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September 10, 1976 - Image 17

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-09-10

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Friday, Septerylber, a 10, 1976


Rdge S"mteen

Friddy, September 10,. 1976 THE MICHIGAN DAILY P~gg Seventeen

I--- -- - - - - - - --77 --


mom a m a an&

Hot air ballooning: Heavenly lift

y - This Ad Wori
500 Off
it the purchase
an hr


(Continued frorn Page 1) THE MUSTACHIOED, 30- ington (Ky.), "There was Lex- "At the first US National (in a breeze, the pilot could rip a
SINCE the only power a pilot year-old adventurer has had ington right below me while Kentucky) there were eight patch from the balloon, releas-
has over the craft is in his successful acquatic touchdowns Louisville was seventy-five balloons and at the 1975 one ing some air to ease the im-
ability to order it up or down, though, like the time he nestled miles away and you know that there were 170," Jeff said paus- pact upon touchdown. But once
Jeff and I shared the basket the balloon between the banks these two towns looked like they ing to let the figures make the task is done there's no as-
with three propane tanks and of the Huron River, creating a were both right under me. It their impact. "If you could put cending without running through
an array of temperature and traffic jam of spectators on a seemed like I could spit on this into context," he went on, the whole exhausting inflation
altitude monitoring devices. cross-bridge as far as the eye either one of them." "the first one was in 1969 . . . routine again.
The propane feeds the flame could see. But Jeff's first bal- EVEN THOUGH he remem- that was only seven years ago,
which keeps the air inside the loon suffered a more tragic bers the weather "downstairs" so the sport has obviously SINCE Jeff was supposed to
balloon sufficiently hotter than fate. "The thing was called as being quite hazy, Jeff said, mushroomed." take Steve up next, he had to:
the air outside. This keeps the Moby Dick and it landed up "Where I was it was crystal But let's face it, ballooning issue me an ultimatum: His'
balloon rising. The release of on the bottom of the Rum Riv- clear. There were no clouds, isn't the pasttime of the masses ride or my smooth landing. In
fuel into the burner is followed er," he laughed, explaining that no anything." But no anything at $6000 a craft on up. And order for my friend to experi-
by a jetstream of fire that roars was in his former home state _ also meant no breathable air there are only some 750 bal- ence this once-in-a-lifetime of-
so loud it can be heard for Minnesota. not to mention the lack of such loons flying today. This is not fer, the balloon would have to
miles around. In the dark it Getting together his best am-i comforts, as earthly heat. to mention the sport's notor- be left entirely inflated and we
illuminates the balloon so that mated tone, Jeff told the story Breathing, even with a tank, iety for weeding out its 1000 or would have to risk a rough
it resembles 'a mammoth light of his first balloon encounter. required as much concentration; so participants through natural landing. This meant I would
bulb. "I was reading the aviation sec- as a calculus problem and selection of a sort - survival of have to grow a set of shock ab-
Between blasts Jeff talked tion in a Minneapolis paper one warmth was something gotten the well - trained. sorbers fast. I took a look at
about his love affair with his day," he began, "and adver- from the "bestest ever arctic my intact limbs for what I
sky creature. tised in it was a hot-air balloon exploration gear" in Jeff's "WE (the sport of balloon- imagined would be the last time
"FLYING a balloon across a for sale. Well this was in 1967 words. ing) have probably killed ten and said with bravado, "Tell
field like that," Jeff said, scan- and there was no hot-air bal- "Now I knew it was cold and per cent of them (the 1000 fly. me what to do."
ping the surroundings in a half- looning going on then . . . as it (the suit) was supposed to ers) in the last six years," says Following instructions, I
moon sweep of his helmeted far as the sport was concerned be good to minus 80 and boy Jeff who owes his career with- kneeled down in the bottom of
head, "everything's a chal- there was none. I don't know was it, cause the stuff was out incident to his expertise. the wicker basket and tried in
lenge - to control it, make it why, I just called and it was toasty warm and I couldn't be- He blames the majority of vein to get comfortable. Kneel-
do what you want to do . . . for sale for 1500 bucks which lieve it because it was a minus deaths on piloting errors born ing on a bed of nails might
get it down to four or five feet was really cheap . . . And it !75 outside." of poo traig.hv be a n a rvmnt'
above the surface of the was cheap, it was ba-a-a-d Meanwhile, the balloon don- gasped the opimprovemen se
trees . . ." Just then a clump news," he said, letting the nedt af fogg coatunte froe 28,000e oeadlscls
of elms reached up and brush- "bad ring in my ears. feet on up. What's more it left c o lines. So as Jeff rep to the floor until my knuckles
ed the bottom of the basket. "It didn't have any of the fee oupWhtsmritlf'elns.SasJfpepared
Sddenlytteff's hface grew fancy equipment like I've got i own cosmic contrail of va- for descent I casually looked turned white . . .and waited.
pensive as his eyes fsearched now," he boasted, "fancy eqp.or trailing behind -visible to for those insidious black wires
phensi "'ve as s ee seched nw," hen ba ed "ancy uip the ground crew all the while. and found none in sight. I re-
the terrain. "I've never seen .ment" being defined not only in
that one before," he exclaimed terms of the 21st century gad- T HO U G H he is already laxed and surveyed the Chel-
pointing to a marshland brim- getry but by a feather-weight! dreaming about the possibility sea landscape as we dipped
mitig with wild foliage and ex- vehicle as well. By Jeff's ac- of attempting 50 or 60 thous- below the sun.
btic birds. "It's just peat to get count the Moby Dick must have and feet, Jeff won't let those The wind, however, had pick-
down into these places where resembled a whale more than "crazy ideas" cramp his time ed up a knot or two and al-
nobody can get down and look, a balloon. It was built in heavy for "fun flying." Jeff's fun in- though I couldn't detect the a
just look . . ." the voice trailed duty army surplus fashion with cludes free-flying and sanction- change myself, the balloon
off as we spotted two ducks in burners of cast iron. "It had a ed competition which is the grew tempermental. Ordinarily,
a pond below, steel basket under it that rage at county fairs. when approaching a landing in C ip ti
When we got to a height of weighed a ton;" Jeff said. "And " .
atbund 1000 feet, Jeff assumed it didn't have any sides on it
the role of tour guide and as he -just a rail to hold onto so i f
pivoted slowly around in the you had a rough landing you'd
basket, I followed suit. He go right out the sides. If you TI-1200 1-5050
pointed out Ann Arbor's Burton were nimble enough to hang
Tower and the sprawling home- on, you had to bounce along L
steads of Pinckney, Chelsea the ground and drag through 11-250 11-5100
and Dexter, all from one van- the field and pick up all the
tage point. fences and everything else that TI-i221 SR'SxA
AFTER a half-hour of floating was in your way in order to
across the landscape, Jeff get the thing stopped in any 539 E. LIBERTY
spotted a landing site he could- breeze at all. TI-1600 SR-NMA
n't resist - a small pond no "WE NEVER flew that thing ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN 48108
larger than the diag and cer- very high," Jeff assured me," TI1650 SR5
teinly no less bizarre a choice. I was always scared to death 995-186i 650 SR
I thought he was kidding but ; of it."
when he began to maneuver into More recently however, Jeff TI-255 l SR-56
position I had to ask, "Are you has made up for, shall we say, . e P. ater
serious?" lost t. As two of us sat an ;e ' "I©'
"Sure I nm," he replied with ease --sand feet over Ann
a huge grin breaking across his Arb -e recounted the adven- Specializing in quality hand crafted
boyish face. "We're going to ture which only recently made Sa
get our feet wet . . . how's him the first human being to jackets 0 vests ! luggage 0 handbags Us
that?" 'sit on the rim of a balloon bas U r e '~
"Oh, fine," I lied, not savor- ket more than seven miles briefcases 0 hats " sandals 0 Walter 549 E. University, Ann
ing the thought of swimming above the earth.
ashore. To my extreme pleas- "Well, I took off at Louis- Dyer moccasins* belts and buckles
ure Jeff missed the mark by ville (Ky.)" Jeff began. By the
i few centimeters and so we , time he reached his maximum >.
were off, up in the air again. !height he was right over Lex- } : -
r. .... : .....r"a .r:f. mi-., '.: :: t." ":Av-:.a " :x .}".:t+ ....a" n ::.:o .
:J " r.{:'. h"rA i'?r W ,.."". i' ..{ ;, . 4 .: "" i: i1 ". y,1. M

Through the gaps in the bas-
ket I watched our approach and
a corn field never looked so



'YOU OKAY down there?" Jeff ,a
yelled from his command post. in store
"Yes!" I yelled over the roar i Silkscreen Printer & Wholesaie Dnibmrtt
of the burner, and every CustornT-shirts our speciaty
nerve in my body yelled "No!" ' Portrait T-shirts
"Good," I heard him say. Graphic Serices
"Now we're going to bounce
around a little so hold on."OR600
I SHOULD have known that OVE DESIGNS
"bounce" was simply a euphe-
mism for "crash" because no ANN ARBOR SHIRT GALLERY
bounce ever had less resilience. I 215 S.STATE STREET
We crunched down on stale ( ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN 48108
corn, dragged for a second, re- LN31346628665
bounded and came back for -- -- -- -- -- --j
another hit. Again and again
we fell on every side, every
corner of the basket and I cas-
caded around the bottom of the JIEICEIn k td-
We finally slid to a tenuous Nielsen's has been into growing many
halt and I peeked up over the o
leather rim of the basket to; ofour own plants and flowers since
see our saviors (human an- 1934.
chors once again) prancing to'0b sawPr, recor
the scene over barbed wire Located by Island Park, we are closer
fences and shin-high crops. My thn tik^e el 'fn
adventure was over but dreams to you than you think. We feel you'll find
of the next had only begun. it worth your while to hike, bike, or bus
your body down to get acquainted. All u
are welcome to stroll through our two
Sacres of greenhouse, use our free Pdo-
pie's Potting Bench, or linger under our
India Rubber Tree.
ive Prices Our staff is here to answer plant ques-
tions, and we have a wide assortment of
plants and care accessories.
-- NI L EN S.
1021 Meiden Lane 994.6112
OPEN MON -FRI.8:30-5:00;SAT.8:30-4:00,
SUN. 10:30-12:00
BuyOne.60c Plant
0S61ect from over 20 varieties)
Arbor, Mich. 662-44031XPlkES SEPT. 20, 1976

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