Temecula: Sunrise Balloon Ride
It was 4:45am and it we had about 15 minutes to get ready to go.
Brittney and I had stayed up until 1am talking and laughing. She had flown into Los Angeles just the night before, and instead of going back to my house, I surprised her with a Motel 6 in an area she had never been to. Because what are friends for except to surprise them with sketchy motels in the dark?
It wasn't the motel that was the final destination though. As we drove through the dark morning, she still didn't realize that we were in Temecula, known for it's many vineyards as well as hot air balloon rides.
Even when I parked in the pitch black, all we could see was a house in the distance with the lights on.
I wish I could have recorded the moment she walked into that house. Still bewildered, it wasn't until she saw one of the t-shirts they were selling with a hot air balloon on it that she realized what was happening.
And then she smiled super big and looked at me like, "Are we actually going on a hot air balloon ride right now?"
That moment was worth everything. And I was happy to say yes, yes we were.
So we all got our available breakfast and then piled into a party van complete with neon lights and wrap-around seats that took us to the lift-off area.
Still dark outside, we watched as the sun slowly started to rise, and you could now make out all the wineries around us.
We observed as they began to prepare the balloons, blowing the hot air in before the whole thing was ready to stand up.
Our group split into two.
In celebration of her recent birthday, and probably for the next couple birthdays ahead, I was really excited to share this with Britt. They even had a little "Happy Birthday" banner they hung on the basket for her.
We all piled into respective basket compartments. Britt and I were lucky to get spots in the corners on the outside. (I found that being closer to the middle meant being closer to the fire, so it got kind of hot.)
And then we lifted off and up.
Our navigator was very experienced. He got us up as high as possible — in a safe way — and we were literally floating in the air, watching the sun rise along with the other balloons rising with it and us. It was serene.
Going for a hot air balloon ride was actually more enjoyable and fun than I even expected. But not in a "my adrenaline can't handle this because we're so high up and it's scary and I LOVE IT" kind of crazy way, but in a very peaceful, let's take a moment and appreciate this while it's happening kind of way.
I'm so glad I had the opportunity to experience this and see another sunrise with one of my best friend's.
See more photos from that day on the Sunrise Balloon Facebook page here.