But in spite of my trepidations (a minor fear of heights as well as the conviction that a nylon balloon cannot, in fact, support the weight of twelve people), I hoisted myself into the basket, tucked myself between the other passengers, and watched the sun rise as we lifted gently into the air.
To my great and pleasant surprise, the balloon ride wasn’t at all what I thought it would be. I had imagined a rather rocky, unstable flight, but instead it was smooth sailing all the way. The balloon rose and fell so gently that I hardly even noticed as we changed altitude. I quickly became comfortable and began to enjoy the view. Flying over the Temecula Valley, our pilot (of California Dreamin’ balloon adventures) pointed out landmarks in between noisy bursts of flame from the burner as he adjusted our course.
We gazed out over vineyards, smelled oranges as the balloon brushed the tops of citrus groves, and picked out a multitude of brightly colored balloons all around us. The only hiccup occurred during our landing, which took place in an empty field – in front of someone’s house. But the ground team offered a bottle of champagne to the family, and all was forgiven as their excited children watched the balloon deflate with rapt attention. Perhaps they even dreamed of flying that night, as I am sure to in the future.
As a child, Kelly Rosenfeld was thoroughly spoiled by parents who took her on yearly vacations and never told her to be a doctor instead of a writer. Today, she holds a degree in English and Creative Writing from UCLA, and has found a way to turn her childhood dreams into reality.