@myharley - I have been able to take a ride in a hot air balloon, and it is every bit as beautiful as you imagine it would be.
There is a hot air balloon festival every August near my home town. For years I would watch these balloons and take hot air balloon pictures from the ground.
A friend of mine began volunteering to help at the festival, and said there was a chance he would also be able to ride in one of the balloons.
That is all I needed to hear, as I signed up to volunteer the next year. It was quite an awesome experience just being that close to the balloons on the ground as they were getting ready to take off.
On the last day of the festival, I finally got my chance to go up in one for a ride. I can see why this is something that these people love spending their time and money on. I was a little nervous at first, but once we got going, it was one of the most relaxing things I have ever done.
The pictures I took from up in the balloon were just as beautiful as the ones I took standing on the ground.