Chapter 3 opens with Professor Sherman arriving in San Francisco via the US President's train. The whole city of San Francisco celebrates his return, and the mayor whisks him away to the auditorium of the Western American Explorers' Club in San Francisco, where he can relay his adventure travel story. The rest of the chapter details his preparations for his journey.
Two important details about his preparations concern his balloon and basket design. He explains that, having been an arithmetic teacher for 40 years, he grew tired of being around people because of all the pranks his pupils played. Therefore, he thought of taking a balloon trip to stay far away from people for hopefully "one full year" (p. 40). Since he wanted to be up in the air for as close to a year as possible, he knew he needed to design a very large balloon. He studied the designs of other balloonists, such as of the French balloonist Giffard, and designed a balloon that was "ten times the size of a standard balloon" and made with "four alternating thicknesses of rubber and silk" (p. 40). He also used the idea of French balloonist Nadar to design a basket house rather than a standard basket. He also made plans for stocking and replenishing provisions. After his balloon was built by the Higgins Balloon Factory, he took it for a trial run then set sail from San Francisco on August 15th.