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!!!!!!
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!!
My Mom – who I get my adventurous streak from – was just the person to take the epic journey with.
Where my husband Ben is afraid of heights – my Dad gets nauseous on anything that moves. We’re talking can’t even ride escalators…
He makes an excellent photographer and cheerleader though!
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.
While we listened to him giving instructions on how to get in, get out, etc., our balloon was rolled out.
It was cool to be on the other side of the action!
Once it was all spread out, the diesel-fueled fans fired up and our balloon filled with air!
Nerves might have been kicking in at this point…
As soon as the balloon was inflated,
Andy hopped in the basket, opened up the propane tank,
and let ‘er rip! Fire in the hole!
Before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye to my Dad, hop in the basket and take flight!
go – wheeeee!!!!
We were up in the air just like that. On the ground one minute and 500 feet in the air the next!!
Bye Dad! (I’m sure he was having a panic attack at this point…)
It’s incredible how fast you rise in a hot air balloon.
Right away you know you are in for some once-in-a-lifetime views.
Our pilot fired up the tanks (omg SO HOT!!!!!)
and we continued to climb.
omg, anytime we flew over dogs or cows, they would start barking/moo’ing. It was hysterical.
After awhile we descended over a flooded corn field and saw our reflection in the water.
Um, then we kept descending – right over the top of the cornfields!!!!!!
IGE: Detassler for hire.
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!
Up we went again!
Normally, if the conditions are right, our pilot goes to 5000 feet – 1 mile.
Apparently the conditions were perfect last night, so we said goodbye to 5000 feet,
and hello to…
6000 feet! Over 1 mile high!!
Even our pilot was impressed!!
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.
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.
Safely on the ground!!!!
Take down took 5 minutes.
One minute it’s up,
the next, it’s down!
We said goodbye to the farm and shuttled back to our launch site.
Where we toasted to our very first balloon ride with certificates and champagne!
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!!)
Still flying high, but it’s back to the real world. To the eye doctor I go!
Have a wonderful Thursday!!
Would you consider yourself adventurous? What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?