"Being Higher than a Kite!"


I got high this weekend. I haven’t been that high since my wife and I flew to Vegas last year! I have to tell you it was pretty cool!  My wife even joined me! In fact the whole thing was her idea. She been wanting to do it for a long time now.  Yeah, it was a real trip! Beside my wife and I, nine others joined in. It was a bit nerve racking, but once all of us were loaded we were able to relax. Yeah Jeff fired it up and off we went! We all got high! The experience was awesome and lasted nearly an hour and a half.  Coming down was more difficult than I thought it would be, but we all survived. Afterwards we all chowed down on pastries, fresh fruit and champagne! Awesome!

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat! I would even like to do it alone!  It was beautiful and so peaceful. Everyone should try it at least once. Personally I wouldn’t mind doing it on a regular basis, maybe even everyday. Of course I would never be able to afford it. It’s a little expensive, but a totally cool experience! You’ve got to try it!

I tell you, there is absolutely nothing like the experience of hot air ballooning!  You Get loaded into the over-sized wicker basket, then the pilot fires up the open flame, propane heaters and slowly but surely you begin to rise into the sky, getting higher and higher! suspended beneath a big nylon multi-colored balloon. What a trip!

My wife has talked about doing a balloon ride for years. I thought it was about time to oblige her with a little surprise ride. We were going to be in Temecula for the weekend so I booked us a ride with a company called ‘A Grape Escape Balloon Adventure.” Sunday morning we got up early and headed up into wine country under the pretense of watching the balloons take off. One winery we’d been to on Saturday advertised their “Breakfast With the Balloons” at 6am, so that was our supposed destination.

We pulled into the parking lot about 5:45am. My wife asked why we were stopping at this particular winery instead of the breakfast one? I looked over at her, smiled and said,”because we’re going up!” She looked stunned. “That’s right, were taking a ride! Let’s go!”  Half an hour later we were high in the skies above Temecula wine country! It was a perfect morning for our ride, a beautiful, clear day!  Our balloon pilot gave us an incredible ride. Unlike the other balloons, who stayed at around 1500 feet or so, ours took us up to a height of 5300 feet. The dozen or so other balloons looked small as they drifted far below us. It was an awesome experience. The view of the Temecula Valley and surrounding area was spectacular! And I couldn’t believe how quiet it was. The only time the silence was broken was when the pilot would fire up the flame heaters, otherwise the quiet was absolute. It was a very spiritual feeling.

After over an hour in the air we began our descent. Our pilot attempted to land a couple of time but changing wind currents caused the balloon to drift a little and we missed the landing opportunity. We were over open countryside for nearly the entire ride but now we were above a residential area. The pilot was trying to make his way to a field adjacent to a large church. He told us that the worse case scenario was that he’d have to put us down on the street. He said he’d had to do that a few times.  Fortunately he was able to bring us down in the field, but on the wrong side of a ravine that ran through the center of it. the ground crew who were there waiting for us raced across the field and grabbed the ropes to hold us down. The pilot then fired up the burners until we were several inches off the ground and the ground crew pulled us across the ravine to the other side.

Everyone was feeling relieved when we heard a voice on the walkie say, “you’re in my way!” We all turned and looked up and say another balloon making it’s approach and descending towards the field. Our pilot immediately fired the burners and in a few moments the crew was dragging the gondola across the dirt. It was a little bumpy, but they managed to pull us about 30 feet away giving the other balloon just enough room to land safely. It was a pretty exciting way to end our little air adventure! Afterwards we returned to the winery for some champagne, fruit and pastries. We even received a flight certificate from the balloon company, It was definitely a lot of fun. Like I said earlier, I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

You know I really think the best part of the whole experience was seeing my wife have so much fun! She loved it and that my friends is what’s important. After all these years she thinks she know me so well and can anticipate what I’m going to do, but not this time! I caught her by complete surprise this time around! It was great! I tell you it still feels pretty damn good when I’m able to surprise her like this. Real good…

Just Saying…



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