Arizona from a Balloon’s-Eye-View

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Check in’s at 5:30 a.m. before a quick drive to the launch site. 

“Today’s my husband’s birthday, so I thought that I would surprise him,” said Sonia Fong-Louissaint. 

“First of all, it was a surprise. Obviously, it’s an experience that has been on my bucket list for quite some time,” said Joe Louissaint, Sonia’s husband. 

The couple is snapping pictures in front of and staring in awe at the nearly 100-foot tall hot air balloons inflating in front of them. 

Rainbow Ryders is gearing up for a morning hot air balloon ride near Lake Pleasant. Rainbow Ryders is a commercial hot air balloon ride company providing scenic hot air balloon rides daily. 

“How it works is we burn propane gas, which we have tanks in here, which heats the air inside the envelope, creating it less dense, and gives us lift,” said Jesse Rohalt, a pilot at Rainbow Ryders.

If you’re lost, the ‘envelope’ is what we regular people call the ‘balloon.’ 

The ride is smooth, and the basket of 12 people effortless glides over the desert, overlooking Lake Pleasant and the Superstition Mountains in the distant. 

“This is what I call a psychological spa,” said Rohalt. 

Aside from helping you check off another item on your bucket list Rainbow Ryders is gearing up for the biggest event of the year, the Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta from October 6-14 in Albuquerque, N.M. 

“We’re the official ride concessions so if you go for a ride you’ll fly with us. We’ll fly about 330 people a morning,” said Rohalt. 

It’s an experience of a lifetime for the newly found friends in the basket.                    

“Sensational. The word “Awesome” I hear it used often. It truly applies,” said Dotty Duplantier.

“I always thought it would be very bumpy, very unsafe, but it was just the opposite. Very smooth, very safe. We had a great pilot,” said Sonia. 

“It was awesome. Truly, truly awesome. I would do it again in a heartbeat,” said Joe. 

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