Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Adventures in Ballooning - Misbehavin' & More

*I started writing this post over a year ago...found it in the archives and decided to finish is...excuse me in advance for my long-windedness on this one....

One of the perks of living 'out in the middle of nowhere' is that there are not alot of power lines above ground, the land is flat (for the most part) and the mornings in the winter, spring, summer and fall are somewhat calm.  Perfect conditions for hot air ballooning!!  Down the road from us is the soccer and baseball field complex - huge flat land conducive to the inflating and launching of said hot air balloons.  Early in the mornings I can hear the whoosh of the propane filling up the balloon, so I grab my cup of coffee and head out to the back porch and watch the balloons float overhead...a nice peaceful way to begin the day :)

Ruby Mountain Balloon Festival 2011

I've always wanted to go up in a hot air balloon. 
But in the back of my mind was always the thought 
"would I go through with it if the opportunity presented itself?" 

 I will admit, I am not daring.  My mind works in a worst-case scenario kind of way:

I really want to learn how to ride a motorcycle.  
Nope, I would fall off and turn into a giant piece of roadrash!

I love watching Alpine Ski racing!  That would be such a rush!
Watch out for that tree!

I want to go on a safari in Africa.
Can you say lion food?

I want to attend Burning Man.
I would get run over by an art car during a wind storm!

I want to ride in a hot air balloon.
A bird fly into the balloon, spinning it out of control and I will go splat on the ground!

Do you see me?  
There I am!  
I got the opportunity to crew for the McCoys on their balloon Misbehavin' a couple of weekends ago.  
What a great group of people I got to spend the morning with. 
 Gayle, Martha, Lisa, Tim and Laura were so much fun and eager to 
answer my questions and show me the ropes. 
Beautiful northeastern Nevada morning.
Looking to the west.
Looking to the east.

Looking down towards the marina.  There's the chase crew!  Hi guys!

Saw three deer heading up the trail.

Fast forward to present time....
I have been crewing regularly for Gayle and Martha for about a year and have had the opportunity to attend 4 festivals this year.  3 in Nevada - Mesquite, Lovelock and Winnemucca; and this past weekend in Panguitch, Utah.  I was also able to attend a yearly Safety Seminar in Park City, Utah that was very informative.

My family has grown...balloonists draw you into their world, it doesn't matter if you're a pilot, crew member or a are immediately welcomed into the family with a hug! 

Each time we fly, I learn something new.  I have graduated from holding the throat of the envelope during inflation to helping Martha attach the instruments to the basket, setting and attaching the cables to the uprights of the basket.  Lately my job has been to be on the crown line - the rope that is attached to the top of the balloon - and act as ballast to keep the balloon steady during inflation and the 'pull' the balloon down after it's landed.  If I did this every day, I would have arms of steel!

I don't get to fly every time we go 'play' and that's quite alright.  I love watching the faces of the people in the basket as they lift off the ground on their first balloon ride.  Those smiles are one of the main reasons we love doing this!  I kept telling myself that I didn't want to fly all the time because I didn't want it to get old.  But recently I've come to the conclusion that it is because I'd want to get my pilot certificate and my own balloon but that second part is financially impossible.  There is a saying among pilots that "Your first ride is free, the second will cost you around $20 grand!"

This weekend in Panguitch that bug worked its' way deeper into my brain.  My ballooning brother Josh had me get into his basket during the evening Glow and made me (forced me, I tell you!) to work his glow burner!  Touching that little red switch was a rush, it was as if I could feel the propane rushing from the tanks at my feet up into the burner, meeting the pilot light and sending a stream of flame into the beautiful balloon!  I was talking about this to Gayle as we walked back to the hotel later that evening.

His response to me was "You don't need a balloon to get your certificate.  We have two..."

Who knows?

1 comment:

  1. your beautiful words brought on a case of the 'weepies'. they paint a most exquisite picture of your balloon adventures. how i love my balloonanaut daughter. i understand even more what ballooning means to you now and i applaud your daring-ness. fly high, lizzie! xo, momma