Wyoming (Cont'd)


There was an inversion that day, meaning that the air higher up was hotter rather than cooler. The Cloud-Kisser dropped back down, to avoid overheating the balloon fabric. However, not being dependent on hot-air for lift, I continued to climb. Up above, the wind reversed direction. I floated back past the college where the other balloons were inflating, and headed into Riverton.

The balloon rally had obtained a waiver of FAR 103.15, the FAA regulation that would normally keep me from flying over a city of this size. So I enjoyed (legally) being carried by my 100 balloons over the streets and rooftops of Riverton.


I crossed Main and Federal, the two main streets in Riverton, headed southeast.



Riverton is home to one of Wyoming's largest auto wrecking yards.


I flew slowly past the confluence of the Wind and Little Wind Rivers, which was the site of the 1838 Mountain Man Rendezvous. On the other side of the river, the terrain was suddenly dry and desert-like.











Not wanting to get too far from crew, who were circling around to get to the east side of the river, I decided to put down after about an hour. I landed in a rocky valley a little east of the river. I hopped a short distance out to the road running parallel to the river, and based on my excellent radioed directions ("first road parallel to river, line of power poles, look for the big bunch of balloons") I waited for the chase vehicle to arrive.


Crew craftily sneak up on me from the hills, then discover there is no road down.

Boredom Photo #1
Boredom Photo #2



My crew rolled up after about twenty minutes, dusty from having explored all the dirt roads in the area. I was happy to see them.

Pat Newlin, the balloonmeister for the rally, had joined my crew for the morning, and had a chance to do a little tethered flight.



Then we cleaned up the remnants of the 100 balloons and headed back to Riverton.




There was a nice picture of me in the Riverton Ranger the next day, but significance of the 100 balloons for the Centennial went unreported. Still, I was glad I'd done it. It's nice to celebrate, even if it's not clear to everyone that you are doing so. And who else can say honestly they were carried away into the sky by a bouquet of birthday balloons?

Happy 100th Birthday, Riverton Wyoming!



Celebration XXXIX

Crew Chief: Ernie Hartt
Principal Crew: Michael Shelley, Jack Hawkins, Pat Newlin, Marj Walters

Special Thanks to: Riverton Rendezvous Balloon Rally (Pat Newlin, balloonmeister), EnCana, Wal-Mart of Riverton, Dave's Asphalt, Exxon Mobil, Michael Newlin.

Photography: Pat Newlin, Ron Reddon, Joe Sullivan, Carol Griner, Marj Walters, Jack Hawkins, Wayne Nicholls (courtesy of the Riverton Ranger), John Ninomiya

Airplane photo courtesy of the Riverton Museum, Riverton WY. Beaver and Mountain Man figures photographed at the Wind River Heritage Center, Riverton, WY.










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