By this time we had switched over to the last tank of fuel and were seeing fewer fields in the distance. Everyone was calm but that slight hint of uncertainty was beginning to creep into the situation.
Ahead of us was some swampy area and what then looked like . . . a field that might work for a landing. After bumping into a tree so that it pushed us a little to the left, we had just enough room to drop down and land, on some not quite swamp, but not quite solid ground. Andrew hopped out with Dave, one of the other ballooning guests, and the two of them pulled the balloon to higher and slightly drier ground.
After touching base with the chase crew and determining they did not know where we were, Liza headed off with phone in hand to find some civilization and hopefully the crew.
After heading through another field, into the woods and passing some angry cows and avoiding the electric fence, Liza found a house and then a long driveway. And shortly thereafter, our chase crew.
Upon return, the crew seemed to double in size as one of the cars that had waved to us during our journey ended up following the chase van and 5 or so kids along with their mom came running through the woods, ecstatic to see a hot air balloon up close.
There was no way the van could make it back to the balloon and because the basket and balloon together weighed probably over 700lbs, a plan was devised to limit the distance we would have to carry all the pieces. Using the tether rope, the balloon was ascended back up above tree line and we pulled it along into the next field where it was then brought back down and then finally deflated.
After some pure muscling of the ballon parachute into the bag where it resides, we carried all the pieces to the edge of the electric fence.
And then the amazing Jeff, who owned the property where we landed, graciously backed his pickup truck to the edge of the pasture so we could load everything into it and drive it over to the van.
After everyone made it out to Jeff’s driveway, we then took part in the ballon ceremony which goes through the history of the hot air balloon, involves drinking out of champagne glasses on the ground and presents for all parties involved.
We had a wonderful time, Ken was an excellent pilot and host and we definitely do recommend going for a hot air balloon ride when you get the chance!
Updating as we go . . .Day 1: About Intention Day 2: About Adventure Day 3: Challenge – Community Event (Hayride) Day 4: Challenge – Use Groupon (Daytrip) Day 5: Challenge – Find Event on the Internet (Art Show +) Day 6: Challenge – Head to the Local Fair Day 7: Flashback Friday – Andrew, Liza Day 8: Challenge – Celebrate with Family