I opened my email and saw the question. Did I want to participate in a hot air balloon ride in Gallup, New Mexico? For me, there was no hesitation. A thousand times, yes! It would be a dream to be able to ride a hot air balloon, but to also see the gorgeous Gallup, New Mexico terrain from the ride was doubly exciting!
My hot air balloon ride in Gallup, New Mexcio was hosted as a part of the Travel Media Showcase Family Travel Conference. All opinions are my own.
It was only after my affirmation and in talking about the upcoming trip, did I realize people had a fear of riding in hot air balloons. I’ve never wanted to sky dive or do crazy things like that, but I didn’t put hot air balloons on the same level. It never seemed scary to me.
My Gallup Hot Air Balloon Experience
Bill Lee owner of X-Treme-Lee Fun Balloon Adventures was our guide and pilot. I found out that anyone with a hot air balloon can take you on a ride, but you may want to dig a little deeper into a person’s credentials before climbing aboard. Bill Lee is a licensed hot air balloon pilot!
On this particular adventure, I had the opportunity to participate in the full ballooning experience. It was so much more than “just a ride.”
Our journey began at Red Rock Park in Gallup. First thing on the agenda was to test the wind. Two regular balloons were let go, and we watched to see what they would do in the wind. Of course, their journey meant nothing to me, but the pilots gained much information about the wind and what to expect that day.
Next, we helped take the balloon out of the truck, spread tarps on the ground to protect the balloon, and then spread the balloon out ready to be blown up—NOT! You don’t blow up a hot air balloon.
You do, however fill it with air. For this, a large fan was used.
It was fascinating to see the hot air balloon begin to fill with air and lift off the ground.
Then came the heat! I was constantly amazed throughout the experience at how the fire and heat fuels the balloon without damaging it. There is so much science there, my boys would love to understand the ends and outs of it.
And just like that, our New Mexico True balloon was ready for lift off!
Chasing and Riding my Gallup Hot Air Balloon
There was a large group of us who were going to ride, so I was able to watch as the first few lifted off. The balloon just gently floated up in the air. It was so cool!
Then we ran, jumped in a truck, and chased the balloon. Depending on wind, our guides judged about where they thought the balloon would land.
I was so excited for my turn!! We were talking as we began to lift off, and it was so gentle, I couldn’t hardly feel any difference. It was almost surprising to look up, and see we were so high in the sky!
Four pilots took people up in balloons that day. It was beautiful see the other balloons from the air as well as the gorgeous Red Rocks.
Our ride took us so close to the rocks that we could touch them! The balloon would float up and over and then down the other side!
It was wonderful! Next it was someone else’s turn to ride, and I went back to chasing the balloon.
When all of us had taken our rides, it was time to take the balloon down. We went through the same process as setting it up, except in reverse of course. It was great fun and a challenge to get all the air out of the balloon to be able to load it back in the box and put it on the truck.
Start to finish is was an amazing bucket list adventure that I highly recommend!
For more Gallup, New Mexico adventures see: Gallup Real True.