Balloon Ride in Napa Valley

On Wednesday, we awoke at 4:30am to board an early morning balloon ride through Napa Valley.  Well, kind of Napa Valley.  We were actually chased out of Napa Valley by thick fog so instead took our flight in nearby Central Valley, where lots of the country’s food is grown.

First the “inflation.”  We were all careful not to call it a “blow up.”

My guy, Ryan.

“Gregory the Great”

Our balloon, “Victory.”

I was obsessed with these cannons and the fire.  315,000 cubic feet of air.

The balloon (empty) weighs 700lbs, the basket and tanks add 1300lbs, and the 20 passengers about 3,000lbs to total 2.5 tons.

After takeoff, the balloon flies up and away.  The pilot can ONLY direct the balloon UP or DOWN, so the “steering” is at the mercy of the wind.  The crew drives around on the ground following the balloon and picks it up when it lands.  They are definitely working hard.

Planes are buzzing around, showing off for us.

I don’t know why the white haze surrounds the shadow of the balloon.

On the ground, the crew releases a small, black helium balloon so the incoming balloon can determine which way the wind currents are blowing.

We had a great time!

  • MillaJuly 9, 2010 - 09:55

    OH MY GOODNESS this is awesome, awesome, awesome Randi!! I would have that photo of the balloon’s reflection in 20×40 on my wall. 🙂 Thanks for sharing these photos… I’ve always wanted to do that.

  • MillaJuly 9, 2010 - 09:56

    p.s. I meant 30×40 🙂

  • krissy fultonJuly 9, 2010 - 10:20

    when you’re all famous. dont forget the little people. can i enter you in a contest? i dont know of any…but ill find you one 🙂 bc youll win.

  • MaryJuly 9, 2010 - 10:32

    So fun, Randi! I’m living vicariously through you!

  • PatriciaJuly 9, 2010 - 11:51


    You speak my language. What a pleasure and priviledge it is to enjoy your visions. Keep up the fantastic work!

    Patricia Bolton

  • sisterJuly 9, 2010 - 15:00

    i love all the colors in this post!! (o:

  • BrianaJuly 9, 2010 - 15:51

    Looks like you two are having a fabulous trip! Tim and I have hiked Half Dome – crazy…. yep, we went UP those granite steps. Love love love all of the shots – have fun the rest on the rest of your vacay!

  • Pauline MoriarityAugust 2, 2010 - 11:30

    what a beautiful sight Your husband and your yourself look very pleased with the trip and those pictures are OUTSTANDING..Love ya

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