Reno Nevada
September 1999

The first balloons are up!  We arrived at 6:30 A.M., just before sunrise and just moments before the eagle began to be inflated. 100 balloons were here for the annual Reno Hot Air Balloon Race.  Following the eagle was the lead balloon, a pig!

The lead balloon goes out about five to ten miles, lands, and lays out an "X" on the ground.  Then all of the other balloons that are in the "race" try to maneuver over the "X" and drop a flour bag on the target.


Can you tell what the balloon on the ground is?
As the Balloons lifted off this morning, they first headed southwest and then as they rose, they shifted to the west.  Higher up they caught a wind to the northeast.  After passing the "X", they dropped down to go back to the southwest.  Then as they passed back over the target, they dropped their flour bombs and returned to the park where they had taken off a couple of hours earlier.
 We saw many different balloons, an Ark, Smoky the Bear, A flying Cow and a giant frog.  The cow must be a least twice the size of a typical balloon
 Did you guess it was Tony?
Here is a zoomed in shot.  Far in the back near the ground is the pig.  It's about seven miles away just over a ridge in a clearing for a new housing project.  The "X" is being laid and the others are in pursuit.  About one-third of the balloons can be seen in this picture. 
The rest form a trail all the way back to the park and some are still just taking off as I took the picture.  Also, don't forget that they head in the opposite direction at first until they are high enough to catch a wind to the northeast.
And a cold champagne would be nice for the winner but in this case I guess it's a hot champagne.  And now to settle it once and for all.  Does champagne rise faster than syrup?
Is this what they mean when you ship via air express?
There was a climbing wall at the park this morning so the boys tried out a little rock climbing.  I hope they don't get too interested in it.  It will mean more gear we'll have to tuck away into the trailer.


These last four shots were taken in Marysville Washington.  We came to our old home town to pick up our new truck.  We ended up spending two weeks taking care of business and visiting friends and family.  Here, we went to Quil Ceda Elementary, (the boy's old school), to participate in an after- school assembly. 
We got to watch Scott Peterson, the Northwest's infamous "Reptile Man".  He handles these animals with ease and often has dangerous snakes crawling on him.  The kids were sure watching intensely.

Next, we head south along the Oregon coast.

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