The Sunflower State


In case you haven’t spent any time in Texas for the past month, here’s an update, it is hot.  Hotter than hot.  So hot I don’t know why I left Africa.  Therefore when the opportunity arose to leave Texas for the weekend I was ecstatic.  Drive 6 hours north to Kansas?  Chill out in the cool 90 degree F weather? Sure, sounds refreshing!

Here’s a short trip recap:

Friday morning: pack – underwear? check. tank top? check. toothbrush/paste? check.  computer/ipad? check.
Friday afternoon: throw on some headphones and play solitaire until the carsickness forces me to sleep
Friday evening: check in at the hotel.  I feared the worst but surprisingly our hotel was nice; my last stay in a Hutch hotel included an airless room with sticky sheets, the pervasive smell of lung cancer, and an incessant buzzing noise.
later on Friday evening: short visit with my grandfather and his wife followed by dinner at a “Mexican” restaurant, Carlos O’Kelly.  My dad insisted that I’d eaten there before but I’m pretty sure I’d remember having Mexican food at an Irish restaurant.

Saturday we spent the day with my grandfather and his wife at Hutch’s main attractions; the Cosmosphere and  the Underground Salt Museum, TWO of the eight wonders of Kansas.  The Cosmosphere houses a huge collection of U.S. Space Artifacts including flown spacecraft; Liberty Bell 7, Gemini 10, and Apollo 13.  However, I thought the coolest aircraft pictured was the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane that is the fastest plane ever built; at it’s top speed it could fly across Kansas (east to west) in 10 minutes.

From there we headed over to the Underground Salt Museum.  Where we plummeted 650 feet below the surface of the earth to see the tunnels and mazes created from decades of salt mining.  We took a tram ride into the dark corners of the mine where they proceeded to turn out ALL of the lights.  Sitting in utter darkness sparked images of salt monsters and missing miners.  I was relieved when they finally turned the lights back on as  I prefer to look my monsters in the eye before I’m devoured.

Alas, the snowman was not made of salt.  However, one of the cool things about the salt mines is that they are able to be used for storage for rare documents and movie/tv show props.  This snow man appeared in the film, Jack Frost, with Michael Keaton in 1998.  And, since I’m a history nerd at heart, one of my favorite parts of the museum was the original newspaper with a feature about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln Assassination Feature
Not too bad for a weekend trip to Kansas.  Quality time with the family + nerdy museum visits = super fun weekend for me.


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