Hot Air Balloon Ride pt. 1

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


There are a lot of things I want to do before I die and chief among them (until a few weekends ago) was ride in a hot air balloon. What a romantic notion, floating through the clouds in a basket…can you imagine anything more dreamy?

My fascination with hot air balloons didn’t just manifest itself during my childhood summer months whenever there was a festival or fireworks show, it actually began with the book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum.

The Wizard accidentally floats into the Land of Oz via hot air balloon (naturally) and becomes their leader as people assume he can only fly because he’s a great sorcerer. And that was it. I was hooked. I desperately needed to experience flying in a hot air balloon.

This summer I accepted an internship in Wausau, Wisconsin knowing absolutely nothing about the town and never having stepped foot anywhere in the Midwest longer than a few hours for a bathroom break while crossing the country.

Little did I know, Wausau’s biggest weekend every summer is an annual Balloon and Rib Festival. Yes, hot air balloons and ribs. And thanks to my super sweet gig as a reporting intern, I scored a media flight with a company called Sunglow who let me go up into the sky with them.

First of all, the company is just a retired couple that fell in love with ballooning. Jim and Nancy, bless them. They had another ballooning couple with them, Jim and Teresa. Their banter throughout the night was hilarious. They need a show called Jim + Jim or something.

“I don’t think you did that right Jim.”
“No Jim, you know I wouldn’t forget.”
“How about that Jim?”
“Jim, did you tell her the history?”
"Jim! Of course I did this isn't my first rodeo."

They were the kindest people. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. If you, like me, are considering picking up ballooning as a golden years hobby, you best start saving your pennies because these babies retail for upward of $20,000 (not including yearly maintenance!).

As far as the actual ride goes, I couldn’t have been paired with a better group of people. They briefed me on how to land, how to get in and out of the basket, where to sign on the piece of paper that said I could die and then we got to work filling the balloon with air.

On a practical note: don’t wear a suede miniskirt and sandals on your hot air balloon ride.  You’ll have to climb into the basket in front of a lot of people and pull the balloon around once you've landed and it’s just best to have close-toed shoes and pants. I did wear a hat though which I felt was a good decision. One thing you don’t consider while ballooning is the fact that there’s an open flame bursting above you consistently. My huge, curly, product-laden hair would not do well so close to fire.

Anyway, you guys, flying is incredible. There’s nothing like it I’ve ever experienced. It feels like riding a motorcycle, but in the sky. You know how when you're driving a car, you're encased in this object and you can't feel the wind but you know you're moving along? Then, you ride a motorcycle and experience this sense of complete freedom. You can feel the movement, the wind and see the sky as you're rushing along.

Hot air ballooning is very similar. You're flying, much like you would in a plane, but you're acutely aware of the sky, of how small everything looks below you, how far the horizon line actually stretches. It's also incredibly peaceful. It was surreal. This won't be my last time in a balloon, not by a long shot.

Here's a little video from the basket:

Hot Air Balloon Ride from Katherine Ellis on Vimeo.

Happy Hump Day,


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  1. Добър вечер дами и господа
    Аз дава кредитите за интересуващите се от финансова помощ. Това е заем между отделни с прости условия и специфични за този факт някои разпоредби са направени за правилното провеждане на процедурата. свържете се с мен чрез имейл: Ако се интересувате.


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