The continuing story and photographs of our month-long road trip.
The Wyoming, Riverton Rendezvous was our 4th out of 4 rallies for the trip. The balloon rally was started in 1981 so it was celebrating its 30th anniversary this year with 25 balloon in attendance. The first day was media day and since we weren’t one of the first 10 pilots we didn’t have a paid hotel so we parked the trailer at the launch site and camped there. While camping in a parking lot under a street light isn’t the most scenic it is nice to be able to walk over to the launch site. With no passengers to carry, Ernie flew the hopper. There was a fast wind layer that seemed like it was coming down to the surface so he landed after 30 minutes. Just as I got the tarp spread out the wind calmed down but Ernie decided to stick with his decision and deflate.
Saturday was sponsor day and once again my turn to fly. Our sponsor was Wells Fargo and they brought out their son and some friends who sent up their 2 sons. Ginny, one of the local Riverton pilots, was the hare balloon so I followed her but as I approached the target some traffic kept me higher than I wanted and my throw ended up outside of scoring. With many of the fields still planted or wet when I came across a nice alfalfa field I chose to land there, however it ended up being in the honor farm so we had to get a guard to escort us out to make sure we didn’t pick up any extra passengers. While we waited for our crew to show up another balloon landed next to us and a stag that was in the field became very confused on which direction was safe so he spent time staring at us and pacing back and forth.
Evening winds in Riverton don’t calm down so the balloon glow is scheduled as a candlestick event. Even without balloons attached, the public has a good time walking around the baskets and some get a chance to operate the burners. One little boy kept coming back for more, his parents had to drag him away in the end.
Sunday was another beautiful day but the winds were forecast to pick up so short flights were done by most. Ernie was able to take up more members of sponsor’s family and friends in a couple hops near the launch site.
From Riverton we started the long trek back to San Diego with two day long delay in Steamboat Springs, CO. More about that to follow.