Our next stop was Kansas City, where we went to the Arabia Steamboat Museum. On its last journey, the Arabia left Saint Louis in 1856, bound for Omaha.
Ten miles north of Kansas City, she hit a log snag and sank in 15 feet of water. The 130 passengers and crew survived, but the Arabia and her 200-ton cargo were lost to the river.
132 years later, in 1988, five steamboat enthusiasts from the Kansas City area successfully recovered the Arabia and her cargo. The river had changed course since 1856, so the ship was recovered in a field.
Amazingly, one of those 5 enthusiasts was in the museum the day we were there, and told us many great stories.
The museum is full of pieces of the ship, and tons of the cargo, including one of the 2 28-foot paddle-wheels.
And the stern, including the rudder.
The 200-ton cargo consisted of thousands of items intended for the settlements of the American frontier.
Kitchen items -
Even lots and lots of shoes. These pictures are just a sampling of what is in the museum.
The only life lost on the ship was that of a mule. The skeleton was found tied to a lumber mill jack on the boat's stern.
Before the WINs joined me at Cheney State Park, I drove into Wichita to do laundry, and stumbled onto the greatest laundromat in the world. Carpeted, clean, TVs, playground for kids, and a billion machines.
When the WINs showed up, we went on several adventures. The first was the Underground Salt Museum in Hutchinson.
They take you on an elevator 650' down in total darkness. We then went on a tram ride through walls of salt that stretch for miles.
The mine was carved out of ancient salt deposits formed 275 million years ago. We learned that we will never run out of salt. Even though this salt is mostly used on roads, it can be eaten. But they repeatedly told us not to lick the walls...
There was also a museum down there, with lots of rusty stuff.
Lots of garbage left over from many years ago.
Don't know why I found this so fascinating.
We also went to the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson. There is tons of stuff to see here, including a replica of the space shuttle.
The museum basically tells the story of the race to space, from WWII to the present day. I don't usually like museums that much, but this one was great. They also have a planetarium and IMAX theater.
I especially had a good time playing with the infrared screen. Clearly, Phil is hotter than I am...
And we also went to the Dillon Nature Center, which was very nice.
I was totally distracted by these cute little Canada Geese, which had just left the nest.
Aren't they adorable? Too bad they grow up to be "rats with wings."