Ever since I have known Amber, she has wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride. Last summer I found a place in Mackinaw that give rides. We signed up and got put on a wait list. Last Tuesday afternoon, they called us and it was our time! Wow what an experience. My knuckles were white for the first 10 minutes, but once I got used to it, what a beautiful sight! Being up in the air with absolutely no sound! So peaceful and relaxing (as long as I didn't look 1000 ft straight down!).
The entire balloon kit fits on a small trailer. Not much to it!
All paying passengers get to "help" set up and tear down. Here we are holding the balloon opening while air is blown into it.
Getting harder and harder to hold it open.
Our guide, Jim House, making sure everything inside the balloon was ready.
Amber snapped this photo of the balloon completely inflated.
Do you think she is having fun?
We drifted from Mackinaw, southeast toward Miner. We were bummed we weren't able to go north east toward Goodfield, but this was still great! Found out on this trip that there is absolutely no way to steer one of these things. You drift right along with the wind! The only way to regulate it is to increase or decrease your altitude to try to catch different breezes. This night it was so calm we only went 2 miles in 1 hour.
The propane blowtorch sending hot air into the balloon.
After landing, all got to help deflate the balloon and put everything away.
This is a great video that shows how the balloon is inflated in preparation for takeoff.
Awesome views from 300 ft up in the air. The landings are pretty hard. From what I hear, similar to parachute landings. You have to be ready!
All in all, it was a blast and I would recommend it to anyone. An all around awesome experience!