Illinois (Cont'd)


Most of the hot-air balloons landed at the edge of town, but I decided to fly on for a while out into the farm land beyond.


















(Click for larger image)
















As the sun dropped toward the horizon, I spotted an unplanted field half a mile out ahead of me. I called my chase crew on the radio and asked them to meet me.




(click for larger image)



Some of the chase crew went up on tether, and then we began to put things away. Moving through the familiar process, I thought a bit about reaching my 25th state, the halfway point of States of Enlightenment. Starting out, I knew it would be a challenging project, but I had no idea the amount work required to put me, my crew chief, my equipment, 20 volunteers and 30 tanks of helium at the same place at the same time, preferably with good weather and friendly local FAA guys. But over the five years, I never really questioned whether it was worth the effort, or doubted that I would continue. As time has passed, the project has only grown more interesting to me -- as Melville's Ahab might have said.



And now here I was, with 25 states flown, and 25 more to fly. The mosquitos were beginning to bite, as we loaded up the last of my gear for the trip back to Pontiac. It was a peaceful way to reach the midpoint of my journey, there in the Midwest, among the corn and bean fields, at dusk in the heart of America.

the Midwest,thof e ntry, at least cultud



Celebration XL

Crew Chief: Larry Vandenberg

Special Thanks to:

SummerFest Hot-Air Balloon Classic (Kent Robson, Beth Gilbert, Allen Yost)

Fuel Systems Division, Pontiac, IL

Peru, Illinois

Photography and videography: Victoria Vandenberg, Jim Biega, Peggy Cashmer, John Ninomiya

Inflation Crew (click for larger image)















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