Great Chesapeake Balloon Race
was grounded, due to high winds. I asked a crew member, “bummer, eh?”
“Nah”, he said, “happens all the time. Still cool.”
And it was. They inflated, floated around, then packed up.
One of the best parts was getting there barely in time for the 7am launch, with a wicked huge crowd of cars. It took 15 minutes sitting in traffic just to get in the parking lot. This is Easton, folks. With the exception of beach traffic running through Hwy 50, Easton never has traffic jams.
I ran to the balloons and blew past the guards “I’m with the press”, I said, out of the side of my mouth and they waved me through to go on the tarmac and take photos.
“Aha! There IS a benefit”, I thought, as I looked at everyone else pushed up against the barriers, trying to see. Way cool to get right up there, in front.
The crews were packed in the baskets like sardines. There would be NO WAY I would ever want to get into one of those things, little wicker basket, all topply, up in the air with fire? Don’t think so. But they all loved it. Every time the fire shot out, I jumped. LOUD!
Each crew has approximately a dozen people, chase vehicles and a trailer. Watching them deflate and wrap up was pretty interesting – there’s a cool kind of grab and spin thing that the lead crew member does, and it takes many hands to pack the balloon up properly, and stuff it into the bag.
The story doesn’t really end here, there was WAY MORE to Easton’s Airport Day and I can’t wait to tell you about it.
I’ll just say this as a teaser. Flying in an open cockpit bi-plane was among the most exciting (and scary) things I’ve ever done in my LIFE.
Stay tuned. I’m not real sure which story I’m going to tell, and my nerves are still a little jangled….