We went to Hutchinson, Kansas. Why you might ask? First, we read they have a salt mine and tour there. There, we talked to a guy who told us that there are many movies made in Hollywood, California. Many historical archives in these mines. It reminds me of the Salt Mine in Salzburg, Austria, home to Mozart and The Sound of Music. The Nazis used these mines to store artwork stolen from Holocaust victims.
The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center is also in Hutchinson. We’ve been to too many air and space museums, the Smithsonian in Washington. DC, Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, and more. You enter the building and you see a Blackbird stealth bomber and the Space Shuttle Endeavour. When you enter the museum on the ground floor, you will discover the history of modern space travel.
Here are the best collections from America, the Soviet Union, and the Third Reich. On display are German V-1 rockets and manned rocket bombers, or in this case, rocket bombers piloted by women. Heide Kniessel was Germany’s top test pilot and the only woman to receive the Iron Cross. The museum has replicas of Sputnik I and II, real Vostok modules, and other memorabilia from the Soviet Union. From the US is the Apollo 13 module. These are free.
Why Hatch? Patricia Brooks Carey started the Hutchinson Planetarium in 1962 with an old star projector. Because she felt the Midwest needed one. In 1976, he wanted to expand the planetarium. He contacted Max Ary, who volunteered at the museum during his college days. I was on a committee to find homes for many of the Smithsonian artifacts. Besides the museum, the Cosmosphere has an Imax theater, planetarium, and Dr. Goddard’s laboratory with live science shows.
Before leaving Hutchinson, we traveled to a Samboree. It is an RV rally belonging to the Good Sam Club, one organization promoting the RV lifestyle.
They are held at the state and national level (every year nationwide). This was the first one we attended. It filled the rally with many activities: entertainment, seminars, games, vendors, and good camaraderie. Having never been, we stopped to see what it was like. We found a group of people going to the auditorium and asked one of them what happened. He said it was a workshop on RV electrical systems. We take part and become happy. Al, who is running the workshop, is an electrical engineer and is talking about batteries. I don’t know, and maybe many of you don’t know, that modern batteries are not maintenance-free.
It’s the same lead-acid battery that’s been used in cars and other vehicles since the T Model. Every year you have to remove the plastic cover and test the water level in the battery. If it is below the lower lip, fill it to that level with distilled water. We also learned that the battery in Europe has a two-year warranty for longer life. American battery companies wanted to sell more batteries, so they left out an important ingredient: cadmium sulfide. This prevents the battery plates from the coating and losing their ability to generate a charge. We bought some and got the batteries. We have two in the truck and four in the trailer. The ones on the truck are a little low, but the ones on the trailer are almost dry.
They handle a gallon of distilled water. I think this product works. We checked our solar panel battery a few days later to see if it was charged; it did. We now want to maintain our batteries over the life of the vehicle.
About 10 miles south of Hatch is an Amish town, Yoder (a very common Amish surname). We hope to do some serious shopping there and enjoy some good food. The first is a complete failure: doesn’t offer the usual sweets and bulk items like other Amish stores. The food we ate at The Country Carriage was exceptional. We both had roast beef with giant roast potato and a green pea or salad. Not only was the beef tender and reminded us of BBQ, but we had enough leftovers for five packs. It’s not a poor deal.