Monday, June 2, 2008
The path less chosen is often the most interesting one - we think! On our most recent trip west, the return had us stopping for a makeshift picnic about 20 miles west of Salina Kansas. We were just north of Interstate 70, off on a side road from the interstate. Site of the Smoky Hill Wind Farm.
The thing I love about Kansas is the hugeness of the horizon, the open feeling of possibility I feel when there.
I'm sure the homesteaders of the past, with possessions in tow on wooden wheels with primative means, experienced these same thoughts. They saw what I saw, but without the interstates and modern growth. A canopy of stars guided their journey.
Too early in the season to see fields of sunflowers, we saw wind farms. Clearly visible for miles, these magical wind powered caliopies gave way to many questions. How big are they? How do they get installed? How do they harness the wind?
I felt like Don Quixote........
This 12,000 acre parcel hosts 139 wind turbines. All in various stages of completion, they grace the windswept fields as cattle graze unaffected below. Their extended arms catching wind are 131 feet long. The height of the turbine is 262 feet. Comprised of 3 sections that get hoisted into place and bolted together on site, these structures are huge! Many times we've driven beside these in transit on their flatbed trucks. Seeing them vertical is very cool.
This wind farm, when set in motion, will generate enough power to fuel almost 37,000 Kansas homes annually.
So, for one singular afternooon, among sunny Kansas skies, Jon I were Don Quixote and we danced with windmills!