On Friday, September 16, 2016, while out in Albuquerque, New Mexico to run the Santa Fe Thunder Half Marathon, I took a time out with friends to take a hot air balloon ride with Rainbow Ryders. My friend Rachel and I arrived around 6:15am at their shop. Once everyone arrived and signed your life away waiver, we all boarded vans and drove about 15 minutes away to our launch point. Once there, the crew rolled out the balloon, and another guy and myself were asked to hold the balloon open as they pumped air into it via high powered fans. This took about 15 minutes. Once the balloon was mostly filled, they activated the burners that then helped stand the balloon upright for launch. We had a very large balloon that had a basket that held 12 people.
It was an awesome experience, and I highly recommend putting hot air balloon ride on your bucket list. The company was really professional & organized. Our pilot, Dean, was very skilled and informative throughout the trip, pointing out the various landmarks. At one point he showed off his skills by putting us down to within a few feet of dipping into the Rio Grande.
We were up in the air about an hour. When it was time to land, you pretty much follow mother nature’s guidance and land it in the safest place possible. The crew on the ground would follow us until a landing spot was determined. We landed on a middle school soccer field. As we were landing we came very close to homes. We were able to give them a hearty good morning as they were on their way to work.
Once we landed, they made mimosas for everyone. Since Rachel and I were running the half marathon (and the fact that I don’t drink alcohol) we got hard core and had an orange juice & cranberry juice mixture. They also provided a basket of snacks. Finally, we were provided our memorial flight certificate you commemorate our adventure.
It was an exciting time. Do it if you get the chance. It is worth the money! You won’t regret it!