Idaho (Continued)

 

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Jerry Sebby

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Gregory Quinn

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Jerry Sebby


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Borrowed Light Images

 

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John Austin

 

I floated off to the West, staying low to enjoy the company of the other balloons.

 

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We followed Interstate 90 and the Spokane River into Washington.

 

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After an hour, I was still headed west. I was over the City of Spokane Valley, Washington-- not a very congested area, but one with a lot of aboveground power lines. The wind had picked up slightly, and I was on the radio, trying to get the chase vehicles out ahead of me to some empty lot where I could put down.

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Finally, it seemed that I wasn't going to be able to get crew into position to grab and stop me, so I dropped into a field beside a housing development and stopped up against a tree, ten feet in the air.

 

After a minute, one of my local crew arrived. I threw down my drop line to him, but before I was fully prepared, he began pulling me down vigorously. Balloons that were up against tree branches burst -- which made me heavier, and caused me to drop, putting more balloons up against branches to burst -- and so on. So, in about twenty seconds, I was on the ground with no balloons, standing next to an oddly decorated tree.

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Balloon-eating Tree

 

It was disappointing not being able to save the balloons, but it was an interesting lesson in tree recovery, and I was happy enough to have had such a beautiful flight and be safely back on the ground.

I left my name and number with the woman whose house was closest to where I landed. She had found the whole thing very amusing and had no problem with it, but several days later I did get a call from someone in the area, complaining that the balloons in the tree were spoiling their view. As I was already back in San Diego at the time, one of my crew volunteers in Coeur d'Alene, Gregory Quinn, was nice enough to return to the site with a pole to knock the pieces of balloon out of the tree.

 

Celebration XVI
Crew Chief: Jerry Sebby
Principal Crew: Gregory Quinn, Al Metz

Special Thanks to, helium sponsor.
Thanks to Rockhound Landscape Supply, Kiki Miller, Stephanie Smith and the Lake Coeur d'Alene Balloonfest, and special thanks to inflation crew volunteers.

Photography: Jerry Sebby, Cathy Sebby, David Gleed, John Austin, Borrowed Light Images, Gregory Quinn, John Ninomiya

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