HENRY COUNTY, AL (WXTX) - Every Monday we take you on a journey along the back roads of Alabama but this week we go high above those back roads.
Join us for a different kind of ride in the country as we look down on sights that are Absolutely Alabama.
It all begins, as most stories do with an early morning, a beautiful country side and a dream.
"For my 37th birthday my wife gave me a flight in a hot air balloon," said Pete Crews. "We'd always been to these balloon rallies and seen 'em and liked em and had a good time and she sought she'd give me a flight for my birthday. She said I almost gave you a canoe so, ah, it could a gone another different direction if she'd a given me a canoe but who knows? I've always had a little affinity for aviation and, ah had a private license in flyin' airplanes and always liked just loved aviation so this gave me an outlet fur flyin' and somethin' I could afford to do and some thin that I 've been doin' fur a long time and it's a lot of fun."
The nautical world's loss was aviation's gain and it gave Pete a passion and a way to return to his roots.
"This is Headland where I grew up," Pete said. "Born and raised here. Our folks were gettin' older. We wanted to be closer."
Preparing is something Pete and his crew Ronnie Capan and Andy Tucker are big on. Andy is a relative new comer to ballooning but for Ronnie it's about renewing old friendships.
"We been friends for a long time since about the 7th grade in high school. He moved away to Tallahassee and now he's come back home and we're gone a renew our friendship and be kind of a balloon partners
"Well we got a good day for flyin'." "We do. Very pretty day. If you'll look over here at the trees where we're flyin' toward it's a good shadow shot. On a pretty day meter this is about a 10."
While Pete and I are enjoying our day of flying, down on the ground the crew is already on the road.
"My job as the crew chief is to ride and visually stay in touch with the balloon visually and radio in case anything were to happen," said Ronnie. "Hopefully nothing like that would ever happen but, ah so I can pick the passengers up and the pilot and bring back to the take off point. It'd be a long way to walk if I wasn't around."
But walking is the last thing I'm thinking about. In fact, it's easy to forget everything as you gently drift over the south Alabama countryside.
"We're in Henry County, Alabama in the southeast corner of Alabama. We're in southwest corner of Henry County in a town called Headland Alabama."
Touch and go complete we're off for the final leg of our airborne journey with one thing in mind. Take off is optional landing is mandatory
Another good day of flying from the crew of sky cruise balloon flight. It's a beautiful day for flying over south Alabama; the peanuts are ready for harvesting, the cotton is ready for picking and it's another day which is Absolutely Alabama