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Monday, November 1, 2010

Hot air balloon ride 10-31-10

On Halloween weather conditions and such were finally favorable to go hot air ballooning.  I live in the south and the weather gets hot -- 100+ degree for days on end.  When its hot like that-guess what the balloon can't take off  because the air is too light (hot air rises).  So we had to wait until temperatures came back to more favorable values. 
We had a date set for the week before and got up before sunrise to do the trip.  Everything looked a go until they sent up the test helium balloon.  The winds were too strong.  We could not land safely at those speeds so the trip had to be canceled. Finally on Halloween at 7:00 a.m. it was a go.  .  . and Oh what a trip it was.
In this picture, I am standing with balloon owner/operator/pilot.  We are on the inside of the balloon just to give you an idea of how big the inside is.
Here they are heating the balloon up - the balloon glow

When we took off we were able to see the sunrise.  It was truly an amazing sunrise to see.  Words cannot describe how beautiful it was.

Some of the first things we saw and recognize were Oil/Gas rigs in the distance.  The target zone is the Haynesville shale.  The Haynesville shale is a tight gas play.  Usually the pad where the rigs are located are on about 5 acres.  Believe it or not there are all sorts of wells out there that you don't see.  You just happen to see these because they are in the process of drilling them. The spacing for the wells is normally about  640 acres (1 mile).  From each one of these rigs they will drill a number of horizontal offshoots and then acid fracture the rocks.  The Haynesville gas is very desirable since it is such a clean gas. 

 This is I-49 intersecting Bert Kouns highway.  Facing north toward downtown Shreveport, LA.
This is the Red River to the East.  We were flying about 30 knots at an altitude of 1200 ft.

An Oxbow lake from the Red River.

In the center of this picture is where my house is located,  I know where it is because of the buildings I see.  But the trees on our street and in my yard keep it pretty well hidden.

This was one of my favorite shots, seeing the balloon being reflect in the water as we flew over it.

Another shot of the Red River.  It was so amazing to see the mist rise from it.  There was something so mystical about it. 

Seeing the balloon's shadow as we flew over an area that is called Dixie Garden

The pilot was in the process of training another balloonist so he could go solo.  One of the things they have to be able to do is touch down on water safely and then get up again.  It was pretty awesome to land on water like that.  This is a body of water called Champion Lake.

Here's the reflection of the balloon getting off of the water

This is the swamp waters known as Meyers lake.

Looking north a view of downtown Shreveport, to the right is Bossier City. The two cities/parishes are separated by the Red River.

Another beautiful view of Meyers lake.  The white building is the elks club.

Meyer's swamp area is beautiful this time of year with all the fall foliage.

I just really liked this picture.  Its a tree on Champion Links golf course.

Going over more swamp area.

and more swamps

More beautiful fall foliage.

I couldn't believe it when we actually flew over the first place I lived at when I moved to Shreveport back in 1981. The odds of that were incredible, because we were just going with the wind and they were able to steer it a little bit but it was like steering a boat where you have to start maneuvering well in advance trying to get it to go where you want it too.
My place was the top apartment.  I liked it because I thought it was so secluded looking - Well I guess it wasn't as private as I thought.

Here's the Social Security building.  I have a couple of friends that work there and I thought that they might get a kick out seeing the building that way. 

Here we are coming in for the landing near the Shreveport-Barksdale bridge.

Here's my son getting out of the balloon.  I couldn't believe the rid was finally over.  

All I can say is if you ever get a chance to go hot air ballooning go for it.  It will be one of the most incredible things you my do in your life. 
What a ride, what a day.  I couldn't have planned things to be any more perfect than the day I got.  We had to wait a month for the conditions to be right, but it was well worth the wait.

I finally got a map of the route we took.  The trouble was with all my city maps the place where we took off from was not on it and a good part of the trip could not be seen.  When I would go to the state maps it would look so small.  So now I found a condensed version of the geologic maps where I was able to splice two of the maps together.

Louisiana Atlas & Gazetteer 1st ed. DeLorme, 1998 pg 14 & 20