6/28 Day 42 – to the Cosmos here!

6/28 Day 42 – to the Cosmos here!

6/28 day 42

Larned KS to Hutchinson Ks

72 miles

It stormed hard during the night. Hard enough that it woke me up. The wind had been moving fast already when I went to sleep and the rain came lashing in. It was quite a show. Luckily by the time I got up things were already dry. The water here seems to get sucked right back up by the air, as if it’s unwilling to give up any moisture.

The map said that there was a museum in Hutchinson that had the “most significant collection of space artifacts next to the Smithsonian.”. That’s an impressive claim, and since I grew up with the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space museum I was excited to visit it. It did take me a little off trail but who cares. I have a bicycle!

The miles in weren’t bad. The wind was again mostly from the south and I started early enough in the day to avoid most of the heat. I managed to pedal into town by 2:30 and stopped at the local bike shop. They held the keys for the church hostel and I let myself in to take a hot shower and grabbed a soda before heading over to the museum.  

You could see the Redstone rocket from several blocks away. I locked up my bike and wandered in. I was just in time to get my ticket for a live action show about Dr. Goddard’s lab. The presenter did some simple experiments and talked about the basics of the time and the foundation of rocketry. It was a nice thing and was definitely aimed at the 11 year old girls group in the audience. I got a little planetarium show as well which was nice.

Afterwards I entered the hall of space. Wow. I was amazed. The exhibits were incredibly in-depth and had a wealth of information I had never even seen at the Smithsonian’s exhibits. Part of it I think is that this place was solely dedicated to the space race and rocketry. They started with the Wartime V-1/V-2 rockets and the defection of von Braun and went into immense detail on both the nuclear ICBM pursuits of rockets as well as the satellite/manned aspects later on. I was thoroughly impressed as well at how much the exhibits explored the Russian side. I learned things that were never mentioned elsewhere – when Sputnik was launched Kruschev wanted to hold the press conference at the main Cosmodrome but the army wouldn’t let him – too secret. Instead they built a mock-up and had animated movies showing the launch and satellite separation in space. Every guest left with a scale model of Sputnik. Or how the main Russian designers name was never made public, and despite two attempts to award him with a Nobel prize he was never allowed to accept it. Korolev is an interesting person. Especially considering he was pretty much a one man show designing the Russian rockets compared to the team the US had.

To cap it all off, the museum has the restored Apollo 13 capsule on display. An amazing piece. I was honestly dumbstruck at just how big the exhibits were and how much story they packed in. I spent over 4 hours there. Amazing.

I came back to the hostel and Jeff was cooking. He handed me a plate of steak and veggies. Perfect. There was ice cream and cookies and juice. I was in heaven. I iced my knee a little before I went to bed – it’s been a little sore the last few days, too much pressure from pedaling against the wind – and I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

2 Replies to “6/28 Day 42 – to the Cosmos here!”

  1. Your adventure just keeps getting better… Glad you went to the fort and the space museum. watermelon and Chinese buffet… all is good… keep the ice on the knee when you can. hopefully you have a zero day soon.

  2. Tx for this, I’d never heard of Korolev. Going from gulag to Space Race is an incredible story. But why he would do so much for a country that brutalized him? (And why is the Cosmosphere smack in the middle of Kansas, of all places ?!)

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