My Hot Air Balloon Ride

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

A woman has an unforgettable experience on a hot air balloon ride.



My Hot Air Balloon Ride

For a time in my life, everywhere I went, I saw hot air balloons. When I thumbed through a magazine, there was a bright red balloon in the sky. If I watched an old movie, there was a weathered balloon with a basket underneath and a couple would land on a meadow and have a picnic. They’d toast with champagne. Everywhere I looked, there was a sign for me to do this.

One day I was driving and there was a real sign.  Hot Air Balloon Rides – 496-2347. So, I called, Keith, at Free Flying AdVentures and signed up me and my husband. I didn’t tell Dan where we were going, only that he’d like it.

Did you ever want to take off and soar? Have all these people look up and wave, “There she goes.”

I’d lean out and give them a smile, then drift to this place where everything glistened.

For our trip, I got a room at a bed and breakfast. There was a picture on the brochure of a real nice country breakfast – sausage and ham, golden biscuits and gravy. Dan kept trying to guess where we were going. With real fear in his eyes he said, “We’re not going to this improve your marriage seminar where they work you over?” I knew I had him good when he said that.

The day before our ride we drove to this pretty valley. The weather was perfect. The sky was blue with a few puffy clouds. That night we went to Mexico Joe’s. They had hot salsa and I ate two double burritos and drank three Margaritas. Dan kept trying to pry it out of me where we were going, but I wouldn’t tell him.

The next morning there was that great big country breakfast and it sure did look good. I didn’t feel good, but it was included. We’d paid our money. So, I ate a couple of biscuits, and sausage, then the scrambled eggs with some cheese. They had all these pastries and this urn of coffee. Then we headed far out in the country, but we had a map and all day to get there.

We were on the evening flight. Hot air balloons fly dawn or dusk to get the calmer wind. That’s what I wanted, this peaceful drift through the sky, this golden toast as we settled down at sunset. “Cheers,” we’d clink our glasses.

Along the way, we found a roadside stand that sold green apples and hot boiled peanuts. We sat at the picnic table and threw our shells on the ground. Dan said, “Canoeing on a river?”

I shook my head.

“Riding on a train?”

“Nope.” The mound of shells got higher and higher.

Then we drove along country roads singing with John Denver on the radio. We rounded this rock that was overgrown with pine trees and skinny dogwoods and all-of-a-sudden, without warning . . . I got diarrhea. I had no inkling, or time, just shouted at Dan to pull over and ran behind the rock.

I was back there a long time. The wind blew gently across the grasses, a bee buzzed. A hawk lazed the sky. It was extremely vivid. Then there was this long, deflated time when I sat and reviewed my situation.

It occurred to me that I was going to leave the ground on this balloon trip. I never liked being up high. I was horrified to stand on the edge and look over. Why did I think I’d soar off into the sky and not get nervous?

Nerves. Excitement. That’s what it was, and I could do this. Lift off – fly – Rocky Mountain High, all that stuff. So, I got up, went down, and we kept on going.

We passed a tiny store that was so far out, it seemed like it was there for my purpose. You wouldn’t think such a far-out place would sell Imodium A-D, but it did. I took that for another sign, bought a bottle, and took twice the recommended dose. We drove on further into that glorious day and then we got there. Right on the fence it said Free Flying AdVentures. There was a great big picture of a hot air balloon. Dan hopped in his seat he was so excited.

We turned down the lane and found Keith, who had all these muscles and looked at me from under his ball cap. “Ready to go?” he said and the balloon lay sprawled all over the ground and I felt this squeeze in my stomach. So, I went back to the car, took another swig of medicine, and sat for a while.

There comes a time in your life when you go – or you don’t go – I was going.

The balloon blew up gigantic. This bright bouncing ball in the sky and it made this flapping sound and this roaring sound. The basket kept popping off the ground, raring to go, but Keith and Dan had it all tied down with ropes, but it was time. So, I took a breath and climbed in.

I watched each rope as we cast off.  There goes my fear of soaring off into the sky. There goes my fear of being tied down to earth. Then the balloon tilted, reared – we were off!

This incredible orb in the sky. The clouds were pink and golden. The wind blew sweet in my face. In every direction there were blue mountains, green valleys, and fields with cattle grazing. Houses and barns and trees lay below in a soft filtered haze.

Keith adjusted his ball cap and pointed to a silver van on the road, “That’s Pete and Mike in the chase car.” He explained that the chase car followed along behind us, “Because you can’t always chart your destination.” I leaned over and waved. They waved and I wasn’t nervous or scared. There was this feeling of being right on course, that I’d left the earth as light as a feather and was being borne to a beautiful place.

I felt this way for forty minutes and then it happened.

My stomach tightened. “Land the balloon!” I hollered to Keith who remained calm and produced a barf bag. “Land!” I shouted again and Dan whispered to Keith and he truly looked frightened. We hit down, bumped down, hopped a few times. And I was over the side running for a tree in the distance with Pete and Mike chasing behind me.

And I’ve gone on other Free Flying AdVentures. Soared high, soared free for a while, except for the crash downs to earth. 



Submitted: June 28, 2020

© Copyright 2023 Suzanne Mays. All rights reserved.

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