Just a quick note for all those folks headed to this weekend’s 38th annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (October 3-11). As cool as you think it is to watch from the edges of the field as 700 hot air balloons from 17 countries lift off—and it is among the coolest spectacles you’ll ever witness—you simply must spring for one of the balloon rides that go up in the middle of each morning’s mass ascensions!
Now I know what you’re thinking: You’ve been up in a hot air balloon before and, while it was great fun, you’re not sure you really wanna lay out the dough for another balloon ride. Well, trust me on this one, you most certainly do. The rides provided by the festival’s official operator Rainbow Riders (no relation, unfortunately) take an already over-the-top adventure and turn it into one of my all-time favorite extraordinary experiences.