Hot Air Balloon-Sonoma, California

Took a short trip to Sonoma valley for a last grasp at summer before the winter rains of Seattle. We arrived by late afternoon and with a longer than expected stop at the Russian River Brewery in Santa Rosa settled in at a lovely vacation cottage for the weekend. We had arranged for a hot air balloon ride and with an early start of 6am left the fog of Sonoma Valley and were shuttled to the next valley over, Green Valley, where we were greeted to blue sky and sunshine. Once the balloon was inflated our group climbed into the basket and the captain hit the burners and we climbed vertical above the brown hills. I looked straight down as we drifted over small black dots that were livestock grazing. The occasional roar and blast of hot air would lift us from a gradual constant descent and rise as our air cooled and reheated inside the balloons fabric. A slight breeze kept pushing us in a southerly direction toward a retirement community and even though we tried several different elevations we kept drifting in a direction the balloon captain would rather not go. Eventually we landed in a dry rocky river bed on a ranchers private property which took a four wheel drive truck to retrieve us. I helped deflate the balloon and pack it in a large canvas bag, a little more work than I felt I should have paid for.