Colorado (Cont'd)


We continued north over ranches and wooded foothills, the sun dodging in and out from behind clouds.


Photo: Marjorie Walters


Photo: Marjorie Walters


Finally, we flew out over a small lake. On the far shore I could see some empty fields, so I called Bob on the radio and told him I would be landing there.


Photo: Howard Rachlin


Photo: Marjorie Walters


Photo: Patricia Burk


Photo: Marjorie Walters



Bob walked out through a field to the edge of the lake, where he met me as I landed.

Photo: Patricia Burk




We walked the balloon out to the road. A number of the inflation volunteers had come along on the chase and got to try some tethered cluster ballooning, until the wind came up and we deflated the cluster.

Photos: Marjorie Walters





Cowboy Bob

That evening there was a dinner at Bauer House for the balloonists and the local festival sponsors, where we were invited to dress up in Western style. I didn't look too much like Roy Rogers, but was told that I might pass as a Navajo.

Marvin Begay

Cowgirl Marj





One other nice thing about the flight in Mancos was learning that two of the inflation crew volunteers from the Colorado Springs disaster, Jack Hawkins and Crystal Blake, came out to again help. I had not actually had time to talk to either of them in Colorado Springs, and they did not know each other, but these otherwise sane-looking people each saw that I would be in Mancos on my website and decided that helping me fly in Colorado was worth the six-hour drive to the other side of the Rockies. Jack quoted Shakespeare's "kill all the lawyers" to me, suggesting that a broad interpretation of that might include the FAA as well; Crystal just said that she really wanted to see me fly.

Having the two of them participate in a successful cluster balloon flight was a kind of vindication, and helped me put the taxpayer-funded nastiness in Colorado Springs behind me. Maybe you can't always beat injustice in America, but it's a big enough country that you can run away from it. Sometimes that's good enough.

Jack Hawkins


Celebration XXXIII

Crew Chief: Bob Dunnington

Special Thanks to: Mancos Valley Balloon Festival, Bill Whidden, Bobbi Black (Bauer House Bed and Breakfast), Carol Weiner (Seasons Hot-air Balloon Team), Patricia Burk, Mancos Times, inflation volunteers.

The pilot gratefully acknowledges Patsy Buchwald and the Colorado Balloon Classic for supporting the initial Colorado flight attempt.

Photographs and Video: Patricia Burk, Mancos Times, Howard Rachlin, Crystal Blake, Marj Walters, John Ninomiya










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