Hot air ballooning over Napa Valley, Calif., provides views of vineyards from a few hundred feet above the ground, according to pilot Lakshmi Vempati. "With hardly an indication of any movement, we drifted peacefully, almost one with nature," writes Vempati, who is also an engineer and project manager. Vempati took a hot air balloon ride through Balloons Above The Valley in Yountville, Calif.

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