Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Must #45: Balloon Ride at the Great Park of Irvine

It's a bird...It's a plane...It's in Orange in the Sky? Yep, that's right. The city of Irvine provides a free of charge balloon ride in hopes that people will come and visit the new up incoming Great Park. The park is estimated to take around 20 years to complete and will be twice the size of Central Park. It is located in Irvine/Tustin between the 405 and 5. Just head down to South Orange County and look up-you cant miss it. The park is decorated with painted oranges everywhere and an "orange" balloon to represent Orange County. That being said you can imagine my confusion when I overheard someone call it a peach... I mean really? why would they have a flying peach? Soap Box Moment: We need better education and less malls....
To give you an idea of the contraption-The carriage is half mesh/half metal and hallow in the middle. It is being held by the mesh that is wrapped around the entire balloon and then clipped to the middle. Side note: I'm terrified of heights . All set? Heck yeah...ready?...okay no. When you jump in the carriage you are told to spread out and disperse your weight evenly (so not to tip the carriage)You can bet I stood frozen in place and threatened anyone who moved. Inside the carriage I noticed that the mesh holding the carriage is CLIPPED to a cable that is grounded on the launching pad.....just one clip! My Biggest Concern: The clip breaking which would release the mesh and we'd all drop.
Erika-dealt with my craziness as I gave everyone an ear full of all the worse case scenarios. I remember telling her to choke me till I pass out if the cable snapped. She advised me to imagine being on a ride at Disneyland-one problem-I hate Disneyland. So much for that thought.
This is a great shot of what less than half way looks like....you can imagine my excitement. The pilot at this point informed everyone that he didn't have enough helium to get us down if the cable snapped. This was the number one reason why I told Erika to choke me...there's NO way I'd want to be conscious for that experience.
The view was incredible..but my favorite part was standing next to an older gentlemen who kept saying, " We haven't stopped yet...we're still going up" Great! Of all the 10 people in the carriage how did I get stuck next to Mr. Obvious? Seriously who invited this guy?I felt myself wanting to bend down and hide from the view that could potentially end my life. I found humor extremely handy in keeping me sane especially when I overheard someone say, "I think I've had to much to drink" to which I replied, "I haven't had enough!" This pretty much sums up my balloon ride experience. It's worth every penny...considering it's free.

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