Rhode Island
(cont'd)


 

Leaving Cumberlandfest behind, I flew over the adjacent Diamond Hill reservoir. I was moving at about 15 miles per hour, which was faster than I'd hoped, and my track was almost due east. Larry and I had checked out the area to the north and northeast, based on the earlier forecast winds, but had not bothered with the east, which we were now regretting.

 

The land was wooded, with cleared areas here and there surrounding houses. It looked pretty reasonable for landing areas, by New England standards.

 

I soon experienced a problem common to travelers in Rhode Island -- running out of Rhode Island. I crossed over the border into Massachusetts. Larry and my chase crew were out of sight somehwere in the trees, but on the radio they were able to identify the landmarks I was calling out on the map, which seemed like the best I could hope for.

 

I passed to the north of North Attleboro, Massachusetts.

 

 

The cluster balloon attracts a lot of photographers. I found this photo on Flickr. It was taken by Robert Magina, who commented: "Taken in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. This is one of those opportune shots you are glad you happen to have your camera in the car for."

Another thing that the cluster balloon seems to attract are circling power parachutists. I suppose they come by out curiosity and a sense of cameraderie, so I usually wave and smile, as long as they don't come too close. I must admit that if I wanted to listen to a lawn mower engine for fifteen minutes, I could do so much more conveniently on the ground.

 

I flew past a quarry on the east side of North Attleboro. I caught a brief glimpse of my chase crew on the street below, before the wind carried me across I-495.

 

 

On the other side of the interstate the tree cover was much denser. I dropped down to a few hundred feet, but the wind was still fairly fast. There were some places where the trees had been cleared for houses, but none had the amount of space I wanted to shoot a landing at my current speed. I called Larry on the radio. They couldn't see me through the trees, but guessed from the landmarks I was seeing that they were out ahead of me a bit. I told him that I was planning to land wherever I found an acceptable spot, and went back to watching the trees go by.

 

After another ten minutes, I saw some back yards boxed in by trees up ahead, and farther on, a bit of brushy open area. I dropped in to the treetops. The wind finally seemed to slow at that altitude, but it also shifted towards the north as I descended, taking me wide of the open spot I'd been hoping for.

I drifted over some reasonable-sized back yards, but they were all surrounded by trees, and I was angling toward the adjacent street, which had power lines along it. Some people having a BBQ were surpised to see me. I waved to them.

 

Finaly the wind finally angled me far enough away from the powerlines along the street so that I could think about landing. Unfortunately, the other side of the road was solid trees. The only exception was the stub of a blocked off road leading back into the woods, which was just ahead of me. The first thirty or forty feet or so of the road was clear above, before the trees covered it over. It was a very small space to hit.... but after that, the woods just seemed to keep going for as far as I could see, and it was getting late. So I pulled some balloons down, and when I was just shy of the blocked off road, I cut them away.

I dropped in rapidly toward the end of the blocked off road. Trees rose up on either side of me, but I had judged it pretty well, and only one balloon burst on branches. People were running up from the houses across the street, and I asked a couple of them to hang on to me until I was sure I was stable.

 

It took several phone calls and about ten minutes for crew to figure out where I was. It turned out that Larry had been where I landed about ten minutes before I got there, then drove off somewhere else. Meanwhile, I stood there and talked with the neighborhood people, and took some pictures. I learned I was in North Mansfield, Massachusetts.


My crew arrived, and those in the mood for tethered balloon rides had them, along with a few of the local people.

 

 

It was getting dark. We gave away some balloons to the neighborhood people, with the usual admonishments about small children and pets, and put the rest away.

Then, like William Blackstone, we left Massachusetts and headed for Cumberland, Rhode Island.

 

Celebration LXIV

Crew Chief: Larry Vandenberg

Principal Crew: Dick Young, Gary & Carol Weed, Al & Bev Theodore, Dave & Sue Lee, Victoria Vandenberg, Gregg Noury

Special Thanks to: Cumberlandfest (Nicole Noury and the Cumberlandfest Committee), Cumberlandfest Volunteers

Photography: Nicole Noury, Beverly Theodore, Carol Weed, Victoria Vandenberg, Robert Magina, John Ninomiya

 

 

 

 

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