Not me! Not today!
I was awake at 4:22am and in the car by 4:45am so I could make it to the launch by 6:00am.
We had planned to spend yesterday afternoon in Dansville, NY at the NYS Festival of Balloons, but those plans fell through. I almost drove out to Dansville last night to see the 6pm launch, but didn't because I didn't want to lose precious weekend time with the hubby & pups. In fact, I had chalked the experience up to a "maybe next year" event.
Then my brain went into over-drive... if I wake up early Monday (4:30-ish)... the hubby will still be asleep (he's not a morning person)... I could get to Dansville and back by 9am. I wouldn't miss out on any family time, just a little sleep. This could work.
This is CRAZY!
"No, no, no. Be rational, Jill. Who doesn't sleep in on Labor Day?"
"But this is a great chance to see the balloons. Then I won't have to wait till next year."
So, after hours of my internal debate, I settle on NOT setting the alarm for 4:30am and leave it to my biological clock. If my internal alarm goes off, I'll go. If not, then maybe next year.
3-something... I look at the clock. "Go back to sleep!"
4:22am... "Should I get up?" "No, it's crazy."
4:29am... "I'm GOING! The weather is perfect. I can't sleep anyway. I might not ever get this chance again. I'll regret it if I don't go."
The drive to Dansville is a quiet one. And dark. The whole trip I pass, maybe, ten cars. In fact, for most of the trip it was me and the nocturnal animals... 5 deer, 1 raccoon, 1 skunk, and 1 fox. If I had to guess, they were all thinking "Lady, what are you doing up so early on a holiday?!"
This is what... watching nylon bags the size of houses fill with air. What a sight to see!
The first to go up, Spirit in the Sky.
I'm not sure if today's launch was a typical launch scene, or if there was a lot more freedom because it was the last launch of the Festival (and technically, the Festival is over... no vendors, no entertainment, just one 6am balloon launch).
I was ALL OVER the field.
I ran between balloons, talked with crew members, and snapped almost 140 pictures in approximately 45 minutes.
This is TOO cool!
The pictures posted here are only a small portion of the pics I took during the Festival. A larger set can be found here. It includes names of balloons (if I could get them), multiple views of each balloon, and time-lapsed balloon inflation/liftoff.
I'm definitely looking forward to next year when I hope to see an evening launch. I expect there will be a lot more balloons, but I wonder, too, if there will also be a lot more people and thus restrictions on where I can go during launch-time.
All I know, is that this morning I had an incredible experience... even if I did have to wake up WAY earlier than any sane person.