On Monday night at the Missouri State Fair (Aug. 12), I was a very lucky young man. I was able to check another Bucket List item off the list: going up in a hot air balloon. I met up with Jim Wolters from Jefferson City, Mo. I had introduced myself to him and asked if there was any chance I could go up with him in his hot air balloon, and he agreed.

I sat back and watched and watched them set up the balloon. One thing I learned is that you don't blow up a hot air balloon, you inflate it. It took them no time to get the balloon inflated, and Jim and I were off from our takeoff point behind Thompson Hills Shopping Center.They did all sorts of teasing me about "don't do this" and "don't do that," but then they informed me of what really needed to be done, especially on landing.

It was one of the most peaceful escapes from the world for the time we were in the air. Once in the air, you are truly at the mercy of the wind. You wish you can plan on which way you want to go, but God and the winds always have their own mind. As we floated over the Fairgrounds, I heard friends of mine yelling up at me as I tried to get pictures of them. The scenery from up their was outstanding.

Once we flew over the Fairgrounds, there were several places we tried to land but to no avail. We tried to land behind Patricia's, but the winds changed direction. We tried to land out by Smith-Cotton, and the wind changed direction again, sending us over 65 Hwy heading southwest. Finally as we started coming down behind the Shell station and Jim's Tire Service out on South 65, we landed in a field and came to a dragging stop amongst many Locust Tree saplings. Yes, those thorny lovely trees. I only had a few scrapes, nothing as bad as I thought we were going to have.

If I ever get the chance to do such an exciting thing again, I am going. My next bucket list item is to skydive. I know it sounds crazy, but since my car wreck 13 years ago, I believe in taking life by the horns and ride it like crazy. I don't want to say, "I wish I would have done that." Now I can I am so glad I did that!

Thank You Jim and to your wonderful team that followed as we floated over Sedalia. Please enjoy all the photographs that were taken from the air.