US-50 West 2022:
Day 2 - Dodge City [Main] [Contact Us] [Events] [Family] [Fun] [Garden] [Misc.] [Photos] [Search] [Site Index] [Travel]

US-50 West 2022: [Day 1 - Owensville] [Day 2 - Dodge City] [Day 3 - Cañon City] [Day 4 - Colorado NM] [Day 5 - Great Basin NP] [Day 6 - Folsom Lake SRA] [Day 7 - Lassen Volcanic NP] [Day 8 - Humboldt Redwoods SP] [Day 9 - Portola Valley] [Day 10 - Pinnacles NP] [Day 11 - Yosemite] [Day 12 - Sequoia & Kings Canyon NP] [Day 13 - Picacho Peak SP] [Day 14 - Flagstaff] [Day 15 - El Reno] [Day 16 - Heading Home]

Sunday, October 2, 2022: The sun was already peeking through the trees when we got up. We were still the only people in the campground.
We were taking it easy this morning, and made Breakfast Skillet in the hotpot in our tent.
By 8:30 AM, we were packed up and Debbie removed the reserved sign from the number post in our site. This was one of our favorite campgrounds and we hope to have a reason to come back some day.
Fifteen minutes later, we were back on US-50 and headed west through Missouri.
The scenery was pretty much cows and fields, so Debbie took a few minutes to sort and stack her LEGO Pick & Build haul from yesterday. Behold the organized loot!
The old VW Beetle and colorful paint on both the car and the building drew our attention to the Old School Antique Mall in Linn, Missouri.
The emblems on this beautiful bridge identified it as Jefferson City and The Capitol City.
There was a Coca-Cola bottling plant on the south side of the road, and the logo was cast in concrete as part of the building. Cool!
We had seen the Capitol on a previous trip, so we didn't go out of our way to see it again, but we were able to see it on the drive through the city. Here's a shot of it playing peek-a-boo between Department of Social Services building on the left and the back of the Missouri Supreme Court building on the right.
What's this? A Bonnie Plant Garden near California, Missouri? We love Bonnie Plants!
This Twin Pine Motel sign sparked two discussions. The first was whether or not Twin Pine Motel should really be Twin Pines Motel. There was only one motel in sight, so twin obviously modified pine, and the sign made it abundantly clear that there were two pines. Pines. Two of them. Therefore plural. The second discussion was about the movie Back to the Future, where the Twin Pines Mall became the Lone Pine Mall after Marty went back to 1955.
Oh, Magic 8 Ball, will there be enough water this year?
Sedalia, Missouri, wanted us to join them for Homecoming Weekend, but neglected to tell us the date. Someone in Sedalia will have to think about that if no one shows up.
Sedalia had cool bicycle sculptures though, so we'll let the Homecoming sign slide for now. This one had old-timey people on the wheels, ...
... while this one looked more like a lightbike from the movie Tron. These were two of 18 bicycle sculptures placed around town in 2019.
Just before noon, we crossed the border into Kansas, ...
... and made our way to the Oak Park Mall.
It was Sunday, and the mall had only opened about ten minutes earlier, so it was nearly deserted.
That was fine with us, and we made our way directly to the LEGO store.
We loved this Clutchers baseball player minifig sculpture that was just inside the entrance.
Debbie scrutinized the Pick & Build offerings, ...
... and found enough to fill a small-sized cup. Whew!
Leaving the mall, we saw a Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers and had to stop. We had tried to eat at one of these on at least two occasions and had been denied, so hopefully the third time is the charm, as they say.
The first thing we noticed is that whoever is responsible for branding at Raising Cane's is at the top of their game, with nearly every surface of their product containers covered with their logo. We both got a three fingers meal with fries, and they were delicious. We will definitely have to eat here again, if we can.
US-50 merged with I-35 South for a while, so we sped along in divided highway heaven for a time.
In Emporia, Kansas, US-50 split off into its own road again, and we passed this lot containing old cars, including this one painted orange with Tonka written on the door. Cute!
We continued our recently-started collection of U-Haul state and province art with this bat from Missouri.
There were lots of things going on with these stone statues: fish, nautilis shells, a woman, crosses, and other shapes. They looked like the doodle stones before the sculptor ...
... made this magnificient Emporia stone.
We both had a feeling of déjà vu right before we saw the building for the Tallgrass Prarie National Preserve. We had been here twice last year, so we were starting to recognize the area.
Maersk! There were more than twenty Maersk containers on this train, but as we had recently told our daughter, Jill, it still only counts as one.
For the record, it was Debbie's idea to detour slightly north of US-50 into Hutchinson after seeing the billboard for ...
... the Kansas Cosmosphere. Tom is starting to think that Debbie secretly enjoys air and space museums almost as much as he does. There was both a Mercury Redstone rocket and a Titan Gemini rocket in the parking lot, ...
... and an SR-71 hanging over the entrance inside.
The entire wall opposite the entry doors was a faux Space Shuttle Endeavour.
The Liberty Bell 7 was on display in the lobby with an information sign explaining the history of the loss and recovery of the capsule. It was fitting that we had driven through Gus Grissom's home town the day before.
The capsule is so very small. It had to feel like you were strapping it on like a backpack, rather than climbing inside a spacecraft.
It was in remarkably good shape for having been at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean for 38 years.
There was a replica Apollo spacesuit that matched the one we had seen at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapokeneta, Ohio. This one had been recreated from 3D scans of the suit that Neil Armstrong wore on Apollo 11, which is in the collection of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Fifteen of these statues were created and displayed in Major League ballparks in 2019, then moved to museums like this one.
We bought tickets for the museum, and walked down the stairs under this amazing stained glass window to the exhibit area.
They had a Bell X-1, the aircraft flown by Chuck Yeager when he broke the sound barrier for the first time in history.
There was a display detailing the German A-4 rocket, which was eventually named the V-2, ...
... and Wernher von Braun's involvement in its design and its basis for the US rockets in the early days of the space race.
This rocket sled prompted a big "nope" from Debbie, and after closer examination, Tom decided that there are limits to his desires to be an astronaut as well.
They had a great section on the Soviet achievements of the space race, including this mock up of Sputnik II. Take a close look at the bottom of the spacecraft and you can see a model of Laika, the first dog in space.
It was interesting to see the size comparison between Explorer 1, the first US satellite, ...
... and Sputnik, the first Soviet satellite.
These windows were removed from a blockhouse at Cape Canaveral. A blockhouse is the control room that actually launched the rocket from the pad. Controllers watched the launches of Explorer 1 and the Mercury launches for both Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom through these very windows.
These were cracked, and you could see the fifteen layers of glass that made up the window panes. They are nearly four inches thick and weigh almost two hundred pounds each.
The early days of the US space program had many failures, but this was the first time we had seen the salvaged remains from one of the failed launches in a museum. This exhibit was the remains of the spacecraft from the Mercury Atlas 1 launch. It is amazing that anything can survive a ride atop an exploding rocket.
We turned a corner and encountered sections of the concrete barrier that had once separated East and West Germany during the Cold War, before entering the Soviet exhibit area.
This is the business end of an RD-107 rocket engine, which was originally flown on the R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile in the 1950s, and was repurposed for the Vostok and Soyuz programs.
There was a model of an R-7 rocket on display, and you can immediately see the similarities to the Soyuz rockets that are still being launched by Russia today.
Part of the Titan II rocket used for the Gemini program that is visible on the outside of the building could been seen up close as we walked past. It was such a cool way to present the rocket.
There was an entire section devoted to the Soviet Union's Chief Designer, Sergei Korolev, who was the architect of the Soviet space program. All of their early successes were the result of his vision, and who knows how the space race would have turned out had he not tragically died during routine surgery in 1966. Would the Soviet Union have been first to land on the moon? We'll never know.
There was a copy of Pravda celebrating the launch and return of Yuri Gagarin, the first human to go into space, ...
... and a copy of the Rochester Times-Union celebrating Alan Shepard's flight less than three weeks later.
There was a Voshkod capsule on display. It was the first one we had seen in countless air and space museums. This one shows the Volga airlock that was used for the first Soviet spacewalk.
Around the corner was another Voshkod capsule, this time showing how the ejection system worked. The early Soviet capsules did not land with their cosmonauts, but instead the cosmonaut ejected and parachuted to the ground.
The capsule Alan Shepard had ridden into space, Freedom 7, had been restored and was on display around the corner.
There was an information display about the loss and recovery of the Liberty Bell 7, and it included the finding of $10.20 in the cabin after it was recovered. Astronaut Gus Grissom had taken 52 dimes and five one dollar bills into space with him to give out as souvenirs of his flight when he got back.
What's this? Well, this is a single tread or shoe from the mobile transporter that delivered the Saturn V rocket to the launch pad from the vehicle assembly building. This single shoe weighs 2,000 pounds, is more than seven feet long, and it is only one of the more than 450 on the crawler.
This is a Lunar Module that was built by the Grumman Corporation as an engineering test article during the Apollo program. Since all of the Lunar Modules that were flown during Apollo were discarded either in lunar orbit or burned up on re-entry in Earth orbit, the only Lunar Modules available for museums to display are leftover engineering test articles.
They have a moon rock! This is sample number 10020.57 from the Apollo 11 mission, weighing in at 136.21 grams.
Here's a closer look. The smooth edge on the right side is where the rock was cut nearly in half so that smaller pieces of it could be analyzed.
They had spacesuits from Michael Collins, command module pilot for Apollo 11, ...
... Ronald Evans, command module pilot for Apollo 17, ...
... and Jim Lovell, commander of the ill-fated Apollo 13.
Speaking of Apollo 13, they had the command module, Odyssey, on display. There was an informational sign near it that detailed the efforts by Greg "Buck" Buckingham, a master restoration specialist at the Cosmosphere, to restore the Odyssey to its original condition. After the Apollo 13 mission was complete, the capsule was shipped back to North American Rockwell and torn apart as part of the post-mission investigation. Once the investigation was complete, the capsule was shipped to an aviation museum in Paris in its stripped down state and put on display for more than 15 years. When the Cosmosphere acquired Odyssey, it worked diligently to recover the more than 80,000 parts that had been removed from the spacecraft and to restore it to its original condition.
Near by, there was a scale model of the service module that was built from the images that the crew took after the service module was jettisoned prior to re-entry. The model shows an amazing amount of detail and clearly shows the area where the oxygen tank exploded.
Here's a close-up of the interior of the Odyssey.
There was also a mock up of the White Room, the area on the launch tower where the crew is loaded into their spacecraft.
Tom was fascinated by the exhibit showing all of the different cameras used during the Apollo program.
There was a mock up of the spacecraft used during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, ...
... or as it is known in Russia, the Soyuz-Apollo Test Project.
As people who have used both an Amtrak bathroom and an RV bathroom, this space toilet looks pretty luxurious.
Who do we contact about getting this carpet installed in our house? Does it come in any other colors than red?
This exhibit showed how the pressure and leak checks are performed on the Russian spacesuits prior to launch. The seat in Soyuz capsule looks mighty uncomfortable, don't you think?
There was an IMAX film canister signed by the crew of STS-3, the mission that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope. One of the astronauts, Steve Hawley, is from Kansas.
Now back to spacesuits. This exhibit details the differences between the American spacesuit, known as an EMU, and the Russian spacesuit, known as Orlan. Fun fact: you can put on an Orlan spacesuit by yourself, but you need a buddy to put on the EMU.
One of the last exhibits is about the vehicles that are being developed by private corporations for commercial spaceflight. Blue Origin's New Shepard and SpaceX Dragon are currently flying, and Sierra Nevada's Dreamchaser is scheduled to fly in 2024.
The gift shop had the most adorable collection of stuffed plush planet toys. We wanted them all. Luckily, we are on a road trip with limited space for souvenirs, so common sense prevailed and we were able to resist.
However, we were unable to resist a Cosmosphere-branded shot glass and a Moon-shaped ice ball mold.
Outside is a life-sized replica of Astronaut Gene Cernan getting ready to ascend the ladder of the lunar module after completing the last EVA on the moon during Apollo 17. The plaque on the wall includes the final words spoken from the surface of the moon: "We leave as we came, and God willing as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind."
Mounted to the ladder is a replica of the plaque carried on Apollo 17, which displays the mission date and the names of the astronauts. All lunar modules carried a similar plaque with their mission information.
Ten minutes later, we were back on US-50, continuing our journey westward through Kansas.
The landscape was now almost entirely prairie, with some rolling hills and distant trees.
There were still businesses with the US-50 name in them, like this Route 50 Liquor.
There were wind turbines ...
... and farms ...
... as we approached Dodge City, Kansas.
We passed the familiar statue of Wyatt Earp, ...
... on the way to the Dodge City KOA Journey, our destination for this night.
Fifteen minutes after arriving, our tent was set up and we were ready for a relaxing evening.
Here's a shot of our tent site, which was very spacious. We should have set up the tent in the middle of the space, but we didn't really understand when we got there that the entire space was just one site.
Since it was a KOA, we took full advantage of their awesome facilities and showered before getting ready for bed.
We celebrated a successful day with cocktails in our tent. Cheers!
It was a great night, and after the long day, we went to bed happy and satisfied with our progress so far.

Day 3 >

US-50 West 2022: [Day 1 - Owensville] [Day 2 - Dodge City] [Day 3 - Cañon City] [Day 4 - Colorado NM] [Day 5 - Great Basin NP] [Day 6 - Folsom Lake SRA] [Day 7 - Lassen Volcanic NP] [Day 8 - Humboldt Redwoods SP] [Day 9 - Portola Valley] [Day 10 - Pinnacles NP] [Day 11 - Yosemite] [Day 12 - Sequoia & Kings Canyon NP] [Day 13 - Picacho Peak SP] [Day 14 - Flagstaff] [Day 15 - El Reno] [Day 16 - Heading Home] [Main] [Contact Us] [Events] [Family] [Fun] [Garden] [Misc.] [Photos] [Search] [Site Index] [Travel]

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