September 7, 2011

C/S Trip Day 2: We're Not in Kansas Anymore

Jeramy and I enjoyed a wonderful baked oatmeal breakfast with the Zeiglers complete with cream and sliced peaches - Yum! Then we set out from St. Louis headed for our final destination: Colorado Springs!

Along the way we enjoyed minimal traffic exiting St. Louis, watching congestion pass in the opposite direction, only to be met with several 10-mile passes of road construction/maintenance in Kansas. *Fun.* However, we did notice many things about this greatly broad State, including blow drying hot winds about 110 degrees Fahrenheit, somewhat rolling hills against the wind, and miles upon miles of growing fields of corn, sunflowers, soy beans and sorghum. We couldn't see the end of the huge field from the beginning - they were so large and many of them had central pivot irrigation systems. Wow!

Then we saw hundreds of the "green" windmills. They are so large we could see them from almost 25 miles away. We found out that these windmills are most effective at producing useable energy if the power they create is directly pumped into the mainframe cells of the power plants during peak energy hours as a supplement rather than stored on batteries. If the peak wind hours are different or opposite peak energy consumption hours, then these mills are very cost ineffective considering that it takes more man-power to produce these mills than energy these mills can create. It's almost like a "shovel-ready job." But they are really cool to look at. Is there value in nostalgia? (Just so you get an idea of how large these pinions are, one of them is as long as the bed of a tractor trailer!)

We also saw several oil pumps, just like the ones in Texas except smaller. We found more of these than we expected in the broad State of Kansas.

We had a great brush with the grace of God after exiting Topeka. Our usual practice when driving long distances and encountering a major city is to press on to and through the city, then stop on the opposite side for gas, restrooms and/or food. I was driving and assumed that this would be the case after passing through Topeka. Jeramy didn't tell me anything different and neither of us knew quite how close we got to huffin' it in the blow dryer to get gas.

After getting out of the city I noticed we had a little more than 1/4 tank. The highway exits were getting farther apart and more infrequent quicker than anticipated. I prayed for gas at the next exit - the sign would come and said, "No services." Three or four exits like this we approached and passed with no signs of getting gas. We were 'getting' something else: nervous! Then the fuel light came on and we continued to pray more fervently, while sweating, that God would provide some gas.

Finally, an exit came, just in time that we could get gas. As we approached that exit Jeramy and I continued to get nervous about passing it. "Did we miss the ramp? Is it this ramp or the next ramp? DON'T miss the ramp! It's right over there! Don't pass it!" We only had about 10 or 15 miles left on the 1/2 gallon remaining in our tank! We were so thankful. We would have gladly paid $5/gallon for that gas!

We arrived in Colorado Springs about 5:30 p.m. and grabbed a Quizno's before reaching the Bishop's home. Here Jeramy and Paul, close old roommates, reunited and we got the privilege of meeting Paul's new wife Jenny. They will celebrate their first anniversary in October. Jenny is involved in Environmental Law & Paul in Financial Planning. It is from Jenny that we learned about the over-estimated efficiency of solar panels and windmills. We enjoyed their hospitality for the rest of our time visiting Colorado Springs.

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