Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Balloon Over Fernley

This morning as I was puttering around on the computer in the living room, it suddenly went dark, as if a cloud had passed quickly in front of the morning sun that normally lights up the east side of Fernley House, and then as suddenly as it went dark, the light returned. Clouds are rarely that fast or sharp-edged, so I got up and went outside to see what was going on.

Fernley Baloon (01)
A hot air balloon was looming over Front Street. This photo doesn't do it justice, because I couldn't take it when it was at its closest approach (the sun, no longer occluded by the bulk of the balloon, would have blinded the camera).

Fernley Balloon (02)
The balloon seemed dangerously close to the power lines. It applied flame and rose a bit, drifting northwesterly. I ran out to the trailer and woke Lisa up, telling her she probably didn't want to miss this.

Fernley Baloon (03)
The balloon then started to descend, apparently aiming for a landing in the industrial park between the Union Pacific tracks and Interstate 80. I switched to video.

I was concerned that the balloon was going to hit one of the trees or buildings over there, but it managed to avoid them all. We assume that the pickup trucks that drove through while I was filming were part of the chase team.

FernleyBaloon (04)
Finally, the balloon reached the ground.

Fernley Baloon (05)
It appeared to have landed near he the new Western Lithium plant established to serve the Tesla battery "gigafactory" under construction near here. (Yes, we live near a 'lithium-cracking station.)

Fernley Baloon (06)
Lisa says a balloon is at its most vulnerable at this point. A strong gust of wind (of which Fernley is known to have many) could have sent the craft crashing toward the freeway or into a building.

Fernley Baloon (07)
However, none of these dire things happened, and the balloon slowly began to collapse. The rip-cord presumably pulled, the balloon deflated and disappeared behind the buildings that house the metal truss manufacturing plant.

Lisa suggested we go over and have a look at the recovery operation.

Fernley Baloon (09)
It took us a few minutes to get sufficiently pulled together to go for a short drive, and by the time we got over to the site near the now-defunct Chukar's Casino, the balloon was already stowed and the gondola nearly loaded into the chase van.

Fernley Baloon (08)
In the distance you can see the Nevada Cement plant, located on the north side of I-80 near the Love's truck stop.

That was more excitement than I expected for a quiet Sunday morning.
Tags: ballooning, fernley

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