From Sam Canders - Feb 03, 2007:
Wow! Guys, that was one amazing ride. I know we did not get the record, but it was one heck of a try. I want to thank you all for everything you did. Special thanks to Barbara Fricke, Peter Cuneo, John Hager and any one else dealing with airspace (I KNOW you had your hands full), Bert Padelt, Troy Bradley, Jim Bilbrey, Mark Caviezel (recovery team out of OKC, great source of information on high altitude ballooning: www.strato-x.com), Danni Suskin, Website Bill (everyone I spoke to loved the site), Tim Baggett (thanks for the tracking help! Small world, my Army Buddy was your college roommate!), Don Day on weather, Stuart Enloe and Sam Parks (I sure wish I could have met you two on this trip) and of course special thanks to the good old crusty Warrant Officer, Andy Cayton.
I think there were some great lessons learned on this attempt and I am sure we will be discussing them in detail over the next few months. I am quite confident that next time we will reach our goal. The way I see it, if we can put together this outstanding attempt with the amount of time we had, with more planning and more preparation we will have success. I will definitely consider another try (after I thaw out) and maybe you all would like to do the same. Let's wait until the dust finally settles and see what happens!
In the meantime, as you may all be aware, this adventure started about 9 years ago with a bet with a college buddy. The wager was that I would fly a balloon across the US before I turned 30. If I win, his yet to be conceived child will have my name (Samantha if it is a girl and his wife has not say in this matter), if I lose I will have to get a 2"x2" tattoo on my arse. The way I see, the hardest part is behind me. If you all have any friends or contacts that might be interested, I would like to pick up where we left off on head east of the 96o 51.95? line towards the east coast before my 30th birthday on the 12th of March. I plan to have the week prior to that date off and could be available on weekends to do small hops working my way east. Mark maybe you would like to kick it off out of OKC some weekend between now and then? So, if you have any contacts or ballooning friends in Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia (Andy, maybe you might want to finish what you started?) have them get in touch with me.
In the meantime, I would also be happy to take tattoo suggestions. Any design will do but it must have the initials of my college bud, TLH. I think a balloon of some design would be appropriate...
Take care and talk to you soon,