After a slow start leaving San Diego and a long slow drive we arrived in Panguitch during the pilot welcome dinner. After some food and good company we headed to the Blue Pine Motel to check in, shower and sleep.
Friday morning was media day and with some gusty winds during the briefing things were put on hold for 20 minutes. The winds appeared to be calming down. We didn’t have any assigned passengers so Ernie thought he would fly the hopper. With the help of our friends, Deb and Andre from Richfield, we started to set up. The wind was switchy but the balloonmiester took off and quickly flew away. As everyone watched his fast landing 15 minutes later all the fans turned off and the few balloons partially inflated, deflated and packed up. Off to tailgate and later to much-needed naps.
Saturday morning was a more typical Panguitch morning although Ernie did end up flying the farthest he has there. Once again off to tailgate and then rest up for the premier event of the year for Panguitch, the balloon glow along Center and Main. Gusty winds all day had people worried but as the sun went down so did the winds and we glowed Twist & Shout at the main intersection for 50 minutes.
Sunday had good forecasts and with hopes of doing a hop to get all our crew up I tried to box back to the field but as I dropped down the winds had increased and changed directions so we headed out towards where Ernie was the previous day but not quite as far. After brunch, thank you’s and goodbye’s we packed up and headed out for the long drive, about 15 minutes, to Red Canyon where we spent the next two nights.