Colorado – Part 3: Boulder Hot Air Balloon Ride

If you missed the earlier posts, see Part 1 & Part 2 of our Colorado adventures.

What a beautiful Sunday morning. We arrived at the balloon site at 6:45am.

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Visit Life Cycle Balloon Adventures–an awesome company with a steller crew. I look wide awake and warm, don’t I?

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Tea and coffee for the early morning flight. I had my cup of tea. John had his million cups of coffee. All while Michael got the basket set up and tested his equipment.

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The chase vehicle. We loved the Frequent Indecisions sticker.

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Another balloon that launched from the site. It was massive. The basket held about 10 people. I think I would prefer how we flew–just 5 of us total.

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Michael still checking out the equipment. We didn’t mind this one bit! He’s an FAA balloon inspector and is a license instructor, so we knew we were in good hands.
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My Floridian self was COLD!

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The guys helped hold down the balloon while it was inflating. They look busy, don’t they?

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The whole group–our new friends Megan and Mario and our pilot, Michael, and his wife Lisa. Lisa drove the chase van.

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And…we’re off! I didn’t even realize we were leaving the ground. I’m not a huge fan terrified of heights, so I was a bit nervous about how I would handle it, but the whole flight was so smooth. I never felt an increase or a decrease in altitude. Thinking about landing got me once, but other than that it was just awesome. I was so surprised. It wasn’t cold, either. Nothing like I ever expected. Everyone should do this at least once.

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The launch site.

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And…the views. Stunning. Literally took our breath away.

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This was the one shot I knew I wanted to get–our shadow from above!

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The chase van. After about an hour of landing, Michael started looking around for a landing spot. Because hot air balloons wherever the want/can.

A field? Nah.

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A tree farm (not farmville)? Nah.

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Well, we landed alright.

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On a residential street. In the middle of a neighborhood. After just barely passing the roof of the house you see on the right. Bounced in their driveway then bounced to the street. Nothing like the view of a HOT AIR BALLOON passing your window as a nice “Good Morning!!”

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Then we packed up. So many kids came out in their pjs. It was so much fun.

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We then returned to the launch site (after chasing a train in the van…) where we took part in a traditional champagne toast.

The winds have welcomed you with softness The sun has blessed you with its warm hands
You have flown so high and so well
That God has joined you in your laughter
and set you gently back into the loving arms of mother earth.

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A huge thank you to Michael and Life Cycle Balloon Adventures and also to the people of Adventure Balloon Sports. We were originally supposed to fly Friday morning with Adventure Balloon Sports, but since we didn’t get to Boulder until 4am (and at 11pm on Thursday still weren’t sure we’d definitely make it to Boulder before 10am on Friday), we decided to postpone. The weather Saturday morning wasn’t good (too windy and foggy), so we ended up flying Sunday. The teams of both companies worked so hard to make sure we got up before Monday and for that we are SO SO SO very thankful. Seriously, their customer service is second to none.

We flew on the most gorgeous day anyone could ask for. It is still shocking that we were actually in a hot air balloon–in the air. It was a wonderful way to worship Sunday morning. We met an awesome couple from the Denver area. They asked why we were vising CO–we told them basically just for the hot air balloon ride (it was a graduation gift to me from John) but that we also were visiting a friend and were there to watch her play tennis, etc etc. Mario said “Oh, wow, you flew out here just for this? I was driving to work Friday morning, saw a balloon up in the air, and decided to try it out this weekend.” Funny how life happens. We all talked psychology and enjoyed each others company. Was SO much fun.

As for my fear of heights–we drove up the mountain shortly after our flight to do some more sight seeing. Yea….I’m still scared.

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