Mar 15, 2006
We were back home by 8:30am. I took the boys to the pool at Bally for a couple of hours. Kelly wanted to get some things done at the RV, so she appreciated the time to herself.
I had a chance to see an old friend from Melbourne. Tom Mahoney went to Central Catholic and he and his brother were friends of the family. He and his wife live in Portland and he stopped by after work. I haven't seen Tom in over 20 years. It was great to catch up. Seeing old friends is one of the best parts of the trip.
Tonight, we went to downtown Portland for the "Rose Festival." There were rides and booths and a fireworks show. The boys brought some of their glow sticks and sold them. It was a beautiful night.
We've had some amazing experiences on our RV trip. Today definitely ranks in the top five. We left this morning around 5am to go on a hot air balloon ride. The entire experience was amazing.. We got to help with inflating the balloon and then took off over wine country. The owner, Roger, was our pilot. We had incredible views of Mt. Hood as well as vineyards, dairy farms and tree farms. At one point, while Roger was descending to determine wind direction, we actually touched down on a river. He was totally in control the whole time and was a lot of fun. We didn't realize that when you go on a hot air balloon you don't land where you take off. We flew for about an hour and touched down on a farm about 5 miles away. After we helped pack everything up, the 'chase vans' came to pick us up and we headed back to camp. We were told there would be breakfast, but we had a great surprise when we got back. There were tables set up with fresh cut flowers, linens and lots of food. The whole experience is run by an almost entire volunteer staff. The volunteers get credit for each day they help. After 7 days of volunteering, they get a free ride for themselves or as a gift. From start to finish it was an incredible experience.