Hot Air Ballooning

My day started at 4:50 in the AM. I was invited to take a ride in a hot air balloon. I met the crew in a Kroger parking lot and off we went to Long Run Park, a favorite place to launch balloons.

 Kathy Lee is the owner of this fine balloon the Spirit Wind. What an awesome experience it is to sail across the sky. How quiet and peaceful it was, as we floated over farmland, interstates, neighborhoods and such, watching the stir we were creating below, evidenced by barking dogs and herds of cattle galloping away from the colorful, noisy obstruction winding it’s way above their normal existence.

There is much to be learned about hot air ballooning. Team work is a must. It all moves relatively fast, and it is definitely a science, with a little luck thrown in.

Riding in a hot air balloon was on my 60 before 60 list, a list that was inspired by my friend Barb. I actually only have 51 things on this list to date, however, I am adding to it as ideas come. I have seven years left to complete.

I got to tell you though, as much as I don’t want to admit it, I hurt, in an achy sort of way. I definitely took some Ibuprofen a couple of times today. We were moving at a rate of 15 MPH at one point, and as we were trying to land (the first time) we hit the side of a small hill a time or two, jerking us toward the front, as the basket laid over sideways. I had already been briefed about landing and “going with” the movements but I wasn’t expecting quite the impact…or the tall flowering weeds that smacked us in the face before we climbed our way several hundred feet back into the sky to look for another place to land.

I was pretty content at that point to just float along oh… forever, but no such luck. The next landing area had been spotted and we were going in again. This time was not quite as jolt producing, yet enough so that I was dreading the next time, for we aborted the effort and rose again.

Third time’s a charm they say, and that proved to be the case with this flight. This crew of two gracefully and smoothly set the balloon exactly where they had determined would be best. The basket did turn and I had to crawl out but it was all good.

It was an experience I wouldn’t have missed for the world. I am grateful to my friend Kathy Lee for the invitation to experience this chance to spread my wings and fly.

There was a casualty, I must report. Somewhere between the first rough attempted landing until the time I got in my car I lost the USB cable that was in my camera bag. I am presently unable to dump the pictures I took from my camera onto my computer. Instead I have the above three shots that I took with my phone.

What a way to start the day, and I’m really glad I did!

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