Anyone who knows me can confirm that I am much more likely to go to bed at 4 a.m., than I am to get up that early in the morning. Unless…I’m crossing an item off my bucket list!! Cruising the Arizona skies from the Rainbow Ryders basket with five of my favorite girls is totally worth the early morning wake-up call.
Fun fact: Many people are afraid to ride in a hot air balloon, yet its the oldest successful mode of flight used to transport people.
Once we dragged ourselves out of bed, everyone met up at the Rainbow Ryders office and signed in while they packed up the trailers with our gear. Each day’s launch sites vary depending on the weather, and they use a a few nifty gadgets and setups that my tired brain didn’t fully understand (or care to understand) to choose just the right spot to take off from. Once we arrived at our site, the setup process began.
Because Rainbow Ryders wants to give their guests a unique, hands-on experience, they invite you to participate in the set-up procedure. If you know anything about bloggers (or at least my group of blogging friends), you know we love the words “hands on” and “adventure”! So of course it was no surprise that Jennifer (Makobi Scribe) and Tara (Trippin with Tara) jumped at the chance to help inflate the balloon!
Now if you’re not much of a morning person, or just not into helping, you can also sit back, relax, and take pictures while they do all of the work. Like me.
Once we were filled with hot air (the balloon, I mean), we were ready to cruise the Arizona skies in the Rainbow Ryders’ newest balloon to join their fleet, the 85′ tall by 70′ wide hot air balloon featuring the Arizona’s State Flag.
Just the fabric of our balloon weighed 750 pounds and the basket had enough room for 12-14 people. Even with this incredible size and weight, these hot air balloons can fly anywhere from ground level, all the way to thousands of feet depending on weather conditions. (The height of our flight was at about 5,000 feet)
Some of the people in our group (I won’t name names, but it starts with a “K” and ends with “as”) were actually pretty darn nervous about the flight. And despite all the joking from our young pilot, Taylor, about this being hist first flight, he has a ton of flight experience under his belt. After flying in a hot air balloon for the first time at 11, he was hooked and started training at 14. Since he turned 18, he’s flown over 10,000 people in commercial and corporate flights in over 30 states!
During our one hour adventure, we soared over the beautiful Northern Scottsdale and Sonoran desert. It was so peaceful and the views were outstanding. As you can see, we were only one of many checking this adventure off bucket lists.
If you can imagine 6 bloggers on their cell phones trying to get a signal to tweet from a basket 5000 feet in the air, you’d laugh. I only wish I had gotten a photo of THAT.
Taylor kept us safe, entertained, and returned us back, instead of drifting off to the Land of Oz. Although, since hot air balloons don’t have a steering wheel and are at the mercy of the wind and weather, landing sites are unknown. Don’t worry, they have a chase crew that follows the balloon to pick you up and return you to the launch site. And besides, not knowing where you might land is part of the adventure! Right?
After we landed safely, we all celebrated with a special champagne toast. They also handed out a souvenir flight certificate and a balloon pin to commemorate the ride.
I can’t thank the folks at Rainbow Ryders enough for literally sweeping us off our feet and providing a memory of a lifetime with 5 of the girls that I couldn’t imagine life without!