I have decided while my kids are small to start to venture out and explore my own backyard. After all, people come from all over the world to see the Napa Valley and San Francisco maybe I should stop complaining about being stuck in traffic behind a tour bus and start being a tourist myself!
My adventure begins on our 7th wedding anniversary. A big item on my husband’s bucket list was to ride in a hot air balloon. Boom! Hot air balloon ride over the Napa Valley booked. Happy anniversary to us! The day started pre-dawn. But the fog was too dense so we were moved to the alternate launch site over the hills (ie no longer over the Napa Valley). Given that my first hot air balloon ride was in Egypt over the Valley of the Kings I was not expecting to be wowed. The ride was less than spectacular. Over an hour in the air to go 2.3 miles. There was no wind. I walk faster than that! So it was rather disappointing but it’s checked off the list now.
I decide to get some nice hot air balloon photos after our disappointing anniversary ride and go to the Sonoma Hot Air Balloon Classic. So I get up before dawn and head out. The traffic was so bad I ditched my car at a park a couple miles away and just walked. Thankfully I did. I got there at dawn and the first hot air balloons were just standing up. I had dreams of taking awesome photos as all 30 balloons were in the air above the Napa valley… Then an hour into the event the wind started to pick up.
The main launch was scheduled for 7 AM. The wind was really starting to pick up. Balloons were starting to bump into each other on the ground. The crews were struggling to keep their balloons up. Then it happened… a HUGE gust came through and the balloons started to deflate almost in slow motion as people were running and screaming to avoid getting stuck under the balloons as they collapsed onto the crowd. (I don’t know why, they are made of lightweight fabric). I was chuckling on the little grassy hill I was waiting on for the main launch watching the chaos. Then the crowd started to run my way and I realized I need to get up and move or get trampled. I quickly got to my feet, grabbed my yoga mat and got out of the way. Shortly after they called off the festival and started packing up the balloons.
I never got to see them all in the air. It was rather disappointing. I decided to do a google search and found another hot air balloon festival a couple hours away from me in the Sacramento area in a few months. I plan on going and hopefully finally achieving my dream of beautiful photos of lots of hot air balloons in the sky at the same time. Fingers crossed for good weather. So far I have had a thick layer of our famous San Francisco Bay fog and our Napa Valley winds. The third time is the charm right?
Only time will tell…