Lawn Chair Balloonist Travels in Style

Oregon man rides to Idaho the hard way
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 5, 2008 10:00 PM CDT
Kent Couch leaves his gas station in Bend, Ore., on Saturday, July 5, 2008, riding a lawn chair rigged with more than 150 giant party balloons.   (AP Photo/Jeff Barnard)
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(Newser) – A 48-year-old gas station owner flew a lawn chair rigged with helium-filled balloons more than 200 miles across the Oregon desert today before landing safely in a field in Idaho. "If I had the time and money and people, I'd do this every weekend," said Kent Couch. "Things just look different up there." He covered about 235 miles in about nine hours after lifting off at dawn from central Oregon, cruising at about 15,000 feet.

Couch created a sensation in the tiny farming community of Cambridge, Idaho. "He takes his BB gun and shoots some balloons to lower himself to the ground," said one witness. "When he hit the ground he released all the little tiny balloons. People were racing down the road with cameras. They were all talking and laughing."