Thursday, August 2, 2012

Balloon Ride!

When I was a youngster, maybe 10, I saw on TV a propane heated hot air balloon glide through the air. Of course I wanted one. No, my family could not even remotely afford one, or even rides in one.

Couple nights ago, after 57 years, I rode in one. Here are the pics:

Balloon is inside the trailer
Out comes the basket

Big propane burners; these did the job.
There were two balloons being prepared, quite a distance apart.
Initial inflation is by big fans, not hot air.

See the pilot way up at the end inside; he was doing a careful inspection of the envelope.
OK, taking shape.
Rising up!
All aboard.
The other one is up.
That's me on the left in the basket.
Very gentle ascent. Light winds. Speed on GPS was 20 km/hr.
I'll let the scenery do the talking...

Jerome has been a balloon pilot for 20 years.

This is good.
So is this one. Which do you like best?

Just touching down.
Came down on a slope. The balloon slowly collapsed to the ground, and tipped the basket. No problems, a gentle and slow tipping. Got out in an orderly fashion.

And, off back to start for our champagne toast!

It was a great trip and well run. Quiet and peaceful. Sailors will know how nice it is with the wind coming from dead aft. Well, same thing for the whole ride.

If you are afraid of heights (Dar!), you should know there is no rocking of the basket, so after a short while, it's like looking out a big window. Also, the basket is quite deep, so you can rest your arms on the wide top part and feel mostly inside, just shoulders and head outside.

I recommend this to everyone.