Tennessee (Cont'd)

We inflated the cluster balloon early Saturday morning, in a parking lot beside the civic auditorium. A group of volunteers from the Tri-Cities airport came out to assist me. It was 4:00 AM and still dark when we started. As of yet, there was still no sign of the previous day's fog.




The volunteers did an excellent job, as you'd expect in the Volunteer state. The balloons were all inflated as the sun began to rise.


Energizer Bunny hot-air balloon inflated next to us. If anyone you know has reported seeing a 166 foot tall pink rabbit and a man being carried away by a bunch of helium balloons, make sure they weren't in Kingsport that morning before you pack them off for mental health assistance.


The balloons looked amazing in the early morning light and I was eager to let them carry me away. Ernie helped me get into my harness and prepare for launch.



The plan was for me to take off simultaneously with Wayne Fortney. Ernie held me down while Wayne got his balloon inflated.



Wayne lifted off, and a second later Ithe crowd cheered as I followed him into the sky....