July 27, 2009

Send in the Clowns

My husband's employer is a major sponsor at the NJ Festival of Ballooning. So this past weekend he was "on duty" at the festival all weekend doing what needed to be done to represent the company.

One of the good things is that while he is working all weekend, I was able to join him for Saturday and Sunday and enjoy the sights and sounds too. Part of this was a hot air balloon ride - my first. And it was totally cool.

The director of the festival loves to torment my husband, and most appropriately chose the following balloon for our ride - "a clown for a clown!"
Does this remind anyone of the clown in Stephen King's "It?" I must admit, clowns can be a little creepy.

Here we are in front of the chase trailer waiting for our ride. Nervous? A little. But mostly excited as we watched the balloon being inflated.

Here was our view looking up into the balloon.

The view as we floated away from the festival grounds. Our Clown was inflated next to the giant panda. I wonder how much bamboo that one eats? And poops!

Looking down at the houses below was certainly a unique perspective. If you look closely, you can see a few leaves in my hands. Our pilot buzzed a few trees and picked these from the top most branches for me. He also buzzed the balloon of a friend on our ascent. The festival director was not too pleased, but he didn't know that they were friends.

Northwestern New Jersey is beautiful - hilly and rural. The way I like it!

We landed at a small office complex about three miles from the festival grounds. Five balloons in all landed at the same place. Here are three waiting for crews to help with the deflation and loading of the equipment on to the chase vehicle.

Our pilot Eric. Had he been dressed like this at the beginning of our flight I might have had second thoughts. But he wasn't. He is an awesome pilot with over twenty years of experience flying balloons. His wife and son were with him as part of the chase crew. They live in Vermont and came to NJ to fly this balloon for a friend.

John and I at the end of our flight. Other than being a little wind blown, we were no worse for the wear.
It was, without a doubt, one of the best and most unique things I have ever done. And I hope to do it again sometime.


Unknown said...

That is just amazing!!! Although, I too, find clowns a little creepy...I think I might have just loved this one. What an experience! Love your noses!!!

Jo Whitehurst said...

I absolutely love the views from the balloon! What a wonderful experience! I agree with LOTS, the noses are very special.

Fr. Erik Richtsteig said...

I am clown-o-phobic, but the strange things is that it is male clowns not female that give me the creeps. That being said, that looked like a blast!

Big Hair Envy said...

Looks like you guys had SO much fun!! Cool Breeze once won a contest (in college) and the prize was a ride in a hot air balloon. He'd go again in a heartbeat!!!

Clowns? YIKES!

abb said...

That's on my bucket list. Your ride looks like it was all kinds of wonderful. However, your balloon looks more than a little scary. My cousin could not have possibly brought herself to get in that balloon. She is absolutely terrified of clowns (she's 30). She knows it's completely irrational and simply can't help it. Me, not so much, but that balloon IS a little Kingish!
Neat photos, Ms. El.

Nurse Nancy said...

Looks like great fun. Glad you enjoyed it. Maybe next year for us.

Barb Szyszkiewicz said...

That looks so fun! That clown balloon does look pretty creepy, especially from the "interior" view. Great pictures--glad you had a great time.

Sue said...

Me and daughter went to this last year at like 6:00a.m. I was tempted to get into the balloon that was tethered to the ground...My husband now shows me pictures on Youtube of ballons catching fire and falling to the ground....he's such a buzz kill...