Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Quick Kentucky Catchup

November 11-28, 2016
Staunton, VA - Harrodsburg, KY - Campbellsville, KY

Finding a fast turnaround on a keyboard replacement turns out to be "difficult", and not inexpensive. When other things start going wrong, we decide there is a better alternative.

Meet the alternative :-)
We stop for two nights at the KOA in Staunton, Virginia. Our first KOA and we were very happy. Unlike others I've checked, this one is reasonably priced.

Our pretty site on the pond.
Staunton has a cute little downtown.
Let's go see stuff!
Pretty country roads along the river
We met Cindy and Walter in Arizona earlier this year, friends of our pals Sue and Dave, and they graciously invited us to stay at their new place near Harrodsburg. The drive is lovely, although Randy (our GPS) routes us through the very tight, very winding, river gorge, adding lots of excitement at the end of the trip!

Cindy checks in with us when she arrives home, and then the next morning we are on our way to the airport before sunrise.

Tests and an appointment with my doctor set my mind at ease, making the trip worthwhile. And I have a wonderful time getting caught up with family over the three days I'm in Valencia. As excited as I am to see the boys, and to spend time with each one of them, I fail to take any pics :-(  

My last evening there is spent with Ezra and his folks, making it really hard to say goodbye this time. Playing with him in the creative playground at the mall is the best medicine! He is such a special little boy, so full of love and good spirit, I know it's just going to get harder from now on.

With the time difference I land back in Louisville early enough for us to meet Cindy and Walter for dinner at The Kentucky Fudge Company in Harrodsburg - it's great to finally spend some time with them after moochdocking on their property for several days!

Sweet spot.
One day we drive to Lexington to see the Kentucky Horse Park - their RV park looks like a great place to stay!

Kentucky Horse Park on a cold afternoon 
Still some color in Lexington 
Lots of wonderful architecture 
Contemporary murals 
As a horse lover I am disappointed at the lack of horses we see the whole time we're in Kentucky. It seems the cattle industry has taken over the white fenced pastures with few exceptions. I'm sure we missed the big horse farms that remain, but I had imagined horses on every hill :-)

One evening we have a lovely dinner with Cindy and Walter at nearby Shaker Village. Definitely one of the best meals we've had since coming east. All fresh, grown on site, everything is exceptional.

Sunday is our last day, and while leaving Bill behind to watch the night game, I join our hosts for a wonderful pot luck meal at the home of one of their friends. So fun to share a meal in a warm home with inspiring conversation.

I manage to spend our entire time here without getting a single pic of our hosts. Of course I did get some of the sweet little horses. Teeny tiny Supreme is at the vet's so I miss a pic of her. I am just so bad at the whole people thing!

Tristan and Hoopla 
Our short 55 mile drive to Campbellsville on Monday takes us to Cedars RV Park, a few miles outside of town.

Good size sites with grass and gravel, FHUs with 50 amp. No office, no hosts on site, everything works, and we have a wonderful old barn out our front window. While there are several units here, we only see one other person the whole time. Very quiet, very clean, only $25/night.

Like our last stop, we're here for people, not place. One of Amazon's distribution centers opened here a few years ago, and some of our friends are working the holiday Camperforce program. 

We haven't seen Linda and Steven since January in Quartzsite, and we have yet to meet Jim and Diana although I've followed their blog for a long time. We're all friends on Facebook as well, so it will be fun to get caught up in person.

Tuesday morning we pick up Linda and Steven for a day of sight seeing. It's great to see them!

First stop is the Abraham Lincoln's Birth Place National Historic Park at the site of the Sinking Spring Farm. Although the original cabin did not survive long enough for restoration, the monument, completed in 1911, includes a symbolic cabin, the same size and age as that which housed the Lincolns when Abraham was born on February 12, 1809. It is a beautiful neo-classic monument, feeling very much like the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

The small museum includes an interpretation of the cabin's interior.
The Lincolns - Nancy holding Abraham, with Thomas and Sarah 
The weather is perfect, and we all enjoy being outdoors under the blue skies.

56 steps, one for each year of age at his death.

With all the trees in the area it's odd there is more chink than wood.
Sinking Spring still here.
Next we make our way to the Maker's Mark Distillery. This is an exceptional tour on beautiful grounds. Our enthusiastic guide shares information on the distilling process, the history of the family and the location, the reason why the buildings are black, and how for $15k/barrel we can order our own custom blend of bourbon. Tempting.

The grounds are dressed for the holidays 
Explaining the process of making bourbon
We visit the fermenting vats
We're invited to taste it - not bad, sweet. 
Original Makers Mark and Makers Mark 46 with charred wood slats for flavor.
In the short time we're in this area, they fill, cap, label, dip and box dozens of bottles. So much bourbon!

The art of the "dip"
The original is my favorite.
The Chihuly glass ceiling is incredible. The bourbon truffle samples under it are the very best part of the tour :-)
Linda masters the dip!
The trademark bottles on every red shutter.
The buildings are painted black because the fermenting process creates fungus that grows on the walls - light colored walls are much harder to maintain. And now you know.
There is a lot that goes into all of this, and for wonderful details on the tour check out Jim's post from their visit a couple weeks ago. After reading it, I knew we had to see it ourselves - you'll want to too!

Tuesday turns out to be the only sunny day of our visit. Cold and cloudy rounds out the rest of the week. Other than our holiday get together, we spend our days driving in the country, enjoying both the pretty countryside and the Jeep's excellent heater :-)

Green River Lake. Kinda sad the lake couldn't have it's own name :-(
A sign was easier than ending the road before the water??
The sun slowly breaks through
Does this shoe make my leaf look fat?
This isn't a real beach!
Winter roads

Jim and Diana only have one day off and we're glad we can all share Thanksgiving together. A tasty meal at the Cedar Creek Restaurant followed by dessert and Linda's yummy Irish Coffee at our place make for a wonderful holiday on the road. We are so fortunate in the people we've met in our travels, and that we're able to call many of them friends. We're looking forward to catching up with Jim and Diana again this summer. Linda and Steven will be on the other side of the country for awhile, so it's especially great that we had this time together again!

Love these fellow travelers!
Tessa makes everybody smile :-)
Bill, Steven, Linda, Jim, Diana, Jodee

Kentucky has the narrowest roads of any we've traveled. They are on flat land so I'm unclear why they can't put a shoulder on more of them. For that reason we add 40 miles to our route south. With the big storm expected to hit Nashville mid-day, we head out at 8:30 on Monday morning. Highway 55 to Cumberland Parkway to Interstate 65 is a great drive. We get some pretty strong winds and a bit of rain, but arrive safely around 10 am (with the time change along the way). Fortunately our space is available and we get settled in before the clouds let go.

Looking forward to a fun time in the city of Nashville, Tennessee!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

I'm Fine But the Laptop Isn't

Back safely to our beautiful spot in Kentucky with the scary health issue resolved. Thanks so much for the positive thoughts!

Unfortunately I'm typing this with the onscreen keyboard because the 'real' one isn't working :-(

I'll get caught up as soon as it's fixed.

The bonus of my little trip was seeing the grandbabies. Their parents and uncles too :-)

Ezra, 15 months (curly hair)

Max, 3 months (Pop Pop's hair)

We are so blessed.

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Beautiful Day in Fredericksburg

November 6-10, 2016
Glen Allen, Virginia

After our usual Sunday of chores and football, Monday we head up to Fredericksburg to see some sights.

In a small area is a big amount of colonial history. We opt for the Trolley Tour to see as much as we can in the few hours we have. Waiting for our ride, we walk around the pretty downtown.

Signs of the Ho Ho Ho holiday

While nature holds out for more Fall
At the back of these long entryways

are more pretty entrances.
Diane is a wonderful guide and driver, barely taking a breath as she shares SO much about what happened by who, while living or staying where. Wow. 

The weather is perfect and there are only four others on our trolley. The wooden seats are polished and I slide back and forth at each turn :-) The open sides give unobstructed views. This was a really good idea.

Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site) has an interesting history, including a Black congregation who were required by law to have a White minister. 
The open sides make for great viewing while out of the wind.
This 1700's warehouse is still four stories tall on the river side, but here the road bed has been raised over the years to the top floor.
Chatham Manor, across the Rappahannock River
The site of a prolonged battle over a bridge being built by the Union. Diane's description is so detailed I can see it all playing out in front of us. 
Can't remember who lived here, but I love the ornate porch.
Older than the house, and the Revolutionary War, this gnarly tree is still growing.
The first stately home built in Fredericksburg - For Sale today.

Washington never slept here, it's where he woke up.
No historical significance, I just like the property.
Happy to have her own seat and watch for fur buddies.
The last original street in Fredericksburg, Rocky Lane, leading to Washington Ferry
The home of Mary Washington. George's mom.

Honoring Richard Kirkland, the Union soldier who was given permission to take water across the lines to wounded Confederate soldiers.
Authored by Thomas Jefferson, and the precursor to the First Amendment, The Statute of Religious Freedom is said to have been one of his favorite works.
Fredericksburg Battlefield Cemetery
Several historic buildings proudly display their cannon balls. This one at the James Monroe Museum.
Mary Washington's grave
She's a really big deal here.
Speaking of really big, this old tree is incredible,
and part of the town's history as Diane shows us in this photo.  She has several that add to the details of the tour.
We use our trolley discount at The Virginia Deli just before they close for the day. Their sandwiches are delicious. 

Unfortunately the rest of our time here is spent doing a lot of driving on I-95. Navigating medical care 2600 miles from home is not fun, and quite stressful. I've decided to just fly back to my doctor in California rather than continue this craziness. 

We turn west toward Kentucky where Bill and Tessa will mooch-dock on friends' property. We'll make a couple stops and get out to see what we can see.