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For starters, I got to stick my head out of the window.
That was one of the many cool (literally, as well as a bit breezy!) experiences I had while aboard the Eureka, Airship Ventures’ 246 ft. zeppelin that came to town a couple of weeks ago. You may have seen it flying about the city last Wednesday. A few lucky individuals, including me, were invited to go for a ride. Cruising at about 1,000 feet and traveling at a comfortable 42 mph, the hour-long flight took us from the former McClellan Air Force Base to downtown, through East Sacramento, the Arden area, Carmichael and Folsom, offering a bird’s-eye view of our fair city. We spotted the usual suspects: Raley Field, the State Capitol, Sacramento State and ventured guesses on others. “I think that’s Whole Foods Market,” as well as some surprises, “Hey, my friend lives in that house!” Sure, I was impressed seeing all of the buildings, parks and houses as well as the bike trail I know so well from all my long runs. But my personal fascination while peering down on the world: the swimming pools. What can I say? I am a water baby; pools cause me to pause. And I had no idea there were so many of them in the Sacramento area!
The 12-passenger zeppelin—–differentiated from a blimp, we were told, due to its “rigid internal airframe”—offers a quiet, smooth ride. (The crew will cancel tours if the weather is stormy or the winds too gusty.) Every seat has a window—a large window—and a couple of them open. And unlike an airplane, you are not only allowed to move about the cabin, you’re expected to. The “loveseat” in the back of the zeppelin has a large wraparound window, the perfect backdrop for an engagement perhaps? Even the bathroom has a window—which prompted one British flight attendant to dub it “the loo with a view”—so those heeding Mother Nature’s call won’t miss a thing.
Want to take your own tour above the sky? The Eureka—the largest airship in the world and the only one (of three) in the United States— returns to Sacramento July 10. And the airship regularly tours above the San Francisco Bay Area, Monterey and Los Angeles. Prices start at $199 per person. For reservations, call Airship Ventures at (650) 969-8100. For more information, log onto airshipventures.com.