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STOP #286

We scheduled a pitstop along our route today and it just so happens to be across the street from the Ford Dealership I was at on Tuesday for our oil change.

It was four months ago today that Tricia and I received our COVID booster shots down in Florida. Today is the first day we are eligible to recieve our second booster shot, so we both walked into Walmart and decided to just "git er dun".

As a reward afterwards, we walked next door to an Old Chicago Pizza + Taproom Restaurant and ate lunch. We've been seeing this restaurant chain everywhere the last few weeks and finally decided to give it a try.

Tricia did get a small personal-sized pizza and I elected to go with their meatball sandwich. Was it good? Let's just say, there were no leftovers to take home.

FRIDAY - What a diffenence a few hours make when it comes to the ever present Kansas winds.

Even as far back as 1939 when they filmed the Wizard of Oz, Kansas was known as a windy place. That's why the setting for Dorothy's house was in Kansas, right?.

Well today it sure did live up to it's reputation. This morning we went into town for breakfast and the winds were of the usual 10-15MPH variety. By 4:30PM we were feeling the winds change and by 5:00PM we were being hit broadside by constant winds above 40PMH. We had several gusts over 50PMH and one that hit a record 54MPH since we moved into THE POD.

We were only halfway into the Tropical Storm Force winds range (39-73MPH), but it sure did "feel like" a hurricane (74+MPH) was brewing outside from "inside THE POD".

It was a relatively calm lake at 10:30AM when we returned from breakfast in town.

Not so calm at 5:15PM during the height of the winds.

UPDATE: Around 6:00PM the winds died down to a mild 15-20MPH range and we thought we were done. Then out of nowhere the winds changed direction and began hitting us from the rear, which bangs the wind meter pole up against the trailer. That won't do, so I went outside to lay the pole on the ground, but just before I did we registered a new record wind gust at 56MPH.

SATURDAY - The town of Wilson, KS is known as the "Czech Capital of Kansas". Beginning in the 1870s Wilson began attracting a large number of Czechoslovakian immigrants.

They pretty much founded the town and still today a large percentage of the population can trace their ancestory back to these early pioneers.

That is why they call themselves the "Czech Capital of Kansas" and erected a 20-foot tall Czech Egg (the largest in the world BTW) on the main street through town. All around town you can find more Czech Eggs but they don't measure up to the big one, they're all only 4-feet tall. We found several of them just driving around the downtown area.

There is one sure-fire way to avoid the winds here in Kansas. I know what all you smart alecks are thinking, "Yeah, leave the state". Well that does work, but we're not through here yet.

What also works is what everyone does when the tornado sirens go off, head underground! Since there are no Show Cave Tours anywhere in the state, we found what I consider to be a rather unique way to work around that.

In 2013 a young married couple purchased a 24-acre parcel just outside of the nearby town of Wilson, KS. They offer a 1-hour tour of their storm cellar. However there is an astonishing story that goes along with their storm cellar, it was built by the US Government in 1959 at a cost of over $12,000,000 (that's over $110,000,000 dollars in today's money) and then just abandoned it five years later in 1964.

Of course they didn't pay anywhere near that much, (they paid $300K) it was an abandoned property after all. Actually, there was nothing left behind above ground when the government moved on. Just a 176-foot deep, 52-foot round underground silo!

Has anyone figured out where I'm going with this story? If you guessed that we were going on a tour of a decommissioned Atlas F Missile Base, you would be correct. Over 70 of these underground Atlas F missle silos exist in the United States, most are privately owned and not open to the public. This one however is!


The World's Largest Czech Egg stands 20-feet tall in downtown Wilson, KS.
Scattered around downtown are a dozen or more smaller 4-foot Czech Eggs.
Everyone is familiar with this version of a Pay Phone...
... but how many places can you find one of these? There were several around town here.
Do you recognize this motley crew?
They were outside of the Kansas Originals Market with this mechanical chicken.
The store only sells Kansas made or Kansas grown products.
It's amazing what lies beneath this 70-foot round and 8-foot deep concrete slab.
No, that's not our entrance into the missile silo, it's actually the emergency escape tunnel.
This is our entrance into the silo.
One of the many interior doors that prevent intrusion from the outside and also prevent the rocket blast from escape during launch.
This is the launch room and that ladder on the ceiling is the bottom of the escape tunnel.
This launch desk is all that was left behind, even though they did strip out all the electronics. Notice the little red box on the left wall.
This is where they secured the launch keys. Two combination padlocked compartments, accessable only by the two missileers on duty, just like in the movies.
Now we take a short passageway, with more blast doors, over to the 176 foot deep missle silo.
Looking up 30-feet in the silo at the bottom of the surface blast doors.
Looking down into the silo at roughly 80 feet of 60-year old water, roughly a million gallons, that was used to satisfy the disarmament agreement with Russia at the end of the Cold War. The water rendered the silo unusable for launching missles, others were filled with sand or even concrete.

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