Ron & Elena's 2007-2010 Travels travel blog

Main factory building where Excel 5th wheel trailers are manufactured.

A customer's unit in for service.

My cousin's farm south of Lebanon, KS. Very nice location for the...

We are now in the "heartland", "midwest", i.e., dead center of the...




This little chapel is about 4' x 8'.

Front of the chapel.

Looking to the rear of the chapel. Four pews, one person per...

I guess every town wants some "claim to fame".


It certainly is a very huge ball of twine!

(Ron Writing) This morning we took a tour of Peterson Industries in Smith Center, KS. Peterson manufactures the Excel brand 5th wheel travel trailers and these are generally considered one of the better brands and often used by full-time RVers.

The tour lasted about 90 minutes. We were shown through the main manufacturing plant – lumber, steel, fiberglass etc. in one door and completed trailers out the other door. It was very interesting. Our tour guide was one of the managers and he was very knowledgeable about all aspects of the design of the trailers and the manufacturing steps. It was quite educational. But we’ll stick with Da Honu yet!

After the tour we continued east on Hwy. 36 a few miles to Hwy. 181 south near Lebanon, KS. One of my cousins and her husband have a large farm a few miles south of Lebanon and they had invited us out to see the farm. We’re really getting educated about farming and cattle raising on this trip. My cousin’s husband grew up here on his parents’ family farm. Now one of their sons lives in the original home place and my cousin lives in a newer home a few miles away. Like most successful farmers they have expanded the operation far beyond his parents’ original land. After we enjoyed a delicious dinner prepared by my cousin we were taken on a tour of the farm, all the while learning about the modern methods used to control weeds, till the soil, rotate the crops, etc. The wheat crop looks very good and if the weather keeps cooperating it will be ready for harvest around the last week of June. They also have several large pastures where they raise black angus cattle.

Then I noticed they have a drive-on scale near the grain storage bins so we weighed our truck and trailer. I’ve been wanting to do this for some time to make sure we are within the many weight specification limits for rig. It looks like we are within all specifications except the for a slight overload on the rear axel of the truck. The design of our trailer is such that it has a high hitch weight which creates this problem.

We also stopped at the center of the 48 contiguous states. This site is located a couple miles northwest of Lebanon, KS. There is a monument, picnic area, and a tiny chapel on the site.

We continued south on Hwy 181 to Downs, KS and then east on Hwy. 24 to Cawker City, KS. This town purports to have the world’s largest ball of twine! It is indeed a very large ball of twine and I’ll bet no one else is even in the competition!

After driving back to Downs we continued south on Hwy 181 to the small town of Tipton. It was getting late so we decided to spend the night here. There aren’t any campgrounds here but we found a nice quiet place to park beside a large vacant lot across from the Catholic church. After dinner we took a walking tour of the town to get our daily exercise.

Share |