Tuesday, June 9, 2015

To the Salt Mine.....

Kansas State Fair RV Park
Hutchinson, Kansas
Site #131

I just couldn't pass up something I've never done before.  I guess we arrived at Stratac--Kansas Underground Salt Mine Museum around 10:30 and I was called shortly afterwards for the tour.  

There was some confusion because there were 17 people in the group and they only had 14 counted in the computer. They never did figure out what was wrong, but the tour guide said they wanted the same amount of people that go down to come back up.  The guide called in another person and she counted heads again and said "yes, the numbers are wrong."  She shrugged her shoulders and left. 

The tour guide began with a short emergency video which didn't help my jitters. Okay, we're almost ready to go but wait I need a hardhat.  I was swept away to the "hoist" before I could ask how many people they've lost down there.  
I wanted to be sure I could recognize these signs when I got down there.

                                   The Hoist

The hoist drops you 650 feet in 90 seconds.  The hoist has no lights but the tour guide told us if anyone couldn't handle the darkness to yell out, "light", and she'd turn the light on her helmet on.  Whoopee, I was to afraid to open my mouth.  We were packed in there like sardines, but I did notice on the brochure that they can take 28 people at a time in the hoist.  It's more like a freight elevator with a big heavy steel swinging hinge to keep it shut.   We were told to swallow or yawn as our ears would pop.  

The doors open into this gigantic glistening Great Room.  The tour guide walked us over to an area and said enjoy the salt mine and she left.  We were told we could stay as long as we wanted and to just come back to the hoist for a ride up.  I knew I wanted to be back up by number 14 so they didn't leave the extra three down there when they counted.  

I took a light jacket but I really didn't need it.  It was quite comfortable with a temperature of 68 degrees.  
This is the only musuem of this kind in the United States.  The salt was formed some 275 million years ago.  Not sure how they know that.

This is a 6,000 block of pure salt.  
I have no idea how large this place is, but I walked for 2 hours straight. 

It was so interesting, I didn't get very many photos. 
The exhibits were lit up, but it wasn't real light in the other areas.
There were videos that explained different aspects of the Carey Salt Mine.
Equipment is well preserved.

The miners rode down in the skip and then climbed into ore cars to the mine face.  In 1946 they finally had a car that could hold 30 miners.
The videos showed how they first started mining and how things changed over the years.
They took apart cars so they would fit down the shaft and then put them back together when they got them down the shaft.

It's hard to describe how large this place is.

When I read that they had vaults to store priceless items and government papers, I had no idea of the volume. They store things for countries all around the world.

They are comparing the height of this storage place to the Arch in St. Louis and the Statue of Liberty.  
The motion picture industry has been storing its films and artifacts here for a long time.

My battery was dying and I didn't get as many photos of this section as I wanted.

I signed up for the train ride which takes you through a different area.
These were items found from the 1940's.
It was a glove made during WWII with two thumbs.  They didn't want to waste anything and when it wore out on side, you put it on the reverse.
There is dynamite just left in boxes.
I guess you could say it's like Las Vegas down here, what comes down here stays.  Here's piles of garbage from the 40's.  

The contents of this stayed here too.  You could see pieces of toilet paper lying around.  
I was very happy to find the gift shop, even though I had no money or credit cards on me, because I always know the gift shop is the way to the exit.

When I got back to the hoist I was the only one there.  Yeah, I'll have the hoist to myself and the operator.  Then a big group of kids from a day care came down and they used both hoists.  By the time the kids all got out, there were more people going up too.  

It was a great experience and I noticed that Flipkey had it listed in the "50 Museums Worth Traveling For" in the United States.  

I wish I would have added the dark side ride to my ticket but I'll save it for next time. 

This mine has been operating for over 90 years.  I think if a person worked a mine, this would be the best place to work.  Some employees have been there for 48 years.  There lunch room has recliners in them.  

Turtle Safely......

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