Last Thursday, Mom and I had the amazing opportunity to fly up, up, and away over Temecula into Hemit in a giant balloon. Jealous yet? Not quite? Then take a little gander at these amazing snapshots--maybe they will change your mind...
We took off from a gorgeous winery at the crack of dawn.
Here is our balloon!
Here we are INSIDE the balloon!
Yup, I was having a good time before we even floated away...
I was really excited!
They started the fire, and up it went!
We're in and away!
Pilot Phil--he was quite amusing... He also provided us with champagne, cheese, crackers, and apples. Not too shabby!
We got up to around 3,500 feet!
There's our companion balloon!
We got to witness the fog rolling in--good thing it waited a bit or our flight might have been canceled.
Red hat over there was hilarious. He kept answering his phone and saying, "What are you doing, man? Oh, I'm in a hot air balloon." He found that so amusing that he started calling people just to tell them that he was in a hot air balloon.
Oh, look! It's our shadow!
Just chillin' in a balloon. No big deal...
We got to watch our companion balloon land on the edge of a golf course.
There is no way to steer a balloon, it's all done through wind currents and the pilot can only control whether he goes up or down to catch certain wind currents. A normal flight is between 45-60 minutes, but we got to stay up for 93 minutes to get into a good position to land. SO AWESOME! Phil had seen this field many times, but had never landed in it. He decided to give it a whirl.
See our chase vehicles following us? See the dudes racing towards us to catch our lines and pull us down? They do all the work--the pilot gets all the glory.
Run, Forrest, run!
And we had a successful landing! Good work, Phil.
We did it! And, we LOVED it!
Jealous now? Perhaps a little afraid? Don't be. Flying in a hot air balloon is much like parasailing--super quiet (except for when the fire goes up) and peaceful. You don't feel like you're moving at all. The basket is high up, so you feel quite secure. It's truly an incredible experience. I loved it as a ten year old and I still loved it as a twenty six year old. DO IT!
Oh, and I'd highly recommend Sunrise Balloons--they were awesome! Keep an eye out for Groupons!