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!


  1. You certainly have been busy:) I so understand how hard it is to remember to take photos of the people we meet. We are so excited to chat in person finally that the photo thing goes by the wayside. Glad you were able to catch up with Cindy and Walter. A perfect place for Bill to hang while you were getting good news and seeing family:) Love the bourbon tours!! Enjoy Nashville!

    1. Even when I think I remembered, I forgot before it was too late! We are loving Nashville :-))))

  2. When you compare my dip with that of the professional dipper, I actually think mine is better. Look at that technique! I could have a future in dipping. I might add that to my resume. Dipping and picking. :) SO great to see you all and spend special holiday time together. We look forward to following your travels and seeing you again next time our paths cross!

    1. I agree your dip was masterful. A dripless dip indeed!! We had such a great time with you guys and can't wait to do it again as soon as possible.

  3. Wow! You certainly have been busy. I'm glad you're still enjoying your lifestyle. I'm sure lots more fun is ahead.

    1. Oh yes, we still love it. Even with a few challenges we wouldn't want to be doing anything else!!

  4. I have to say wow too. In spite of a dash out to California for good news and an Ezra fix, you guys did an amazing amount. When you were in Staunton, you were less than an hour from our farm. Wish we could have seen you there. Was the Shaker restaurant at Pleasant Hill? On my phone and can't check the link. We really loved that place and Mammoth Cave NP.

    1. Your farm is in a beautiful area! Yes, Pleasant Hill. It was so cold while we were there that we didn't check out the village.

  5. Thanks for the props on my Maker's Mark post, Jodee! Diana and I are cracking up at your Green River Lake references, as we thought the same thing! That sign is a hoot!

    See you soon!

    1. Your post is soooo good! Can't wait for you guys to get here :-))))

  6. Nice part of the country. How special to spend Thanksgiving with such great people! Looking forward to seeing you guys again in Q!

    1. It was great. I'm not sure when we'll get to Q, it will likely be the end of February this time. Hope you'll still be there - or that we can catch up somewhere else :-))

  7. Love that photo of Poochie peering out the Jeep window.

  8. Seems like the trip west was good all the way around. Ezra just keeps getting more adorable. With so much socializing who has time to take photos. At least you got a few. I too am bad about people pics. Hope Linda didn't have to buy a 15K bottle in order to dip. Did the road really drive into the water?

    1. Fortunately Linda was able to dip with just the bottle purchase. Amazingly the road did just end in the water - there's a very small "curb" but the water level was low so normally I guess it drives right in. I should have gotten a pic of that - so weird :-))))

  9. I agree...the bourbon truffles are the best part of the tour! That's such a beautiful part of the country. And how great that you met friends there and had Thanksgiving together.

    I also love the photo of Tessa looking out the sweet. And my how Ezra has grown. Such a cute age.

    1. Jim and Diana joined us in Nashville this weekend - and guess what they brought us?? Those truffles are like gold :-)))