Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Every time we go to I68, we drive by a hot air balloon company called "Gentle Breeze" and have always wanted to go up.  Finally we did...for my birthday, Mark gave me a ride in a hot air balloon.  We picked a weekday morning, knowing it would be easier to get a short-notice event set up.

So, we chose today to take advantage of beautiful weather these past two weeks have had...,low 50's at dawn, barely a breeze.

Bright and early....



We got to help out a lot.  Balloon inflating with our pilot Dan.  At this point, we had just finished using a fan to open the balloon up and start the inflating process.  This balloon is named Thriller, it was a smaller racing balloon.


Adding the hot air





Ready for takeoff...



Just after takeoff, Dan suggests dropping low to a small pond right off the side of the airport to catch the reflection of the balloon in the water....


Looking back over I68...N28GM is tucked away in one of those hangars...


We then dropped really low, the basket was skimming the beans in the field.


The sister balloon that launched at the same time as us from Gentle Breeze....



Dan let Mark fly a bit...he was a natural


Looking east at the other balloon...


over Shaker Run Golf Course...


Definitely different to be above the birds and flying slower than they were!


Just after landing.  We found a parking lot, vice having to put down in a field.



The other balloon followed suit...


Now for a funny, small world story...as Mark and I were waiting for the others earlier in the morning, Lt Gen (ret) C.D. Moore and his wife, Leslie walked in the waiting area.  C.D. was the former AFLCMC commander and I have the great privilege to have had my first F-16 ride given to me by him back in 1999.  They were in the other balloon!  What a treat.


Afterwards, we packed up the balloons, drove back to I68 and had a small toast with mimosas...


The winds have welcomed you with softness,
The sun has greeted you with it's warm hands,
You have flown so high and so well,
That God has joined you in laughter,
And set you back gently into
The loving arms of Mother Earth.

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