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First-time balloonist says trip was ‘wonderful’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 July 2013 at 12:00 am

Chet Wheelock flew over his farm and rural Carlton last night

Photo by Tom Rivers – Chet Wheelock takes off over his farm on Kent Road. He was joined by his daughter Peggy Bropst, grandson Jeremy Mikels and great-grandson Mason Mikels. Greg Livadas of Penfield piloted the balloon.

Photos courtesy of Peggy Bropst – The shadow of the balloon appears in a cornfield.

KENT – He waited a long time to finally go up in the air, and Chet Wheelock says his debut hot-air balloon ride surpassed his expectations.

“It was wonderful,” Wheelock said today after his journey in the sky last night aboard the “Yeowza” balloon piloted by Greg Livadas of Penfield.

Wheelock, an 82-year-old farmer, was given the trip as a Father’s Day present. It had to be postponed until the weather cooperated.

Wheelock flew over the trees with his daughter Peggy Bropst, grandson Jeremy Mikels and great-grandson Mason Mikels.

“You don’t feel any wind up there,” Wheelock said. “You’re traveling with the wind. It’s as still as can be.”

The balloon took off over his farm on Kent Road and passed over cornfields, the Oak Orchard River, Brown’s Berry Patch, and the Harbor Pointe Country Club before settling at the Riverview Camp Site on Park Avenue in Waterport. They were up in the air about an hour.

Afterwards, they celebrated the voyage with cheese, crackers and some champagne.

“It was great, Wheelock said. “I’d love to do it again.”

Photos by Peggy Bropst – The balloon travelled near the Oak Orchard River, where you can see two of the bridges and Brown’s Berry Patch to the left.

Chet Wheelock sits on the packed-up balloon. His grandson Jeremy Mikels is at left.