Whether soaring in a hot air balloon or freefalling on a skydive, you’re guaranteed picturesque aerial views at Above the Rest Hot Air Ballooning & Skydiving. On 45–60 minute hot-air-balloon rides, an experienced pilot and up to 10 passengers glide above the earth in a wicker basket, propelled by wind and an occasional flock of friendly geese.
Located on the entertainment-rich grounds of the Lake Perris Fairgrounds, the Perris Auto Speedway has housed an 8,000-seat temple to transmissions and high-octane action since 1996. When the half-mile clay oval track hosts the Sokola Shootout––with USAC/CRA Sprint cars and California Lighting Sprints––it will be a night full of roaring engines, fast laps, and the manly musk of combustion-engine fumes. Races feature a field of open-wheeled automobiles piloted by drivers protected only by their wits and a roll cage.
It can take a long time to build up the courage to skydive?and then, whoosh, the big moment passes in literal moments. Luckily, Skydive Perris lets you draw the experience out a bit. The company's Sensory Overload package, for instance, allows fledgling jumpers to try two indoor skydiving sessions in a 95-foot tunnel, followed by a very outdoor tandem jump from an airplane that soars to 12,500 feet. The instructor won't pull the cord until 5,000 feet, giving guests an entire minute to experience a free fall.
After alighting, visitors head down to the onsite restaurant, Bombshelter Bar & Grill, to watch a DVD of their flight on a big-screen TV. As their adrenaline cools on the windowsill, they can unwind on the bar's patio or with a dip in the adjacent pool before turning in for the night at one of the bunkhouses. If guests find themselves dreaming about the high-octane experience, they might consider returning for training in solo free falls or advanced group jumps, which teach participants how to form their bodies into patterns spelling "Look Ma, No Gravity!"
In 1782 the Montgolfier brothers launched their first hot air balloon into the sky, where it rose to great heights before exploding. More changes were made—and promises to their father they would not personally fly in it—before they made their next attempt. A year later, three unlikely substitutes boarded the silk balloon: a sheep, a duck, and a chicken. The flight, witnessed by King Louis XVI, was a success, and the passengers returned safely. From that point on, countless inventors would make modifications until hot air ballooning became the safe and scenic trip it is today.
California Balloon Rides continues the tradition in balloon rides over Temecula, Perris, Del Mar and Palm Springs. Passengers simply show up at the designated time—typically early morning—and help prepare the balloon and basket, then sit back and enjoy the trip above the beautiful Southern California landscape. A “chase crew” picks clients up at the end of the flight and returns them to the launch site for a champagne toast.
The staff at Adventure Balloon Rides does more than merely steer giant balloons through the sky. As 38-year veterans of the industry and aerostatic technology experts, they also consult for NASA, certify future pilots in their training school, and even make movies and commercials with the help of their in-house special-effects team. For example, they contributed their skills to episodes of Portlandia.
They built their business around sharing their love for flying, though, which is something they still do every day if the weather permits. Their signature flight includes an opportunity to help set up and inflate a balloon before soaring over stunning Californian vistas. After the journey, a champagne toast concludes the trip before they take their guests to the Bomb Shelter Cafe for a full breakfast.
It's a clear day, the blue sky stretching on into the distant horizon. Over a nearby hill, a strange shape appears. Round and colorful, it floats serenely, leaving viewers on the ground to wonder if they've somehow stepped into Around the World in 80 Days. This isn't science fiction, of course. It's just another day for the operators at California Balloon Rides. Since 1975, they've maintained one of southern California's finest hot air balloon fleets. Using a mixture of time-tested know-how and modern aerostatic innovations, they lead breathtaking tours over the rolling hills of Perris-Temecula Valley. Trips are leisurely affairs, with pre-flight snacks and celebratory post-flight champagne toasts along with breakfast at the airport cafe, adding extra bits of luxury to already memorable outings.