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Up, up and away…
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Carolina Meadows

“Up, up and away” was our mantra when Chatham County Commissioner Sally Kost and I went up and away recently in a gorgeous balloon piloted by Richard Parr of Mystic Venture. We left from Silk Hope in Chatham County near their Community Center and were floating in the air for about an hour. We landed at Chicken Bridge Road in a friendly farmer’s field.

Carolina Meadows resident Mariechen Smith, left, and Chatham County Commissioner Sally Kost

Richard said we were contour flying just above the tree tops, and I must say there are plenty of trees in the western part of Chatham County. When he wished to slow the balloon down, Richard just brushed along the tops of the pine trees. How about that for a braking system! However, we went up to 1,500 feet prior to contour flying, and what a view!

Our tree top view included plenty of cattle, horses and barking dogs but no deer that we could spot. Richard keeps his distance from all the herds of livestock, but we had a good view of them. There were a number of homes tucked away in their private pockets of land. We had some human animals wave at us, but what struck me as we went over one home is that I could hear the homeowner’s voice as she was talking on her cell phone.

It was very peaceful, except when Richard had to use the propane heater to keep the balloon full. Near the end of the hour, Richard phoned John Justice, the chase person, and when we were ready to set down there he was waiting. We just floated down and landed still standing in the gondola.

We had a day made to order for a balloon ride. It was mild in temperature, a clear day for viewing long distances and very little wind to bounce us around. Just one caveat: The day starts early, Sally picked me up at Carolina Meadows just after 6 o’clock in the dark to start our adventure.

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From resident Public Relations Committee member Mariechen Smith

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