High flying great-grandma has wish come true – ready to tackle another
Lourinda Wines got to see her hometown from a new angle Saturday.
Wines, the oldest known Douglas High School graduate, turned 100 in March and fulfilled one of her dreams early Saturday morning when she took an hour-long hot air balloon ride above the Carson Valley.
“I’ve wanted to go up for a long time. I’ve tried to get my sister-in-law to go but she wouldn’t go,” Wines said.
Wines’ family — including children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren — gathered at Lampe Park to see her off.
“I’m not used to being nervous,” she said. “If I was I wouldn’t go.”
As the group of about 20 people waited to watch Wines lift off, they took pictures and videotaped the balloon preparation.
“Happy birthday, dear,” said Gary Peterson, Minden resident and the owner of the hot air balloon, as he helped her into the basket.
“That’s a little late, but it’s very much appreciated,” she said.
The balloon floated toward East Valley Road before the wind changed and led the balloon to the Johnson Lane area.
After an hour of flying, Peterson set the balloon down near Stephanie Lane.
Wines said the trip was “wonderful” and that it was “smoother than a plane.”
“If you come to Ruby Valley I’ll cook you a dinner,” Wines said to Peterson after she got out of the balloon.
“She got a heck of a ride,” said Alan Schroder, Peterson’s neighbor who was helping him out with the balloon. He said that the wind ended up being perfect for the trip because Wines got to see quite a bit of the valley. Earlier Wines and her family were afraid they would have to postpone the trip because the wind was too strong.
Wines was born in Gardnerville and lived in the Rahbeck Hotel, now the J.T. Bar and Dining Room. She graduated from DHS in 1920 and remembers when Highway 395 was a dirt road and when there was a blacksmith’s shop where the Sharkey’s parking lot is now.
Friday night she attended the Douglas High School All-Class reunion, which was open to members of the classes of 1891 to 1991.
Seventy-eight years ago she took a train to Elko and a stagecoach to Ruby Valley to her new home. She has family living in the Carson Valley and was in the area on vacation.
Now that the balloon ride is over, Wines has another adventure in mind.
“I want to ride the rapids on the Snake (River),” she said. “But I don’t think I’m going to do that.”