Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Hot Air Ballooning

When I was looking up the Sailing photos I happened on some other fond memories. My sweetie gave me a hot air balloon ride one year for my birthday. So cool! Only she would think of something like that.

We lived in Jacksonville, Florida at the time and since we were not into boating anymore, or golfing or fishing there was not much else left to do.

We met up at dawn at Jacksonville University in the Arlington section of Jacksonville. There were three balloons being set up for us and two other couples. We were in the yellow one.

It was interesting to see how the burners blasted hot air into the balloons and gradually they became upright. That's when we boarded and the pilot shot the juice to it. Man, the heat it gave off and the noise was something else, but we started lifting up, up, up, more heat (schuuuuuuu) and up, above the trees and climbing. We were on our way and totally at the mercy of the wind.

We went up about four hundred feet before the pilot decided to change directions. Yep! Total surprise to me that he could control the direction of a balloon. He dropped down about a hundred feet and instead of heading south we were now moving east. Then he took it up a bit and we were headed south again.

It wasn't long before we realized that we would be going directly over our neighborhood. He took it down some and we saw our house only a couple of hundred feet below us. We could hear our dog, Punkin, barking at the sounds of the balloon and we called to her. It was so cool.

Then we went up again and moved once more toward the south. We could see the other balloons going up and down and east and west as they did their own thing. Finally we were near Baymeadows Country Club and the pilot said we would be landing there.

We landed on a fairway that was still wet from the morning dew. We helped deflate the balloon and load it into the chase vehicle then we had our customary glass of champaigne, an old French custom dating back a century or more.

We decided to mosey over to Judy's Mom's apartment a couple of blocks away and surprise her. It was funny seeing the look on her face so early in the morning, especially when she learned that we "floated" in to see her.

It was certainly one of the highlights of our lives and will never be forgotten. Here are a few of the photos we took. We also took some 8 mm movies but they didn't turn out so good.

No comments: