Nation: In Search of Perfect Bliss

A father and son cross North America by balloon

"Nothing will ever equal that moment of joyous excitement," wrote Jacques Charles after making man's first ascent by hydrogen balloon in 1783. "It was not mere pleasure; it was perfect bliss."

Seeking that same kind of excitement, Maxie Anderson, 45, a mining millionaire from Albuquerque, tried airplanes, then hang gliders and finally helium balloons. He organized the historic voyage of the Double Eagle II, which in 1978 carried him and two companions on the first balloon crossing of the Atlantic.

Anderson and his son Kristian,...

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