Archive for June 14th, 2016

Over Napa Valley

imageThere are many busy weekends in my life but this last weekend was a banner weekend. What does that mean? It was full of the greatest adventures and milestones. Saturday began at 5:30AM at the Napa Marriott where we met up with about 100 people to do a hot air balloon ride over Napa Valley. This is something I have wanted to do for years.  Six years ago I tried to book a ride in Sonoma County and found that there are not as many days of great ballooning weather due to the coastal location. Thanks to Ken Raith, pictured above, our group of five had an incredible ride this year to commemorate three birthdays.

imageThe ride was not without some challenges as our balloon did not want to inflat. There were five balloons that each held around 20 people. Once the other four balloons were in the air, the ground crews from all of them came over and helped our crew. Once we were in the air, it was obvious that Balloons Above the Valley is not the only company that gets people out at the crack of dawn for an early morning ride.image

imageI have driven up and down Hwy 29 in Napa many times but this was a view that I had never seen. We lifted off a bit north of the City of Napa and floated past the Veteran’s home (did you know that they have a golf course?) and traveled past Yountville in the quiet, cool morning air.  It was quiet other than the short bursts of butane flames to keep up afloat. This little estate is one thing that I have missed all these years!

The time in the air was about an hour which seemed like less than fifteen minutes. Our pilot, Russ, who travels from Minnesota every summer to balloon over Napa, set us down with a smooth landing in Alston Park, west of the city of Napa.  We headed back to the Marriott for a champagne brunch. It was the perfect way to celebrate the three June birthdays in our group.

imageNow this is just the beginning of my weekend as the brunch was over about 10AM!  Once I knew that the champagne was not effecting my ability to drive, I headed to Santa Barbara. Check in here a few days from now and see how the week is progressing!

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