Monday, November 18, 2013

Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride Over Temecula Valley

I recently went on a press trip to Temecula Valley to visit their wineries and attend the CRUSH gala, but on the last morning I also had the chance to go on a sunrise hot air balloon ride!

We got picked up super early, because they have to drive around to find the right wind conditions somewhere they can set up.
The setup takes a bit of time. The had to lay out a large tarp on the ground first so the balloon doesn't get damaged. The workers are all buff guys. At first I was wondering why, but seeing them at work made me understand. You really need to be fit to deal with that giant balloon.
Blowing up the balloon ... first with a giant fan, then start the "hot air" bit.
After they're done inflating the balloon, they set it upright and we got in. The basket is actually compartmentalized and each compartment fits 2-3 people. I guess that makes sense, they don't want you running around all over while flying? Perhaps there are other reasons for them, but regardless, there's not much room to move around.
With where we took, one of the first sights was the orange grove. At one point we got so low that the basket grazed the top of the trees and you can smell the wonderful citrus.