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?
join the conversation
Wow! Thanks for taking us on the journey with you.
Hey how much was the ride? Really want to do it this summer?!
Iowa Girl Eats 06.03.2013
I think it was $150/person at the time. Totally worth it in my opinion!
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This is amazing, I am setting this up for my husband on our wedding anniversary. I have a question, did they have a second balloon to take the pictures of you guys in your balloon? How did you get those amazing pics?
Bill Baker 06.25.2012
What a great blog site girl…
Yep… you inspire me.
Thanks for that.
My husband and I took our first hot air balloon ride in January over the Arizona desert just outside Tucson. It was awesome! We’re ready to go again.
I tried to go when I went on my annual trip to Iowa about 3 years ago. My step sister and her husband own Summerset Winery in Indianola and we were staying there. It’s right down the road from where the balloons are. We were there in August when the National Balloon Festival is held in Indianola. We were scheduled to go on Thursday evening, but the winds were too strong. So they booked us for very early on Friday morning and told us they would call us if it was winds were still too strong to go and of course they were! So we never got to go! Here’s the link for the 2012 festival. http://www.nationalballoonclassic.com/
Congrats on the ballooning! As a skydiver I’m excited to find anyone in Iowa who makes a bucket list and acts on it. I have an action/adventure sport website that acts as a resource for people find awesome things to do in Iowa and I’m always looking for interesting people to write about. Please let me know if you have anything on or not yet on your bucket list you may need help fulfilling! I’ll be back often, stalking around your blog. Your pics are great also!
I meant to comment on this a while ago. It is SO awesome that you did a hot air balloon ride!! My mom sent me and my dad up in one as my 16th birthday present, and it was amazing. We had to do ours super early in the morning, though, because the guy said it’s too hot after the sun comes up (I do like in TX…). And the one I went in only fit 3 people. Yours was huge!!
Pictures are incredibly gorgeous, especially the ones from the balloon festival. :)
I think you had the same pilot from when I went 6 years ago. Eagle Ridge is just right over the river in Illinois. He possibly didn’t mention “crash landing”. A storm blew up when we were in the air and when we landed, we bounced several times and the wind was blowing so hard the balloon kept blowing and the basket tipped over. We all had to crouch down at landing and everyone was safe. Seemed to happen in slo mo. Actually a fun part of the trip!