Saturday, August 30, 2014

2014-24 Manhattan to Abilene to Hillsboro Kansas


waiting for a train to go by, the graffiti is wonderful on some of the cars

Manhattan Kansas, continued
Abilene Kansas

Marion County, Kansas

Campground:  Hillsboro Cove, Hillsboro Kansas.  An Army Corp park.  30 amp electric at site.  Water and dump station available. $8.50 senior rate.

Except for the heat, it’s been a nice stay in the Manhattan area.  The town is a modern University town.  Not too large, but just about right I’d say.  The older part of town is so well preserved and active with all the college town shops and restaurants, you’d think they built it recently and just made it look like older buildings.  It’s only about a 15 minute drive into town from my campsite at Tuttle creek Lake, the perfect distance from my way of thinking.  Out in the country, yet close to town.

just outside of the laundromat
It’s raining this morning so I have time to start writing this report.  The laundry will just have to wait till it clears up later in the morning.  Yesterday I drove about 45 minutes west of here to the town of Abilene Arkansas to visit the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum.  With dark morning thunder clouds flashing lighting off in the distance, I arrived in this small prairie town where Ike grew up.  The original square house that he lived in in right on the library and museum grounds.  For being a relatively small house, it really was quite charming for a family of four young boys, Mom and Dad and Grandpa.

Eisenhower family home where Ike grew up

Touring the museum started out with a large special exhibit on WWII in which Eisenhower was a general  serving in Europe before becoming president after the war.  To me the large display looked as if it had been thrown together, but I think that was part of the intent.  The atmosphere was heavy as people silently stood in front of displays, looking at images and reading the commentary.  No videos, music or audio.  It was not easy to go through as the horrors of war were so apparent at each turn and another display unfolded and revealed the enormous scope of it all .  I concentrated on some exhibits on the war in Africa and Italy as that is where my father served time in the army.  It must have been so hard for all the soldiers, I know my father had nightmares for years after the war and we were not allowed to talk about it or ask any questions about the war.  I won’t say any more as it truly was a real downer as they would say in today’s vernacular.

Eisenhower Museum

the WWII exhibit

it really was a world war

Eisenhower viewing an overturned tank

The second half of the museum covered Dwight Eisenhower’s presidential years and included Mamie Eisenhower as she was so much more than just his wife.  They had no overall film on Ike’s life and career as one would expect but rather videos of family member discussing he and Mamie’s life together and the direction Eisenhower was able to lead the country after the war was over.  Later, I would find out there was a good film on his life and career at the visitor center, but I had not been informed of it.

Mamie's hats

1954:  Began construction on the St Laurence Seaway, opening up the Great Lakes to the sea.

1956:  The National Defense Interstate Highway System.  Yes Ike implemented one of the largest projects in the U.S.  developing the Interstate Highway System that we all use today.

1956:  The National Park Service started the “Mission 66” program.  Spending over one billion dollars over 10 years adding 78 new parks, building 100 new visitor centers to handle the ever increasing numbers of vacationing visitors that the new highways were bringing to the National parks.  America was on the move.

1958:  Ike urged congress to create NASA as an independent organization from the military after Russia launched Sputnik into space.  And the space race was underway.

Those are some pretty big accomplishments for any president and I’m sure there were many more, but those were the ones that stand out in my mind as I went through the museum.  The town of Abilene has a couple other nice museums including a Greyhound museum, Telephone museum and an original carousel on display.  A nice little town to explore if you have the extra time.

ghosts from the past

ghosts of WWII
  Life is not all play.  Over the past couple of days I’ve been able to wash my truck and camper roof right at my campsite.  This is not something we campers are permitted to do at many campgrounds.  But since I’m at an Army Corp campground, with no huge list of “camping rules” to follow and usually only one staff person on duty, I was able to accomplish these tasks.  My PVC roof on the camper is a breeze to clean with just a little soap and water.  Now that I’m heading out west the roof should remain clean for quite some time.  No trees out west means clean camper roof.   Those heavily shaded campsites in the east and mid-west often add up to lots of dirt and grime on the roof.

So today I went onto the Kansas State University to check out the Beach Museum of Art.  It’s main collection centers around regional art and was very nicely done.  I was particularly impressed with a special photography exhibit by a Chicago photographer.  He took pairs of adults who lived in the same area but would not probably ever interact with each other and then had them sit for a photo shoot.  Each face could tell such a story.  It was mesmerizing.  Another series concentrated on the youth of the city as he interviewed them and had them write something about themselves.  Each photo with story really told a story.

art, a real toy?

a superb photography exhibit

a series of photos with two people who lived
in the same area, but would not normally have met each other

While ordering lunch, the cashier, one of many college students working part time in town along with going to school, rang my order up.  It was $9.02.  I gave her  $20.00 and 2 cents.  As she punched in the amount on the cash register,  incorrectly, she froze.  Since the cash register wouldn't tell her how much change to give back, she stood there for a couple minutes not knowing what to do.  Finally she explained that she was a science major at the university, but her brain couldn’t figure out basic math without the computer.  Said she just wasn’t used to doing math in her head.  She finally handed me back $10.00.  I told her she still owed me a dollar.

Distance traveled:  83 miles.

I was lucky to find a good campsite for the Labor Day weekend so the short trip of 83 miles was well worth the effort.  Hillsboro Cove is on a lake and I’m a short distance from the town of Hillsboro.  It’s a real rural area.  No Wal-Mart’s or commercial places on the menu here.

I have what I consider an ideal campsite.  Close enough that I get some water views, the site is at the end of a peninsula and my site faces the gravel road as it curves around.  What’s so great about that?  Well, my patio/sitting area and picnic table give me a great vantage point to meet people as they walk around the loop.  I can just wave as they go by or start up a conversation if I’m in the mood.  So for the holiday weekend you just know I’ll be meeting a ton of folks here at Hillsboro Cove.

And before I end this rambling report, I’ve already gone into one of the local towns that has a Rhinoceros as the towns mascot.  Little concrete Rhino statues are all over this western town surrounded by cattle ranches and farms.  Don’t you know I’ll be exploring the area over the next week….

Marion Kansas

more photos on PICASA

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