Ballooning over Napa
The air over Napa Valley was crisp and clear, amply suitable for a balloon flight over the lush green wineries. A little to the south, at the Napa Airport winds were gusting 20-30 mph and fog laced the valley, lowering visibility and hindering flight. But that was not a factor for us, as we raced north in vans to Yountville where Balloons above the valley has it’s launch site. The passengers were divided into two groups. Falling into the second group, we would participate in chasing the balloon of the first flight.
Reaching the launch site, we found the balloon already unfurled, inflated, and ready for liftoff. The first group of passengers boarded and within minutes were off with barely a whisper of sound. The balloon gracefully climbed, meandering at the mercy of the winds. The chase vans in due course trailed in the wake of the balloon keeping it in sight. Before long it was time to descend and land. A spot was found in the Meridian winery parking lot to land the balloon. As we watched, the balloon descended over the Meridian winery and to keep the balloon away from the planted area, a rope was used to yank it to safety.
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