In another life, I must have been a bird. I long to be in the sky, soaring over the mountains, the ocean, the trees, the world. Any opportunity I can get to have an unobstructed view from the sky, I take it. I revel in it. I cherish it. Last weekend, I went hot air ballooning in Temecula with California Dreamin Balloon Adventures and I soared over Temecula in a chariot in the sky.
California Dreamin Balloon Adventures departs from Vindemia Winery in Temecula for their sunrise flights. We arrived and we were checked in and ready to go before the roosters started to wake the valley. Our host greeted us at our car and showed us to the registration desk. The winery had a quit beauty that I welcomed at that hour.
Our California Dreamin Balloon Adventures flight begin at sunrise. We were driven to the launch site and we watched as the balloons came to life. Once our balloon was filled, we crawled into the basket and lifted off. It was already hot but I was distracted by the surrounding beauty.
Many other balloons launch from the same spot, creating a mini balloon festival of colors in the sky. The panda-shaped balloon was my favorite but the bright colors of the other balloons created a stark contract against the greens and browns of the wineries.
We rose and fell in the sky with the other balloons like two double Dutch ropes passing each other. When we dipped down over a winery, I felt like I could reach out of the basket and touch the grapes. I didn’t know the pilots had such control over the balloons. He could have landed on an egg without breaking it, or in this case, a grape.
When the burner was silent, sounds were heightened. I could hear the wind and the other balloons. Although there were other people in the basket, they were silent too. We were soaking it in.
The temperatures proved to be too much for me and at one point, I had to sit in the basket to avoid a dizzy spell. The pilot was quick to respond and offered me a cold bottle of water. He asked if I wanted to land and have the van pick me up but I continued on. His quick reaction and access to water was the turning point. I was grateful that he was prepared and a little embarrassed that I wasn’t.
After an hour of catching the wind, we landed where we took off and we were driven back to Vindemia Winery for breakfast. We sat at a bistro-style table, sipped champagne, and ate fruit, cheese, and breads. I looked out over the winery and the valley and I was already planning my next California adventure bucket list experience.