At the crack of dawn this morning my husband Mike, my bro-in-law Bid and I went out ballooning. It was our first time ballooning and we had no idea how we’d each react to floating through the skies of Arizona. We three are used to being in control; we three are used to flying in vehicles with engines and a pilot. But today? Today we had the time of our lives floating a mile above ground at speeds up to 14 mph! If you had told me a week ago that I’d be standing in a wicker basket with 14 other people one mile above terra firma today I would have told you how unlikely that scenario was since I am deathly afraid of heights (actually I’m afraid of falling)! Yet this morning, in the Arizona sunshine, I was hanging over the edge of said wicker basket snapping photos and having the time of my life!
The outfitter we used, Hot Air Expeditions, put 5 huge balloons into the early morning skies over Phoenix, AZ. A nicer group of professionals would be difficult to find!
Our van arrived at the launch point in time to watch our balloon fill with air.
Once the balloon was inflated using a powerful fanCaptain Mark turned on the propane burners to bring the basket upright that we would be standing in during the flight.
All 14 passengers clambered into the basket using toeholds built into the sides. That's me.
Firing the burners periodically is how Captain Mark kept the balloon -- and us -- aloft; if you stood near the Captain it was noisy and a little hot when he turned them on. Lucky me. I hung over an outside corner of the basket!
We flew low. We flew high. We flew over power lines. Our companions in the other 4 balloons did the same.
The Ben Avery shooting facility: It's the largest public shooting range in the United States. It has rifle, skeet and archery.
The weather was perfect for flying!
Gene, our grounds crew chief, and two others packed the 600 pound balloon and 1200 pound basket into the back of the utility chase vehicle after we landed.
The grounds crew worked hard dismantling the balloon while the 14 passengers (including us!) enjoyed a fab breakfast in the desert.
A champagne breakfast after Captain Mark's perfect landing!
Mike, Captain Mark and Bid after we landed!
Note: I did not receive any compensation from Hot Air Expeditions for writing this blog post. I had a great time and wanted to let everyone know what kind of fun you can have in a hot air balloon floating over the sunny skies of Phoenix, AZ with a quality operation, qualified captain and top-notch equipment. It’s awesome!