Sunrise in Monument Valley

Sunrise in Monument Valley

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Up, Up & Away Part 3

There were 10 passengers in the balloon and during the flight we flew over a banner on the ground with a lot of people cheering. We wondered what was going on with all the cheering. As we passed over the banner it read "JOELLIE, WILL YOU MARRY ME?" One of the couples on the flight became engaged. How they were able to get that banner right in our path is a miracle since we had no idea where we were headed.

The flight lasted only an hour and it was over too soon. As the pilot looked for a safe place to land the winds picked up and he told us we would have a exciting landing. We weren't sure what he meant by that. I must say I never gave any thought to the landing part of this whole thing. He said the second rule of ballooning was "If it's brown, don't come down". When they cut down the crops they plow it and fertilize it and it's then brown. The pilot looks for an empty field where he can land the basket and large enough for the balloon. Landing in a corn field is not a good idea.

Prior to landing he warned us it would be a rough landing due to the winds. We were to go back into our take off position--crouching down in the bottom of the basket with feet braced, leaning against the middle bar away from the way we were headed and holding on to the straps. I must say it WAS a rough landing. We bounced along the ground 3 to 4 times before resting on our backs (or the basket side). We were told not to get out until he said to in case the balloon had not completely deflated and it tried to take off with us again (since nothing was holding it down on the ground). Once on the ground we were able to get out. WHAT A RIDE!

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