Sam Blackburn,, Preston. MN

Now, whilst in Sioux Falls Duane and Mike had mentioned they were going to a private balloon meet at the weekend, in south east MN, at the home of Sam and Deb Blackburn, and suggested I give Sam a ring. I did, was welcomed to join in. For dinner Friday night most of us tried Susies Steak House a jam packed bustling restaurant which judging by the drive was close to the other end of the county. I passed a very comfortable night on Sam's sofa possibly helped by liberal quantities of purely medicinal beer. Next morning turned flyable and Duane invited me to join him for a pleasant little flight culminating in a stupendous reception in the home of someone living next to our landing site, they produced coffee and hot rolls to go with Duane's champagne and invited all their other neighbours to join in. Thanks Sam and Deb for adding another couple of memorable days to an already memorable trip and also of course to Duane for another beautiful flight. Photos follow after the text.

So it was the end of the visit and back to Chicago to catch the plane home. I had a superb welcome from everyone I met, a lot more happened than I have the space to mention, I owe a great thank you to them all, I had a stupendous time meeting the people I had previously really only known as names, I enjoyed seeing new countrysides, and three really super flights makes a brilliant bonus. I hope to meet all again, somewhere.

Now I'm back home I'm hoping the idea of visiting round subscribers doesn't catch on too much since whilst I am not the only list subscriber in France but with around 1200 total subscribers mostly in the US if everyone decides to cross the pond to call by I am in a bit of a minority.....

David Barker, Villiers le Morhier, France 


Camp fire at Sam and Deb's Friday evening. That's them cuddling behind the fire. They thought it was dark. Wonderful what you can do with a photo editor and a bit of gamma correction.

Saturday morning, early.

One away

Three to go.

It was quite quick high up

Looking back. Two more away, one to go.

See the smoke? It's taking off horizontally.............

This is Lanesboro. It's nice and slow down here.

Now isn't that pretty?

Lanesboro. And the white vehicle with trailer? Our retrieve! Not bad!

That's me, Sue Scott, and Glenn.

That's better, I've got Duane in the picture.........

We've landed. I guess you'd call it a stand up landing.

Buns, orange juice, balloon glasses, what more could you want after a flight?

You got it! Champagne!

Thanks Duane for a beautiful flight and a gentle landing.

That's the end. Thanks guys, all of you. It was a great trip.

David Barker, Villiers le Morhier, France 


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