Northern California has much to offer. Some enjoy visiting the headquarters of huge tech companies, but beyond buildings and corporations, there are beautiful sites to see. One can watch the sunset at the beach with a warm jacket or drive up and down the coast to Big Sur or Sea Ranch.

Fleet Week

San Francisco, California

It was a tradition in my family to go to fleet week and watch the Blue Angels from the U.S. Navy. My Dad was in the Navy so he has tremendous support for them. He spent much time on a aircraft carrier ship. Although at times we couldn’t see the planes, the sound of them breaking the air was enough to get us excited. Somehow my sister and I came up with a tradition of doing things or going to places that bring back memories so birthdays started to be times of reminiscing.

We went to San Francisco to see Fleet Week. This brought us back to the time when we were little kids sitting and watching with our parents and brother. This time, we decided to watch Fleet Week in the middle of the bay on the San Francisco Belle. A few times the planes flew right over us. We couldn’t leave San Francisco without going to Over the Moon creamery, which has the creamiest ice-cream and for the first time, my sister tried House of Prime Rib, the best prime rib ever and it was worth the almost two hour wait to sit at the bar, at least for my sister. I had a headache from hunger so I didn’t eat much.

Hot Air Balloon Ride over Napa Valley

Napa, California

Flying on a hot-air balloon required rescheduling about two times. We meet at around 6:30 in the morning by a coffee shop, then relocate to where the balloons and baskets are located. The crew was already blowing up the balloons with the hot air. We had to climb into the basket. It’s like a giant basket with thick stands weaved together. Tanks are located in the center of the basket to feed the fire for the hot air. People were in different compartments in the basket so no one could easily hop from one side to the next. Each basket fit around 10 people, while other smaller baskets, around 4. I was a bit scared of the thought of being high above the ground on a balloon at first, but once we were up it was smooth sailing.

It was very peaceful and quiet, next to no noise. The only time it was noisy was when they turned on the burners to blow more heat into the balloon. It was seriously floating in the air the entire time until we had to land.

We landed on a field of grass and did not hit the ground hard. We slowed down enough to have a decent landing. Some baskets capsized upon landing, but it wasn’t painful as almost everyone in the basket laughed at the situation. I didn’t want the ride to end. It’s probably the smoothest ride above grade.