Sunday, September 23, 2012

Heading for the Balloon Rally

Early in the afternoon of Wednesday, September 19th, we left Junction City and headed south about 165 miles to Valley of the Rogue State Park near Gold Hill, Oregon.  Beautiful spot that we’re pretty sure we stayed at back in October of 1996 on a tenting vacation.  Did a bit of laundry and called it a day.

On Thursday, the 20th, we left about 9:45 am and crossed into California on our way to the Montague Hot Air Balloon Rally.  We had made prior plans to meet “Class of 2007” friends, Howie and Norah, in nearby Yreka where we had lunch and picked up a few more groceries.  We all got parked at the balloon launch site early in the afternoon with the Escapees Chapter 37 folks and got set up for the longest boon-docking stay that we’ve done so far.  Howie and Norah had some helpful hints – thanks, guys!

Note: If you are new to our blog, the “Class of 2007” is a group of Escapees RV Club members who all started full-timing sometime during the year of 2007.  Whenever two or more are in the same area at the same time, you can bet that there will be a lunch, happy hour or excursion of some sort, as everyone keeps in touch by internet.

The next three days were busy and really fun!  Our parking spots were right at the edge of the launch sites and we enjoyed meeting other RVers from the northern California and southern Oregon area.  There were a couple of meals at the local community center and a happy hour every afternoon with the Chapter 37 group.  Mornings were early as the balloons launched at sunrise. 




Here’s our home: right in the middle of the action!


The skies were filled with bright balloons!


One day this balloon landed right behind our rig, so I could take pictures right out the bedroom window!


We spent the rest of the daytime wandering around, visiting with folks and checking out the activities in downtown Montague.  On Saturday, the 22nd, Howie and Norah, who are from this area, showed us around for a few hours and we had lunch at their favorite Mexican restaurant.

The highlight of the entire event was Sunday morning when John and I got to go for a ride in one of the balloons!  Our pilot was amazing and her crew was lots of fun!  We watched them blow up the balloon…



…and we hardly knew when we left the ground – it was so smooth!

Here’s Howie (waving) and Norah (photographing) bidding us good-bye!  (If you double-click on the picture, you can see that I’ve circled them in red.  Then hit the back button to return to the blog post.)




…and higher…


and then lower – right over downtown Montague!


These deer were quite interested in us.


Here’s the view up into the balloon.


Our chase crew had fun talking to the horses while they waited to figure out where we were going to land!


Wonderful views as you float through the sky…




Landing was just as smooth as the take-off…


…and everyone pitched in to get everything packed up.


Here’s “our” crew – great job, gang!  We loved it!!


Later, there was an initiation ceremony for all first-time balloonists.  And, no – we’re not praying…


…just trying to pick up and drink the champagne without using our hands!!


Great weekend and wonderful time with Howie and Norah!!

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