Lining up to putt

I joined a hot air balloon crew for a flight last week on a gorgeous day in Barrington, Ill. The Re/Max cooperate balloons team invited me along and since I had never flown in a hot air balloon, it was an offer I couldn’t pass. Now, I’ve shot from prop planes, old bombers, jets and helicopters, but this was a different sort of experience. The pilot, Bennett Schwontkowski, described it like “taking a magic carpet ride”. And it was, although we didn’t even have to smoke anything to make it the calm, colorful experience it turned out to be.

I might post other images, but this is one from above a country club as a lone golfer sizes up about a four footer. Tough to concentrate when a hot air balloon is hoovering above. Not surprisingly, he ran it past the hole and gave a look skyward as if to say, “Are you kidding me?”

We elevated more than 1,000 feet in the air and floated for nearly six miles before landing in a subdivision in Cary, Ill.

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