Sunday, July 10, 2016

Amazing Ride!


When I last blogged our Goodyear Blimp ride had been delayed due to weather as the Blimp got caught along the Oregon coast and can only fly in non-rainy conditions with very little wind.  The weather has frankly not been great and our ride was in jeopardy of being cancelled altogether.  We were supposed to go up on Friday but late Wednesday morning they called me and advised the pilots had looked at the weather forecast and it was a no go.  They rescheduled again for Saturday.  We decided that there was an extremely small chance of this trip actually happening for us so made a fast plan. If we were going to all the expense of taking the ferry over to the mainland and the ride was cancelled our trip would be a total loss.  Instead, we shuffled our hotel after a bit of begging and pleading (nonchangeable reservation with an extremely nice hotel staff who after the story was told changed our reservation) and called Mom to see if she could watch Buddy, our dog, for an extra day.   We then drove to Bellingham, Washington Thursday afternoon for a day of shopping on Friday.  The distance is a short 45 minute drive between Bellingham Washington and Abbotsford, BC so very doable on a short timeframe (good thing our passports are up to date).  We had a wonderful couple of days.  We bought a bunch of over the counter medications at half the price (even with our poor exchange rate), groceries and some clothing. In order to have any kind of duty free allowance you have to be gone from Canada at least 24 hours and we timed it so we met the requirement.  Unfortunately you have to be out longer to bring back alcohol which is a fraction of the price in the USA versus at home - but our mission was accomplished.  


We drove to Abbotsford Friday evening and at 2am I woke up to pounding rain and electrical storm.  I remember muttering to hubby - this does not bode well for our blimp ride :(.  Saturday morning arrived and it was just raining lightly.  By 9am there was the odd bit of blue peeking out between the clouds and the rain had stopped.  Happily, by the time we arrived for our ride the conditions were fine for the flight.  The blimp cabin is very tiny and it ended up being us, another couple and the pilot.  I got to sit right next to the pilot and it was one of the coolest things I've ever gotten to do.  I am so glad we made it a priority and spent the money to travel to Abbotsford for the ride.




It turns out we were on one of the last rides on this Blimp which is being retired as they have a couple new airships that are more aerodynamic.  There is no autopilot on this blimp and in order to get to the ground they have to accelerate and you dive down and up to take off, those being the only scary parts of the ride.  The pilot has two pedals that he can let out air to raise or lower the blimp.  The steering wheel looks like a wheelchair wheel and is to the side of the chair as you can see in one of these photos.  There is a ground crew of 20 that run out and grab the ropes at the front and back of the air ship to get it to the ground.  You climb up a small ladder to get on.  There are no seat belts and not much to hang on to.  The view from up there is incredible.











Our pilot exiting the aircraft

Two extremely happy Blimp passengers

Once you land you have to immediately get as far away from the blimp as possible as the wind blows it back and forth and you don't want to get hit by the cabin.  It was incredible and I feel so fortunate to have won the opportunity for a ride in the blimp and after two delays it actually happened.

Even better, due to the delays and the very large possibility that the ride was not going to happen The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company awarded not only me with 5,000 airmiles as part of our prize but gave hubby 5,000 as well.  We now have enough airmiles for about 10 trips between Alberta and BC, or 2 return trips to somewhere in the USA.  Pretty great - thanks Goodyear!!

My house is a mess, my dog needs walked, the travel fund is a little lighter, there is loads of laundry to do and we are behind on our business work - but we have some incredible memories from the past couple of days that make it all completely worth it!

29 comments:

  1. So glad you got to take your blimp ride. Sounds like a thrilling adventure.
    I.
    am.
    jealous.
    ;-)

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    1. I wish every one of you guys that reads this blog could get to go, it was so amazing. If they ever sell rides everyone should jump at the chance!

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  2. I am so glad it worked out well. I am more than slightly envious, but glad someone else got to do it and share the ride.
    I think Bellingham is a nice place. We here in the states are happy to supply your OTC needs too!

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    1. It is a crime how much OTCs cost in Canada. Just to give you an idea things like tylenol are a quarter of the price and half the price even with our crappy exchange rate.

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  3. That is so amazingly awesome! I'm so glad you got to experience that once in a lifetime opportunity. Your last photo came out so perfect. You should use it for your Christmas card this year.

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  4. Fantastic. What a great experience!

    We've always wanted to do a hot air balloon ride, but I can imagine that this would be even better. We'll do the hot air balloon eventually...but I doubt we'd ever get a chance to ride in the Goodyear blimp!

    www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

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    1. I've always wanted to do that - still do. It was totally freaking amazing - still can't believe I got to do it.

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  5. Wow what a nice ride! A blimp ride seems like so much fun! I am glad you got to do a little shopping too.

    Now go and take Buddy for a walk! lol

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    1. It was so much fun! And the shopping day was pretty cool too - all in all a fabulous couple of days

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    1. We loved it, I can't stop gushing about it

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  7. Wow I just add anther thing to my bucket list.
    Coffee is on

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  8. So, so happy you were able to go for the ride. What an amazing adventure! And, fantastic that you were able to make it happen (multiple times!) at short notice.

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    1. Normally we wouldn't have dropped everything to do it but this was such a fantastic opportunity I told hubby we needed to make it happen - and it did!

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  9. What a riot! We never saw the blimp, bummer... Now get that laundry done!

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    1. Laundry is done! I think the blimp stuck very close to Abbotsford since the weather was so crappy in case they had to land. I don't think they wanted to get more than 10 minutes from the runway. We flew over the fraser river and had some great views of all the farmers fields.

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  10. This looks absolutely amazing. Thanks for the vicarious thrill and thanks for sharing that great photo of the happy blimp passengers. ALL great photos!

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    1. It was amazing - hard to top really!

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  11. That is one of the coolest things ever!!! I'm so glad that it worked out and you got to go. Amazing!!!

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    1. Definitely one of my top lifetime experiences! Right up there with seeing the pyramids, meeting my husband, and swimming with sea turtles and stingrays.

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  12. So happy for you. Truly a one in a lifetime experience. Amazing how the weather cooperated.

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    1. I was like a little kid who wants to go to the zoo and the weather was just not cooperating. I tried not to get my hopes up and act like an adult but after having the experience so happy that we were able to go up.

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  13. I'm so glad the trip went ahead. Fancy it being small, I thought it would be massive inside! xxx

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    1. I was surprised the area where you sit was so small too - I was super happy to be able to sit next to the pilot. Very incredible experience.

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  14. living in ne ohio home of goodyear, blimp rides are used for charity fund raisers. We bid on one and was at 500 before we came to our senses, later to find out a young woman was outbidding us for a gift for her parents and would have topped us no matter! Good for you.

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  15. What an adventure! I'm so glad you got your blimp ride and a fun little trip along with it!
    hugs,
    Linda

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  16. That is so amazing. To get to ride in the blimp. I grew up with it flying the skies over my house. We shop a lot in Bellingham when we go down to check on our condo and the US mail we get there (our friend opens anything that looks important for us if we are gone for a long time). I keep a running list of things I know are cheaper (including liquor). When we fly Pacific Coastal we can take 50 pounds of baggage each and we usually fill up our quota. We save heavy item to drive north in our car during the winter months when flying sometimes is more problematic with fog and wind. Works out pretty well. The savings from one shopping trip can usually pay for our fares. - Margy

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