they would use pitchforks to kill the passengers of the balloon. So, the passengers would offer the residents champagne to make peace and all was well. Hence, the glass of bubbly we had in front of us. Then the pilot recited a prayer and we had to put our hands behind our backs, lean over and pick up the glass with our teeth, and drink the sparkling juice. Kind of weird and corny, but it was entertaining and fun.
Cameron just picked his nose and laughed at us.
11 months ago