Hot Air Balloon Update


I love sharing new accessible things with my readers, but sometimes I also have to let folks know when something isn’t accessible any more – especially when I’ve covered it before. And unfortunately that’s the subject of today’s post.

Mike Kijak was one of my favorite interviews of all time. If the name doesn’t sound familiar to you, he was the owner of Up and Away Ballooning over in Sonoma County. He pulled out all the stops and bought a very expensive custom-made gondola because he wanted to make his balloon flights wheelchair-accessible. He also purchased an accessible van, so wheelchair-users could get to and from the launch and landing sites. And he did this all not because he had to, but because he wanted to. He was a true pioneer.

You may have noticed that the previous paragraph is written in past tense. Well that’s because Mike sold the business – at least the name and phone number – to Shannon Eckerman and her husband. And since he didn’t sell the accessible equipment, the Eckerman’s can no longer provide accessible balloon flights at Up and Away Ballooning.

I have absolutely no idea what happened to Mike’s accessible equipment, but perhaps it will turn up some day.

And the good news is, that I’m working on a story about another accessible balloon operator, so stay tuned to for that.

One door closes – another door opens.