I thought we would take a break from all the “work” and share a really cool experience with you. Damion and I recently celebrated our 14th, yes 14th anniversary! We wanted to do something special, so we decided it was the perfect opportunity to try a new adventure…riding in a hot air balloon! We watch them land around our neighborhood almost every morning and have even helped land them (HARD WORK by the way!), but had never built up the courage to ride in one. As expected, we were a little nervous, well maybe just me. The group met at our predetermined location in Healdsburg about 5:30 in the morning (the 4:00 wake up is the contributor to our sleepy, morning, no makeup faces) and a limo took us all to the launch site. There, they had the balloon inflated on it’s side.
From that position, they tip it up and you climb in the basket. This particular balloon is one of the four largest in the United States. We had 24 people in the basket I believe! It was huge. The pilot asked if anyone was scared. I think I was the only person that raised my hand. He said “You should be. You’re riding in your grandmother’s laundry basket with a cotton dry cleaning bag with a huge flame underneath holding you up.” Great. Thanks for that. Actually, it is quite safe and the pilot was incredible with the level of control he had over the vessel! When you ascend, it feels smooth and surreal, just like you’re rising up in a elevator..you’ll see my reaction below. I’m not really sure how clinging to the basket was supposed to help, but after a while, you just couldn’t help but enjoy the view and the ride!
If you look closely in the distance, you can see two other hot air balloons cruising. This was around the Santa Rosa area. Because you’re traveling with the wind, the ride is so smooth and wonderful. You don’t even feel like you’re moving, it’s more like the scenery below you changes.
After learning about what to look for, we all helped scout the perfect place to land. The pilot showed off his skills by placing us down ever so gently in the middle of a private field. It was barely a bump. Then the task began of squeezing all of the air out the envelope (colored part) and compressing the 2,000 lbs of nylon for transport! Here you can see clearly the size of the flame and the balloon compared to the size of the crew.
Overall, this was an incredible, incredible experience. We highly recommend it and would do it again in a heartbeat!!! Some great companies that can help you cruise the Napa Valley and pass right over our house are Balloons Above the Valley and Napa Valley Balloons. Let us know when you’re coming and we’ll go outside and wave as you pass byWe hope you try it!