Day 6: Airplanes on the plains

Photobombed by an actual bomber.  The 2014 Kia Sorento with a B-1A Lancer bomber at the Strategic Air and Space Museum outside of Omaha.

Photobombed by an actual bomber. The 2014 Kia Sorento with a B-1A Lancer bomber at the Strategic Air and Space Museum outside of Omaha.

I’m writing this blog about my travels, what I’m doing, and what I’m seeing.  So what are people asking for more of?  Pictures of me with a scruffy beard, looking like a bad guy from a Die Hard movie.  Okay, I give up.  I’ll post one tomorrow.

My Monday started with a trip west of Omaha to the Strategic Air and Space Museum. I first saw the collection over 30 years ago when it was located on the ramp at Offutt Air Force base.  Now it has its own hangers several miles from the base. It’s dedicated (mostly) to the wing of the U.S. Air Force that commands the bomber and missile forces. You know it’s going to be a great aerospace museum when you open the front door and see an SR-71 Blackbird hanging in the lobby.

Unlike most museums, this one has no ropes separating you from the exhibits. You can get up close, and marvel at the mechanical complexity of the massive flying machines.  I love looking at this stuff.

There’s an active restoration shop at the museum, and the staff is pretty casual about letting the very few visitors today take a look at the boneyard behind the facility. I kind of snuck the Kia Sorento back there for a picture with a B-1A Lancer bomber.

An SR-71 Blackbird hangs in the lobby of the Strategic Air and Space Museum.

An SR-71 Blackbird hangs in the lobby of the Strategic Air and Space Museum.

From there I headed south towards Kansas City, Missouri with a short detour to Kansas City, Kansas.  Why? Because a) it was just a couple of miles out of the way, and b) I can now say I’ve been to Kansas. That’s the wonder of this trip – I don’t need any more reason than that to do whatever I want.  It’s going to be tough when I finally return to reality.

From there it was a long lateral across the center of Missouri. In a lot of ways, it looked like driving in Oregon. In fact, just outside Kansas City across were signs for Oregon. The town of Oregon, Missouri that is, population 897.  Sunset was spectacular, with the first clouds I’ve seen on the trip.

I thought about driving downtown St. Louis tonight, but they have a little baseball game going on – the World Series. Not only that, but Monday Night Football was in town for St. Louis vs. the Seattle Seahawks.  Go Sox and Hawks (but don’t tell anyone here that I said that.)

The gas prices in the region are consistently under $3/gallon, which is a wonderful thing. The aerodynamic drag from the boat on top continues to drag my mileage down, but it’s only going to be on the Sorento for another few days.  I’ll give you some real mileage numbers then.

A Missouri Rest Area with special spaces for Eco Vehicles.  The Sorento's very good on both counts, so I should have taken one of the slots.

A Missouri Rest Area with special spaces for Eco Vehicles. The Sorento’s very good on both counts, so I should have taken one of the slots.

There’s a lot of Ethanol in the gas here, but the naturally aspirated gasoline direct injected V-6 under to Sorento’s hood doesn’t seem to mind a bit. I’ve also noticed that the Sorento’s motor isn’t nearly as noisy on cold mornings as some direct-injected powerplants are. It appears that Kia’s done an admirable job with the thermal management that allows the engine to warm very quickly.

There’s a lot to do and see in St. Louis, and I’ll be trying to tomorrow morning. The Gateway Arch is on the to do list, and I’m going to try to visit the Budweiser Clydesdales before I head off to Bowling Green, Kentucky. Today was a four-state day, and tomorrow should be as well.

 

Start: Omaha, Nebraska

End: Suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri
Total miles: 599
States: Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri
Number of requests for beard photo: 7
Tomorrow: Gateway Arch, Budweiser Clydesdales, on to Bowling Green, KY.
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