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Hot Air Balloon

I have always been fascinated with flying. As a little girl I would have dreams about running incredibly fast and taking off. I would soar through the sky and it was magical. I came pretty close to matching that feeling with my first hot air balloon ride as part of my 49 Before 50.

Thanks to Magical Adventure Balloon Rides, I was able to experience a sunrise balloon tour over the beautiful Temecula Valley. It lived up to the hype but it was so much more peaceful than I anticipated.

The alarm clock went off long before the crack of dawn because our flights was timed to take off in order for us to be in the air at sunrise. I brushed my teeth, got dressed and sans any makeup or real attention to my hair, I headed out to the South Coast Winery to meet the group. It was cold and I was worried that I would freeze because of the altitude. My hosts assured me that it would be warm in the balloon because it is heat that causes it to fly.

Weather and wind control where the exact lift off and landing take place. We drove to a location that the captain identified as ideal for us to launch. I was surprised by just how huge the actual balloon was and how much the basket resembled something I would serve potato chips in at a Super Bowl Party.

Everyone climbed in and lifted off. I must admit that I felt a momentary smidge of panic as we left the ground. However, soon I felt like we were floating. The further up we went, the more at peace I felt. It was so quiet above the orchards and vineyards, and the scenery was breathtaking. The highlight was definitely when we broke through the clouds and soared above them.

The descent was a little more exciting than the take off as the winds dictated where we landed. There is no real soft landing for a hot air balloon and we were warned to brace for the impact of ground meeting the basket. The captain also prepared us that we would probably bounce back up into the air and it was normal. Once we actually made contact, the crew on the ground physically restrained the basket until some of the air was removed at it would stay put.

Glad I put this one on my 49 Before 50 list because I enjoyed in tremendously.