Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taiger and Uncle B at the Hot Air Balloon Festival 2009.

SOooooo, Taiger and I are doing something completely crazy this 4th of July weekend.

Every year, my family goes to the Teton Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival. At some unbelievable hour of the morning, we roll out of bed and pile in the car with blankets and sweatshirts. We drive maybe 10 hours....okay, okay, FINE! The truth is, I have no idea how far we drive because I am always asleep. Anyway! I think we drive, like, an hour and a half. ANYWAY. We reach our destination as the sun is showing its first rays of light over the Grand Tetons. We park in a field along side other cars owned by equally idiotic people. We pile out and watch up close as dozens of hot air balloon fill with heat and slowly rise from the ground and lift into the dawn. It is incredible. It is amazing. It is beautiful.

The truth is, I usually wake up some time along the road on the way to Victor. I love the scenary. The landscape is breathtaking, going from farms and small towns, to wide open fields dotted here and there with houses, to forest so beautiful you could be in a fairy tale, to the majesty of Teton Valley. The drive alone is worth the early morning wake-up call. But watching those beautiful balloons lift off is spectacular.

So, I found out today that for $5.00 a person you can "ride" in a tethered hot air balloon the night before the launch. Okay, so I am not expecting great things...maybe just a few feet off the ground. But hot air balloons have always fascinated me, and I always wondered what it would be like to ride in one, to be close to that powerful heat that can lift something so huge in the air, to be lifted into the clouds by that fragile, yet enormous balloon...the whole things sounded so frightening and wonderful and beautiful. When I heard we could experience a small taste of that for only $5.00, I decided we HAVE to do it!

So, tomorrow night after work, Taiger and I are driving to Victor and riding in a hot air balloon. Then, we are sleeping in the car at the launch site, then waking up the next morning in time to watch the hot air balloon launch.

I don't know what to expect. Will we take our "ride" and then be competely bored the rest of the evening? Are we going to be freezing cold at night? Eaten by mosquitos? Going potty in an open field? Each of those guesses is probably about right. Will it be worth it? OF COURSE! We need a little change of scenery, after all. And besides... little mini-adventure never hurt anyone! ;)

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