Crossed Off the Bucket List: Hot Air Balloon Ride!


It’s not often that you add something to your bucket list, and cross it off two weeks later. But that’s just what my Mom and I did last night when we went on a hot air balloon ride!!!!!!


After seeing those hot air balloons a couple weeks ago, and again last weekend, I knew I had to find a way to ride one. I nervously called the company giving rides at the Indianola Balloon Classic this week and, lucky us, they had two openings for an evening ride last night!!


My Mom – who I get my adventurous streak from – was just the person to take the epic journey with. :)


Where my husband Ben is afraid of heights – my Dad gets nauseous on anything that moves. We’re talking can’t even ride escalators…


He makes an excellent photographer and cheerleader though! :D


There were 3 passenger balloons, with 10 people to a basket. Out pilot, Andy, was the ringleader of the flights and we were SUPER confident in him.

DSC_0018 (2)

While we listened to him giving instructions on how to get in, get out, etc., our balloon was rolled out.

DSC_0017 (2)

It was cool to be on the other side of the action!

DSC_0020 DSC_0022 DSC_0025

Once it was all spread out, the diesel-fueled fans fired up and our balloon filled with air!




Nerves might have been kicking in at this point… ;)


As soon as the balloon was inflated,


Andy hopped in the basket, opened up the propane tank, 


and let ‘er rip! Fire in the hole!


Before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye to my Dad, hop in the basket and take flight!






go – wheeeee!!!!


We were up in the air just like that. On the ground one minute and 500 feet in the air the next!!


Bye Dad! (I’m sure he was having a panic attack at this point…) ;) 


It’s incredible how fast you rise in a hot air balloon.


Right away you know you are in for some once-in-a-lifetime views.


Our pilot fired up the tanks (omg SO HOT!!!!!)


and we continued to climb.






omg, anytime we flew over dogs or cows, they would start barking/moo’ing. It was hysterical.


After awhile we descended over a flooded corn field and saw our reflection in the water. 




Um, then we kept descending – right over the top of the cornfields!!!!!!


IGE: Detassler for hire. :) 


Our pilot told us that in the Fall, they’ll fly over pumpkin fields, have someone hop out, grab a pumpkin and then drop it from 5000 feet up. HA!


Up we went again!


Normally, if the conditions are right, our pilot goes to 5000 feet – 1 mile.

DSC_0106 DSC_0107 DSC_0108

Apparently the conditions were perfect last night, so we said goodbye to 5000 feet,


and hello to…


6000 feet! Over 1 mile high!!




Even our pilot was impressed!!


We stayed in the air for about an hour and it was the most quiet, peaceful, blissful experience on earth. Perfectly still, perfectly cool, perfectly calm.




Finally the sun began to set, and we made our final descent – landing in the hay field of a local farmer – HA! He was watching the balloons with his little girls and we shouted from the air – "can we land in your field??" "Sure!" he called. Apparently this is how all balloon landings go. ;)


Safely on the ground!!!!


Take down took 5 minutes.

DSC_0171 DSC_0172

One minute it’s up,


the next, it’s down!


We said goodbye to the farm and shuttled back to our launch site.


Where we toasted to our very first balloon ride with certificates and champagne! :D


Wow. Wow is really all I can say. If riding in a hot air balloon isn’t on your must-do list – add it. It’s so crazy to know that in a world full of state of the art technology and what not, that you can see the earth from a mile in the air, simply with fire, cloth and a basket. Absolutely incredible. This experience was once in a lifetime and I’m so glad I got to experience it with my family! (Ben had to work late, but was there in spirit!!)


Still flying high, but it’s back to the real world. To the eye doctor I go!

Have a wonderful Thursday!!


Would you consider yourself adventurous? What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. What an amazing day! 1mile high!? I didn’t realise they went that high/that you could breathe that high!! Shows what I know…
    I think I’m becoming more adventerous, but I haven’t really had a chance to be reaaally crazy yet…swimming with sharks is on my bucket list though, does that count as crazy!?

    • yes!! swimming with sharks is crazy!! i went with great whites in south africa and you 100% MUST do it!! they even had to close the top of our cage at one point bc the sharks were breaching so high they thought they were gonna jump in!!! exhilarating :)

  2. ahhhhhhhh i loved every single one of these pictures!!! they look BEAUTIFUL, girl! i even got a little nervous when i saw the picture 6000 feet up. eek! i MUST do that! i’m sure there’s a big farm in pennsylvania that does rides! :)

  3. That is amazing! Looks like so much fun!!

  4. laura jean 08.05.2010

    wow! that was never something i had thought about doing before, but now it’s definitely on my bucket list!!

  5. and i am 100% adventurous. let’s see, i’ve gone cliff diving, bungee jumping, great white shark cage diving, ridden a donkey up the side of a VERY steep mountain in greece, parasailing, and a ton of other adventurous things. next is up skydiving!

    • Lindsay 08.05.2010

      was that donkey ride in santorini?! SO awesome! i also went cliff diving in greece…… and i had to go first! I think i am going to make my bucket list it is such a great idea!

  6. Mellissa 08.05.2010

    That is so cool! While I am not adventurous I have done zip lining in Costa Rica and Nicaragua

  7. Liz @ LBBakes 08.05.2010

    Woohoo, that’s awesome! That’s one of my bucket list items as well. Congrats on crossing it off. ;)

  8. Daisy 08.05.2010

    I love how you phrased the simplicity of the experience – fire, cloth and a basket. You and your Mom are the coolest, most adventerous women! Those pictures should be blown up and framed. all of them. incredible

  9. that’s awesome! i’m jealous. :)

  10. Deirdre 08.05.2010

    OMG what an amazing experience! I’ve always wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride. I was afraid of heights for years so I still think its a crazy thing that I go on big roller coasters or rides where they drop you.

  11. Heather 08.05.2010

    What a great experience – so glad you were able to cross it off your bucket list!

    My husband is deathly afraid of heights so I know he would not go up in one – but I would love to!

  12. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kristin, Lizzy. Lizzy said: amazing pictures! RT @iowagirleats Crossed Off the Bucket List: Hot Air Balloon Ride! […]

  13. Tina 08.05.2010

    Riding in a hot air balloon is now OFFICIALLY on my bucket list. That looks so amazing.

  14. Cate 08.05.2010

    Beautiful! I’ll have to add it to my bucket list ;) Or…make an official bucket list for that matter…

  15. Elyse 08.05.2010

    Congrats!! Not only did that look amazing, it looked like you had the perfect weather for it too :-) I am also scared of heights, but I might get over that and add it on my list as well! I am not ashamed to say that I am a total chicken, but I am learning to get over things so that I can have cool experiences like yours. I did get over my claustrophobia to go into a cavern when I was in middle school, and while I had a slight panic attack when they turned all the lights off haha it was still one of the coolest things I have ever done and I was so glad I made myself do it.

  16. I have fond memories when I was a child watching the hot air balloon festival in the Amana’s. Haven’t gotten to ride one yet, but I’d love to! Your photos are breathtaking!

  17. Beth @ bethcooks 08.05.2010

    OMG! That is amazing!! I love the pics. I am adventurous, but haven’t done anything super crazy. Midnight zip lining in St. Kitts and four wheeling through a rainforest….stuff like that. Soo much fun!

  18. Carrie 08.05.2010

    Neat! I keep forgetting about the balloon festival, and riding in one is on my bucket list as well. I need to mark it down on my calendar!

    I suppose the craziest thing I’ve done is skydiving.

  19. Becky 08.05.2010

    What an incredible, beautiful, and exhilarating experience! I love adventures. Someday I hope to sky dive…and bungee jump….and take a hot air balloon ride!!

  20. ElizabethMDS 08.05.2010

    BEAUTIFUL photography! Thank you for sharing!

    I gotta do that now… :)

  21. Mimi 08.05.2010

    Pictures never do justice to the actual views. So, if you’re pictures aren’t even as good as what you actually saw, then I’m sure it was one of the most amazing experiences of a lifetime! Plus, it is so cool that you added that to your bucket list just two weeks ago! (Mental note: add win $1 million to bucket list).
    P.S. I’m proud that I know what detassling is!

  22. Colleen 08.05.2010

    Wow! Those are some amazing views! Need to add that to my list. I definitely consider myself adventurous. So far the craziest thing I’ve done was tandem skydiving 7 yrs ago for my sister’s 30th birthday. Most amazing thing ever! The thrill of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, free falling, and pulling the cord was unbelievable. Of course, there were a couple spoken words of ‘shock’ while standing at the airplane door, but nevertheless it was amazing.

  23. jen 08.05.2010

    oh my gosh, i’m all nervous just reading this! Seriously, I think my blood pressure just went up!

    I literally laughed out loud at :
    “Bye Dad! (I’m sure he was having a panic attack at this point…) ;) ”

    Looks so beautiful, but somehow I think I would freak. Not a fan of heights or confined spaces, and while that basket looks WAY bigger than I thought it would be, there are ALOT of people on there!

    I guess I’m not really an adventurous person. Probably the craziest thing I’ve ever done is jump off a waterfall on my honeymoon. It was fun, but I was still scared that I was going to slip and bash my head open on the rocks. I did it a few times though, totally worth it!

    I really should try more adventurous things! ;)

  24. J 08.05.2010

    WOW looks like so much fun!! Great photos!

  25. Dani 08.05.2010

    What fun! I especially love the reflection picture. Great photography!!

  26. Sara 08.05.2010

    That looks so fun! I would love to do something like that.

  27. Ms.S 08.05.2010

    I’m not a particularly adventurous person. I like to travel the world, but when it comes to crazy adventures, I’m fairly reserved. I blame it on my inability to break rules – a habit formed when I was little because I so hated getting into trouble. Not to say that I don’t have fun – I most certainly do, I’ve just never done anything particularly crazy.

  28. Julie S. 08.05.2010

    I knew you were gonna do it! Makes me tempted to try it even though I don’t like heights (I’m ok as long as I feel safe & secure). I even took my daughter tandem parasailing at Disney World this year. That is something you would enjoy if you haven’t tried it yet.

  29. Kim 08.05.2010

    Those were some amazing views from the balloon. What a great experience!! My husband took my skydiving for my birthday a couple of years. That’s the most adventurous thing I’ve done and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

  30. dmcgirl 08.05.2010

    Wowzer!!! That is Phenom!!! That makes for a georgious post! Okay, now that is on my Bucket List for sure, right after Zip Lining…well, whichever comes first.

    FANTASTIC!!! ;-)

  31. Valerie 08.05.2010

    that is so freaking awesome! i’m so jealous. i’m glad you were able to cross that off your bucket list. i’m sure it was a thrilling experience :)

    i’m semi-adventurous, but the grown up in me reminds me of the danger factor. i think the “craziest” thing i’ve done was jump of a rock about 300 feet into the water.

  32. Bridget 08.05.2010

    FUN!! What a great post… and a hot air balloon ride has definitely been added to my list. Awesome!

  33. Hope 08.05.2010

    OMG You’re so brave. I about had a panic attack just looking at the pictures. I would have to be lamaz-ing the entire time just to stay calm.

    But I’m glad that you were able to cross something off your bucket list! :)

  34. andie` 08.05.2010

    I’m so jealous! I’ve always wanted to do that!!! Beautiful pictures and a beautiful experience. :)

  35. OMG those heights would have me in a panic attack for sure. My heart in the pit of my stomach. It isnt that I am afraid of the height, rather I’m afraid of falling from that height, though it looks amazing. Maybe one day I will be able to work myself up to doing something like that. Congrats on one more check mark on your bucket list.

  36. jassy 08.05.2010

    i’m more of a risk-taker :)

  37. Wowsers looks like an amazing day!! good on you for doing it so soon after talking about it eh! no time like the present and all that!

  38. Mikael 08.05.2010

    That sounds and looks amazing! I’m jealous! Yep, I consider myself adventurous (not so much when I was a kid though). There are a million things I’d like to do but I haven’t had much opportunity to do most of them. Craziest thing: jumping off a waterfall in Hawaii.

  39. Dream Mom 08.05.2010

    The pictures were amazing! Sounds like you had a great time. What does that cost, if I might ask? I always wondered about that.

    Not sure if I am adverturous or not-I typically don’t like things with water (since I am deathly afraid) but I would like to bungee jump. The scariest thing I’ve done was this Road Rally type deal with Jeep, many years ago; I think it was called the “Jeep Jamboree” or something like that. They have this man made obstacle course with giant hills, etc. and you get into a Jeep and “you” drive with a guide person at your side. They want to show you how the Jeep maneuvers so you are going straight down these hills! I was scared to death that I was going to overturn the Jeep (but I didn’t!). Then, they had me drive over these 50 foot logs-there was this giant hole in the ground the size of a massive city swimming hole with “two” logs that lay over this hole much like the tracks you see when you go into a car wash only these are over this giant hole and you are supposed to “drive” the Jeep tires on the logs! I told this guy I had trouble lining my car up in the car wash! He was fearless though and told me I could do it. I wasn’t sure if he was nuts or what but he was totally confident in that role. He made me do it. It was exhilarating to say the least! And what fun when I was done! To top it off, my husband was right behind me in another Jeep so that was extra pressure since I knew he’d be telling the story to whoever would listen when we were done, lol! It was so much fun!

  40. Dream Mom 08.05.2010

    I forgot to say they weren’t just hills, they were hills with giant rocks and an extremely rugged terrain that went straight down. OMG!

  41. Lena 08.05.2010

    wow! totally cool! wish i could ride on one too! the scenery is breath-taking!!

  42. Amber 08.05.2010

    That is so amazing!! We were out at the balloon festival last night. We really enjoyed it. I thought I would totally freak out in one of those things, but now I want to try it! What a great experience!!

  43. Good for you, girl. I literally would have thrown up. I hate heights!! Your pics are gorgeous though. Thanks for letting me live vicariously through you!

  44. ashley 08.05.2010

    Wow! You took some awesome pics – now I really want to ride in a hot air balloon too!

  45. Ellen 08.05.2010

    WOW!!! Kristin, these pictures are amazing! I am soo jealous!! My family took a hot air balloon trip in Burgundy, France and it was the most amazing thing ever! I never knew the Iowa countryside was so beautiful!!

  46. JennyV 08.05.2010

    I’ve wanted to ride in a hot air balloon ever since them in Colorado (I thought it would be cool to be in the mountains!) Your pictures actually put me in awe of the landscape we have in Iowa and will definitely put Indianola on my agenda!

    As for crazy — nothing too crazy yet! Just whitewater rafting — and I did not hit too big of rapids!

  47. I am having a panic attack just reading this! SCARY! But I definitely want to face my fear one day and try it out. I bet the views are spectacular!

  48. Wow, that looks amazing!! What an experience. It does look scary though!!

  49. Angharad 08.05.2010

    That looks amazing! I went sky diving in New Zealand and I’m pretty sure that’s where I fully developed my fear of heights! I was the only one who wasn’t scared going up but who pretty much booked it coming down! Terrifying!!
    P.S. SUPER happy about the humidity going the hell away for a couple days – it’s been unbearable!

  50. dmcgirl 08.05.2010

    Hey there,

    I am so curious. I was reading something and it led me to the Iowa Register and low and behold you are on there Featured Blogger list!!

    How do you get to be in so many mags and newspapers? Is it because of your job?

    I would really like to know because I would LOVE to try to get as much publicity as you seem to have!

Leave a Comment