Ballooning over Phoenix

May 26, 2016  •  1 Comment

For Years, my amazing mom has been talking about her dream to ride in a hot air balloon.  Most of my family, including myself, are deathly afraid of heights and always thought she was crazy that she wanted to float into the sky in something that you literally, leave to wind for direction.  

Despite my concerns, my love for my mom is so much stronger than my fear of "what could happen" so this year, I decided to surprise her with hot air balloon tickets for her birthday. After asking many of my family members if they wanted to go, they all pushed me off, so I totally know I'm her favorite daughter :)   She was so excited, I was scared, but regardless I knew it would be an adventure we would never forget.

Yesterday morning we woke at 3 am to get ready and depart for our maiden balloon voyage.  It was pitch black when we were leaving our hotel and while I was still trying to wake up and inhale my coffee, my mom was like a little kid on christmas morning, totally bright eyed and bushy tailed :)  We made our way to the "meeting spot" to begin our adventure.

20 passengers piled into two vans and away we went.  We stopped a few times to check the wind (by releasing a balloon, watching its speed and direction) so that the pilot could figure out where to take off so that we landed in a safe location.  It felt a little archaic, but I trusted that the pilot knew what he was doing since he has been flying balloons for over 30 years (he's truly amazing by the way).  We drove to the designated location to find that there were several other balloonists gearing up to fly, so it comforted me knowing that this must be the "ideal spot".

We quickly learned that the balloon we would be flying in, is the largest balloon in America.  The basket weighed 2500 lbs (without people inside)  with the fabric of the balloon weighing 1600 lbs!  I can't even imagine how much total weight there was when they piled 20 of us into the basket, in addition to the pilot!

We piled in, and away we went.  My heart was racing a bit as the last tether escaped the crew members hands, but it was truly the most smooth and peaceful ride.  We flew over the desert and saw saguaro cacti from a totally different perspective.  Our pilot was fantastic and the experience wasI truly amazing.  

The landing is a little rough, as you have to brace yourself a bit and you bounce a few times before coming to a complete stop.  After deflating the balloon, we climbed out and then were treated to breakfast, complete with champagne, a balloonists blessing and a rousing applause as we received our certificates.  It was a wonderful experience and I would highly recommend it to everyone who is remotely considering going.  This is the company that we went with http://www.arizonaballoonsafaris.com.  Even this total scaredy cat would go again if I had the chance!  

Here are some pictures from our adventure!

Watching the Sunrise

These little openings are the "ladder" for getting into the basket.

The amazing crew setting up...

The Desert is really a beautiful place...

 

 

My Mommy....

 

I always thought the baskets were one open area, but this one had compartments.  Some held two people, the middle ones held 4 people and the pilot was in the middle.

Lifting 2500 lbs!!

Getting Ready to depart....this is a half smile on my face as I'm totally nervous!!

Here's we go!!

Looking up into the balloon as we are flying....

Our crew down below....

Arizona Canal

A different perspective of a saguaro...

Getting Ready to Land.  You have to let air inside the balloon in order to deflate it, just like putting a pin in a regular balloon :)

The hole getting bigger...

Deflating.....

Back on Land!!

Setting up for our champagne toast and Balloonists Blessing.  We had to kneel down on our knees for this!

Our awesome pilot Randy...

Cheers to surviving, ha ha!!!


Comments

Mom(non-registered)
Thank you, Michelle, for facing your fears and taking me on an awesome adventure that I will never forget. It was so much fun and I am so happy that I got to share it with you! You are right, you are my favorite daughter. Can't wait for our next adventure, (anyone up for sky diving)?
Love you lots,
Mom
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