It was going to be a spectacular day. My wife and I were up bright and early Sunday morning (well maybe not so bright, but definitely early) and out the door by 5:15am, headed off to Temecula Valley and a dawn sky filled with balloons! Hot air balloons that is!
A few weeks ago I surprised my wife with her first ever hot air balloon ride. She’d been wanting to try it for years so I decided the time had come to scratch balloon ride off her bucket list. It was quite an incredible experience, floating through a clear blue sky, over five thousand feet in the air, we could see for miles and miles in every direction. It was fantastic! I look forward to the next time.
Sunday was to have been an equally spectacular experience. The Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival was moving into day three of their celebration. To begin Sundays festivities, more than 50 hot air balloons would be launching from the festival grounds near Lake Skinner. I could hardly wait to see it! There were about ten balloons launched the morning that we took our ride and that was pretty spectacular so I could only imagine what watching fifty balloons launching at the same time would be like. Yes, I was certain it would be an experience well worth losing a few hours of sleep for!
WHAT WE WERE EXPECTING TO SEE!
The drive to Temecula was quick and quiet. Traffic was very light as we sailed southbound along the 57, 71, and 91 freeways. It took us about 20 minutes to get to Corona and the 15 freeway south. On our previous trip because of heavy traffic , it had taken us nearly an hour to reach Corona and more than am hour and a half to get to Temecula, but at the rate we were going, we’d be there in an hour. To that point the weather had been beautiful. The skies over Corona were clear and starry. I was anticipating equally as beautiful skies over Temecula and imagined the balloon launch would be a sight to behold!
Exactly one hour later we were in the heart of wine country and heading towards the Lake Skinner launch site. My excitement was long gone as we slowly plugged along, things were not at all what I’d imagined. The weather there was not at all what we’d hoped for, I believe the following photos tell it all!
That’s right, we got fogged out! When we got near the festival site we were greeted by a long line of vans pulling gondolas, followed by an even longer line of cars pulling out of the site. I figured they were headed for higher ground looking for a break in the fog so they could launch.We turned around and followed them for awhile but eventually gave up and headed back down into Temecula. To say we were disappointed would be an understatement. We had really wanted to see all those balloons launched in mass. I couldn’t believe our bad luck.
We stayed around Temecula for a few hours and even went to the 7:15 mass in Murrieta while we were waiting. By 9am the fog was still thick so we gave up and headed for home. No balloon filled skies for us this time around. Guess we’ll have to wait until next year!
Oh what might have been!