Hot Air Balloon!
It's a dawn flight, and Mom and I are on the road at 4:50am. Boy, that's early. Amazing, it's less than 10 miles to our vans, and I am thrilled to see that it's the Unicorn Balloon Company that's flying us today. :D
We wait around for the other passengers, there were 9 or 10 of us all together. And then they send up a couple of "regular" balloons, the blow up kind with helium, to see which way the wind is blowing. 'Cause, you know, you can't steer a hot air balloon... you just go to where the wind takes you!
They drive us to a new location and give us a couple simple instructions. When landing, hold on, bend your knees a little, and DON'T get out of the basket. They say the landing depends on the wind, over about 6 miles/hour the basket might tip over, but don't fall out, no matter what! ha. How exciting, the wind is right at 6 m/h.
Blowing up the balloon:
And then we can get in the basket. All 9 or 10 of us, plus the pilot.
A little bit squished, but okay for the most part.
Take off and look down:
wow. It is so gentle. And really loud and hot when the pilot blows the fire.
But so very quiet the rest of the time. Right in the middle of this photo is a little black speck. That's a dog that was barking at us! haha. :)
Heading for the hills...
And then, we're in the hills. Just maybe a dozen feet above the ground!
Critter Sightings from the balloon:
· A couple of rabbits.
· A few cows. "Look! Some cows!" uh huh, I've seen cows before. ;)
· Javelinas. These are little pig-looking creatures and a sighting is very rare! The pilot said they only see them once every three or four months. We saw a small herd of four adults and several babies.
The pilot said that javelinas are a type of rodent, but I'm looking in my zoology book and that's not true. Actually javelinas are in the same order as hippos and pigs. (um, and not the same order as Guinea Pigs... who are rodents! :) It really annoys me when people don't get their animal trivia correct!
But the ride was so incredible. There were two other balloons that went up with us. Sometimes we were close enough to the others that we could shout across at them. And a couple times, one balloon got so close our balloons touched! You could hear the nylon sliding across the other balloon.
And then it was time to come down. We had been floating along for about an hour and had gone about seven or eight miles. Our pilot picked out a spot and set us down. And our basket didn't tip over! And no one fell out. So that wasn't as fun as it could have been. hehe.
While the others are rolling our balloon up and putting it and the basket back in the trailer, our pilot, John, is setting us up with a champagne breakfast. He tells us the story of the first hot air balloon flights and why it's appropriate to be drinking alcohol at such an early hour. :)
There's an old Irish toast and we drink and eat and then get our very cool "First Flight" certificates! Yay!
All very exciting!
Off Site: Arizona Balloon Flights Web Site
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