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2007: Montague Balloon Festival
and Escapees Chapter 37/47 Rally

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2006 Rally
September 12, 2007: Gwen and I are really getting excited about the 2007 Montague Escapees Chapter 37/47 rally which will begin one week from today. The photo above is from the 2006 rally with about 20 units attending. This year, we are expecting twice that many. The rally happens on the property of Dick and Doris, Escapees members. Mt. Shasta seems to come right up to the door of the RVs. Click here for a copy of the rally schedule. This will give you and idea of what happens during a rally. I was able to visit one day of the rally last year.
September 17, 2007: I'm loading the bikes in front of the truck using the hitch I installed for the kayak rack for this trip only. Our plan is to stop in Ashland to have a 2 inch receiver welded to the pin box for the bike rack. This is what I did with the King of the Road. The bikes travel up front for this trip onlyl.
Mt. Shasta in the distance, our Cameo on the other side of the friendship hour group
September 20, 2007: Our first day at the Escapees Chapter 37/47 Montague Balloon Rally began with a friendship hour where we shared appetizers and met new friends. From this view you can see one of the reasons I call this the best rally on the west coast. Note our Cameo parked in the host's field along with 19 other RV's and more expected. Imagine the view we have out our back window. Click the photo to enlarge the view.
Friday ascension from our view at the rally
September 21, 2007: The first balloon ascension began about 7 am this morning with 29 balloons taking off over the period of an hour. There was virtually no wind so the balloons took off and soared for about 2 hours than came back to earth no much more than 2 - 5 miles from where they began. Tom shows the RV crowd how to throw a cow chip
Gwen's winning throw

The first activity for the Escapees RV group after morning coffee and rolls was the cow-pie toss. These were perfect cow pies, dry and very light, baked in the hot Montague sun for several weeks. The Men's toss was for distance. Tom shows how it's done above but I was the winning toss at 101 feet. Second place was 40 feet shorter than my winning toss. I haven't received the prize yet, I'm afraid to ask for it since the prize for yesterday's game was a can of beans. The ladies tossed for accuracy, who ever got the closest to the post wins the prize. Guess what! Gwen won! Only 1 foot 1 inch from the post. The next closest was 1 foot 4 inches. Click the photo to the left to see her winning toss. I announced to our friends that "Gwen always says I'm full of Bull Shit, now I can reply, it takes one to know one!"

What a view we all have of the balloon rally and of Mt. Shasta.

September 22, 2007: The dawn launch at the Montague Balloon Fair. The sky is overcast in the east so no direct sunlight until 9 am. These balloons were in the air at 7 am. Click the photo for an enlarged view. Montague, California Balloon Fair Dawn Launch
The Montague Parade begins Tractors are part of the parade in the rural town

At mid-day we travel to the town of Montague to walk the town, visit the railroad museum and watch the parade. It's a short parade with nearly every participant throwing candy to the kids. The Yreka Western Railroad steams into town with passengers to watch the parade. The kids play in the only marching band in the parade.

The Yreka and Western Railroad bring passengers into Montague to view the parade
The only marching band in the parade
Gwen gives the stunk kite a try The afternoon was spent learning to fly a stunt kite
After the parade, I get out the stunt kite I bought two years ago on our trip down the Oregon Coast. I learned to fly a stunt kite in 1996 when I rode the Oregon Coast on my bicycle and met a fellow rider who carried a stunt kite with him. The wind was light to begin with so difficult to fly but as the wind increased, the kite fly much better and became a real aerobic workout. This could be a new way to complete a fun aerobic activity. Today's activities ended with another big meal at the ranch.
Throw the dice ... only count two of a kind or more Lasso the horse
September 23, 2007: So what do you do during a four day RV rally. Well, since there are 24 rigs parked in a ranch pasture, we have pasture Olympics. Above left, Doris shows Wayne how to throw the dice to get the most points. In this case, only two of a kind or more count. The dice game was easy and required no skill. The photo to the right of the dice game is lasso the horse. Only the best cow hands got any points for this. Dick looks to be right on target. The photo to the right shows Bob dropping clothes pins into the bottle. You got ten tries and the highest score was 5. It's harder than it looks. Bob was successful with this drop, you can click the photo to enlarge and see the clothes pin just entering the bottle. Below left is Don tossing the golf balls onto the ladder golf pipe. He was a high scoring player. Drop the clothes pin into the bottle
Loop the golf balls around the pipe: ladder golf Pitch the shoes and boots into the wheel barrow
Horse shoe pitch

To Don's right, Irene tosses shoes and boots into a wheel barrow from about 20 feet. You get four tries and 5 points for each try. I'm not sure what her secret was but it may have something to do with the pointing she is doing with her left hand. The final event was the horse shoe contest. Five points for a ringer, 3 for a leaner and one point for close (within the distance of the width of a horse shoe). Jerry was one of the high scoring players at this event.

Remember the cow pie throwing contest? Gwen and I won the prizes, Gwen for the women's contest and me for the men's contest. Today we were given our awards and prizes, me for the longest toss and Gwen for the most accurate toss. Gwen's prize was a can of Pork and Beans while my prize was a can of Kidney Beans. Both prizes seem appropriate considering the contest. We had to go back to retrieve the cow pies from the field to show off the difficulty we faced in winning this contest. Fortunately, they were nicely sun dried. Gwen and Dale get their reward for winning the cow pie contest
Gwen tries the ATV around the ranch. September 24, 2007: Another fun thing to do on the ranch was using the ranch ATVs to tour the many acres. Gwen enjoyed her ride until it came to this bridge over a 2 foot deep creek bed. Dick and I told Gwen she could do it. But Gwen refused saying she needed wider boards. We helped Gwen get the ATV across the bridge and she continued on the ranch tour.
September 25, 2007: Dick and Doris are the Montague ranch owners and our hosts for this wonder Montague Balloon rally. It was Doris who made many of the meals we ate during our visit. Doris has managed a restaurant in the city of Montague so she knew exactly how to fix meals for 60 people at the same time. Dick proudly took nearly everyone on an ATV ride around his ranch. We all enjoyed every minute of the rally. Dick and Doris, our rally hosts

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