Friday, September 28, 2012

Up, Up, and Away We GO ...!

My bucket list has included a Hot Air Balloon ride so my wonderful children gave us a gift certificate at Christmas time for a Balloon ride in Park City, Utah. What a glorious day with the leaves changing into their fall colors to take a sail over the hills of Park City.

Because of Lynn's impending knee surgery, he was unable to come along for the ride, so I asked my daughter Laurel if she would like to accompany me in my adventurous quest. She jumped at the chance!

Laurel met me at our home shortly after 6:00 a.m. and off we sped to Park City to help set up the balloon and basket for our sail. It was COLD! The sun wasn't up yet and there was dew on the ground and we could see our breath in the cold morning air. Luckily I found an old 'grandpa' sweater in the trunk of the car for Laurel to wear and I had two shirts and a sweatshirt over my skin to keep warm.


Then the pilot turned on the fire while we were holding the ropes to the balloon and standing on the edges to keep the balloon open. Now this was getting dangerous and wasn't so much fun, anymore. The fire was singing my hands and the  balloon was so full of air it was lifting my feet off the ground. I was beginning to worry that the poor little man on the other side was going to fall into the balloon. He didn't weigh as much as me and the balloon was lifting his entire body off the ground. I yelled for a young man to come help me and as he took over the ropes for me the balloon began lifting his body up as well. Finally they just let go of the ropes and stepped away from the balloon and the basket slowly rose from its side to a sitting position and the balloon was in the air. It was a glorious site! Our balloon and basket had only made 4 journeys. It was still brand spankin' new.
We climbed into the basket, one at a time, using the footholds on the basket. After all nine of us were in the basket the ropes were released and we started to rise into the air. Laurel was freaked out at first but then soon relaxed as we began the rise to an altitude of over 5,000 feet. Since the balloon was so new and the pilot was unsure of its capacity we just sort of sat up in the air, slowly spinning around. "Where's the action, Jackson?" I thought as I watched the other balloons in the sky dipping and ascending to greater heights than us and skimming along the neighborhoods picking up more passengers! The pilot explained that the ballon was like a new car ... he had to slowly break it in before he could test the limits of the balloon. BOOO ... is all I can say. Yes, it was great fun, but I was expecting a little more 'tickle tummies' for excitement. The most exciting part of the ride was looking for a place to land. We quickly descended and were skimming over the sagebrush and I thought for sure we were going to land on the side of a hill. But to my surprise we skimmed over the top of the hill and then ascended higher over the valley, still looking for a place to land. Now we're talkin' ... we're going faster and there's much more excitement. Soon we came down over a neighborhood ... started dropping ... and I could see a woman in her kitchen waving to us out the window. Are we going to land in her yard? Looks like it! But slowly we descended right next to her back fence and while we were a few feet above ground the co-pilot on the ground pushed the basket into the street and softly we set down. We all clapped and gently climbed out of the basket, one at a time and helped roll up the balloon and load everthing on the trailer.

Back at the ranch we celebrated with a toast of Sprite and a thankful prayer! Everyone should experience a Hot Air Balloon ride. It really is amazing. To experience great heights with silence is something I've never experienced.


bcyhand said...

sounds marvelous! I miss you my friend. sounds like all is well, will keep your honey in prayer!

Love you,

PrOOgRaMMeR said...

it’s very amazing. Thanks for it.

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