A Travellerspoint blog

February 2012

Bob's Hot Air Balloon & Boggy Creek Airboat Rides

I have wanted to do this so decided to just do it! I researched the different companies before we arrived in Florida and decided to go with Bob's Balloon Ride. Some of the other companies take up to 20 people in each basket and Bob takes smaller groups of up to six.I wanted to make our reservation at the beginning of our week so if it was canceled for weather conditions, we still would have time to make another reservation. That's what happened, because of high winds we had to re-schedule! We were to meet at 5:30am at a McDonald's parking lot, a very early start so we were up at 4am. Bob said to plan on one hour to get to the meeting area. It was still dark when we arrived. A van and the balloon in a trailer were already there so we loaded and we were off to the site to get set up. The first site, there was a problem with the wind conditions so they decided to go to a second site. We arrived and they immediately started assembling the balloon, it was interesting to watch. They rolled it out flat on the ground and laid the basket on its side. Then they hooked the balloon to the sided of the basket and started to fill it up with air. The balloon slowly began to inflate, it was so huge! The air has to be heated to get the balloon off the ground. There are three gases that used for this purpose, helium, hydrogen and propane. Once the balloon was ready, Bob, our pilot climbed into the basket first and we climbed in, me, with a little help from Jim, pushing me from behind. There are stepping holes on the side of the basket, so that helped. We held on tight as we left the ground and floated away! We didn't have to wonder if we were going to be too cold, it was quite warm with the burner with flames firing up into the balloon above our heads gave out a lot of heat. Temperature inside the balloon can reach 200 degrees. Actually it was a very smooth take off. Cruising over Kissimmee and Orlando as the sun was rising was pretty awesome! It just floated, very quietly, only sound was the burner going off every couple of minutes. Only one other balloon was in the air with us. Bob told us about the different areas we were going over and a lot about his experience. He has been flying balloons for over 20 years, he is a licensed commercial pilot and he can perform wedding ceremonies high above the ground in his hot air balloon! Not only that but he also skydives out of his balloon! He took a video of us and said he would give us a copy. We were up there for about one hour and then it was time to find a landing place and come down. The closer we got to the ground the faster it seemed we were going! Bob told us to prepare for landing by bending our knees and putting the cameras away! The basket hit the ground and bounced back up and then tipped and landed on its side dragging us behind the balloon for quite a distance. I was trying to hold myself up against the top of the basket because with the basket on its side I had another passenger directly under me and I was trying not to fall on her. Anyway, no one was hurt and it was pretty funny for 5 people on top of each other trying to crawl out of this basket! I took a photo of the drag marks to show the distance we were dragged. Once everyone managed to exit the basket, everyone helped to pack up the balloon and basket and the chase vehicle arrived to pick us up and drive us back to our original meeting place. Bob had champagne, in a souvenir glass that we could keep, and orange juice, with crackers and cheese for us before we left and told us the story of how and who started air balloon rides. Bob downloaded the video on a flash drive that looks like the balloon he flies. All in all it was a great experience and we also have a great story to go along with it! And I can cross it off my bucket list!

First Balloon Ride Story: Two brothers, Josef and Etienne Montgolfier, from Annonay, France, built the first balloon out of silk and paper in 1783. King Louis XVI had interest in testing the abilities of the balloon. Instead of risking the life of one of the brothers, and after dismissing the idea to send a prisoner, he decided to send up goats instead. However, when the villagers received the balloon and saw the goats, they believed that King Louis had sent them demons and considered the balloon to be a curse. To remedy this belief, the King decided to send champagne in the balloons so that they would be admired and not feared. Today, it is a tradition to have a champagne toast after every balloon ride.

A

A


B

B


C

C


D

D


E

E


F

F


A

A


B

B


C

C


Z

Z


X

X

Posted by 2seniortraveler 17:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida

A

A


B

B


C

C


D

D


D

D


E

E


F

F


G

G


H

H


I

I


J

J


H

H


K

K


L

L


M

M


L

L


M

M


O

O


P

P


Q

Q


R

R


T

T


W

W


X

X


Y

Y


V

V


Z

Z


D

D


J

J


F

F


A

A


B

B


C

C


D

D


E

E

Posted by 2seniortraveler 17:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

After a Postponment, We are Finally on Our Way!

Jim was sick last week with a cold so I canceled our motel reservations in Pigeon Forge for a week.

Posted by 2seniortraveler 17:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)