Category Archives: Hot Air Balloons

Our “Fourth”

Well, actually our “Third” and “Fourth”.

Our little town has its fireworks show on July 3, so as not to interfere with the event in a neighboring town in our same county.

This year, for the first time, our Ruritan club rented a local venue for a cookout with music and a great view of the fireworks.  When Motor Man and I learned of this, we immediately bought tickets.

I took the above photo as we were leaving for the event. We had a great time visiting with friends, enjoying the music, and the wonderful fireworks. But, unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures while we were there.

Our friend, Mark, who owns the hot air balloon, had been asked to bring the balloon to the tiny town of Ivor (in a neighboring county) for their July 4th celebration. The plan was to offer folks free tethered balloon rides.

There was some “iffy” weather early in the evening, so while we were waiting, we had time for a selfie.

After a brief shower, the weather cleared, and the crew set about preparing the balloon and giving folks rides.

Motor Man and I met Mark’s mom for the first time. There was a wonderful band providing music, and she wanted to dance.

Then, she and I spent some time together while Motor Man went to meet the folks in line for the balloon ride.

After just a few rides, another storm “blew in”, and the event was over for the evening.  There are plans to reschedule balloon rides and the fireworks for another date.

So it was an eventful Fourth for us. You could say it had its “ups and downs”.

Care to share how you spent your holiday?

~These Days Of Mine~

 

Flying High On My Birthday

Tiring of my birthday adventures yet? If so, you may just want to return to the blog, oh, maybe Friday of this week.  It was a busy birthday week.

You may recall that Motor Man and I are friends with Mark, who owns a hot air balloon. We’ve been to several launches, taken many photos, and, prior to last week,  had ridden with Mark on two occasions. If you’re interested in reading the previous posts, you can find them here and here.

A few days prior to my birthday, Mark called Motor Man and said that he was planning to fly EARLY Tuesday morning, alongside Reed, a long-time friend of his, who’s also a balloonist. Mark wondered if we could fly with Reed and take photos of Mark’s balloon.  He had no idea when he called that the day he planned to fly was my birthday. Surprise!

Hot air ballooning is VERY dependent on the weather.. and not just rain. The winds play a huge part in whether or not a flight can happen. So I was excited, but knew that there was a chance we’d have to cancel at the last minute.

Tuesday morning, the conditions could not have been more perfect.  Before sunrise, we met Mark, Reed, their ground crew, Rich and Luke, as well as the reporter and photographer from our local paper that were to be Mark’s passengers.

Our launch site was just a few miles outside of town.  Mark’s balloon is “Spectrum” on the left, and Reed was piloting the Remax balloon.

Motor Man and I signed up as crew members for the Remax balloon.  Our pre-flight job was holding the envelope (the balloon) while Reed first filled it with cold air, using a powerful fan. Notice Motor Man’s billowing jacket.

Once the balloon was filled with cold air, and while the basket was still tethered to the chase vehicle, Reed began filling the balloon with hot air from the propane burner. (This photo was actually taken during our flight.)

Soon the balloon was vertical, Rich released the rope tethering us, and off we went.

My friends have had varied responses when I mentioned that we went up in a hot air balloon. Some say it’s on their bucket list, and others say there’s no way they’d ever fly in one. I must admit that I had a few seconds of “angst” when our flight first started, but it was so peaceful and beautiful, I was soon enjoying the scenery.

Here’s a slideshow of photos from our flight:

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At the end of our flight, we enjoyed a very smooth landing.

Motor Man and I helped Reed and Rich gather up the envelope to be packed in its tote. Once that was done, the balloon and basket were loaded into the van.

We then treated our two pilots to breakfast at a nearby restaurant. I contacted Marshall, and was delighted that, even with such short notice, he was able to join us.

Mark, knowing it was my birthday, managed to “sneak” a cake into the restaurant without my knowledge. The servers brought it to our table after our meal and sang a cute little song to me: “If you’re good, you get your wishes. If you’re bad, you do our dishes!”. (Evidently, I was good.)

Nice…. the cake icing surprisingly coordinated with my jacket!

Sneaky Mark.

I had planned for this to be the final post regarding my this year’s birthday fun, but Motor Man asked that I write one more. So that will publish Wednesday. And after that, we’ll return to “regular programming”.

How about you?  Would you fly/have you flown in a hot air balloon?

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flying Circus

Last Sunday, Motor Man and I got up at 0-dark-thirty and headed to the Flying Circus Air Show in Bealeton, Va., which is about three hours from us. This was the weekend for their annual air show/hot air balloon festival.   On the way there, I was in e-mail contact with my friend, Pam (of One Spoiled Cat), who lives nearby.

When we were about ten miles from the location, Pam sent me a message that she’d read on the web-site that the air show had been canceled because a storm front was moving into the area.

Since we were so close, we decided to continue on our journey.  When we arrived at the site, we were told that, yes, the event was canceled, but the bi-planes were still flying (and offering rides) and that a couple of the hot air balloons may launch.

Not the best day for photos, but the planes were certainly colorful.

planes 8-21-2016 8-07-18 AM

Occasionally, the sun broke through those thick clouds.

3 bi planes 8-21-2016 7-09-41 AM

Two balloons did actually fly, this being one. You may recall when Motor Man and I helped launch a hot air balloon in our town a couple of years ago.  This belongs to one of the balloonists we met that day.  Isn’t Firefly a fitting name for a hot air balloon company?

reeds balloon2 8-21-2016 8-02-54 AM

That balloon has such neat graphics:   a vintage motorcycle and race cars. “Right up our alley”.

race cars 8-21-2016 8-04-06 AM

This is video I took of the second balloon that launched last Sunday. In it, you can hear the burner in the balloon and the engines of the bi-planes, as well as my Motor Man saying: “She’s truckin’ along pretty good….”

Although the festivities were dampened by the weather on Sunday, we were told that Saturday’s event had record attendance.

And, no, we didn’t take a ride in a bi-plane (only room for one passenger), but I think  Motor Man has an idea for a future adventure….

~These Days Of Mine~

Every Picture…

They say that every picture tells a story, so goodness knows, I have lots of stories stored on my computer. Today, I’m sharing a few that don’t really warrant blog posts of their own.

Motor Man and I were up and at our shop very early a couple of weeks ago. The sun was rising across the street, but how to get a photo with all the buildings, electric lines, etc?   Somehow I managed. (The lamp post is located at the bank across the street from our shop.)

sunrise and lamp post7-12-2016 6-29-43 AM 7-12-2016 6-29-43 AM

I’m not sure what had caught Sundae’s attention outside the living room window one evening last month.  I took this picture just because she was standing on the back of the chair, peering out the window. When I uploaded the photo, I immediately noticed the reflection of her eyes.

sundaes eyes 6-24-2016 9-14-28 PM

A photo from the morning of our hot air balloon ride, obviously, before Motor Man and I climbed in the basket.  We launched from nearby Windsor Castle Park where several old barns are located.  I stepped between a couple of them to get this picture.

balloon and barns 6-19-2016 6-37-01 AM

 Yes, I’m still “at war” with the deer, trying to keep them from munching away on all my plants.  But, it’s a love/hate relationship.  How can you not love this little cutie? (At least when you aren’t actually catching him in the act of eating your plants.)

fawn leaping 6-26-2016 6-26-37 AM

And last but not least, a dramatic sunset from one evening last week.  This story could be titled: “hot and dry with a tease of a storm”.

sunset 7-15-2016 8-13-40 PM

Remember to capture those little “stories” whenever you have the opportunity!

~These Days Of Mine~

“Adventure – Us”

Yes, I know that’s SUCH a corny title. But, we were rather adventurous last week when my niece, Donna, and her son, Connor visited. Today, I’m going to share some photos from our excursions.  Fasten your seat belts: it’s a fast-paced post.

As you may have expected, we made a day trip to the Outer Banks, where we saw 23 horses. As we came over one of the dunes, “Eagle-eye” Connor was the first to spot this little one and his mom.  This is baby Liberty, first discovered on Memorial Day weekend. The name was suggested by Corolla Wild Horse Fund Facebook page followers and became official.  He’s a brownish/gray color now, but I’m told he’ll grow to be a beautiful black stallion like his dad.

(zoom lens and photo was cropped after uploading)

(zoom lens and photo was cropped after uploading)

A few weeks ago, when Donna learned that Motor Man and I had gone on a hot air balloon ride, she and Connor decided they’d like to do that during their visit with us. So… off on another early morning adventure.

Connor and Motor Man helped the crew prepare the balloon for our launch.

fire jr connor 7-7-2016 6-55-10 AM

We flew over a lake…

lake and trees 7-7-2016 7-20-14 AM

…and saw our reflection.

balloon reflection in lake 7-7-2016 7-20-49 AM

And posed for a picture once we landed.

4 of us after ride 7-7-2016 7-42-50 AM

On their last full day with us, we traveled to Virginia’s Eastern Shore to the village of Chincoteague.  We took a boat tour, where we saw more horses, waterfowl and dolphin. Cap’n Fred even scooped up a horseshoe crab to show us – up close and personal.  He told us it was harmless and offered us the opportunity to touch it. Um, yeah.  Donna was the only one brave enough to take him up on that offer.

horseshoe crab 7-10-2016 12-13-31 PM

After a wonderful tour, it was time for yet another photo. Cap’n Fred was kind enough to join us.

4 of us2 7-10-2016 2-09-55 PM

It was nice to stay busy doing fun things, but, as you can imagine, that made the time go by so quickly.  Before we knew it,  it was time for Donna and Connor to head home.  Guess we’ll get to work on ideas for adventures for their next visit.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

Climb In!

You may recall my post from November of 2013,  Up, Up And Away, where we helped launch a hot air balloon.

Or this post, where the hot air balloon event we recently attended at a local winery had to be cancelled because of wind.

Motor Man and I are in touch quite often with Mark, the owner of the balloon company. I received a message from him last Saturday night, saying that they would be launching early Sunday morning.  He thought I may like to come take pictures. (Now where would he get an idea like that?)

So it was a very early morning for us.  This was taken around 5:30, just as we were heading out the door.

sunrise 6-19-2016 5-23-04 AM

About an hour later, the crew was filling the balloon with air.

filling balloon 6-19-2016 6-27-01 AM

 This is an interesting view from the other end of the balloon.

inside balloon 6-19-2016 6-32-20 AM

Things were definitely heating up.

fire3 6-19-2016 6-35-00 AM

Soon, everyone was in the basket and ready for take off.

ready to ride 6-19-2016 6-38-05 AM

Well….almost.  Just a few seconds later, Mark yelled to Motor Man and me: “Two folks didn’t show up, y’all climb in!”

And that may have been for the best, since I didn’t have time to get nervous.

What an absolutely beautiful morning for a balloon flight.

smfd station bridge windsor castle 6-19-2016 6-47-06 AM

Remember the photo I took last week from the James River Bridge of the recovered helicopter?  In this picture, you can see the bridge (to the far right) where I took the picture.

morning jrb6-19-2016 6-49-38 AM 6-19-2016 6-49-38 AM

We became quick friends with another couple on the flight.  They had misplaced their Go-Pro camera, so Motor Man loaned them ours to use – with a promise that I would send them the images. (Hello? Tech support?)

There was just one small problem with our balloon flight: there was NO wind at all that morning. So our ride, although beautiful, was a short one. I took this of our shadow as we were landing.

shadow1 6-19-2016 7-06-02 AM

It was another fun experience with my Motor Man.

dbjr balloon 6-19-2016 7-31-49 AM

And, yes, I do believe I would do it again.

~These Days Of Mine~

Teetotalers At A Winery

There’s a new winery in town. Actually, it’s about 45 minutes from us, but it’s in the general area where I grew up and attended school.

Motor Man and I don’t drink and have never drunk. So why would the two of us ever visit a winery?

Several reasons:

The winery boasts the tallest “goat tower” in the world, 35 feet tall. Who knew that goats even climbed towers? As we drove into the parking lot last weekend, a goat was looking out the window of the tower, but before I could jump out of the vehicle and get in position for a picture, he’d already run down those steps. Sadly, I didn’t get another photo op with the goats.

goat tower 5-20-2016 4-11-10 PM

Our reason for visiting the winery this particular weekend was that there was to be a Hot Air Balloon festival. We know a guy who owns a hot air balloon company:  you may recall that we helped him and his crew launch the balloon one morning a couple of years ago. He and Motor Man were in touch last week, and we scheduled a ride for the two of us and our friend, Donna, who was also planning to attend the festival.

jr and mark 5-20-2016 4-16-53 PM

Sadly, the wind was too strong that evening for the balloons to fly, then rain canceled all flights for the remainder of the weekend.

 But, even though we don’t drink, and there were no balloon rides, it was still a fun evening. Motor Man and Donna shared a laugh. Well, maybe more than one.

donna and jr3 5-20-2016 4-18-00 PM

Then, she took some photos of Motor Man and me. I borrowed a bottle of wine as a “prop”.

db jr winery1 5-20-2016 6-53-09 PM

And we had a little fun with the photo session.

jrdb kiss 5-20-2016 6-53-43 PM

Who needs wine?

dbjr walking 5-20-2016 6-53-46 PM

See?  It is possible for teetotalers to have a good time at a winery.

~These Days Of Mine~