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Hot Air Balloon First Anniversary

August 12, 2012

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Nichole had the most amazing idea to go hot air ballooning for our First Anniversary. She found a place in northern Michigan near Traverse City where you float over the Traverse Bay in the early morning.

We made the long drive, but it was well rewarded by a perfect dinner at Amical in Traverse City. The most amazing seafood that we both thought had ever graced our stomachs. Nichole still wants to go back again. If you are in Traverse City, this is a place not to miss.

We camped out at Interlochen State Park along with numerous family reunions and pop-up trailers. We needed to purchase firewood before we reached the campsite and I was sure there would be some for sale along the way. We passed a few places, but never saw them in time to stop. Finally, we came upon an old white ranch style home with no one home. They had a pile of firewood bundles and a slot for payment. Utilizing our REI tent (which was a wedding present!) we set up camp and relaxed since we had a very early morning ahead. While roasting marshmallows, we realized that what we were eating was kind of scary – so instead we had a grand time making marshmallows melt in various ways.

The 4am wake-up alarm came too soon and our first task was to find coffee. This was a task I had been trained on since we had been dating in college. Nichole is a coffee drinker and I became one by default. I was concerned that there would be no place open, but I should have had more faith in the ubiquity of EZ-Marts in northern Michigan. Not the most amazing coffee, but it did the job. We were instructed to meet at Roy’s General Store, which was basically in the middle of nowhere outside of the civilized areas of Grand Traverse County (exaggeration). Once there, we loaded into vans with other hot air ballooners to be taken to a farm where the hot air balloons would be inflated and launched (see above picture).

The wind was good, the balloons inflated, now it was time to load. Now you’d think that hot air balloon baskets are small, but this basket was as large as a Ford F-150 and could hold 12 people. Since we were the smallest (lightest) people we had to stand on the side closest to the heat blaster (not sure what it’s really called). This was not ideal for a tall person as my head became very hot. Once everyone was loaded, the balloon captain gave the all clear to launch. At first it seemed like nothing had happened, but the launch was so smooth off the ground that it was completely undetectable. I quickly forgot about the heat blaster as we ascended past the trees.

616875_10102432827196614_1785602602_oWe were greeted by the sunrise and the magnificent Traverse Bay scenery from up above. Riding in a hot air balloon is an incredible experience and it was as if we were queen and king overlooking our lands. Northern Michigan’s lush green flowed into a bit of Traverse sprawl while glimmering all the while from the blue waters of Traverse Bay.

A most perfect first anniversary!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 28, 2014 10:59 PM

    Reblogged this on Alex B. Hill.

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