Is there anything more nostalgic than watching a hot air balloon meander through a sky full of pinks and blues? A hot air balloon offers all the thrill of being up high and feeling free, without the oh-my-God-I’m-going-to-die reaction that comes with some of the more risqué forms of sky travel.
In Road Trip, our boys Boyd and Oliver take some time to pull over and watch a sunset tour go past them. It gives them some time to relax, chat, and open up about their past a little. I’d like to think it also gave Fate a few moments to instill a sense of longing and connection.
Here are some cool things I found out about hot air balloons while I researched:
• A duck, a rooster, and a sheep were the first passengers of a hot air balloon. Back in 1783, the first hot air balloon was flown for Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and the French court in Versailles. This peculiar group of animals was chosen to test the effects of flight. Sheep, thought to be similar to people, would show the effects of altitude on a land dweller, while ducks and roosters, which could already fly, would act as controls for the experiment. The balloon flew on a tether for 8 minutes, rose to a height of 1500 feet, and travelled 2 miles before returning safely. The animals were unharmed (and no doubt, unamused).
• Scientist Jean-François Pilâtre De Rozier and aristocrat François Laurent d’Arlandes were the first pilots, beating out Louis XVI’s recommendation of using condemned criminals (in case something went horribly wrong).
• Two years later, Rozier decided to cross the English Channel in a new kind of balloon, one that was half hot air, half hydrogen. 30 minutes after taking off, the balloon exploded, killing both Rozier and his co-pilot. This earned him the unfortunate right of being known as the first person to fly in a balloon, and the first person to die in one.
• The world record height for a hot air balloon is over 21,000 meters (68,900 feet). Oxygen is needed above 5,000 meters (16,400 feet). The longest hot air balloon flight recorded was piloted by Richard Branson. It originated in Japan and touched ground in northern Canada. It was also the fastest, reaching speeds of 245 miles per hour.
• It is tradition to share a bottle of champagne after a hot air balloon flight. This was begun to appease farmers that didn’t take kindly to hot air balloons landing in their fields. Nothing says forgiveness liked free champagne.
• In 1808, two Frenchmen decided to take to the skies above Paris for a duel (ah, the everlasting joy of the love-triangle). Below them, a crowd gathered to watch what they assumed to be a balloon race, however, the men pulled out blunderbusses and aimed at each other’s balloons. Two shots were fired, one balloon fatally crashed to the buildings below, and the other pilot descended to the ground to claim the hand of the woman they fought over.
• Hot air balloons were used during the Battle of Fleurus in the French Revolution and during the Civil War.
• The large balloon on top is called an envelope. It holds hot air created by a heat source known as a burner.
• The world’s largest hot air balloon festival is hosted in Albuquerque, New Mexico, each year (which just happens to be the location where our lovers-to-be happened to spot them). The festival lasts about nine days and features over 750 hot air balloons.
• There is a glass bottom hot air balloon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hjPh-tbouA (This video is not mine, and I make no claims to it. I’ve only included it in the post for information purposes. Please leave your love for the creator if you enjoy it.)
To you, with my thanks, for joining me; and here’s to the hopes that the next time you see one of these beautiful beasts roll by in the sky, you get the chance to stop and take a few minutes to watch.
Until next time! ❤ A.F. Henley
For as long as Boyd can remember, he’s been pushing pins into a map. Carson City, Las Vegas, Albuquerque—all places he wants to see, for a dozen different reasons that wouldn’t mean a thing to anyone else. When he finally gets a chance to purchase the ’69 Road Runner of his dreams, at a price that even he can manage, Boyd jumps at the opportunity.
Oliver seems like just another kid with a broken dream when their paths cross in Vegas. Against Boyd’s better judgment, he offers to let Oliver hitch along for the ride when Oliver confides the need to get out and get gone.
But it’s not long before Boyd realizes Oliver’s reasons for running are more complicated—and more dangerous—than Oliver let on. But Boyd doesn’t like people who play hardball, and he definitely doesn’t like people messing with a man who’s managed to light a fuse that Boyd forgot he had.
Gay Contemporary Romance
Copyright © 2015 by A.F. Henley
Published by Less Than Three Press
Please note: Novel contains some explicit content.
Purchase Links: @Less Than Three Press
On behalf of the tour, please join the giveaway by taking part in the Rafflecopter below. The prize consists of a Vintage ‘Chrome’ and Leather Road Runner Key Fob (can you say awesome Father’s Day Gift?), a $20 gift certificate to the Less Than Three Press book market (free books!), and a signed, print copy of Road Trip (when available). Click through for terms and conditions, further details, and your chance to win! See all the details here.
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Henley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words descriptive, and the endearing tendency to overuse punctuation. Since the early years Henley has been an enthusiastic writer, from the first few I-love-my-dog stories to the current leap into erotica.
A self-professed Google genius, Henley lives for the hours spent digging through the Internet for ‘research purposes’ which, more often than not, lead seven thousand miles away from first intentions but bring Henley to new discoveries and ideas that, once seeded, tend to flourish.
Henley has been proudly working with LT3 since 2012, and has been writing like mad ever since—an indentured servant to the belief that romance and true love can mend the most broken soul. Even when presented in prose.
Find more here:
Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/A.-F.-Henley/e/B00FIODWSK/
Publisher’s Page: http://www.lessthanthreepress.com/author-a-f-henley/