We took a trip to Hutchinson, Kansas. Why Hutch, you might ask? First of all we read that they had a salt mine there and tours. We thought that it would be open sooner. Sadly it wasn’t. We talked to a gentleman there who informed us that the mines contained many of the films produced by Hollywood, California and many historical archives. This brought to mind the salt mines at Salzberg, Austria, the home of Mozart and The Sound of Music. The Nazis used the mines to store the artwork stolen from the victims of the holocaust.
Also in Hutchinson is the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center. We have been to numerous space and air museums, the Smithsonian in Wsashington. DC, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio and a few others. The Cosmosphere rates ***** on a **** scale. It is off the charts as being spectacular. You enter the building and immediately in front of you is a Blackbird Stealth bomber and the space shuttle Endeavor. When you go into the museum, which is downstairs, you discover the history of modern space travel. This is the best collection of USA and USSR and the Third Reich. On display are the V-1 rockets of Germany and the manned, or in the case the womaned piloted rocket bomber. Heide Kniessel (not positive about the name) was the premier test pilot in Germany and the only woman to receive the Iron Cross. The museum has replicas of Sputnik I & II, the actual Vostok module and other USSR memorabilia. From the USA is the Apollo XIII module. All of this is FREE.
Why Hutch? Back in 1962 Patricia Brooks Carey founded the Hutchinson Planetarium with a used star projector, because she felt that the Midwest needed one. In 1976 she wanted to expand the planetarium. She contacted Max Ary, who had volunteered at the museum while in college. He was on a committee to find a home for many artifacts that the Smithsonian had. Besides the museum, the Cosmosphere has an Imax Theater, the planetarium and Dr. Goddard’s Lab with live science shows.
Before leaving Hutchinson we went to a Samboree. A Samboree is a rally of RVers who belong to Good Sam’s Club, one of the organizations, which promote the RV lifestyle. They are held on a statewide and national level (the national being held once a year). This is the first one we ever attended. The rallies are filled with many different activities: entertainment, seminars, games, vendors, and just good commeraderie. Not ever having been to one we dropped in to see what it was like. We found a group heading to an auditorium and asked one of the people what was happening. He said it was a seminar on RV electrical systems. We are very happy that we attended. Al, who was giving the seminar, had been an electrical engineer and talked about batteries. I did not know and perhaps many of you do not either that the modern battery is not maintenance free. It is the same lead acid battery which has been in cars and other vehicles since the model T. In other words, annually you have to pry off the plastic top and examine the water level in the cells. If below the lower lip fill it to that level with distilled water. We also learned that batteries in Europe are guaranteed for two years and will last longer. US battery companies want to sell more batteries and so leave out an important ingredient: cadmium sulfide. This keeps the plates in the battery from becoming coated and losing their ability to produce a charge. A product is available to correct this: Battery Equaliser–www.batteryequaliser.com or 1-888-851-4431. We bought some a put it in our batteries. We have two in the truck and four in the trailer. The ones in the truck were down a little, but the ones in the trailer were almost bone dry. They took over a gallon of distilled water. I believed that the product worked, because when I checked a couple of days later to see if we had a full charge on the batteries from our solar panels, we did. We now hope to keep our batteries for the life of our vehicles.
About ten miles South of Hutch is a small Amish town, Yoder (a very common Amish surname). We hoped to do some serious shopping there and enjoy a good meal. The former was a dismal failure: the usual array of goodies and bulk items were not present like at other Amish stores. The meal we had at The Country Carriage was outstanding. Both of us had the roast beef with a huge baked potato and a side of green beens or salad. Not only was the beef tender and reminded us of barbacoa, we had enough leftovers for five wraps. Not a bad deal for $6.95 each.