Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Free Money!

The WINs did lots of other stuff while in Kansas City. We went to visit Fort Osage, which was built on the Missouri River under the supervision of William Clark in 1808, after the completion of the Lewis and Clark trip to the Pacific.

We were greeted at the gate by a very friendly soldier.

He invited us to climb all through the fort. I really liked the windows.

There was another guy there who let us touch all kinds of animal pelts.

Afterward, another Kansas City barbeque lunch. Can't have too many...

We also went to the Trails Museum, which covered Lewis and Clark, along with all the other trails that took the early pioneers West.

And the Hallmark Museum, where I had a serious conversation with Maxine.

Now for my favorite - the Money Museum. The Truman Coin Collection is here, pretty impressive.

But didn't compare to the $40 million dollars! And I got really close to it!

But here's the best part! They give every visitor a bag of free money!

There's an average of $165 in here!!! Now I just need a lot of tape and glue...

Monday, May 28, 2018

The Steamboat Arabia

The Steamboat Arabia left St. Louis bound for Omaha in 1856. In addition to the 130 passengers and crew on board, there were 200 tons of treasures bound for Western frontier settlers.

Unfortunately, when the steamboat passed Kansas City, it hit a snag and sank in 15 feet of water.

One hundred thirty-two years later, in 1988, 5 steamboat enthusiasts began digging for the remains in a field. Because the Missouri River had changed course since 1856, the Arabia was recovered in a ditch beneath 4 stories of river mud.

One of those 5 steamboat enthusiasts was there to speak to us!

The museum contained the stern and rudder of the ship -

One of the 2 28-foot paddle wheels -

And the tree snag recovered from the hold that caused the boat to sink!

In addition, there were many rooms of some of the 200 tons of treasures on the ship! This is the biggest collection of pre-civil war artifacts in the country! Lots of kitchen articles -

Tools and hardware -

And even a whole showcase of shoes!

Fortunately, no lives were lost except for this poor little mule. The skeleton was found tied to a lumber mill jack on the boat's stern.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Joining Lewis and Clark

I joined up with the WIN's Lewis and Clark circuit in Kansas City. I know that Lewis and Clark started out near St. Lewis, but I didn't want to go east just to go west again. I had first done this trip way back in 2010. Our first adventure was a hike through the muddy woods.

But things get better from here! We went downtown to tour the city, starting at Union Station, the second largest one in the country after New York.

The ceiling was just gorgeous.

We did a trolley tour of the city, which was excellent.

We saw a mural of Lewis and Clark, and company...

The ASB bridge rail crossing used to also handle car traffic.

There are a lot of great fountains in Kansas City.

But this is my favorite - the JC Nichols Fountain.

The barfing animals reminded me of the fountains that I saw in Paris!

We went to see 2 Lewis and Clark sites. This one, which I forgot the name of,

And Kaw Point, at the confluence of the Missouri and the Kaw rivers. Lewis and Clark were here on June 26, 1804.

And of course, you can't go to Kansas City without getting Barbeque!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Animals and Indians

While parked at Cheney Reservoir State Park, I went to the outskirts of Wichita to go to the Sedgwick County Zoo. I loved the welcoming committee, and the way the zoo is set up by continent.

They had a lot of the usual animals, in very nice enclosures. This is Daddy and baby lion.

And of course, a bald eagle.

My favorite is the gorillas. I just love looking at their hands.

And the baby was adorable, although way too fast to get a good picture.

And they even had some Humboldt Penguins, the second smallest after the Galapagos penguins.

But there were a lot of these signs, which upset me. Not because I couldn't see the animals, but because I wondered where they were. Instead of in their nice zoo enclosures, were they stuck in a little cage somewhere? (This was several weeks ago when the weather was much cooler...)

My next stop was a 2-night stop at a Corps of Engineers park on Melvern Lake, east of Emporia, Kansas. These COE parks just can't be beat!

I saw wildlife...

And up on the hill, there was an Indian guard!

Monday, May 21, 2018

I'm in Kansas, Dorothy!

I next moved into Kansas, still on my way to join the WIN's Lewis and Clark circuit. I stayed 3 nights at Cheney Reservoir State Park, a gorgeous place that I stayed at 3 years ago, just west of Wichita.

The view out my door.

I had the opportunity to do another dam walk.

But the biggest surprise was this Nine-Banded Armadillo, wandering through the campground.

These noisy guys were all over the place, but fun to watch.

In nearby Hutchinson is one of the Eight Wonders of Kansas.

Well, actually it's 650 feet underground - Strataca, a huge salt mine and museum.

I saw lots of rusty stuff -

And some very interesting old garbage.

Some of it was stuffed into cracks in the salt walls.

The potty wasn't too fancy...

We got two narrated rides. The first was a 15-minute train ride on the Salt Mine Express.

And then a tram ride that was a little longer.

This map shows how big the mine is (the yellow section) underneath the town of Hutchinson.

Since they have lots of room down here, there is a storage section for movie props, including lots of Super Hero costumes. Not sure what the connection is there...

Another sunset view out my window back at the campground. Great place!