15 years ago, Tom and I awoke and prepared for an adventure together that would be memorable and fun. Happily, the adventure continues. Here is how it started.
Picture taken from Napa Valley Aloft’s website.
The plan was for a private celebration on board a hot air balloon. I dressed in my wedding gown, and Tom wore a tuxedo. DD was dressed in a tux too. They looked sharp. We met the ministers (John & Mary) at about 5:00 a.m. It was cool day and the leaves on the trees in Yountville were gorgeous. We got the pre-flight instructions and then boarded the van for the take-off to this adventure.
We were excited and nervous, but also had our amusement too. Previously, Tom had jokingly said that I had chosen this venue for our nuptials so that his only means of escape would be to bungee jump off the side of the balloon. Having remembered this, my plan was to slip a short bungee cord into Tom’s tuxedo pocket. I figured that he would find it when he slid his hand into his pocket. Being so proud of my idea, I went to execute the plan only to find another bungee cord already there. I smiled, said nothing, and slipped the other bungee into his other pocket. We had a good laugh when he discovered them both.
Although the journey was planned for a flight over Yountville, we were told that it was too foggy to lift off there. I was worried that my day was shot, when they told us that there was a different place that they use to launch the balloons when this happens. Instead of the changing leaves, we would be treated to views of farmland. *Okay*
We drove to the launching spot, where all of the other balloon companies were gathered and we waited our turn. By the time we were set to go, the wind had picked up a bit. The wind made it challenging to blow the hot air from the fire into the balloon (with is sideways on the ground) without setting it on fire. Somehow, they managed to fill it up enough to put it upright. They had Reverend Mary, DD and me get into the basket with the pilot and about 8 men pulled on these ropes to get the balloon upright. We were nearly upright when a big gust of wind got hold of the balloon and pulled our basket sideways on the ground. The pilot’s foot got injured and she didn’t want to proceed with the launch.
I felt bad for her, but my special day was in jeopardy. I took a deep breath as some discussions occurred. At last they had Plan C: we got back into the van and drove across the farm to where their other balloon was landing. It was upright so the wind was not an issue. The folks inside all got out and that pilot changed gas tanks as we all loaded inside the basket. Then, we magically just floated up into the air.
I can’t describe the feeling, but I can remember it well. It was wonderfully effortless and the sights were amazing. I never thought farmland would look so beautiful as it did from that balloon. The ceremony was equally as beautiful. And at the point just before Tom said, “I do”, we heard a long scream from down below. We looked down to see people bungee jumping off of a crane! We laughed as Tom felt his bungee cords. They were pretty short – even with two the choice was easy. He said, “I do.”
Through the years we have been hit hard by gusts of wind of sorts, but we have also enjoyed effortless and amazing times too.
For more information on how hot air balloons work, check out this interesting website that I found.