Georgia (cont'd)

It was dark when we returned to the park at 4 AM. Relayers were still out on the track, while other members of their teams were asleep in tents. The air was still. Scott and Melissa from the Relay committee helped round up some sleepy people, and we began inflating the balloons.


John Goddard and David Harwell, who were going to fly their hot-air balloons along with me, showed up at about five-thirty. They had driven down from Griffin, an hour to the north, and reported seeing some flags standing straight out from their poles on the way, although in Reynolds it was still calm. This was probably due to the fact that we were we were in a relatively low spot near the Flint River.

We launched a helium-filled toy balloon, and saw it move out at a moderate pace for the first hundred feet or so, then shoot off rapidly toward the east. It was not ideal, the main risk being that the high winds might drop down to the ground and make landings rough and possibly dangerous. I decided that I would fly, but not go higher than a thousand feet or so, and not stay in the air too long. John and David thought this was reasonable, and started getting their balloons inflated.


After a winter without any cluster flights, it was a thrill to get into my harness and have all the balloons attached to me.


I was ready to fly. Two of the crew were holding me back against the light wind which was pulling me forward. I told them to let me go, and began trotting forward. I seemed to be not quite light enough, so I handed a partial ballast bag to Roland. My feet left the ground, and my balloons carried me away.