In August 1978, three Americans made history by being the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean via hot air balloon. Before this, (debatably) thirteen attempts had been made and failed.
The lucky gentlemen traveled in Double Eagle II over 3,000 miles in 137 hours, taking off from Presque Isle, Maine and landing about 60 miles west of Paris in Miserey, France. They were: Max Anderson, Ben Abruzzo, and Larry Newman. All of them were from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Why was it Double Eagle II, you ask? It was the second attempt for Mr. Abruzzo and Mr. Anderson, who tried their first attempt at crossing in the first Double Eagle.
Why does this matter, you ask?
Because hot air balloons are magical.
I have a small obsession with them, though I’ve actually never been in one myself (bucket list). Also, if you see a picture of this balloon, you’ll be amazed, too. It was fitted with a gondola in case they had to have an emergency landing, which is on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum annex at Washington Dulles International Airport. But if you can’t make it there, here’s a picture that probably doesn’t do it justice:
I moved to the Southwest in 2013, and though there had been hot air balloon events where I had previously lived(ish), I had never looked into or thought of them much. But when we moved, the first thing we saw when we reached our new “hometown” were three hot air balloons just hanging out– and come to find out we could see them from our backyard! It made the move not so horrible, and I still swear by ‘balloon days.’
(OK, I don’t really swear by them, but it’s always a pick-me-up because it lets me know that it’s not TOO hot for the balloons and something about seeing them makes a person happy.)
Have you ever been in a hot air balloon?
Also, today in history, my mother was born. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! I won’t put the year because she might kill me, but here’s a picture for your viewing pleasure of the last time we were together: