Kansas

We talk to people all over the country who say that Kansas is a flat state that has little to offer. To say I beg to differ would be putting it mildly. Dry, dusty, even windblown parts of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona seem to fit that description far better, but boring? Not on your life! Everywhere we go, we find differences in terrain and vegetation that are evident even at 70 mph on an interstate highway. Since I grew up in the rolling hills of north central Kansas, I’ve never quite understood the “flat” descriptor and having driven across highways 24 and 36, I know that Kansas hills abound.

Kansas has its place in history, as well. Sprinkled across the state are little-known museums, places of interest, historical markers and road signs telling about birthplaces of famous people. For example, I grew up in Alton, KS, the birthplace of Russell Stover, the chocolate dude. As a chocolate lover, I find that very significant! Alton even has a chocolate festival to celebrate its heritage, although I’ll have to admit that I didn’t know about said birthplace until long after I was married and gone from home. Walter Chrysler, mover and shaker in the automobile industry, was born in Wamego and grew up in Ellis. Sedan, KS houses the Emmett Kelly Museum.

Among the other highlighted spots in Kansas, one stands out for sheer size alone. Big Brutus, the world’s largest electric shovel, is a reminder of the mining heritage in southeast Kansas. On our way home from Arkansas, we stopped to check it out. See the tiny, by comparison, shovels on the right side of the picture?

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In case you wondered, that’s me next to the tracks at the bottom of the picture above, and a closer picture below.

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Just for comparison, they have several smaller buckets along the path, all of which looked like big machines to me, just not on the scale of Big Brutus.

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Interestingly enough, Big Brutus never dug a shovelful of coal. It was only in place to dig off the dirt that lay above the coal.

The mining museum, while very interesting, doesn’t lend itself to pictures in general but it is well worth the time it takes to visit the exhibit.

We had been back at The Landing, our property near Sedgwick, a few days when an April ice storm hit and our tree line suffered multiple casualties, some of which fell on the electric line coming in from the road. LeRoy got most of the ones on the east side of the property cleared on Friday and Saturday. All seemed to be well until Saturday night. Sometime around midnight, the wind came up and blew limbs around enough to cause a problem. Our first indication was that I woke up about 1:45 to total darkness, no blinking lights on electronics or anything. I thought that was odd and went to check the refrigerator. No welcoming light greeted me when I opened the door. In a house when you lose electricity, that would be typical, but in our bus, the whole electrical system SHOULD have switched over to battery power. Not this time. LeRoy routed the generator exhaust under the door of the building and switched on the generator so we had heat for the rest of the night but we still only had power to some of the outlets.

Fast forward a few days. LeRoy worked to get enough power rerouted so that we have heat and half the lights in the front of the bus, called on a retired electrician (who came out and told him what he’d already found out for himself) and discovered more systems either not working correctly or not working at all.

When you live full time in your RV, you have to consider that when you find an insurance policy. Ours is sort of like a combination auto policy and homeowners. We had an adjuster out this week and it looks as though we will have to take Liberty to an RV repair facility. This time, we most likely won’t be able to live in it while work is being done. Since LeRoy is scheduled for a colonoscopy early this week (the joys of growing older!), we’ll look at Liberty’s repair work later in the week.

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