Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. It has been celebrated as a federal holiday every year since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens", to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. Thanksgiving was also celebrated nationally in 1789, after a proclamation by George Washington. As a federal and public holiday in the U.S., Thanksgiving is one of the major holidays of the year. Together with Christmas and New Year, Thanksgiving is a part of the broader holiday season. (excerpt from Wikipedia)

Here's a little after dinner treat for your pleasure...

Happy holidays!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Original Snowbirds?

Well we got a dusting of snow about the same time as the rest of the country. This was the scene here in Altamont, Kansas the day after the first snow of 2014.

Are these the original snowbirds?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Big Brutus

One of the first couples I met here in Kansas said, "If you're visiting the area, you've got to see BIG BRUTUS".  My first thought was, 'Whose Big Brutus?'

Brutus of the Popeye The Sailor comics.
If you're a former viewer of Popeye The Sailor cartoons you may remember Popeye's arch enemy, Brutus.  Brutus was definitely big.  He was bigger than Popeye and Olive Oyl together.

Popeye and Olive Oyl.
A Saturday off seemed like a good time to search out this Brutus fellow.  I Googled it and got non definitive directions to the place.  Seriously!  Under the link, "Where is Big Brutus" the directions were, "Located 6 Miles West of K7 & K102 Jct. & 1/4 Mile South Near West Mineral, Kansas."  How was I supposed to enter that into my GPS?

Then I figured that if this guy was as big they say, I shouldn't have too much trouble finding him.  And I didn't!  The question shouldn't have been, "Who was Big Brutus?"  It should have been, "What was Big Brutus?"  As I set out in search of this Brutus fellow I set my GPS for the town of West Mineral, KS.  

And lo and behold, while I was yet two and a half road miles away, there he arose on the landscape looming over the horizon.  Had to be at least two miles as the crow flies.

Big Brutus off in the distance.

I stopped in the middle of the road to capture this.  Continuing on to the Big Brutus Museum I watched as he grew larger and larger.  

Big Brutus watching over the  museum.

Pulling into the museum parking lot you can see Big Brutus looking over the museum roof line.  And yet he's still about a quarter mile hike behind the building.

Big Brutus is billed as the largest electric shovel in the world.  Pictures can describe Brutus better than I ever could.

This is the electric cable used to power the big fellow.

You can just about see two people approaching Brutus.
Shows how small they are or how large he is.

  • Bucyrus Erie model 1850B
  • largest electric shovel in the world
  • 16 stories tall (160 feet)
  • weight 11 million pounds
  • boom 150 feet long
  • dipper capacity 90 cu. yds (by heaping, 150 tons 
  • — enough to fill three railroad cars.)
  • maximum speed .22 MPH
  • cost $6.5 million (in 1962)

Find out more about Big Brutus on his website at

Here they are walking by one of the tracks.
The tracks are taller than a tall person.

Here's a man standing in the shovel.

Here's me standing next to the shovel.

Standing under the back looking straight up.
Looks like there is a walkway at the top.

Standing under the boom.
Underneath Big Brutus.

Interesting fact about the tracks.

Could call him "Big Foot".

The inside is full of portals like being in a submarine.

Many of these portals lead into unlit caverns.
Wonder if there are lost souls in there?

Panoramic view of the motor and gear room.

Apparently you could go out onto the boom at one time.

Looking down.

I wonder if that little block is a wheel chock?

The dragline.

Three head drill bit.

Dragline engine room.

The drivers seat.

View from the drivers seat.

Inside the museum.

RV hookups.
You can camp here with water and electric hookups for $15/day.  There are showers and restrooms available while the museum is open.

RV hookups.

If you're traveling through south east Kansas, Big Brutus is an interesting spot to see.

Where will I be next weekend?  Won't know until then.  You can follow my entire school bus conversion and my travels at

Thanks for looking,