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Our balloon adventures continue. Far above pastel stucco houses, roosters crowing and aromatic summer hills of East L.A.

Here, Sergio wingwalks out to water the plants on his planter deep in flight over the San Gabriel Mountains. Don’t fall, Sergio!

It’s important to keep track at all times of figures and metaphors that maintain the buoyancy of the narrative. Here, Sergio adjusts the tracking mechanism to Buoyancy Level 2, corresponding to “sighs and blankness of 18 year olds.”

I couldn’t hear what Sergio told Alhambra over the noise of the engines, but I bet it had something to do with friction caused by awkward metaphors scraping against combustible figures, but perhaps it was simply about merely adequate red wine. I myself was usually distracted.

Monica said that as she took this picture over the Little Goat Wilderness Area, reciprocal resonant vibrations apparently developed between the airship and the ground.

Our club was happy to pioneer in the increasingly popular pursuit of Aerial Poetry, where most indelible lines fade last from blue atmospheres of memory. Monica received Aerial Poetry Championship Prize for “Mi Hambre es Electrico!”

All the comforts and conveniences of ground transportation were provided in-flight by the East L.A. Dirigible Air Transport, as usual! Plus your choice of red or green pozole at lunch, or the full menu, including Mexican hot dogs: Farmer John wiener wrapped in flower tortilla with mayonnaise and a Coke.

Club members enjoyed regular travel on the daily commuter routes of ELADATL’s routes throughout Southern California and the Inland Empire, as well as special weekend outings chartered for the flying and floating pleasure of our members. Ray said, “I dropped my pizza over El Monte!”

Sergio maintains this sophisticated array of technological gadgetry in high working order at all times, in order to ensure the utmost safety of people and dogs on board ship at all times, plus he has a personal schedule to keep. “I have to get back and answer the phones because you won’t catch those guys doing it,” he said.

As part of ELADATL’s extensive community outreach program, Jose Lopez-Feliu and Swirling Wheelnuts presented helpful and informative programs at numerous venues throughout the Los Angeles Basin, including this program, “Avocado or Airship: Why Not Both?” at UCLA’s Fowler Museum.

While Lopez-Feliu and Wheelnuts hosted community programs aimed at levitating the public awareness of the importance of lighter-than-air travel in California’s Future, auxiliary members of the East L.A. Balloon Club coordinated volunteers such as these Trade Tech students, who helped engineer repairs on important airship components such as engines, while having fun learning at the same time.

Occasionally, improvised aeronautic engineering and repair caused technical difficulties, but ELADATL takes great pains to make sure that every ticket it sells is fireproof and backed by a fireproof warranty. “You can just show your ticket when you jump aboard the next available flight!” said Tina Lerma, vice president of public relations and inner city projects.

“Look what you did to my knee,” Monica complained, “You jerks! Next time don’t be chewing Juicy Fruit Gum when you use it to fix holes in the thingamajigger.” Wait till the boys from Trade Tech see this one.

Weekend outings took some club members to the desert for poppy viewing and to the channel islands for dirigible diving and harness-fishing. Saul caught a bonita and a barracuda!

Saul and Monica also reported being lost overnight on a mysterious “ghost dirigible,” empty of anyone except themselves, and probably ghosts of airship passengers who had met dubious fates in the history of air flight over Los Angeles, except it just turned out that Sergio forgot to anchor one of the dirigibles to its mooring mast, and it took off right when our happy couple boarded. Luckily they figured out that the flickering lights were not really ghosts, they were unexplained.

Saul poured Monica a glass of wine as they sat in the eerily empty bar, with the dirigible creaking ever so slightly in the evening breeze as it floated toward the ocean.

Monica and Saul ate a full course dinner as they passed over the lights and high rises of downtown Los Angeles and along the Wilshire corridor, without even knowing they were risking a fiery death or maiming in twisted aluminum if the ship snagged on a radio tower or struck a passenger airplane.

“We strolled about after a full meal and bottle of wine and soon draped ourselves about the furniture. It took us awhile before we noticed that the whole ship was abandoned and we were the only souls on board!” Monica said. “We thought the sounds of the wind was people cheering or partying on the upper decks, and creaks and groans of the ship buffeted by air currents was people talking on the intercom. I said something about it first and then Saul got this look in his eye and began to panic.”

“They said that it was Sergio’s fault for falling asleep shortly after 1 AM Pacific Daylight Savings Time, but certainly for a fleet as huge as theirs, they can’t blame everything on Sergio. Even though they always do.”

“It was quiet pleasant, even luxurious way to find oneself carried out to sea on mild summer breezes, at any rate. We didn’t even notice we were alone on the ship till sometime in the predawn hours.”

“I grabbed Saul’s shoulder and woke him up and said, ‘Saul, I think something’s wrong! We’re the only ones on board this ship!’ He didn’t believe me at first!”

“We tried all the buttons and flipped all kinds of switches before locating the radio and calling for help. I understand our running lights were going off and on, as seen by fishing vessels out at sea. ELADATL even had airships scouting the night skies for us, but of course they had no idea of where to look for us. Finally, we got on the horn to them and told them off for neglecting us the way they did!”

“It was eerie, very eerie indeed. Luckily there was a large moon.”

“We saw some very beautiful scenery as we flew out over the Pacific toward the unknown.”

“I will never forget that strange and awkward night.”

“I finally woke someone up over there at their headquarters in El Sereno and made them take me seriously. At first, they thought I was some kid playing with their parent’s radio set. They kept calling me Joey or Chuy, and telling me to go get my dad.”

“Finally, Sergio took the mike and he was able to tell Saul and me how to operate the controls and bring airship down, to hover just above the ocean’s surface. Alhambra and some of his guys came out on a boat to rescue us. This picture was taken as dawn broke beautifully pink, gold and blue over the Pacific Ocean. Just as they promise in the radio commercials, Saul and I both received Good Anytime Fireproof Tickets, which we plan to use soon! This was great fun, and something I will tell my children about, if I have any!”

Club members enjoyed these and a wide variety of other outings and activities this month. Spring is always an active time for the club, whose “Scientific Section” visited the Proto-Propulsion Laboratories where this model was created before their eyes.

We invite anyone who is interested in lighter than air lifestyles, fun with atmospheric pressure, and a sense of adventure or ability to cook to join us. Follow this blog and friend us on if you wish updates on our pernicious activities. Join the club!

The East L.A. Balloon Club has frequent brainstorming situations where we’re creating new things to do with ourselves.

Who knows, but like Saul and Monica, you too might soon find yourself taking the wheel! Grab the helm and float away.

We invite you to jump aboard today!

May 2012