Sunday, August 13, 2017

#1 North Platte , Nebraska July 2017


North Platte Nebraska, Our reason for visiting was to tour the Golden Spike Tower and the Bailey Train Yard. The tower gives you a panoramic view of the worlds largest train yard. The tower was opened in 2008. It is eight floors up to a large enclosed observation room. The 7th floor has a open observation deck. We had a wonderful retired employee give us information about the train yard. He answered all our questions with ease.  Linda and I were the only two visitors, at the moment,  as we arrived just as the tower opened. Soon other guest arrived and we had to share him with the others. There are 23 flags in a semi circle around the tower, one for each state the Union Pacific serves. Buffalo Bill Cody Scout Rest Park is near by as it was easy access to the railroad for his show to travel. The tower has a live web cam, see www.goldenspiketower.com.  Our photo's don't show the vastness of the train yard.
     The Bailey Train yard covers over 2800 acres. Each day 10,000 rail  cars are handled, and  over 300 engines are used into making new trains. Locomotive crews are change here. Over 3,500 engines can be repaired each month. The yard employees over 2,500 people. I'm just jotting down facts as fast as I can remember them. The yard operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Oh, almost forgot there is over 8 miles of track in the yard. Oh a second Oh, the tower is free.
     The great host telling us about the yard made for a super visit with so much information. We never knew how much work goes into the trains you see passing by. So now when we wait at a rail crossing, and waiting for that arm to go up, we have some knowledge of what went into making up that train.


















This is the second time in the passed two years we came upon information about the "Orphan Train" . The last time was in Louisiana





This is the "hump" were cars are pushed up and uncoupled, then roll down, and switch to different tracks to make up new trains going in different directions.
















#2 Holiday RV Park North Platte NE, June 2017



Name; Holiday RV Park North Platte

Date; June 2017

Staff; Very friendly

Price; $35  with Good Sam discount 

Site; Gravel fairly level. Pull Thru, 30/50 amp full hook up. Picnic table. Narrow grass between sites. Cable TV Some large trees.

Big rig friendly; Yes, all sites pull thru roads wide enough.

Amenities; small pool, large pavilion

Laundry; Yes, clean

Dog Friendly; Yes, small area to walk your dog 

Phone/TV/Wi-Fi; Verizon worked well. Cable TV

Night; Some road noise, right along I 80. Not much light at night.

Security; no gate, office closes and didn't see anyone driving around on patrol.

Bonus; close to the city of North Platte, and the Golden Spike Tower and Bailey Train Yard

Opinion; Good for a few nights when visiting the area, we will stay here again

Comments; walking distance to a good restaurant. Easy off and on to I 80. Filled up both nights we were there.
















Friday, August 4, 2017

Hannah 2017


Hannah on our 2017 road trip. When we are traveling this is her favorite spot. She is wearing her "Thunder Shirt"




Come on lets get going

I have to get to the bottom of this.

I did it,
I'm proud of my work




Prairie Dog State Park, Norton Kansas, June 2017



                                    Prairie Dog State Park

Name; Prairie Dog State Park, Norton KS

Date; June 2017

Staff; Very friendly rangers and office personal

Price; Around $35, $2.extra for a premium site, only site available

Site; We had 50 amp electric and water. Paved, picnic table, water view, and grass between sites. There was a nice dump site. Very long.

Big rig friendly; Yes, nice roads. We had a pull thru, but even the back ins had plenty of room

Amenities; Lake access seem to be the big draw here. There are several picnic shelters, a big playground. Didn't have much time to explore this park.

Laundry; Yes, but that's all I know

Dog Friendly; Yes. Acres and acres to walk a dog

Phone/TV/Wi-Fi; No over the air TV. Verizon was good

Night; Very dark, no lighting in the RV PK, but some around the rest rooms which were a little distance from the RV parking

Security; Rangers patrol, and I believe there is a gate that locks at night

Bonus; A super night sky for star gazing, lake access, deer and turkeys roam the park. There are many yellow birds in the park. We were told there were Baltimore Orioles . Back home there are orange! They are overrun with rabbits. I was told they did in the passed have a program to bring the rabbit population under control, but with not much success.

Opinion; One of the nicest state parks we ever stayed at. We would definitely stay here again

Comments; One of the nicest state parks we stayed at. I believe there is a discount for KS residence. We just stumbled upon this park looking for some place for the night after a very long day traveling. We hate these long days of travel, but we spent to much time mossing along, and wanted to get moving to the west coast. Todays travel took us thru many small towns. Many closed up business in these towns, but some still holding on. We traveled about 250 miles today. We only intended to spend the night but since we enjoyed the park decided to stay several more nights. It only amounted to two more nights because of reservations for the upcoming weekend. We passed through a number of cute small towns along the way. One of them was Chetopa KS. There was a sign stating it was the catfish and pecan capital of the state. About the only thing we found out about the town was  Chetopa was a Indian chief of he Osage Indians.  We didn't do a lot of research, just took there word for it. Only road side signs we saw were for pecans, no fresh catfish. This is also the first time we needed jeans in the evening and early mornings. Not use to long pants.













Lighthouse Landing RV Pak

          Lighthouse Landing RV Park 

Name; Lighthouse Landing RV Park 9 Heartland Dr. Hutchinson Kansas 67501

Date; June 2017

Staff; Friendly on phone, no one at check-in. Gave me a site number and said to come to office in the morning.  Very friendly on meeting. Office is a relocated old one room school house.

Price; Passport America member. 50% discount. Don't remember the exact price, but we paid around $20. Good for two nights.

Site; Full hookup,50amp. Fairly level gravel. Very sparse grass needing cutting.  New park with newly planted trees. No other separation between sites.

Big rig friendly; Yes, no problem at all. Ample road width.

Amenities; super nice restrooms. Also serve as severe weather shelter. Cement walls and ceiling. Conference room above restrooms, didn't check it out.

Laundry; super clean and all new.

Dog Friendly; yes. A lot of area to walk a dog.

Phone/TV/Wi-Fi; OTA TV good. Verizon phone great and Verizon Mifi good. Didn't try Wi-Fi.

Night; Some night lighting on high poles. Very little road noise.

Security; Just drive in. Several times car's drove through, I guess to check out the park. Didn't like this, nobody in office or on site.

Bonus; Good access from hwy. 50/96 and; 14. But poor signage.

Opinion; New, less then a year old and still needs some work, like grass and better gravel roads. Sits behind a large service station and needs better signage. First part of road is potholed.

Comments; We would stay here again if in the area. We used this park to visit the Salt Mines in town.

Our site with no one aside of us





The office a relocated school house

The laundry, restrooms and storm shelter

The little houses with a western look, all for rent, instead of the usual cabins




Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Basilica of ST. Fideiis, Victoria KS

                                                  June 2017
     The Cathedral of the Plains, one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas is in Victoria KS. If passing thru KS. on interstate 70 it is only a short couple of miles to the cathedral.



 We came in from the south as we were traveling on US 183. I read about it and as Linda was scanning the map she saw it was only a short distance from our route. So we turned off onto route 40, a narrow road but easily doable. But be aware when turning on cathedral avenue  there is a 13 foot overpass.
The parking lot is not to big, but we were able to make a "u" turn in the lot. If there were cars in the center of the lot this could be a problem.



There are many business at the exit off I 70, you may be able to unhook an RV and drive down with you car or truck. It is worth the trouble. We lit a candle and sat and reflected. Then we had lunch in the parking lot and afterwards headed to I 70, them to route 183 north.



As we approached the church










You can find a lot more information at www.stfidelischurch.com.  June 2017

Hutchinson Kansas, The Strataca Salt Mine, June 2017


          Strataca Salt Mine, Hutchinson KS June 2017

    Our next stop after Branson MO was Hutchinson Kansas, a trip of 356 miles. It was one of the longest trips we traveled in one day. We did a lunch stop and a few stops for gas etc. But was that a long day. It was a Sunday so traffic was lite.  We used mostly the blue routes or secondary roads. Blue route meaning the blue line on a map, but who uses maps any more with GPS and phone mapping. Well, we do. It is hard to see several states or a whole state on a phone. A good example is looking at the north west US all at once to plan a route you want to take. That's why we use maps. I like to see my options.
     Our reason for stopping in Hutchinson KS was to visit the Strataca salt mine.  The mine was one of Kansas's "8 wonders of Kansas". We also visited the town of Yoder, a Amish community. A little disappointing to us when we lived so close to Lancaster PA, a very large Amish community by comparison. We are spoiled I guess.
     Back to the mine. It is a museum 650 below the surface.


 It is a mine tour you walk the gallery and see several videos along the tour.


 There are two short train rides. The "dark train" ride was very informative. Our guide on that part of the tour was super. It was amazing how dark, dark really is with no light whatsoever. When all lights were turned off you could not see your hand in front of our face.

I think Linda has her eyes closed

Mike Rowe of the discovery channels "Dirty Jobs" did one of his "jobs" here at the mine.




 Most of the salt mined here is used for road salt.

The storage facility is used because of constant temperature and humidity. Thousands of movie reels are amount the many items stored here.





This is our sister city when we lived in Pennsylvania


Bob looking for that perfect souvenir






You can see more about the mine  at www.underkansas.org