Saturday, September 12, 2009

Up Up and Away!

Last weekend I got to accomplish one of my life goals with Tom. We treated ourselves to our first hot air balloon ride. We heard about the balloon festival that was happening in Shelburne and I gave them a call to see if we could get a ride. The not-so-cheap price is probably why we were still able to reserve a spot. Turns out there weren't a lot of people that were willing to pay that much.

Anyway, it was a beautiful day. I had gone out to breakfast with Sara and Susanne (who was an exchange student from Germany back in high school), visited two of my roommates at my old apartment, and worked at the doctor's office all before the ride. Tom's parents and brother were there to watch and be our ground crew.

Just before the launch (Photo by Jim Cheney)

I was super excited. I've always watched them in the air, had them land and take off from my land, but had never gotten to float over the Champlain Valley in one.

Up we went - the people below and the shadow of our balloon

Our pilot quickly told us what to expect before the balloon was inflated. Once enough hot air was in, it was time to jump in and take off. And it was b-e-a-utiful! I couldn't stop taking pictures.

There was a sad part to the experience. The moment the pilot pointed out where we were to land. I wish it had been a surprise. I think that that's why I enjoyed them so much from the ground because I never knew where they were going to land.

One of the many photos. I think this shot captures Vermont nicely

Our ride was awfully short, but our landing was quite smooth and peaceful (not like the landing some folks had the following day). We were greated by Tom's parents and brother, as well as a bunch of neighborhood kids who were prepared to help us pack up the balloon.

Our balloon coming in for a landing (Photo by Jim Cheney)

After stopping by Tom's Grandparent's house (which we had flown over during our ride), we went back to the Shelburne Museum, the home of the festival, to help with the Balloon Glow. The pilot allowed us to sit in the basket during the glow, I believe in order to keep it on the ground. The wind started to pick up which rocked the balloon quite a bit. Needless to say, ours was the first one to be deflated because the pilot didn't want to risk anything happening to it.

Once it was deflated I was able to really look around at the glow. It felt a bit like Disney. The balloons were spread throughtout the museum and it was just so magical.

One of the balloons at the glow

It was an awesome experience, and we were given the bottle of Champagne (from Quebec) that normally goes to the land owner since we didn't land on any one's property. I really hope that I get the chance to go up in a balloon again. While this one was fun, I want to spend more time in the air and see more of Vermont from the sky.

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