On to securing a new adventure of a balloon ride – today was the day, and a beautiful morning it was as Richard and I had to get up at 4am to be ready for the pickup. It turns out that the pickup had lost a guest on the route so they spent quite a bit of time looking for her. Yuri came out to inform us that the pickup would be a bit late and we were not forgotten, as 5am rolled near. When we were finally picked up, we were put up in the back of the pickup where seats had been installed and told that we would be driving a bit faster to make up some time. Then we took off – like a bat out of hell! They must have been doing at least 70 on the roads and three times I caught sight of my near death. It was an adventure in itself indeed! Unknown objects were flying out of my bag as we held on for dear life and attempted to put on our jackets, for the wind was so strong up there we could not hear, were pretty cold, and had trouble breathing.
When we arrived, we met the pilot – Kevin and his first mate – Allen, who would be flying us. Then we signed a waver which pretty much said they hold no responsibility over our lives and off we went to the launch site which is always different, depending on the winds that day. Since it was the Sabbath, we could not take flight in the usual valley – and this presented us with a problem as the winds were slightly strong that day. In any case, we drove out to the launch site and the crew got the cue to set up the balloon. The pilot stood watching the trees and the balloons let loose in the wind – and as we got in we thought we would finally have our first flight, up-up and away, but as nature would have it – it was not to be so. We reached ten feet off the ground several times before the pilot canceled the flight due to high winds.
It is far better safe than dead. We did have the pleasure however, of staying behind to help the crew pack up the balloon and sat around to chat with the pilot and his mate about stories they have had through years of ballooning and sky diving. It makes me all the more excited to try to fly again next weekend, as this had been the last day I was able to fly this week. Not all is lost though – it of course did make for some excellent photos!