What birthday gift do you get for the guy who already has everything he wants
and doesn't want anymore STUFF?
Yeah, well, same story for his birthday this year as for last Christmas.
I had to get creative.
THANK HEAVENS FOR DAILY UPDATES FROM GROUPON!
As soon as I saw this I knew it was PERFECT!!!
I borrowed this picture from Unicorn Balloon Company, but all the rest are mine.
I couldn't very well have take taken this, ja?!
AM. This is AM. Morning.
As in when we had to leave our house to get there by 6 for our AMAZING SUNRISE ADVENTURE!
As you can see, this is valued at $370.
We got it on Groupon for $195!
That's almost half!
And we didn't have to listen to a stupid timeshare presentation to get that deal! lol
(ohhhhh, the stories I could tell you about timeshare presentations)
I had pre-purchased this weeks before, but didn't tell Cowboy until the night before!
I wasn't going to tell him AT ALL, was just going to make him start driving to North Phoenix with no clue,
but then I thought he might like a little time to get excited about it and look forward to it.
Let me back up just a tad.
His birthday was back in February.
The balloon ride is an hour from our house.
So we started driving at 5 am...drove almost the full hour...
when the pilot called and canceled due to high winds.
So we had to drive ALL THE WAY BACK HOME for ANOTHER hour.
TWO hours of driving for NOTHING.
Then we had to get on the phone and reschedule.
Okay, fast forward to now when we finally got our awesome balloon ride on the UNICORN!
We met the pilot and a bunch of other smart Groupon shoppers at a parking lot (in the dark)
and we all loaded up in the pilots 15-passenger van.
Then it seemed like we drove around for quite a long time, trying to find the perfect breeze.
The pilot and his two assistants stopped every so often to blow up small helium balloons
and let them go, to see which way the wind would take them.
They did this so many times I was afraid he was going to cancel again.
But finally the perfect spot was found!
How long would you guess it takes to fill one of these large balloons?
I was thinking it would take maybe an hour to get the balloon ready.
No, they blow that thing up in like FIFTEEN MINUTES!
BOOM! We're almost ready!
I'm showing you this one again so you can see just how massive the balloon is.
That's Cowboy standing there....he's 6'3. And that balloon is not even half way inflated.
I mean, I knew it was gonna be big
but standing that close to it and seeing it like that was pretty mind-blowing.
Here is one of the pilots assistants standing inside of it getting it ready.
See those big fans on the left? Those are just blowing regular air into the balloon to fill it up.
See that section of the basket on the top right?
Cowboy and I....and some other guy were all standing in that one section together.
Once they get it as full as possible, they turn on the burners and start filling it was gas.
It's C.R.A.Z.Y. how fast the balloon stands up once the gas goes on!
That is kind of a little old lady there....one of the pilots assistants. Geez! She does this every day!
PROPS to her!
We're all getting pretty excited at this point!
Well look at that! A couple of miles away (I'm way zoomed in for this shot)
is another company sending several balloons up already.
Doesn't that look soooooo cool?!!
Yay! We finally can get in the basket!
Along with like 10 other people! Haha!
It was STILL romantic!
Awwwww, I so love him! I'm so happy he likes doing this kind of stuff!
I'm pretty sure this is the best birthday gift ever!
Props to me! hehe ;)
The other (young man) assistant guides us for push-off!
Things get smaller pretty quickly!
Okay, no more smaller. I can't see things any smaller than that!
Um, yeah, no wind. We're going pretty much straight up. LOL.
At one point an airplane flew overhead. It looked awfully close.
There are those other balloons so very far away.
The view is freaking fantastic!!!
That dark blue just below the horizon on the right is Lake Pleasant.
Wow! I was surprised to see that!
Here's the lake zoomed in bigger...
Can you see those balloons far away? Some are on the left near the horizon
and others are way up there on the right.
It was breathtaking!
I cannot get this silly picture to turn,
but you can see just how high up we were
at least 3,871 feet up in the air!!!
It was VERY LOUD every time the pilot turned the gas on!
Everyone had to quit talking when it was on cuz you couldn't hear anything other than the WHOOOOOSH!
I feel like I need to yell just to tell you this!
It's also very warm under the burners!
I wore lots of layers because it was early morning and I was sure I'd freeze to death.
Not so. I could have worn a t-shirt and been comfortable.
Aw dang. What goes up, must come down.
(this is our shadow as we descend)
One last look straight down to the ground below.
Our skid marks as we gently bounced to the ground.
She said 'skid marks'!
Yes, I'm acting like a child.
WAIT! There's more!
While the two assistants deflate and load up the balloon...
the rest of us have a PARTY!
This was SO cool and SO unexpected!
Our pilot whips out a table & lovely old-fashioned-balloon-covered tablecloth
and refreshments of chilled champagne and orange juice!
It became a time of bonding for our whole group, even more so than the balloon ride itself.
A time to reflect on the incredible adventure we all had just experienced together.
Our pilot told us wonderful stories as to why it's tradition
to have a champagne toast right after a balloon ride.
(just orange juice for us, please. thanks!)
VERY nice personal touch!
Cheers and Happy Birthday, Babe! I love you!
And many thanks to our fabulous pilot, John!
1 1/2 thumbs up!
I would have given it 2 thumbs up if there had been some crazy wild wind to excite things up a bit.