Getting High in Sonoma  (08/08/04)

Last updated 04/01/05                                                                                                                               

It's been a long time since my last birthday (in fact my next one is only 5 months away!), so I'll try to relate the wonder and excitement of my b-day gift. One word: awesome. Daria planned a wonderful trip which began with a visit to the Korbel winery where we got to see how they make Champagne and try a little of the fantastic brew (can't drink much anymore, but it's still fun to learn about this stuff). The trip to the winery and subsequent hike were just an aside -- the main purpose of the trip was to prepare for a hot-air balloon ride in Sonoma. We stayed in a wonderful bed-and-breakfast place, and had to promptly get up at 4:30AM (what a brutal birthday morning!) to prepare for the 6AM balloon ride. It was well worth it. The feeling is hard to describe: since you move so little, you're pretty much suspended in mid-air with wonderful views all around. Words fail me, so pictures will have to do.



Puneet w/ Barrels                Daria w/ BIG Barrels                Weird Bottling machine             Gotta try some bubbly   


That's purty  

Some sights from the Korbel Winery (ie: champagne factory)


van and balloon gondola                Use a large fan to blow up the balloon                That and a propane burner             Balloon getting bigger   

The steps involved in setting up a hot air balloon. First you gotta get it there (having a large van to tow the gondola helps). Then you lay it down on its side and use a fan combined w/ a propane burner to blow hot air and get the balloon to expand.

Like the inside of a tent                And there you go!                Puneet with the mehra balloon             And off we go!   

A few more steps, and off we go!

Sonoma Valley                Other balloons along for the ride                Hey my phone works!             can you hear me now?   

While taking in the breathtaking views, we decided to see how good Verizon's coverage really was, so Daria called her mom to tell her about the trip. "Can you hear me now?"

fun's over 

As always, all good things must come to a close. We enjoyed brunch along with a wonderful cake (courtsey of my wonderful wife) at a local cafe.