Gary Palmer, John Gunderson, Orv Olivier, Ed Chapman

I last met Gary Palmer around 20 years ago before he left the UK to set up in Yankton SD. I had dinner with him, his wife Brenda, and John Gunderson in a local Chinese restaurant. Next morning Gary took me on a tour round the lake and in the afternoon John showed me round his farm and the SD countryside followed by dinner at his home. I had a great time. I liked the lake trip, I liked the farming tour and the dinner. Thanks for the dinner guys! No pictures today though.

I met Orv Oliver for breakfast next morning in Sioux Falls SD. Orv brought along a couple of local pilots Duane and Mike, and we all left for a tour of the Aerostar factory. I don't make a habit of visiting balloon factories (rather the opposite) so it was quite a novelty for me, and I was pleased to meet Mark West and later to see Orv's house and office. Again, no pictures. Why did I bring this camera?

I reached Ed Chapman in the evening. Ed I had met once before, almost 20 years ago, at Filzmoos in Austria, when we were taking part in the BP Alpine balloon race. For the night Ed's stepson vacated his bed and slept on a sofa. What better love can a young man have but to give up his bed for one of his father's friends? And what more can a guy do for a pal but buy him dinner, give him a bed and send him off flying in his own balloon? (Well there's this thing about wives but wife in question is fairly new and has eyes only for Ed!) Next morning Ed organised the weather and the class B airspace and sent his pal Marty off in his (Ed's) balloon with myself and Don Piccard as ballast while he (Ed) made the retrieve. Thanks Ed. I'll remember that hospitality. Photos start with a picture of Ed's balloon.

 

It's around 6:30 am.

It's pretty around Minneapolis

That's a balloon shadow.

Is that another?

Could be.

Yep. It is. It's a balloon shadow……

Nice house. He asked us to land by his house there.

That's me, Marty, and Don. You're looking at around 110 years of balloon experience. 

I know it can get lots colder than this.

Sun's up now.

A glass of champagne puts the final touch. Great flight Ed, great hospitality.

(Ed is on the left of the group, Don on the right)

Next call was to Don Piccard in Minneapolis. Click on his picture above.

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