Up, up, and away in my beautiful balloon

This weekend, you can do something in Quincy that you haven't been able to do for some time, if ever.

The Great River Balloon Rally started at six o'clock Friday in Upper Moorman park.

Last night, KHQA's Rajah Maples and Chad Douglas were lucky enough to get a ride from Al Reusch from Macomb.

This was their first ride in a hot air balloon.

Our ride started off with the unpacking of the balloon. It takes about 15 minutes to unpack and hook everything up. Another 10 minutes or so to inflate the balloon.

"We use a big fan to inflate. It blows it out until we can put hot air into it," says Al Reusch.

All in all, about a half hour before the balloon can take off. In a matter of minutes, we're cruising at 1400 square feet. Look at the view.

"There's only 7000 pilots in the country. Probably about 6000 balloons. We fly about 50 times a year," adds Al Reusch

As you know, you don't see many hot air balloons. That's why people on the ground get so fascinated with them. While this weekend, you won't be able to ride in a balloon, you can come see them in competition and launching. But one of the highlights will be the balloon glow.

"Saturday night is the balloon glow. It'll start at dusk. They will light their propane and it will be a fantastic show," says Teresa Loos-Tedrow, the event organizer.

So is this ride. I don't think there could've been a more perfect night for it.

"It's just so peaceful. you're floating along. You feel like you're just sitting there. It's wonderful," adds Al Reusch

What a beautiful, peaceful night to fly across the Gem City. I'm told the tricky part is the landing. We've picked out our spot, now we have to try and hit it. Here we go.

"It's an adventure every time you go. you always land in a different place. You meet new people every time you go," adds Al Reusch

"We came in about six or seven miles per hour. Normally, we land at three or four miles per hour because we come down and sit there. We need people to get on our basket to stop us," says Al Reusch.

Once you're back on the ground, it's time for the pack up.

But you have help from your chase crew.

They keep in contact with the pilot so they're ready for the balloon when it lands.

It takes about another half hour to clean everything up.

The balloon rally itself goes from tonight until Sunday.

And there are all kinds of family friendly activities in Upper Moorman Park including food and drink, and a guitar star tournament.