Today is a “special” crew pay-out flight for our long time crew person Molly. She has family visiting from Finland and we will treat them to a ride today. I call for the west site today and it’s a good call as we have no fog when we get there. We get the balloon out and set up, filled with cold air and add the heat. We are standing tall and I call for the passengers to come on board. I get the temperature up and we are off the lot and the “adventure” begins. We drift off to the southeast at an easy pace and once we get a bit of altitude I notice that we are drifting to the only clearspot in the valley. The Gods are truly shinning on us today as to the west its solid fog but in front of us it’s clear flying. Up top (about 1200 feet) we are moving right along (about 16 MPH) so I drop down over Inland Shores to see if we can slow down a bit. Lower it’s slower but we have a drift to the west, not something I want. We have a heavy fog bank to the west which we have to stay out of so I drop into the “bottoms” and will use a young filbert orchard as the LZ today. This is a friendly farmer so we can use the property as long as we don’t damage it. I send down a drop line so we can control the decent and the “gang” moves in for the catch. The gang tows us through the tress to TRACKthe side yard at the house for the lay down and pack up. We get the sit done and load up for the trip back for the picnic.
I get the story started, the toast is done a