This Sunday we fueled our inner child with our very first hot air balloon ride. As a child I’m sure we have always had that dream to just hop on one and fly far away. Well not only has it been on our bucket list, but my wife just like the burner in the hot air balloon propelled the heat up inside of me again to live up to a childhood fantasy. So I surprised her, us with a sunrise hot air balloon ride.We got up early in the am and drove towards Perris Airport. As we arrived all the passengers were checking in by weight. The Hot Air Balloon attendants started grouping passengers by weight so we can then hop into the chase vans they would use to keep track of the first hot air balloon route. Since hot air balloons do not a have a set landing.
All depends on the weather and direction the winds take them. We were the second batch of passengers. We were instructed to step in as the others from the first batch stepped out in order to keep the hot air balloon from flying away. It definitely reminded me that in life we all need to work together to make things work. It required lots of teamwork and effort. So as we stepped inside the basket ,well climbed in the basket. We were assigned to corner compartments to even out the weight in the basket. ( By the way Betsy was the a celebrity rider) The hot air balloon crew then gave us a signal and we were up up and away. As we ascended into the heavens we can feel the silence that surrounded us. It was so peaceful so quiet. The wind was calm and the air was perfectly warm. I loved seeing the shadow of our balloon against the hillsides of Temecula.
There’s no feeling of speed or ascension, yet you can see that you’re moving. It’s like standing 1,200 feet in the air and you’re basket resting on an invisible mover, gliding over the countryside below. My favorite part was doing this with my wife for the first time and seeing the inner child in her come alive. We were in the air for about 45 minutes just gliding in the majestic heavens. The pilot then started to spot out a landing site. We asked how and watched how. All was based on time of day, and geographical knowledge attained from his flying area. The winds did pick up so the pilot did instruct us to turn sideways, crouch down and bend our knees slightly to soften the impact. The landing was a little rough but fun. Again took lots of teamwork. Half of us had to jump out of the basket and were to hold and tip the basket sideways and then hold on to handles as the other half of passengers laid down in the basket while the crew deflated the balloon and wouldn’t take off again. The chase vans were already out in the field we landed on to then take us back the bomb shelter. Where we ended the flight with a traditional Champagne tradition that started in France in 1783, when upon landing the pilots would celebrate with a toast. We also were given official Aeronaut certificates for completion of our safe flight.