Hot Air Ballooning

They say to write what you know…

On Saturday I posted pictures from Manitou Springs, Colorado, which has been a location used in my NaNoWriMo novel this month. A few days later I wrote two chapters that centered around a hot air balloon ride. There was a reason that I found the action in those chapters relatively easy to write.

IMG_3657 smallThe Long Suffering Wife and I went hot air ballooning about four years ago in Temecula, California. We were in a convoy of  four balloons. Here you can see how the balloons are all being laid on on these huge tarps as they’re set up.

IMG_3659 smallHere’s our basket being attached to the canopy. The big burners are on the left, at the top of the basket. You can also see the gas-powered fan that’s used to blow air into the canopy until it fills enough for the big burners to be turned on.

IMG_3661 smallWe’re inflating the canopy, I’m helping to hold the mouth of the balloon open so that the hot air can be blown into it.

IMG_3683 smallOnce the fan has blown enough air into the canopy, the burners get lit off. The canopy inflates and starts to lift quickly. In the basket, you can see The Long Suffering Wife on her back, waiting to be lifted vertically when the whole rig tilts up.

IMG_3690 smallAnd there it goes, starting to become buoyant.

IMG_3699 smallThe fleet is starting to rise.

IMG_3727 smallWe got off the ground, leaving beind the final balloon. You can see where we set up in some empty lot that they used, the area covered with tarps from the balloon setup. The ground crews pick up all the gear and tarps, then starts chasing us so they’re ready to help us land in an hour or so.

IMG_3802 smallThe view from on high. The third shadow in the bottom right  is us. We’re heading down to land out in these fields.

IMG_3814 smallWe landed and got pulled over onto our side by the collapsing canopy. I scrambled out first (and got something on the lens of the camera for my trouble) with Ronnie following. The other passengers just hung out and chilled until it was their turn.

IMG_3828 smallOne of the other balloons in our group came in and landed fifty yards away. They stayed upright. Here you can see their canopy collapsing as the vents are pulled loose and all of the hot air spills out the top. (A third balloon can be seen just landing in the distance.)

Let there be no doubt — this was a LOT of fun! Ronnie and I would both go do this again in a heartbeat, any time.

FYI, it also makes great material for years later when your protagonist needs a way to scout a remote desert location.



Filed under Flying, Photography, Travel, Writing

2 responses to “Hot Air Ballooning

  1. Thats a real life time experience!
    If you liked it, you should once try a balloon safari over serengeti and see many many animals from a great new perspective 🙂


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