I am not a morning person.  I can stay up all night every night, but mornings?  No. Just, no….  So when my brother suggested waking up at 4:45 a.m. to go watch hot air balloons launch at a local festival, my initial reaction was “Drop dead, brother.”  But, upon further reflection, I realized that would be short sighted.  It’s not every day you get to see numerous hot air balloons launch from one location, and if the whole point of this project is to get out and do things we weren’t previously able to do, then we should definitely take advantage of these opportunities. Kevin agreed wholeheartedly, but decided to sleep through it anyway.


The festival is a four day event hosted by the Plainville, Connecticut Fire Department, which is interesting, because as I walked around, all I could think was, “this is a huge freaken fire hazard.”

Let me just launch my body over the edge of this basket while the balloon is filling with hot air and trying to rise off the ground…all while the pilot is creating an an inferno inside. What could go wrong???

Countless people wandered amidst the balloons as they prepared to take off.  And by that I mean: the pilots would shoot 6 foot tall columns of fire into the balloons, riders would heave themselves over the sides of the unstable baskets, and hundreds of patrons, including yours truly, would walk backwards without looking, because that’s what you do when you’re trying to capture the perfect Instagram shot. (Duh.)

Fire + oblivious people. No seriously, what could go wrong?

I was impressed by how quickly the whole process unfolded. At 6:00 a.m., the crews began unpacking their balloons, rolling them out on the ground and laying them flat.  Then, they would use large fans to start inflating the balloons.  Eventually, the pilots would start firing off the huge propane flame thrower things (I’m pretty sure there’s an actual name for them, and that is not it, but you know what I’m talking about…) and within just a few minutes, the balloons were airborne.

Balloon set up

We probably watched 20 to 25 balloons total.  It was a gorgeous sunny morning with bright blue skies and, because the wind was light, the balloons hung in the air a good bit after taking off, allowing for some great photo opportunities.


I took about 200 pictures and fully realize no one actually wants to look at all of them.  So here’s one more and then, I promise, I’ll stop.


The remainder of our time in Connecticut was filled with family.  After many years of abbreviated visits, it was nice to see them several days in a row.  Most importantly, we were able to catch up with our niece and nephew – who are now 9 and 6.

Uncle Kevin and the kids
Building water rockets and stopping by Jem’s for ice cream… Uncle Kevin is, pretty much, the best.

It’s a hard thing, you know.  When they’re born, you have all these ideas about what they’re gonna be like when they grow up and you wonder what impact you can have on the trajectory of their lives.  You wonder if they’ll come to you for guidance, try to emulate you in some way, seek your wise counsel, heed your advice.  You wonder how you can change the course of their young lives.

And then one day, your 9 year old niece looks up at you and, with all the sass she can muster, tells you, quite matter-of-factly, that she’s going to marry Justin Bieber.  And in that moment, as you stare at her, speechless and slack-jawed, a little part of you dies.

The look you give your niece when she tells you she thinks Justin Bieber is dreamy.

Relying on your days as a trial attorney, you lay out your arguments with surgical precision, each point leading to the next, like dominoes falling, so the listener has to, HAS TO, come to the conclusion that you want them to. That conclusion is that Justin Beiber is a terrible human being; that Justin Bieber is a no-talent ass clown of epic proportions; that Justin Bieber should be deported back to Canada with the requirement that he build a wall around himself to ensure that the good people of the world will never be subjected to him again.

But alas… she just laughs and tells you how cute he is.

No Justin. I am not excited. And stay away from my niece or I’ll cut you.


Anyway, I may not have convinced her this time, but I have only just begun to fight!! In the meantime, we are Massachusetts-bound!

Oh, remember how I said I wouldn’t post any more pics of hot air balloons? I totally lied.



It’s not every day I have access to this many pretty pictures.

See you next time!

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  1. The pictures are beautiful. The tale of your battle with seeing dawn from the OTHER SIDE entertaining. The challenge of “ATTORNEY (score=0) vs innocent child (score=easy win)” hysterical!

    • My only solace comes from knowing that some day, she will realize I am right. And then I will show her the blog post and remind her that I told her he was terrible and basically just keep saying: “I told you so!” over and over. Because that’s what mature adults do. 🙂

  2. Just got on the tiffin forum after our 36la purchase.
    Will be picking it up early Dec.
    Looking forward to hearing more about your 36la experience and travels.
    Great pics by the way.
    We’re from central Pa

    • Hey – thanks for stopping by. Overall we’ve been happy with the 36LA. The layout and features are really great and the buying process was painless. We’ve definitely been on a steep learning curve and had our hands full with minor repairs and trouble shooting, but I think that goes with the territory any time you buy a new RV (or a used RV for that matter). Unfortunately, because I have a broken leg, we haven’t been putting the miles on that we wanted to – in order to really shake it out and see what needs attention before the warranty ends. Hopefully we’ll get to do that soon. In the meantime, folks on the forum are super nice and really helpful, so that’s our first stop when we need advice.

      And seriously…. When not breaking bones and breaking RV components, we really are having a lot of fun!

      Feel free to email us if you have any questions!


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