Friday, September 5, 2008

Forget that I'm Fifty

What a surprise I had this morning! I awoke at 5:05 and quickly got dressed and walked the dogs. Then my daughter and I drove to the other side of town (across the river) to Starbucks.

We watched a group of young men with cameras around their necks get coffee and then get into the limousine that was parked out front.

We got our coffee and then we drove up the road to a dirt lot where there were several trucks and trailers parked. One of the trucks belonged to my daughter's boyfriend, Matt, a newly licensed balloon pilot. How exciting! I was going for a balloon ride for my birthday!!!

Matt and Sheila proceeded to open the trailer and take out the basket, a great big heavy bag, and a huge portable fan.
First they hooked up all the parts of the basket and the propane tanks. I watched them closely to make sure that everything was hooked together tightly. ;) Then they opened the bag and stretched the envelope out to it's full length.


The envelope was filled up with air from the fan. Then the air was heated up from the burners being turned on in blasts and the basket was righted.


There were at least eight other balloons going up, all from the Rainbow Ryders Company. There were people from all around the world. One group even had several "Ozzies". We didn't see the Limo boys but they probably had been dropped off already, somewhere nearby.
Soon it was fully inflated and ready to rise, so Matt and I jumped in.

Unfortunately, Sheila couldn't go because there were only the three of us and someone needed to stay on the ground to drive the truck to the landing site. You just never know where you'll end up when you fly in a balloon!

And away we went! We cruised over the bosque (wooded area) to the Rio Grande River.



We hung around the river a bit and then rose up over the housing developments. After about an hour, we landed in a big dirt lot. The weather was perfect! We went up to about 7000 feet (started at 4900) and there was a very gentle breeze so we covered quite a bit of ground. Because we were a little ahead of the Rainbow Ryders group, I got some awesome photos.




Sheila was waiting for us at the landing site.







Then we had breakfast at Weck's. I had an adovada and egg breakfast burrito smothered in red and green chili with a side of hash browns. There was enough food on my plate for two hungry people! It was mmmmm good!

Part of the initiation with a first balloon ride is drinking champagne and getting pinned. I did have a previous ride many, many years ago during a Balloon Fiesta. I even got to ride in the first wave off the field on a weekend mass ascension day. That's an honor! But, it was a quick ride; they immediately landed and took up more passengers. On that day, I got a pin and champagne after the balloon landed and was packed away. So, this time we skipped that part.

It was an incredibly awesome morning!

Thanks Sheila and Matt!!

Forget that I'm Fifty - song: Crack Baby Crack, artist: David Bowie, album: Aladdin Sane

4 comments:

Twinville said...

Oh I'm so happy for you...and a little envious! I've always wanted to go up in a hot air balloon.
And you got to do it for your BIRTHDAY! Whoohoo!

All I did for for MY birthday was take my llamas for a walk! hahaha!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, VAL!

I can't wait to see all the pictures :)

~Lisa

the7msn said...

Now that's the way to spend a birthday! Can't wait to see the pictures. Happy 5-0!

Twinville said...

See! You should have taken me to help share that yummy breakfast burrito...and take lots of photos! hehe

I bet Sheila's boyfriend had you laughing alot, too, eh? He was so funny at the Arabian show.

Thanks for posting these photos. I'm so glad I scrolled down this morning to see if you had. The photos put the life and excitement into your experience :)

I'm glad you had such a special birthday. You deserve it.

Thanks again for the horse guide book for my birthday. I'm enjoying learning more about so many different horse breeds.

~Lisa

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Happy birthday! Great pictures.