So the day after Balloon Boy faked out the country and hid in his attic rather than floating dangerously in a balloon, my DH and I were scheduled to take a hot air balloon ride. No joke. It was our five-year anniversary and we were going to spend it cruising above the autumn leaves in Chester County, PA.
But alas, it rained in buckets, so we rescheduled. And you know what we got instead? A balloon ride this past Sunday on one of the prettiest October days you ever did see. It was warm. It was sunny. And the foliage was all orange and yellow. (It sounds like a cheesy sitcom, doesn’t it? The couple running off to look at foliage?)
Anyway, I thought I’d share my experiences floating around the air in a wicker basket. First, you get pretty high up there. At one point we were at 3,400 feet. We could see all the way from the farms of Chester County to the skyline of Philadelphia (about an hour and half away). We could even see to Ocean City, NJ at one point.
And oddly, you barely feel like you’re moving, just kind of hovering—on your feet, because you stand the whole time (about an hour). And the balloon really does shoot flames, like big hot flames (think dragon breath and that’s what it looked like).
There’s also, surprisingly, competition in the balloon industry. When we were up there, we saw three other hot air balloons cruising, all fighting for market share. Some balloons even have advertising on them.
And finally, but most strange in my opinion, you land randomly in some stranger’s backyard. Yup, the pilot just picks a stretch of grass and plunks the balloon down. Then the entire neighborhood comes out with their kids to greet you.
So I think our hot air balloon ride now makes us officially as cool as:
The cast of Police Academy 4
And the cartoon guys in Up
And… wait for it… the Muppets! How awesome is that?
And of course, Dorothy & Co. in the Wizard of Oz. One of our fellow ballooners even yelled “Goodbye Toto! Goodbye Oz!” as we took off. Too cute.
So if you’ve never done it, I highly recommend it. Just don’t spend all day watching balloon boy coverage before you do. Because it’s way cooler (and less dramatic) than CNN made it seem.
POP CULTURE RANT: NJ Governor’s Race
I don’t even live in NJ, and I’m getting sick of these commercials. But I have to say that the latest one claiming that if Chris Christie is in office women will no longer have mammograms covered by health insurance is kind of alarming (disgusting?). And the sad thing is, Factcheck.org doesn’t completely dispute it. Now I’m not taking sides here. I don’t even live in the state and thus can’t vote, but I would think that in this point in history it’s not too popular to be giving more power to health insurance companies. And given that it’s breast cancer awareness month, and that my mother is a breast cancer survivor, I really hope Christie doesn’t plan to do anything that would even remotely limit a single woman’s access to a mammogram.