11 Hot Air Balloon Observations

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11 observations while in my 5oth birthday present – a hot air balloon ride on Saturday, April 19, 2008, Napa Valley, CA.

  1. I’m terrified of heights. When walking across the highest suspension bridge in the world located in Canon City, Colorado . . . . atop an aqua duct in France . . . . while navigating the catwalk in many castles in England, I was sacred white and legless. BUT NOT in a hot air balloon at 1000 feet. My son was sure I’d claw gouges into his arm from fear.
  2. Obey the signs. Except when following the instructions are not in our best interest. There was a HUGE Land Here sign carved into a grassy field. It was tempting to land there. But the pilot wasn’t able to navigate the air currents just right so that we could land safely. He assessed the situation and decided to make a new plan. We liked that better because we got to fly 20-30 minutes longer.
  3. Unseen air currents do the unexpected. So it was necessary for the pilot to carefully watch how the balloons in front and behind him were flying. He also asked for help from those on the ground. Our pilot was surrounded with help before, behind, and underneath. And of course in the basket with us was a simple instrument panel.
  4. My glasses stayed on my face. For some reason I thought my glasses would have this urge to leap off my face. Never happened.
  5. It was noisier in the balloon than I thought. The release of the gas made for a noisy, heated time. The taller people were advised to wear a hat in order to protect their head from the heat.
  6. It was colder than I expected. The guide told us to NOT over-dress because the heat from the balloon would be sufficient. At the last minute I decided to grab my gloves and winter jacket. Good move – I used both as it was still nippy even with the heat descending upon our heads.
  7. Our pilot was a pro. Evidently Bob is one of the best pilots around. In the winter, Bob flies air balloons in Switzerland. A lot of those trips are 2-3 hours and come with food and wine to consume during the ride. We had our champagne breakfast after the ride. I was glad of this – that way my sista could join us.
  8. The time zoomed by. We were in the air for 1 hr 20 minutes and flew 7 miles. The mileage was a personal record for Bob. It didn’t seem like I was standing for that long of a time.
  9. Trouble in, trouble out. I am not the most elegant, graceful or limber of people. I had to have a huge push from behind in order to get over the side of the basket. The side came to the top of my ribcage. I wasn’t too embarrassed – I am getting used to it by now.
  10. Doing something new is a bonding experience. This flight and the rest of the day (thanks to my daughter’s ideas) will rank as one of the best birthday presents. Now whenever I see/hear/think about a hot air balloon, I will always think about that day. There will not be any competing memories.
  11. Hurray for my 51 Things List. I’ve wanted to go on a hot air balloon for awhile, but I don’t always remember what I want to do. This list is a great way to remember and then to decide which things in life I’ll do during this year I turned 50. This list includes Habits and Events.

I am very grateful to my sista, son and daughter for their respective parts in making this day so special. It was WORTH the wait.

Have you ever been in a hot air balloon? Tell us about your experience.

Entry filed under: 51 Things to Do In 365 Days, Firsts, Main, Meditations, Susan's World. Tags: .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. doodah  |  . at .

    How wonderful! What a magical thing for a birthday list. šŸ˜€

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  • 2. catlady  |  . at .

    10th anniversary – hot air balloon ride – too windy the first morning, had to re-schedule – I remember it was startling and VERY LOUD when they fired the gas to keep the balloon aloft;we were the only balloon in the air; I don’t remember any heat (the flame was well above our heads), and the view was lovely. The noise from the fire bursts really was horrendous and took away from my enjoyment of the ride. It was 27 years ago and what I mainly remember was the noise.
    I’m so glad your family was able to help you “check this off your list” and that you had a memorable time, which is as it should be.

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  • 3. susan2009  |  . at .

    Doodah – it was a magical time. Made me think of some of the other trips I’ve done with my kiddos. I sure like traveling and sight seeing.

    Catlady – Where did you fly? Yes, the noise was so loud we couldn’t talk and hear during the blast. Yes, it is lovely that they were there.

    If you guys go to my sister;s site, you’ll see some pix. Later on today, I’ll try to “cut and paste” some of her photos and post them here.

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  • […] read about my trip, go here. To see pictures that my sista took, go here. To read why I went on this trip, go […]

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