We had an uneventful drive from OKC to here on Friday, the 6th. It was the only day without high winds we have had in almost two weeks. The wind was back up Saturday, 20-25 MPH steady winds with 30-40 MPH gusts. You can't do anything outside. It's like standing on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier during a launch! The movie clip shows a few trees in the campground to give you and idea of what I mean.
Halstead is about 30 miles Northwest of Wichita, KS. We did very little Saturday and Sunday as the wind was so crazy, we just stayed inside all day.
Monday, the ninth, we went into Wichita and did the tourist thing. We went to the Cowtown Museum which is where they have relocated all of the old buildings from old Wichita and remade it into a replica of the old town. It was really interesting and very authentic. I have included several pictures. One is even a picture of Jack Daniels Old #7 - for Medicinal Use Only.
We also visited the Museum of World Treasures. This is a collection that only opened about six years ago that has some very unusual items, including a few actual mummies from Egypt. The collection included items from all over the world and from pre-historic (dinosaurs) to current (movie memorabilia); all American wars, some other important wars (1568 Spanish Armada attack on England); all U.S. presidents; other world leaders and sports figures. It was really fascinating. Who would have thought we would find this in Wichita, KS? Unbelieveable!
Tuesday, the 10th, we went in to to see the Kansas Underground Salt Museum in Hutchinson, KS. This is a working salt mine that has been in production since the 1920s and they just recently (last year) established a museum in an area no longer being mined. It is pretty amazing. The mine is 630 feet down, covers several miles and is the only one in the Western Hemosphere. It is part of a salt layer that stretches from South Kansas through Oklahoma and over to New Mexico. They pull 500,000 tons of salt out of this mine alone - and with just 17 workers and most of those perform maintenance on the equipment and are not actually pulling the salt out.
Unlike most mines you may have been in, the salt mine is very spacious when you get down there. They mine at just one level (or layer of rock) at about nine feet in height. They mine for miles in all directions, leaving 50 feet by 50 feet pillars unmined every so often to support the ceiling. This leaves passages about 100 feet wide by 9 feet high to travel through - pretty amazing stuff! This salt is not table salt but used for salting roads and as rock salt for home made ice cream.
We went to Dillon Nature Center, also in Hutchinson, which is a very nice place to just relax and enjoy nature. It has a small lake where, today, the kids were fishing and having a canoeing class. It also has several trails through the woods and we managed to walk one trail which was short but full of birds and different species of trees. They even had a couple of bald cypress with a lot of knees on the bank of the lake. They also have a small prairie dog town. I took a couple of pictures but even with a 12 zoom, they were too far away.
I have also included a picture of a huge wheat field
and a short movie clip of some of the wheat blowing in the ever present wind
). The wheat fields were being harvested when we were in Oklahoma. It was coming in so fast, they were having trouble getting enough rail cars in fast enough to get it out in time for the next days harvest. I remember this happening in South Oklahoma when I was a child and they even started dumping truckloads of wheat in the center of the city streets waiting on the co-ops to take it. A huge center-spread picture of it appeared in the Saturday Evening Post. The harvest is just starting in Kansas. You can see in the picture that it is still somewhat green in places. The movie shows what it looks like when ready for harvest. You may also notice that they are growing large fields of corn right next to the wheat. I am not sure if this corn is to be used as Ethanol, livestock feed or people food. :-)
Today will be spent preparing the motorhome for the trip to Omaha tomorrow. That will give us Friday to get acclimated and find our way around the city, particularly the ballpark and zoo, before the first game Saturday the 14th.