Tuesday night I got a call from Leah. “Do you have your computer on?” Yeah,,,,,, why? She and her husband Eric were tracking a balloon. Huh?
It turns out that the Albuquerque Balloon Festival has a race for gas balloons. Eight balloons and their 2-man teams left New Mexico and the one to stay aloft the longest wins. Eric heard on the radio that two of the balloons made it to North Dakota, one landed south of Minot. The other was still floating over our area. Naturally 😉 they hopped in their pickup and started tracking it to the latest location listed on Festival website. It was already dark out and they couldn’t find it at the location they had viewed so they called me track the balloon for them.
Lady Brittannia, balloon number 6, landed about 4 miles south of the Canadian border, after dark, in the middle of a freshly cultivated field. They flew 974 miles and were aloft for almost 72 hours.She was piloted by an Englishman named David Hempleman-Adams. Leah and Eric were the first to welcome them back to terra firma and congratulate them on not only winning the race, but also for setting a race record for time aloft! Leah was stoked! Eric, while more subdued, was pretty excited, too. They got the team hooked up with their ground crew, helped them fold up the balloon and load the basket for its trip back to New Mexico.
Not only was that part pretty cool, but when Leah got home and googled Mr. Hempleworth-Adams, she discovered that he not only won this race, but has crossed the Atlantic 3 times in a balloon, been to both poles without the aid of dogs, flown a balloon over the North Pole and climbed the highest peak on all seven continents! And, to quote Leah, “We found him in a dirt field in North Dakota in the pitch dark!”
Unfortunately, the pitch dark thing means no photographs for me to share with you. I do have a photo of the field in daylight, but it is just a dirt field. No sign of a balloon anywhere. But it is a really cool story, one I am pleased to have had a small part in! Sure is a change from washing dishes, emptying flower pots and doing book work!
So, since I didn’t have any balloon pics and I really couldn’t post a blog without one, I am putting up my new favorite picture of Madison and Ashton. Love this one!