When you’re traveling, sometimes the most memorable things are the ones you simply happen upon.

Take our current trip to wine country, for instance. In our usual style, we were driving around one afternoon without a reservation for a place to spend the night and pulled into a little RV Park in Windsor, California. The manager told us that they’d stopped advertising because the park is being developed into a housing community, but they were still welcoming campers due to construction delays. We paid our money and settled in.

We went out to walk the dogs the next morning and the skies were full.

Hot Air Balloons - Windsor, CA

It turns out the 21st Annual Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic was being held at the local community park – walking distance from where we were staying! The balloons were out practicing for the big event, which would take place over the next two days.

Fortune smiled on us once again, as we were able to extend our stay through the weekend – likely because few people knew the campground was there!

Saturday morning was a bust for the balloons … winds coming from the wrong direction would have carried them into an area without a decent place to land. Sunday morning, however, was magical. While the sun rose we watched a dozen balloons launch.

Sonoma Star from Santa Rosa, CA

Sonoma Star - Santa Rosa, CA

Sonoma Star - Santa Rosa, CA

Sonoma Star - Santa Rosa, CA

Sonoma Star - Santa Rosa, CA

The mechanics of it appear pretty simple:

  1. Lay the balloon – technically referred to as an “envelope” – on the ground.
  2. Lay the basket on it’s side and connect the two with cables.
  3. Use a large fan to blow cold air into the envelope.
  4. Turn on the burner and heat up the air so the balloon begins to lift.
  5. Tip the basket upright and continue to heat the air while your friends hold the balloon to the earth.
  6. Lift off!!

Freedom II from Sacramento, CA

Freedom II - Sacramento, CA

Freedom II - Sacramento, CA

Freedom II - Sacramento, CA

Freedom II - Sacramento, CA

Freedom II - Sacramento, CA

Even better, the whole thing was pet friendly! Big dogs, small dogs, and in-between dogs all came out to join in the fun.

Dogs at Balloon Festival - Windsor, CADogs at Balloon Festival - Windsor, CADogs at Balloon Festival - Windsor, CA

But this event went way beyond the dog loving crowd. For the cat lovers out there, we bring you:

Bob’s Cat from San Francisco, CA

Bob's Cat - San Francisco, CA

And, if you’re a fan of the fish, we have:

Sushi from Incline Village, NV

Sushi - Incline Village, NVSushi - Incline Village, NV

And now we’ll leave you to enjoy a few more pictures of balloons in the silence that makes this sport special.

Krayola from Palmdale, CA

Krayola - Palmdale, CA

Daydreamer from Windor, CA

and Dream Chaser from Forestville, CA

Daydreamer and Dreamchaser

Rubik from Boulder Creek, CA

Rubik - Boulder Creek, CA

Planning a pet friendly trip of your own? We’ll make it easy:
Pet Friendly Hotels | Pet Friendly Destinations | Pet Friendly Activities

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Category: Travel Destinations / Tagged with: California, Events