Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Flight to Eden Vale near Toronto and a home for Betty for the winter

Sunday the 2nd of July
The Beech with Martin's balloon vehicle ready to go

The weather looked much brighter today even though there was a strong wind and still quite some showers in the vicinity, but it looked good enough to make preparations for the final flight of this trip.
Betty and a vintage Ferrari

As we loaded the aeroplane, a fellow balloon pilot., Martin Unsworth and his young son turned up. They had heard we were in the area and Martin couldn't resist to drive all the way from Montreal to see us. It was lovely to meet him and next time indeed, we should make a balloon flight over the city as Martin suggested!
Martin and his son

At ten past ten we took off and headed nearly due West across massive forest, more lakes and very wet fields. It must have rained non-stop here for weeks so wet was the ground.
heading towards Toronto

Dodging heavy showers, John skilfully landed the Beech at the Eden Vale airfield north of Toronto.
a wet landing

Our ever so kind local support team - mainly in the form of Chris Horsten and his partner Melaya - were already there and Bill the airport manager guided Betty with flashing lights to her new home in a fancy brand-new large hangar.
Bill and Phil in Betty's new hangar

We also met another Chris, the local mechanic and engineer who will look after Betty and later on the airfield owner himself (a nice man who indeed owns the whole outfit including several hangars and the entire huge property).
pushing the aeroplane

As soon as we had pushed Betty into her hangar – by the way next to a dismantled Lancaster ! – Phil and Chris shot off trying to find a hire car for us, whilst Melaya, John and I retreated to the local airport café.
Betty in her new home

There was hardly time for a prolonged farewell when the men came back with the car, as John had to rush to Toronto to catch his flight to Seattle. (he made it – just!).

We then loaded the balloon into the car, tight but it all fitted in, and set off heading south east towards lake Ontario. It was the start of a long weekend with Canada day and the 4th of July coming up, so traffic was dense but after two hours we reached the little town of Whitby, booked us into an Holiday Express and called it a day.
Bye Bye beautiful lady!

What a relief to have found such a great place for the faithful aeroplane that had performed so well on this challenging trip. We felt really bad. Like parents who leave their child behind… nevertheless we found a decent bar and celebrated the successful adventure with a good bottle of Californian wine and Shepard’s pie!

Hard to believe that we won’t step into an aeroplane tomorrow but sit in a car driving on busy motorways heading for Boston…

The places we have seen were extraordinary and already make us want to visit more of those remote corners of the world. It makes me stand in awe how people survive and live in such harsh and desolate places but then there was also this unique beauty about them despite the cold, the isolation and the lack of bars and restaurants.

Thank you all who followed us on this Trans-Atlantic crossing! And thanks to everybody involved in the long and tedious and often frustrating preparations with this expedition! It's finally paid off.

We hope to continue the quest for more countries by balloon and aeroplane next spring with a trip through Central America and out to Cuba! Watch this space!

PS: I will update this blog once I have a few more youtube videos live and receive the footage of the other team members. There also will be a film released in  couple of months. I will post any links on this blog.

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