It is 1882 and Ariel's aeronaut mother Carlotta is competing in a big balloon race between the fairgrounds and ""the other side of Devil's Punchbowl Lake."" ""You can sit in the basket until it is time to go,"" Carlotta tells Ariel, who would like to be going along. But the mayor's speech is long, Ariel falls asleep in the Odds and Ends box. . . and before long she and Carlotta together are whooshing along, bumping around in a rain cloud, sinking (Carlotta lets out air) to catch an air stream, rising (Carlotta drops sand overboard) to avoid a church steeple, finally crashing into the lake because of Ariel's added weight, but winning anyway when Ariel jumps out and tows the ship to shore. The plot is as mechanical as the operation, but the ballooning maneuvers keep it going.