LumberJocks

A New Persective on my Business; A Hot Air Balloon Tour of the Kansas Flint Hills Tallgrass Prairie

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Blog entry by Mark A. DeCou posted 07-31-2008 04:51 PM 5696 reads 0 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

(I haven’t done this style of blogging for awhile. With so many new LJ’ers now on this website, I’ve figured most of us don’t want to see these long-winded-folksy style, non-woodworking, rambling, style blogs anymore. But, this is a story about “Hot Air”, so I’ll let a bunch out along with the photos.)

This blog could easily be subtitled: ”Facing Your Fears with Hot Air.”
Read on further to find out why.

July 29th, 2008:

I was diligently working in my cramped, dusty, tiny, little shop (it’s a real mess) last night about 7pm, when my “next door” neighbor Christine stepped into the shop. She was there to tell me that they were getting ready to launch their new Hot Air Balloon, and they wanted to know if I would help. She had been trying to phone us, but the phone wasn’t working for some reason, so she drove over.

Christine can walk into my shop anytime and I’ll drop everything to see what she needs. Sometimes it is car trouble, or she’s stuck in the mud, or needs help replacing her window wiper blade, or a strong back to load something in their truck, or some other time when she needs a helping hand. Christine and David have been good neighbors and good customer’s, paying my living expenses for many months while I built projects like these for them:

Carved Tilt-Front Laptop Desk
Orchid Plant Stand with Wine Bottle Storage
Morris Chairs
Arts & Crafts Entertainment Center
Arts & Crafts Prairie Couch

and several other projects.

I had been standing in that cramped little shop space since 6:00 am whittling out Hatmaking Tools for a guy in Virginia, and I was quite ready for some fresh air and daylight.

I have been watching several shows this past week on television during “Discovery Channel’s Shark Week” being very glad that Kansas is a good long way from the ocean. We have other ways to cheat death than swimming in the ocean, our neighbor has a hot air balloon! Ha. So, I rushed in to change clothes, brushed my teeth, put on a ball cap, and grabbed the car keys

My daughter Rachel and I were home alone since my wife and son were gone on a grocery getting trip, so we left them a short note…..

“S: gone to ride in the balloon, I’ve got Rachel, Love, M, 7:15 pm”

....and then we quickly headed to the “next door” neighbor’s house about a mile North of us.

Once there, a little less than a mile north of our house, we saw another couple of our neighbors, and we all started to do the unrolling, and laying out, and setting up of the balloon.

My neighbors, the Heinsohn’s, have a dream of helping support the cost of the balloon by giving hot air balloon tours of the Kansas Flinthills tallgrass prairie in which we live.

Numerous stories in magazines and newspapers, and television over the past few years have been drawing quite a few tourists to visit the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve which isn’t far from where we live.

If you would like to read more, and see more photos of the Flinthills (or Flint Hills), here are some nice blogs:

Dennis Toll's
Dr. Bill Smith
Flint Hills Tourism Coalition
Protect the Flint Hills

As I discover more links and blogs, I’ll add them. So, if you have a Flint Hills Blog going, send me a note so that I can add it to the list.

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Their Ballooning Tour business is called:
- Heart of the Flint Hills Aviation
- David & Christine Heinsohn

- Their phone is 1-800-776-3521 for reservations

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Their first step to setting up the business was to buy the balloon.
Their second step was getting their license to fly it.
The third step is practicing with the balloon, and so I was happy to get involved in this third step.

I remember when they were first looking at ordering the balloon several months back. They sent out emails to several friends with photos of different balloons, asking us for input on which color to choose. I remember writing back something like, “pick whichever color is easiest to see from the air-rescue plane.” I was joking, sort of. You see, I’m a little scared of flying, but more on that later.

Heinsohn’s named their Balloon ”Conflict of Interest” since it is Red, Blue, Purple, & White.
(Kansas University’s colors are Red & Blue, while the better college, Kansas State University, has colors of Purple & White). I went to KSU, but that other college keeps winning at sports, so they have a lot of fans also. And, I hate to admit it, but KU has an excellent reputation for academics also. It is strange, we live fairly close to another great college, Emporia State, with black and yellow colors, but it seems everyone is a sports fan these days, and so the bigger colleges with more sports television time seem to get most of the allegiance.

Out on the Field:
David-the-pilot filled up two small black balloons with helium, and let my daughter Rachel release them to indicate the wind direction, and the speed of accent. It was neat to watch them very quickly disappear into the sky. Until I realized how quickly, and how out-of-control those two little helium balloons were moving.

As I was trying not to imagine a small wicker-basket with me in it, swinging wildly under those little helium balloons, I set about trying to be productive by holding up the bottom of the flat balloon while it was being filled with air from a high powered gas run fan. You can see how “hard” I was working at it in the photo below that Rachel shot.

David the pilot instructed all of us, ”......the most dangerous thing on the Field right now is that high powered fan, and you need to stay clear of it…...”

I thought to myself, “Yea right, that wicker-basket thing is the most dangerous thing on the Field…..”

But, I did heed his warnings, and Rachel and I stayed away from the running fan which amazingly filled up the balloon in a short amount of time, while David and Christine made rounds checking all of the ropes, and vents, and air pockets, clamps, fabric, and other equipment.

As we set up the Ballon in the Field beside their house, Rachel took this photo of me. She took several other photos, but she is only 7, and the other photos didn’t turn out so well. Besides, I don’t like seeing photos of myself anyway.

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This is Rachel muffling the sound of the big fan that is forcing air into the balloon. I didn’t think it was that loud, but Rachel has not the spent years I have with power tools, and loud music concerts.

And, my Wife thinks that I don’t hear well…....let’s just let her keep thinking that way, huh?

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The ballon is force filled with air from the big fan, and then the air is warmed with the gas burner, all with the tether line tied to the front of the chase truck.

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The Passengers start loading up.

It was at this point, that I figured I was staying on the ground…..with my fears.

Afterall, I don’t have health insurance, and even if Obama is elected, getting his whizz-bang health plan passed into law will take years, and it surely won’t be retroactive back to a ballooning accident. I think we have better odds of weaning our country off of foreign crude oil first.

David-the-pilot said, “Mark, get in here, we are ready for you.”

The moment of truth….......

Face the fear, or run?

I looked at Rachel, and she looked at me, and I said, “Rachel you need to stay here on the ground.”

Rachel didn’t like that much, but then again, I’ve had to get the “Carnies” to stop the kiddie rides at the State Fair to get her off of them since she was crying hysterically. I remember that screaming ride she took on the “big-mean-bumble-bees” in 2005.

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Rachel said that she wanted to go, but I could tell she was scared of the idea also.

Heck, I was scared, why shouldn’t she be?

“Another day,” I assured her.

Besides, I hadn’t gotten her momma’s approval first, which was the most fearsome thing I was thinking at the time. I feel that my wife could handle my dying in a fiery ballooning accident, but not my daughter’s death.

So, I told Rachel to ride in the chase truck with Christine, and that she could ride another time, with momma’s approval. David-the-pilot said that he would like to get some more practice before he took Rachel, or other children up in the air anyway. Besides, if something happened to her, and I survived, my wife would kill me anyway. You may chuckle, but she’d do it, and I’m the one that enrolled her in the NRA handgun class back when we first got married in the early 1990’s, back in the days when I traveled a lot leaving her home alone.

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Then, four of us got in the basket, which means that I got in.

I make it a bad habit to watch all of those “Most Shocking” and “Stunts Gone Bad” type television shows that often have hot air balloons seen crashing into the ground, running into power lines, dragging along the ground bowling down crowds of people, and executing all manners of death and destruction to the passengers and bystanders.

As the gas burner heated the air in the big balloon and the basket started to shift and move on the ground, all of those television shows came flashing through my mind. I tried to joke about it a little, but one of the other passengers told me to stop reminding him. He’d seen some of those shows as well.

You see, I really just hate to fly.

It all started for me as a little boy, maybe 5 or 6 years old, on a joy ride in a small Cessna plane that my parents set up for me. I was in the co-pilot seat, and we were flying over my little Kansas hometown of Hutchinson. I was rather enjoying it, until the pilot noticed that my door was not fully shut. So, he reached across me, opened the door, and slammed it shut. During those moments of the door being open, I looked out, and down to the ground, and saw how far it was. It was pretty scary for a little kid, and the need for flying sort of left me after that. I’m not much of a daredevil as you can tell.

Fast foward to the adult world. Adults just don’t have time for sissies that are scared to fly. “Get on that plane and go make us some more money…” I would hear The Man say.

You see, I used to be a traveling salesman for an industrial construction company in the oil industry. I used to fly on a commercial jet and small puddle jumpers 3-5 days a week, with multiple “legs” and plane changes to get anywhere. Kansas may be in the middle of everything, but try to fly in, or out of it directly. You can’t. So, it takes a lot of “legs” to get somewhere.

During those years, I survived many aircraft mechanical problems, emergency landings, lost baggage, delayed schedules, canceled flights, fog landings, etc. And to top that, most of the time I had a middle seat ticket. I used to always wait until the end to load the plane, trying to settle my nerves, and so you can imagine the hundreds of frustrated looks I got over the years, standing in the aisle, looking at my ticket and pointing to the open middle seat after everyone was already settled in, thinking they had a lot of room. Not a good way to make friends. I learned to just read and keep to myself in those days.

On top of all of that, I have a right ear that doesn’t equalize pressure well without giving me a lot of pain and several days to do it. So, I just flat out got sick of flying.

I so much hate flying, that I’ve only been forced onto a plane one time since leaving that job for the “Man” in 1997, and that last flight was in 1999.

What I learned to do as a coping mechanism for my fear as I would get on each plane was just to assume that when my foot stepped onto the plane, I was a dead-man. Then, if my foot stepped off the plane, I was thrilled. Sitting on a plane skimming through the same Air-shopper catalogs knowing that I was a dead-man made the trips so much easier to manage emotionally, or at least I thought then.

Nowadays, I don’t even open up the envelopes that get mailed to me showing the frequent flier miles I have on account. I watch on the nightly news all of those poor people standing in airport lines after the 9/11 security changes, and just shake my head. I yell at them on the television, “Just stay home!”

From packing to unpacking, I just hated it all. I didn’t realize how much I suffered from those years of traveling until about a year after I left that job in 1997 to do woodworking full time and I was driving on the main road that passes by the Wichita airport.

When we reached the exit to the airport, I noticed that my palms were sweating. “Hmmm,” I thought. I wasn’t even going to the airport that day, and my body was already going into meltdown. It was then that I realized the real tragic impact of all of those years of frayed nerves on my body.

I’m not saying that flying is a bad thing, it is just filled with bad memories, and numerous times I said my final prayers during lighting strikes, and mechanical problems, emergency landings, ice-on-the-wing-alerts, and other assumed near-death experiences. I realize that for most of the world, flying is a great thing, and I respect that.

My wife says that I’m a “drama King.”

Now, you know why.

Ok, back to the Peaceful Ballooning Story.

So, I was standing there in the basket, gathering my “dead-man courage” again, and trying to shake off the nerves and the mental image of my impending death hitting the electrical high line wires while my daughter watched from the ground.

David-the-pilot said, “Here we go,” and we just effortlessly popped nearly straight up.
The sudden rise was so straight up, so quick, and so smooth, that we easily cleared the electrical high line, the old concrete silo, the house, the old barn, the trees, and we quickly made our accent up into the sky above the hills in which we all live.

As we moved above the trees, I realized that I was still alive, and set about trying to enjoy the experience.

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It was incredible. Nothing like flying at all.

This is the view toward the South, toward my house, just after we took off and cleared the trees. We live behind the big hill in the back part of the picture.

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Looking back at the ground and take off area, you can see why I was a little concerned. Look at all of those “things” that could have jumped out and killed us as we took off.

But, with great piloting skill, we just popped up so fast and straight, that we were never even close to the ground obstructions.

David-the-pilot did a great job.

“Why wouldn’t he?” I reassured myself, afterall, he is an aircraft pilot, and a professional pilot instructor.

I decided to let him fly, and to just enjoy the trip. “Trust David,” I kept reminding myself. In a couple of minutes, I started to relax, and enjoyed the trip.

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I live in a little valley with the Flint Hills all around on all sides.

So, I don’t see too far out when I look out of my shop window, or house, or running the lawnmower around the yard. Not only that, most of the time I’m either inside that small, dusty woodshop, or sitting in the house. So, the new “bird’s eye” perspective from the Hot Air Balloon was a real treat, ever-expanding as the extreme beauty of the Flinthill’s landscape spread out before us in all directions.

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As we headed Southwest toward my house, soon I could see my old barn, then the house, then the little dusty woodshop with it’s rusting roof.

I love that old barn, it is the reason we bought the place. I have it listed now on the State’s barn preservation list, and it is photographed in the “Barns of Kansas” book by Bob Marsh. I have big dreams of remodeling it into my workshop studio, office, and show room. All I need is a huge amount of money…......

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We passed over the rusty roof of my little studio shop, and headed on toward the Southwest, not really going anywhere. As we flew by, I was glad that I still don’t have those 16 Bison Leg bones drying on the backside of the roof of the shop.

The others in the basket might have started to worry about how weird I am if they saw those….....but then again, they already know me.

One day a couple of years ago, my wife was out with the kids talking to the neighbor’s cattle on the other side of the fence behind the shop. She came in and asked, “Should I ask why there are gross looking bones on the roof of the shop?”

I said, “No.”

We floated on by.

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As we gained altitude, I was overwhelmed by how “small” I am. Really small. I’m a nothing in a big world. I remember Gideon in the Bible feeling that same way. “Whom am I?” He asked. Moses asked the same thing. Seeing things from that perspective is good for the human spirit, normally filled with self-pride and the feeling of accomplishment.

There have been many times in my life that I have felt too big for my britches (as my mom used to say). But, as I watched my small existence of six acres disappear in the big expanse of the open countryside, I could see how incredibly small of a person that I really am. “Thanks God, I needed that,” I said.

I was reminded of several verses as we floated along:
  1. Psalm 25:9 He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. (NIV)
  2. Psalm 149:4 For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation.(NIV)
  3. Proverbs 3:34 He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.(NIV)
  4. Psalm 145:14 The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.(NIV)
  5. Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.(NIV)

That last verse with the “Fall” in it, worried me a little while riding in a balloon, caused me to meditate on that for awhile.

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Seeing my little “world” comprised of six acres, a tiny house, and smaller shop, I couldn’t help but to feel the humbling. I can only imagine that the same feeling is given to an astronaut who watches the earth out the space ship window.

Happy to get the perspective of the bigger picture, it was easy to realize that “I’m nothing” in this vast world. I’m one little guy, who eats too many M&M’s, drinks too many Coke-Zeros, and breathes too much wood dust. That’s it. The good thing, is that if I do accomplish anything, it is isn’t me, but my God working through me. He’s got the bigger picture.

For us in the ballon, we were just floating. Nothing to do. Nowhere special to go. Just a short journey to somewhere, anywhere, the “journey” was the reason for the trip. Wow, if I could just take that mindset with me after the trip, I might enjoy life more!

This type of “lolligagging” is a rare moment for me, as I rarely do anything that doesn’t have a direct purpose and plan. The floating-to-nowhere feeling is a little unsettling, yet it also feels good at the same time.

We flew over the curious groups of cattle in the pastures. They weren’t scared, just walking our way looking up, calling at us.

We watched several groups of Deer run for cover, all Whitetails.

I looked for a Mountain Lion as we floated along, as the State Wildlife Department admitted this year that at least one of them lived in the State, since it was shot by a guy living down by the Oklahoma border. Neighbors all around us, including my wife, have stories of seeing them. But unfortunately, we didn’t spot any Mountain Lions.

I decided to stop taking photos of “where we’ve been” and more toward “where we are headed.”

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About the only people that we saw during our tour were the people driving fast in their little cars on the highway, probably late to whatever appointment they were headed to.

They were probably thinking to themselves as we floated by the highway, “Who has time to lolligag around in a balloon…?”

As I watched the cars run the highway, I was thinking, “slow down friend, enjoy the trip.”

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Hot Air Ballooning is good for a guy like me.

I have no control. I have no agenda. I don’t know where we are headed, and it doesn’t matter.

Suddenly, the “dead-man” is starting to enjoy flying for the first time.

I have been in a hot air balloon before. In the early 1990’s my wife set up a surprise hot air balloon ride for us while we are on vacation riding our Harley’s to a big HOG rally in Albuquerque, NM. We went up, over, up, back over, and down, landing about 100 yards from the take off. They called those “Box winds” that time. But, I was never able to get over the fear, of the fact that I hated flying on that trip.

Not so with the Hot Air Balloon tour of the Kansas Flinthills today. It was just excellent, and I started to forget at times that we still had to land this thing.

We watched the houses of our neighbors go under us, most of them I’ve never met, nor know their last names. I stay so focused on work, that unless it is Sunday morning, I seem to hardly ever get out of the shop.

Feeling the shame of living somewhere for 7 years and never meeting the folks on the other corner of the section line is a bad feeling indeed. Another good “perspective” for me to see. I need to go out and enjoy meeting the folks that live around us.

We floated on toward the Southwest.

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We floated over Highway 150 and saw the chase vehicle with Christine and Rachel watching us go past. I waived really big to Rachel and took her picture.

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we floated on toward the Southwest, and the pilot started going up and down, following the terrain of the land, which was interesting in a scary way.

As passengers, our job was to watch out for cattle, fences, electrical lines, and trees, and call them out to pilot, just to make sure that he saw them.

“Trees coming!” No problem, just a puff of flame, and we cleared them easily.

As we neared the point of needing to land due to the failing daylight, we started all looking for soft pasture ground that was next to the gravel road, AND that had an unlocked gate.

We didn’t want to trespass, but how do you get permission to land, when you don’t know where you are headed?

I think David-the-pilot could have skillfully landed in the gravel road between the barbed wire fences, but he elected to land in the grass just beyond the fences.

Then David-the-pilot gave us specific instructions for the landing. “Don’t touch this, or that, or this.” “You can touch anything else, and grab two points of support, and hold on, bend your knees a little…......and whatever you do, don’t get out of the basket.”

The jumping out and losing of the weight from the basket, would have meant the balloon would have surged unexpectedly up with the others in the basket. So, I stayed put, grabbed a strap in each hand, and bent my knees a little, and hoped for a soft touch down.

We very gently touched the bottom of the basket onto the deep flinthills prairie grass, bounced once just a few inches, and set back down, the pilot pulled the rope to release the hot air, and we sat down. Wow, was that a smooth landing, or what! No dragging on the ground, no scary moments at all. What a deal!

I stepped out of the basket, “alive again.” David-the-pilot had done a very skillful job of controlling, and landing the balloon, and I was quite impressed.

I stood there in waste-deep prairie grass, and felt like kissing it. That would look strange to the others, so I just picked a long shoot of “tall bluestem grass” and chewed on the stem awhile. Sweeeeeet, I can see why the cattle love it.

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The next steps were quite a bit of work, as we all worked to deflate and roll up, and bag the equipment and load it in the trailer. By the time we were finished, we were all sweaty, and enjoyed the air conditioning on the ride back to home, maybe something like a 7-8 mile drive by gravel roads.

We returned back to the pilot’s house, and we all toasted the experience and had a cool drink. Rachel was already planning how she was going to ask momma if she could ride next time. She decided on the drive back to our house, that she would just let me do the asking.

“Afterall dad, I’m going to be 8 years old in December, I think I’m old enough…....”

What a great adventure, sudden and unexpected, and a lot of things for me to meditate on.

If you’d like to visit the Flinthills and take a Balloon ride, give David & Christine a call, and I’ll throw in a free, no obligation, sales-pitch for some custom furniture, or a souvenir walking stick, or knife, or something…....

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed the tour.
Mark DeCou
www.decoustudio.com

(all text and photos, in whole, or part, are protected by copyright 2008, by the author M.A. DeCou, all rights reserved. Weblinks to this page are allowed without permission.)

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com



29 comments so far

View David Eaton's profile

David Eaton

8 posts in 2391 days


#1 posted 07-31-2008 04:57 PM

Absolutely awesome! I envy you the opportunity as I have always wanted to take a hot air balloon ride.

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 2984 days


#2 posted 07-31-2008 05:03 PM

Well I just looked at the pictures and it appears that you came crashing to the ground. HAHAHA!!!

I can call you a sissy for your fears knowing all the while Hell would freeze over before I get into a rickety little basket that is going to hover 1,000’s of feet in the air.

Looks like fun but if God had wanted me to fly HE would have stuck a rocket up …, well maybe He’d have just given me wings.

View Karson's profile

Karson

34912 posts in 3148 days


#3 posted 07-31-2008 05:15 PM

Mark: It looks like a great ride. At least you remembered your camers, and it had live batteries.

Thanks for the journey.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

1998 posts in 3153 days


#4 posted 07-31-2008 05:19 PM

Thanks Obi, I agree. But, I’m glad to have taken the chance to see “a new perspective.” It really was fun after I saw how safe it was. The neighbor is a very methodical, cautious type of person. Since he is an airplane pilot instructor, he is good at thinking ahead, and explaining to the naive passengers what he is doing next, so that we were prepared. To be honest, most people wouldn’t get me in their balloon that they’ve been practicing with for just a few weeks. But, I did trust him.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com

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TedM

2002 posts in 2480 days


#5 posted 07-31-2008 05:23 PM

Wow! Great trip, thanks for taking us along!

My wife and I went to a balloon festival last September. There were about 40 balloons there. Though we didn’t take a ride it was quite fantastic seeing them all take-off and soar, all at once at times.

Again, thanks for the ride.

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit http://www.woodworkersguide.com and sign up for my project updates!

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Mark A. DeCou

1998 posts in 3153 days


#6 posted 07-31-2008 05:23 PM

Karson. Funny you should mention batteries. They did die just after flying over my house. But, like the little engineer that I am, I had three more sets in the camera bag, so in just a minute, I had new batteries and was back to shooting photos. For once, I had planned ahead.

M

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com

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Napaman

5365 posts in 2824 days


#7 posted 07-31-2008 05:42 PM

wow…mark…very cool…living in Napa hot air balloons fly over all the time…each time I look up in awe hoping to get a chance but its pretty costly…I have been to two different festivals where they light up and go in the air for a bit…but never taken a ride…unless you count when I was a little tike and got to go up about 100feet on a rope…at a carnival a realestate company was taking people up in the air but only on ropes…so we got to go up look around and then they brought us back down…I think it was then that I got the desire to fly as a pilot…but life has never lead me there…

Thanks soooo much for sharing…Kansas is beautiful…It looks sooo much more green then I would imagine this time of year…as the summer draws on…doesnt it all turn yellow? wheat and corn?

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

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Napaman

5365 posts in 2824 days


#8 posted 07-31-2008 05:46 PM

oh ya…by the way—-these days you dont have to fly to use those frequent fyer miles…many of them can be used for hotels, rental cars, MERCHANDISE…etc…and many organizations accept them as donations…so open one of those envelopes…lol…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

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Mark A. DeCou

1998 posts in 3153 days


#9 posted 07-31-2008 05:51 PM

Napaman: the grass is green this year, more than normal. This tallgrass prairie grass is the most nurishing grass for lifestock in the world. I don’t know much about grass, but that’s what we read here. We’ve had more rain than normal summers, so everything is very green. Which is nice, because some summers are dry, hot, and the trees start to drop leaves by the end of July trying to conserve water.

The merchandise thing sounds good. Thanks for telling me about. The last envelope I did open several years ago said something about magazines, which I did use to get some magazines that I never read for about a year.

thanks for your note,
M

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com

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MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2908 days


#10 posted 07-31-2008 05:55 PM

fantastic.
It truly is amazing to think/feel your little world, in the shop and then to see/feel the vastness of the universe.

Quite a shock to our old egos, I’m guessing, to see how minuscule our “selves” are in this world.
A most enjoyable journey – and thank goodness for those extra batteries

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

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Bill

2579 posts in 2909 days


#11 posted 07-31-2008 06:18 PM

Wonderful pictures Mark. I am glad you were able to make such a trip and get to see your beautiful country in another view.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

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gizmodyne

1765 posts in 2837 days


#12 posted 07-31-2008 06:34 PM

Awesome shots and story. Thank you for posting this. Your landscape is stunning. So green! I had no idea.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke." www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodyne

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8791 posts in 2847 days


#13 posted 07-31-2008 07:18 PM

Really gorgeous country. Thanks so much for sharing.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

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dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 3062 days


#14 posted 07-31-2008 08:48 PM

Wow! Thanks for the ride Mark.

View Kevin's profile

Kevin

293 posts in 2705 days


#15 posted 07-31-2008 09:09 PM

Mark, if your neighbor needs anymore practice, I’d help him out.
I just love driving through the Flinthills.

For those that have never been, it truly is a beautiful part of the state.

-- Kevin, Wichita, Kansas

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