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2008: Balloon Rally

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2007 Rally

This is the scene during the Montague, California Balloon rally last year. The first year I attended only for one day because Gwen couldn't get away from the resort. This is a combination Escapees Chapter 37 and 47 rally within 20 miles of Mt. Shasta. The rally happens every year on the same weekend as the Montague Balloon Rally. This is one of the best Escapees Chapter rallies. Click the photo to enlarge. This rally begins on Thursday, September 18 but we are arriving early on Wednesday, September 17.

September 17, 2008: We have arrived on Wednesday for the rally which will begin tomorrow. We thought only a few of us would be early but there were already a dozen rigs at the camp site. After taking a ride around the neighborhood with our friends, we joined others at the Casa Ramos Restaurant for mexican food. We had a total of 16 at the restaurant and many more cooked at their RV. Casa Ramos provided excellent food and service. This first day was windy and hot. The temperature was 10 degrees above what was predicted and the wind was probably 30 mph. We are looking forward to the beginning of the rally tomorrow. Early Bird Dinner
wildfire helicopter September 18, 2008: Near our rally is the Siskiyou Country Airport where firefighting helicopters and tankers are based. This helicopter is on its way to Dead Indian Memorial Road, the road to Howard Prairie resort. A fire was started two nights ago from a lighting storm. It was controlled quickly and held to 40 acres. Gwen and I saw the fire just before the first fire trucks arrived.
How many popcorn seeds? spontaneous visiting

Spontaneous visiting is what always happens at an Escapee rally. Even Morgan enjoys the visiting in the photo above.

At rally registration, we are greeted with a jar of pop corn. We are guessing how many kernels are in the jar. I guessed 3700 while Gwen guessed half that many. This is Ed and Delta figuring out the exact number.

Doris delivers instructions to begin the rally. We are squeezed into the barn to avoid the 30 mph wind outside.

Our camp is below. Our friends Terry and Kathy are parked to overlap awnings for shade. The truck is parked to block the wind.

Parked at the rally

View from the southwest
Dale has a bullshit handicap

September 19, 2008: This morning is the annual cow chip throwing contest. Last year I out threw the other chippers by 30 feet so this year the judges created a cow chip handicap line just for me which was 25 feet behind the line everyone else uses. Dick is one of the judges and the host to the rally. He wanted to be sure others had a chance this year. Dick doesn't realize how really good I am at tossing bullshit. Click the photo to enlarge. Note the pile of "chips" in the upper right corner.

The photo above is from the west toward Dick and Doris house at the far end. There are three rows of RV's this year. Click the photo to enlarge.

This is the receiving end of the cow chip contest. The men throw for distance while the ladies throw for accuracy. Note the tape measure on the ground. Click to enlarge the photo.

Below is a view from the south. Our Cameo is the last RV on the left. Click to enlarge.

Contest for distance

Dale and Delta are the winners


At the 4 pm happy hour awards were made for the day's activities. Of course there was much to snack on before the awards began. Last year the winners were Gwen and myself. This year Gwen was beaten by Delta by only a few inches (accuracy). The award last year was a can of beans but this year, things have improved. Both Delta and I received a trophy (you can click the photo for a better look at these handsome awards). In addition to the trophy we each received a box of "Meadow Muffin" mix. Apparently the rule for next year is to bake and supply your own cow chip and Delta and I have a head start with the Meadow Muffin Mix.

view from the south
September 20, 2008: Doug, one of the rally guests, flew to the rally from Idaho to visit his parents at the rally. I talked Doug into piloting his plane in the area so I could do some aerial photography. This is one of the early morning photos with the steam train arriving in Montague and the mass ascension only a few minutes old. The city is hidden in the trees but all the balloonist RV's are at the far edge of the town. Click the photo to enlarge. Early morning balloon rally in Montague
Montague parade

Each year Montague has a parade on the Saturday of the balloon fair. The train comes into town with passengers from Yreka. Last year there were some odd entries. This year seemed like fewer entries. The antique car club was one of the biggest entries. Each entry throws candy, pencils and erasers to the kids.

The rest of the day was a final door prize. The grand prize winner got a 12 pound bag of unpopped-popcorn. The bag was left over from the summer time Escapade in Wyoming.

September 21, 2008: This is Doug, my pilot. Doug is from Bonner's Ferry, Idaho. He and Lorraine flew to the rally to visit with Doug's dad who is camped with the rest of us. The Siskiyou County Airport is only about two miles from our camp and the same airport mentioned above as a fire tanker base. Doug flies a Cherokee 180. I used to pilot my own plane but haven't been in a small plane for 23 years so this was a great reminder of how much fun it is to fly. In addition to the balloon photo above we flew over the camp to take a birds eye photo. Click on the photo to enlarge or click HERE to see the photo where everyone has signed their RV.

The last day of the rally ended with "hitch-up breakfast" and last minute visiting. Fortunately this last day brought cooler weather and no wind.

Here is Doug, my pilot and his Cherokee 180
Aerial view of the rally

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