One last BLAST !!

Alice Springs
Saturday, July 14, 2007

Woke at 4.30am and dressed in the warmest clothes possible. The bus that was supposed to pick us up at 5am turned up at 5.30 so we could have had an extra half hour of sleep. We drove out of town for about 30kms to meet the other bus carrying the balloon. They unloaded the basket and set up the burners to inflate the balloon and we all stood around watching - our fingers and toes going completely numb. There was a lovely glow on the horizon with the promise of a brilliant sunrise. It took about 20 minutes to get the balloon ready, then after our preflight briefing we were off. The last time I did this flight we went over the mountains and it looked just like the rainbow serpent. This time it was flat farming land and all the way and not so spectacular. The sun peaked above the horizon just as we were landing. The BOSS was impressed but frozen to the core. After the second group had had their flight, we were taken to a bush breakfast where they served us champagne, honey chicken, quiche, fruit and chocolate cake with coffee. Excellent morning all round. Very impressed with the professional friendly staff and slick operation.
Back at Annie's Place for a few hours rest before part 2 of our penultimate adventure day. The same crew picked us up at lunchtime for our quad biking trip and took us to the same farm we flew over this morning. Joining us was a family of four with two kids only slightly older than the BOSS. After another safety briefing and a few laps of around the practice track, we took off around the farm. Quads are very different from motorcycles in their handling and cornering. For the first 2 laps I kept leaning into corners forgetting to steer.
The BOSS took to it as quickly just as she did the scooter on the first day of our holiday. She was ripping around the track being quite a daredevil - only getting bogged once and running off the track twice. She did quite a spectacular recovery at one point and I'm rather impressed with her skills - only 6 more weeks and she can legally get her scooter learner licence.
After an hour of quite exhilarating quad biking, we were very dusty - red from head to toe in fact - and quite tired. We went back to Annie's for a welcome shower then walked into town for a very late lunch and to do some souvenir shopping. The one and only criticism I have of Annie's is the distance from town. It's about half an hour walk but apart from that, it is one of the best, cleanest, funkiest hostels I've ever had the pleasure to stay at.

01 A magnificent sunrise
A magnificent sunrise
02 One way to stay warm
One way to stay warm
03 Me and the BOSS
Me and the BOSS
04 Our balloon
Our balloon
05 Our view
Our view
06 Ballooning 1989
Ballooning 1989
07 Over Alice 1989
Over Alice 1989
08 The Rainbow Serpent 1989
The Rainbow Serpent 1989
09 Deflating the balloon
Deflating the balloon
10 The BOSS learning to ride
The BOSS learning to ride
11 A wee bit dusty
A wee bit dusty
12 Like mother like daughter
Like mother like daughter
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