Ohio (Cont'd)


Consulting with our local crew volunteers, Debbie told me on the radio that before much longer, I would be crossing US 30 and heading over Charles Mill Lake, a swampy area with limited road access. I decided to land rather than risk being becalmed over the lake.




Timothy Dutton


Now that I was ready to land, of course, the wind seemed to be taking me south a bit faster, using up the available landing areas I had before I reached US 30. I began a steep descent into some fields, sending Debbie and Phil in the chase vehicle down the road to get ahead of me. As I neared the ground, I began to drop water ballast to slow myself, and arrested my descent very neatly at about ten feet. The surface wind took me very slowly across the field to where Debbie and Phil were waiting for me.


Ohio Landing Movie (756 KB)


Phil Rutan


The people whose property we had landed on were very nice, and did not seem too troubled by our arrival. Phil had a chance to go up on tether; I'm not sure if this satisfied his curiosity about cluster ballooning, or merely contributed to some impending delinquency.

We began deflating the balloons. Some neighbors came by to watch and were drafted to assist us, receiving a large balloon or two by way of thanks.



It seemed very fitting for to me to fly in an event that once celebrated toy balloons, in a place that was the world's leading toy balloon producer. Today, the notion of America as the world's leading supplier of any kind of low-tech manufactured goods is a bizarre, timewarp kind of idea, although one that holds a certain nostalgia in Ohio. For my own part, I must admit that my project to float over the 50 states involves balloons imported from overseas -- the sizes that I need to fly are no longer produced in the United States.

Perhaps someday the people of the developing world will begin to devote all their time to daytrading and selling real estate to one another, at which point the Balloon Queen will return balloon manufacturing to its rightful place in Ohio. In the meantime, if Americans no longer make the world's supply of toy balloons, at least we can make creative use of them. That day, when I rose into the clear summer sky with my wonderful balloon bouquet, it's nice to think that perhaps, for a moment, we made Ashland the Balloon Center of the World once more.


Celebration XXVI

Crew Chiefs: Phil and Debbie Rutan
Special Thanks to: the Ashland Balloon Fest (John Sidle, Dave Bishop), Lippert Enterprises, the Ashland County Historical Society (Tricia Stevenson),
Discovery Channel Canada (Ian Connacher), Timothy Dutton
Photography:Kathy Thompson, Tim Dutton, Teri DiLibero, Phil Rutan, John Ninomiya
Videography: Phil Rutan







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