Sunday, May 31, 2015

Just a few days left....

We leave the Omaha area in a few days and will hit some new areas in Nebraska, Montana, Washington during the next month.

I did promise some more butterfly I said previously, it was a good butterfly spring!  Like the lizards too!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Of Butterflies....

Mike and I are enjoying being grandparents right now but I still take pictures.....just not as many of things other than grandchildren;)  I have had a really good butterfly spring though. Here is the first of a few sets of butterfly etc. pics:

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Kansas to Omaha, NE

On our way to visit family in Omaha, where we will be through the month, we stopped for a few days in Hutchinson and Abilene, Kansas.

In Hutchinson, in addition to the salt mine tour I posted previously, we also visited the Cosmosphere. This museum is dedicated to space flight and the preservation of the history of the Apollo program.

an actual SR71 poised in a permenant banking turn next to a 3/4 scale model of the space shuttle Endeavor

lunar lander

the original Apollo 13 capsule
 Amazing story on the Apollo 13 capsule if you can read below:
 In Abilene, our focus was the Eisenhower Museum.  Abilene was the boyhood home of Dwight D. Eisenhower.  His home, the museum and presidential library and memorial garden, where he is buried, are all on the museum grounds.

 Mike and I had just recently watched the movie, The Imitation Game (based on actual events), so it was interesting to see an Enigma Machine in the museum:

 The chapel in the memorial garden where Eisenhower's remains are interred
 We had to stop by the Russell Stover factory in Abilene. No tours unfortunately, but a huge room full of discount, did not pass inspection, chocolates of every type and size box.  We did sample a few and did buy a few boxes.......for family!!!!:)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Salt Mine in Kansas

We are spending a couple of days in Hutchinson, KS.  We wanted to visit a salt mine and space museum here.  Yesterday we checked out the salt mine....but not just a salt mine!

Part of the mine is a huge storage facility used to store everything from hospital records to movie memorabilia.  It is as about as safe as you can get!  650 feet underground the temperature stays a constant 68 degrees:

In spite of the touristy looking building, it is an active salt mine.  We were far from the active mining though but we could hear charges going off occasionally and that was interesting!
The map below shows the total 150 miles of tunnels that have been dug over the years with the blue section being the area we explored and the green is the storage facility:

The walls and ceiling sparkled with salt crystals and it is pretty!  The salt in this mine is 96% pure.

 this huge 6 ton salt block is unusual because it is so white and feels like glass
 We took an electric train ride to explore some of the tunnels:
 Passed some very old equipment along the way. Equipment today is very modern and robotic.  Where it used to take a 40 man crew to drill and empty a section, it now takes only four.  Less man power and a lot safer:
 The white stick you see in the pic below measure how much the ceiling is sagging over time,  yep, sometimes they fall!

Don't have to use toilets like the one below anymore;)

There is a museum at the entrance of the storage facility, which is, of course, off limits.

 We stopped by the Dillon Nature Park and had a nice little walk around a pond and a lot of fun watching a goose family!

US Army Corp of Engineers Park, Iowa City, IA

Mike and I love it when we can find a COE park because they are always on water and our last stop at Coralville Lake was no exception.  A bi...