It’s not often that you add something to your bucket list, and cross it off two weeks later. But that’s just what my Mom and I did last night when we went on a hot air balloon ride!!!!!!

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After seeing those hot air balloons a couple weeks ago, and again last weekend, I knew I had to find a way to ride one. I nervously called the company giving rides at the Indianola Balloon Classic this week and, lucky us, they had two openings for an evening ride last night!!

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My Mom – who I get my adventurous streak from – was just the person to take the epic journey with. :)

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Where my husband Ben is afraid of heights – my Dad gets nauseous on anything that moves. We’re talking can’t even ride escalators…

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He makes an excellent photographer and cheerleader though! :D

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There were 3 passenger balloons, with 10 people to a basket. Out pilot, Andy, was the ringleader of the flights and we were SUPER confident in him.

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While we listened to him giving instructions on how to get in, get out, etc., our balloon was rolled out.

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It was cool to be on the other side of the action!

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Once it was all spread out, the diesel-fueled fans fired up and our balloon filled with air!

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Whee!

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Nerves might have been kicking in at this point… ;)

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As soon as the balloon was inflated,

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Andy hopped in the basket, opened up the propane tank, 

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and let ‘er rip! Fire in the hole!

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Before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye to my Dad, hop in the basket and take flight!

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Away,

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we, 

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go – wheeeee!!!!

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We were up in the air just like that. On the ground one minute and 500 feet in the air the next!!

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Bye Dad! (I’m sure he was having a panic attack at this point…) ;) 

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It’s incredible how fast you rise in a hot air balloon.

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Right away you know you are in for some once-in-a-lifetime views.

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Our pilot fired up the tanks (omg SO HOT!!!!!)

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and we continued to climb.

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Breathtaking.

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omg, anytime we flew over dogs or cows, they would start barking/moo’ing. It was hysterical.

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After awhile we descended over a flooded corn field and saw our reflection in the water. 

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Hello!

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Um, then we kept descending – right over the top of the cornfields!!!!!!

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IGE: Detassler for hire. :) 

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Our pilot told us that in the Fall, they’ll fly over pumpkin fields, have someone hop out, grab a pumpkin and then drop it from 5000 feet up. HA!

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Up we went again!

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Normally, if the conditions are right, our pilot goes to 5000 feet – 1 mile.

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Apparently the conditions were perfect last night, so we said goodbye to 5000 feet,

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and hello to…

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6000 feet! Over 1 mile high!!

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OMG! 8O

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Even our pilot was impressed!!

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We stayed in the air for about an hour and it was the most quiet, peaceful, blissful experience on earth. Perfectly still, perfectly cool, perfectly calm.

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Finally the sun began to set, and we made our final descent – landing in the hay field of a local farmer – HA! He was watching the balloons with his little girls and we shouted from the air – "can we land in your field??" "Sure!" he called. Apparently this is how all balloon landings go. ;)

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Safely on the ground!!!!

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Take down took 5 minutes.

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One minute it’s up,

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the next, it’s down!

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We said goodbye to the farm and shuttled back to our launch site.

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Where we toasted to our very first balloon ride with certificates and champagne! :D

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Wow. Wow is really all I can say. If riding in a hot air balloon isn’t on your must-do list – add it. It’s so crazy to know that in a world full of state of the art technology and what not, that you can see the earth from a mile in the air, simply with fire, cloth and a basket. Absolutely incredible. This experience was once in a lifetime and I’m so glad I got to experience it with my family! (Ben had to work late, but was there in spirit!!)

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Still flying high, but it’s back to the real world. To the eye doctor I go!

Have a wonderful Thursday!!

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Would you consider yourself adventurous? What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?