That Time We Made A Hot Air Balloon

Caroline and the kids are away at the beach which means that I’ve got the house to myself. And at first, I thought I’d love the time alone, but the truth is that I’m super lonely and don’t know what to do with myself.

That last bit? Total horseshit. The real truth is this: I was fired up beyond belief to learn about this rare and jumbo-size hall pass. SO the first thing I did was to ask a few of my jackass friends to go camping with me starting on the very day my crew was leaving — last Friday. We went to the spot we frequent — a primitive campsite on the bank of an obscure lake in western North Carolina.

And we had an awesome time. On Friday I went on a fantastic (and tough) hike by myself. Incredible views. Then Friday night I cut up around the campfire with my buddies. On Saturday, we covered nearly every square inch of the five different fingers of our rugged mountain lake on a pontoon boat. Then, Saturday night, we cooked a flat-out feast — fried fish appetizer, then a steak-amberjack-cobia-snapper dinner served with corn, asparagus and bread. Two of those activities (the hike and the dinner) are worthy of their own post (which I’ll try to get up in short order), but so, too, was our post-dinner activity.

It began without event when my friend S rose from his fireside chair to retrieve something from his tent — a plastic dry-cleaning sheath (is sheath a word? If so, did I use it right?). And we were all like WTF?

“I though it might be fun to use this for a little project,” S said. “I’ve been watching some YouTube videos of homemade hot air balloons. Ones that totally take off and fly, and I think we should give it a try.”

Aside from being kinda Macgyver-out-of-nowhere, we were relatively open to the idea, but we still needed a little push.

“If we can get ours to take off,” S said, “we can hop in the boat and chase it around and freak out the other campers. They’ll think it’s a UFO or something. ”


Here was the general plan:

Take S’s dry cleaner bag and attach it to a base that was fashioned out of flexible stems from random brush found around the campsite, then build a cross support to said base where we’d jerry rig a platform upon which we’d stick birthday candles (I shit you not) which S had also brought with him as part of OHAB (Operation Hot Air Balloon).

Here’s a picture of the early stages. S is holding the bag and T is taping together the base.


Here’s one of S getting the candle platform ready.


S and T working in conjunction with one another:


As you can see from this next picture, it was finally time to carry this bad boy down to the water’s edge to see what was what:


And this is how it all went down from that point forward:


So, kinda anti-climactic, I realize, but this is a great example of why I have the best friends in the world. Too many people walk through this world with no flair. No imagination. No art.

Not my boys. I can tell you that much.

Stay tuned for the video I make when we finally get it to work. Because I can promise you that it’s coming.

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About john cave osborne

John Cave Osborne is a writer whose work has appeared on such sites as DisneyBaby, Babble, YahooShine, TLC and the Huffington Post. He was also referenced by Jezebel one time, but he’s pretty sure they were making fun of him. He and his wife, Caroline, live with their five children and spastic dog in Knoxville, TN. Nothing annoys him more than joke-heavy bios written in the third person, with the possible exception of Corey Feldman.

  • Sam Steale

    That’s really cool! It would be good to make a life size hot air balloon and then you could start charging people for  balloon rides haha!

  • muskrat

    Looks like you had an awesome time!  Well done. 

  • MRL

    WOW—you all still scare me…but also make me laugh hysterically!

    • John Cave Osborne

      possibly my favorite comment ever! hoping to run into you and your crew at the pool soon.

    • John Cave Osborne

      possibly my favorite comment ever! hoping to run into you and your crew at the pool soon.

  • MRL

    WOW—you all still scare me…but also make me laugh hysterically!

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