I’m taking the long way around with A to Z this year. My plan is to post every couple of weeks, so I will have time to visit other blogs in between and still have time to write.
Next up in the A to Z Challenge:
B is for – Balloons! — The Hot Air variety
Riding in a hot air balloon has been on my bucket list for a long time. Floating through the sky at a tranquil pace, breathing in the fresh air of early morning as we slip over the landscape at the whim of a light breeze, high above the troubles of the world, seeing only the beauty — just the thought of it is relaxing to me.
I love going to balloon festivals and watching the balloons fill with hot air and then slowly rise up into the sky and float away. These are some photos from past festivals over the years.
The first manned hot air balloon flight launched in 1783 in France, piloted by Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier and Marquis François d’Arlandes. Their balloon was made of paper and linen and filled with smoke and heated air. They flew about 5 ½ miles (9 km), from the middle of Paris to the suburbs, in about 25 minutes. Click HERE to see a photo and read more about this amazing feat.
Most modern balloons are made of nylon, and propane is used to heat the air that makes the balloon rise.
On November 26, 2005, Vijaypat Singhania launched from Bombay, India, and set the world altitude record for highest hot-air-balloon flight, reaching 69,850 feet (21,290 m). He landed 150 miles (240 km) south in Panchale.
Steve Fossett was the first person to fly solo nonstop around the world in a hot air balloon. In just under 15 days in 2002, he flew his balloon, the Spirit of Freedom, from Australia, across the Pacific Ocean, over the southern tip of South America, across the Atlantic, over South Africa, and across the Indian Ocean back to Australia. Click HERE to learn more.
In 2016, Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov broke the circumnavigation record by piloting his 10-stories-tall hot air balloon approximately 21,000 miles around the world in 11 days. Click HERE to read more about this and his other adventures.
To this day, I still remember an early encounter with a balloonist, who was drifting over the rural area in Vermont near where I grew up. My family and I, along with my neighbors, ran out to see this huge, low-flying balloon skimming not far above the trees, propane fire roaring intermittently to keep it from descending — a real novelty for us. We waved at the pilot; I wondered where he had come from and how he had gotten way out here. The pilot waved back and yelled, “Where am I?”
I don’t recall who answered him or what they said, I was just a kid then. The balloon floated up over the ridge and continued on its way, and I never did know where it finally ended up. But I’ll never forget the enchantment of seeing that beautiful balloon, and I’ve always wondered what it would be like to ride in one.
Someday soon, I plan to find out.
And now for the Writing Update:
I added another 1,000 words to my WIP, Trouble Times Three, over the last two weeks. Not as much as I’d hoped, but still progress!
Anyone else have any bucket list items beginning with B?
© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2020. All rights reserved.