A hot air balloon ride is an interesting way to see the city--especially if you live there and only see it from one angle. A friend and I did a hot air balloon ride over Indianapolis. Due to weather and heat, these tend to be done very early in the morning or evening. We did ours early (before sunrise we had to meet Jack and his crew) and we sort of helped to assemble the balloon in the empty parking lot he advised us to meet him. After a short assembly, it was off into the air. It is a slow progression up to about 10,000 feet, which sounds like a lot and it is but, at one point, we were starting over Geist Reservoir and a fellow below in a boat was having a conversation with Jack, so it is not so high that couldn't happen. Jack kept in touch with his ground crew via walkie talkie because the path your ride takes will vary every day based on wind patterns, so it makes landing spots unpredictable. We could see his crew in their truck/trailer most of the time. It is interesting to see the neighborhoods, lawns, Geist Reservoir and sunrise at that level. I think after all was said and done, we went about 10 miles, eventually landing in a somewhat empty field. It is good to note that you MUST wear closed toed shoes for the ride. I think it has to do with the shape of the balloon basket inside. The landing is still one of the funniest things and here is why. My friend was afraid of heights and considering going back before we started out...she was hoping to get an anti anxiety pill from home. But, it was such a slow and peaceful ride, she was fine. Then, about 10 minutes before we are to land, Jack says "ok, about this landing"..and you knew it was going to be a little less peaceful than our take off. I think we thought it would be a straight plop down like the Wizard of Oz but it isn't. It is more of a scoot type action, so what we had to do was hold one of the 4 poles and sort of prepare for the scooting action when we landed. I just remember laughing so much. Costs for this can be expensive...I believe we paid around $115 each but it was a once in a lifetime sort of thing.
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