This morning I got up bright and early (okay, it was dark and early) and went hot air ballooning with Michael and a group of guys he knows. I couldn't believe how cool it was.
I went with the full intention of NOT going up. Being scared of heights and all. But wasn't given much of a choice. After the first hop we were on the chase crew. As we pulled into the Paris (CA) Airport parking lot we heard that Michael and I were going up next. I have a feeling they would have picked me up and carried me to the basket if I would have said no. I am really glad I faced the fear and just did it. It is probably one of the coolest and most unusual things I have ever done. I am really looking forward to the next time I get to go.
One thing that I was really surprised about was how fast the whole process of getting the balloon and basket ready. I think they had it set up and ready to go in a matter of 20 minutes and then we had to wait for the wind to cooperate. That is done by sending up little helium filled balloons and watching where they go. That tells you which way you will go when up and flying.
In fact we had a little trouble with getting down. The case crew accidentally got on the freeway and had to go down and come back. By the time they got back to us we had missed the landing area. We had to continue over a freeway and powerlines and come down on the other side. It was a pretty long ride, and by the time we landed I was ready to be on solid ground.
I recommend going if you get the opportunity. Like I said, I am afraid of heights and I had a really go time.