This is all of us in the basket (There was literally no room to move) The lady with the hat (whom you cannot really see) on was celebrating the end of her chemotherapy for her brain tumor and the other lady is her daughter. It was really sweet the nurses at the cancer center bought the balloon ride as a present for her. I just want to mention how hot it was up there. Not only because it was a warm day, but because the burners are really hot. I was the tallest one in the basket and I could really feel the heat on my head and neck. I thought it was going to fry my hair off.
These are pictures of our shadows/reflection. During our flight we had a maximum speed of six mph and height of 1500 feet. Rich, who is an avid balloon competitor told us his max. height was 18,000 feet and his max. speed was 97 mph (which was a major disappointment because he wanted to go 100 mph) He holds a record for the longest flight time (23 hours, which was also a disappointment because he wanted to go 30 hours). His flights are in the middle of winter because the fuel is more efficient and this year he hopes for -40 degree weather. What a nut.
We were in the air for about an hour and during the flight we had an unexpected visitor:
The landing was really the coolest part, mostly because it was the scariest part. We landed on the highway. Yes literally cars had to stop for us. We landed and then the chaser dragged us into the grass. We landed pretty soft but Rich the flier said on one of his solo flights he landed going 37 mph (he said it was pretty much a wreck). Once you land you have to wait a little while for the balloon to steady and cool off. You get off one at a time as instructed, I guess if the balloon wasn't cool enough you'd take off again. It was hard to fight the urge to just bail once we landed.
Here is Jeff and I happy to be back on the ground safe and sound. We did have to sign our lives away to go on this ride. I'm serious.
Here is the deflation of the balloon.
This is a picture of us all helping to put the balloon back into the bag. It was kind of fun that we got to be apart of the ground crew.
I just thought that is was amazing that the chute all fit into this little bag.
After the balloon and basket are put away safe and sound it is tradition to drink "bubbly." Rich instructed us to kneel down and he poured us all bubbly. We were supposed to hum America the Beautiful while he recited the balloonists prayer which goes like this: "The winds have welcomed you with softness.The sun has blessed you with his warm hands.You have flown so high and so well, That the gods have joined you in your laughter and set you back again into the loving arms of Mother Earth." When he finished we were supposed to pick up the bubbly with our teeth and drink it.
And when we bent down Rich dumped bubbly on our heads. Luckily I was last and saw what was happening so I missed the sticky fluid.
It was really a fun adventure and we were blessed with a beautiful night.