I have decided to start with the opportunity I had to fulfill a lifelong dream of riding in a hot air balloon in August.
I was driving to the gym one morning at the beginning of the Indianola Hot Air Balloon Classic here in Iowa. This was the morning where they take off from a location and fly over the metro Des Moines area. A balloon flew right over top of me at a low height and I snapped a shot and posted on my Facebook page that someday I hoped to get a ride in a balloon some day. I should tell you that I do have a healthy fear of heights.
A couple days later my husband surprises me with having scheduled my flight in a Hot Air Balloon at the Indianola Balloon Classic. I was supposed to take off early in the morning but as is usual in Iowa in August there were nasty thunderstorms in the area. I was rescheduled for an evening flight a couple of days later (which just happened to be a couple days after the deadly balloon accident in another state).
I have to say I was both exhilarated and scared to death at the same time. Luckily I met a kindred spirit - in other words someone else who was as exhilarated and scared as I was. Both of my guy had followed me down in a separate vehicle (in the end this was good).
Due to winds we ended up driving South and East of the balloon field to take off. Let me tell you it was a truly hot and humid day and no air conditioning in the van. I think we sweated off 10 pounds by the time they got permission to use a farmer's field to take off.
It was the most amazing experience! The flight up is such a gentle and quiet ride that you are thousands of feet in the air and you don't even realize it. My fear of heights didn't even enter into the equation once you got started on the journey. The views from up above were breathtaking. I was so lucky to get a flight that when we got to the balloon field we were up so high and so much traffic below we went right on past the field and found another location to land. Our 45 minute flight ended up being 1 1/2 hours long with a touchdown as the sun was setting in the West.
I was amazed at how quickly the balloons are inflated and gobsmacked at how fast they are deflated and packed up.
It was truly an amazing experience and I can't wait to take a flight again this summer.
I took my DSLR camera and got a ton of amazing photos. I hope you enjoy the few I've chosen to post.
This is Gina (my kindred fear of height) waiting while the balloon is getting set out for inflation. You can see my flat hair - super humid and hot.
This is my balloon being inflated.
It was super hot underneath the burners.
Cool to be in that position to see straight up into the balloon.
This is the balloon field from our high vantage point.
Luckily I knew were my husband and son were sitting so I have a photo of them from above.
The balloons below were so colorful.
Passing over a pasture of horses after we passed the balloon field.
This inquisitive cows came over the hill to watch the packing up of the balloon.