Twelfth Annual Colorado River Balloon Crossing
November 2002, Yuma Arizona


If you look with a sleepy eye at the ground in this picture, you might think it is covered with snow. No, that is a gigantic dropcloth. When we first arrived, while all of the balloons were yet in storage, I was drawn to the large white square on the huge field, so we walked over to it. I sensed that SOMETHING would be happening there.


Something BIG was happening on that white dropcloth! I marvelled at the size of this amazing stagecoach. As I am a seamstress by profession, all I could think of was the YARDS and YARDS of fabric that went to make this, and the poor seamstresses who had to sew it all. How strong the ones who worked on the nearly finished coach would need to be, as the weight of it, even though of thin nylon, would be tremendous. My wrists almost ached just thinking about it!

Possibly, a portable stitching machine has been invented so they could walk around with to assemble the larger pieces. I hope so.


Finally, it is nearly upright and fully filled with air!

The bank's website features facts about their hot air balloon program. I learned this balloon is indeed heavy, for it weighs 850 pounds! It takes 160,000 cubic feet of hot air to fill this beauty!

As can be imagined, it takes a crew of 20-25 people to get it aloft.


Every attempt is made to assure the stagecoach balloon keeps its brilliant colors and stays clean. After the coach was aloft, several workers carefully folded up the dropcloth, careful to keep the side which touches the dirty ground from coming into contact with the clean upper surface. Then once completely folded, a man sat on the bundle to flatten it. It was then put into a huge red zippered bag.

© Joan Lansberry, © 2002