Up

A couple weeks ago I hinted at a birthday surprise from Zack…and even a little bit in my last post. Well, the wait is over (because I know you guys were just consumed with wonder of what it could be). Last Sunday we went for a hot air balloon ride.

This is big on so many levels. First of all…this is a bucket list item for me. But the biggest part is that it was ZACK’S idea. I figured I’d ride in a hot air balloon one day with a friend or something because it was understood between Zack and I that he would NOT be participating. He is terrified of heights and not a huge fan of flying in an airplane, so the idea of being in an open basket thousands of feet above the ground isn’t really his cup of tea.
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Well folks, never say never.
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Needless to say, I was pumped. Zack…not so much. He was literally only doing this for me (seriously, give this guy an award for being so awesome). We had to leave at 3:30am Sunday morning and drive out to Temecula,CA for our sunrise flight. Early morning, but I was way too excited to feel sleepy.
 
The people who run the balloon company (California Dreamin’) also have a vineyard (Vindemia Vineyards), and that’s where we met them, along with about 12 others, at 5:30am to head to our launch site. The balloons take off from different locations everyday depending on the wind, so we drive around for about 20 minutes before we found the “perfect spot.” And then the crew began inflating the balloons.
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They were sending 2 balloons up that morning. Our basket was Zack and I, along with 2 other couples and the pilot, and once inflated, our balloon was about 7 stories tall. We climbed into the basket, and before I knew it, we were floating up. It is an insane thing to experience and almost impossible to describe, but the balloon ride was so smooth. I actually didn’t realize we were off the ground until Zack mentioned it.
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Then up, up, up we went. We reached just over 4000 feet, and it was a perfect and clear morning. The views in every direction were amazing. We could see the snowy mountains, the Pacific Ocean, Catalina Island, Carlsbad, and even the Los Angeles skyline in the distance. Not to mention all the other hot air balloons around us. And to top it all off, Zack was having FUN. I’ve got to say, I was surprised at how calm he was before the flight and through take off. Maybe the fact that it was so early so his brain wasn’t awake enough to be afraid.
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We floated around for about an hour then just plopped the balloon down in a random field, popped open some champagne (a tradition for all hot air balloon rides), then drove back to the winery for MORE champagne, a little wine tasting, and breakfast.
If you’ve every considered or wanted to take a hot air balloon ride, I say DO IT! And if you’re telling yourself you’re too scared…don’t be. If Zack can do it then anyone can. Fact.
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XO – Courtney

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