A Travellerspoint blog

Day 25, 26 - Exploring Kentucky

Lincoln's Birthplace, Houses in Bardstown, Abbey of Gethsemani, Mammoth Caves National Park, Packing for the drive back to Canada

semi-overcast 23 °C

Miles traveled 445 miles (712 k) Total 5,080 miles (8,128 k)

We decided to pass on going to Nashville and instead targeted middle Kentucky farmlands and small towns for the day. We left on highway 31W which meander in the general direction of Lexington. Our goal town was Bardstown, voted most beautiful small town the in United States in 2012. Over the course of our 6 hour excursion we came upon the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln


Just a few miles down the road was Hodgenville, the town were Lincoln lived as a young boy, and home to a historical museum on his life. The town square also has a statue of him as president:



We proceeded on to Bardstown, and it was indeed a very cute little town, with houses dating back to the 1780's. We were a little disappointed to discover that the Kentucky Bourbon Marketplace, was a actually just a bar disguised as a 'tasting' house. The prices were a bit high, and we are not real bourbon fans so we passed on tastings, which would have very quickly eaten into our discretionary funds. :)

We did see this pair of horses with an Elect Trump sign, which we thought would have been more appropriately placed at the other end of the horses:


So we satisfied ourselves with a walking tour of the very fine houses in the town, some of which we immortalized in photographs:




Driving further into the countryside we came up on the Abbey of Gethsemani, where Trappist monks live in a vow of silence, except for periods of chanting. They make and sell preserves and sell products produced by other abbeys for fun and profit. The church is incredibly silent:



Back at our hotel, we had a beer (or two). We only photographed this one:


Day 26 - Mammoth Caves National Park

This was a special place to visit. Incredible cave system which extends over 400 miles (explored so far) under Kentucky. We did the Domes and Dripstones tour, which takes you 250 feet below ground into caves that have taken eons to carve out. The pictures speak best of our experience. The tour lasted 2 hours and covered about 1 mile of the cave system. All cave tours must be booked in advance and they sell out virtually all tours in the summer day, days in advance. A reservation is a requirement here. Very beautiful.




Jenny also captured the writing of my last postcard to my grandchildren on the US portion of this trip.


Tomorrow we head north and will be back in Canada on Tuesday, and home in Nova Scotia by June 13. So, for all intents and purposes this will be the last blog entry of our US journey. It has been fun taking you folks along with us.

Remember, in life it is not the destination, but the journey that is important.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 15:11 Comments (2)

Musings on Grocery Stores in Kentucky


We've been in Bowling Green Kentucky for three days now. Each morning, early, I get up and go for a walk around the neighborhood of our suite hotel. Across the street is a Kroger grocery store. A big store. The choice is amazing...much more than we would find in our Superstore back in Nova Scotia, probably about 33% greater selection of food here than there. I think big city Superstores in Canada might be comparable in selection, but that is not where I shop regularly back home.

So, I wandered for 1/2 hour, checking selection, prices, etc. Everything is about 35% cheaper in US $ than we pay back home, so prices are comparable to what we pay in Canadian $.

I finally focused on sausage meat, in 1 pound chubs. There were 13 different manufacturers, and with variations in product, like mild, medium, hot, chorizio, etc., there were 32 different choices on the shelves. This sausage meat took up about 24 feet of cooler space in the meat department.



Prices per chub ranged from $1.99 to $3.50...some on sale, most not. I also read labels for fat content, salt, etc. Each of these varieties of sausage meat contained 8 - 2 oz servings. Each 2 oz serving contains 160 calories, 32 grams of fat, and around 1400 mg of salt.

If you had 2 servings of pork sausage meat, around 4 oz total, you would get 320 calories, 64 grams of fat, and 2,800 mg of salt. This is usually consumed at breakfast, with biscuits and eggs, or gravy. Biscuits and gravy are an advertised meal on most fast food signs in the south. I can easily see where breakfast could account for 1500 calories or more.

This blog entry is just about raw sausage; there is also processed sausage, smoked sausage, bacon, pork jowls, pork rinds, etc.

I can't comment negatively on other people's diets. Up til a year ago, mine wasn't so great either and it took a great effort to eliminate most of the fat and excess salt from my diet.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 14:39 Comments (0)

Late in the trip Ponderings

Questions from the road


As we travel along the highways and byways of the United States we see things or think of things for which we do not know the answer. So, we write down the questions to look up on the internet or just to acknowledge something we don't understand. So, here are some of our questions, and if we found it, the answer:

1) What do the H's in 4H Club stand for?

Hands, Heart, Head and Health. The other young people's club that comes to mind is the FFA, which stands for Future Farmers of America. Many small towns in the heartland have both 4H and FFA clubs.

2) Why is Arkansas pronounced ARKANSAW?

3) We saw almost no Dunkin' Donuts south of the Smoky Mountains. If American runs on Dunkin' there must a whole swath of it not running at all.

4) The Lake Ponchartrain Causeway! 26 miles of road across a lake at New Orleans. What happened to it, if anything, during Hurricane Katrina?

It survived pretty well, with only minor damage. Storm surge was not as bad on the Lake than it was closer to the open ocean.

5) What is the fascination with Donald Trump?

No apparent answer

6) Why does Hilary Clinton dress like she is a member of the Chinese Politburo, with the Mao Tse Tung tunics?

No apparent answer

7) What is a buckeye?

A chestnut, from a horse chestnut tree.

8) What are the Ozarks?

The Ozark Mountains, of Arkansas, in the western part of the state.

9) What exactly is a bayou?

Wikipedia: Can refer either to an extremely slow-moving stream or river (often with a poorly defined shoreline), or to a marshy lake or wetland. The name "bayou" can also refer to a creek whose current reverses daily due to tides and which contains brackish water highly conducive to fish life and plankton. Bayous are commonly found in the Gulf Coast region of the southern United States, notably the Mississippi River Delta, with the states of Louisiana and Texas being famous for them.

10) Who owns the Circle K stores we see along the road? We see these in Canada and were wondering if the Irving Oil people owned them.

Aliamentation Couche-Tard, from Quebec Canada, owns this chain throughout the US!! Surprising answer.

11) We see signs for Hospital Trauma Centers as we travel along the roads, which give a number for level. What is what?

A Level I trauma center provides the highest level of surgical care to trauma patients. Being treated at a Level I Trauma Center increases a seriously injured patient’s chances of survival by an estimated 20 to 25 percent.

A Level II trauma center works in collaboration with a Level I center. It provides comprehensive trauma care and supplements the clinical expertise of a Level I institution. It provides 24-hour availability of all essential specialties, personnel, and equipment. Minimum volume requirements may depend on local conditions. These institutions are not required to have an ongoing program of research or a surgical residency program.

A Level III trauma center does not have the full availability of specialists, but does have resources for emergency resuscitation, surgery, and intensive care of most trauma patients. A Level III center has transfer agreements with Level I or Level II trauma centers that provide back-up resources for the care of patients with exceptionally severe injuries (e.g., multiple trauma)

A Level IV trauma center exists in some states where the resources do not exist for a Level III trauma center. It provides initial evaluation, stabilization, diagnostic capabilities, and transfer to a higher level of care. It may also provide surgery and critical-care services, as defined in the scope of services for trauma care. A trauma-trained nurse is immediately available, and physicians are available upon the patient's arrival to the Emergency Department. Transfer agreements exist with other trauma centers of higher levels, for use when conditions warrant a transfer.

Level 5: Provides initial evaluation, stabilization, diagnostic capabilities, and transfer to a higher level of care. May provide surgical and critical-care services, as defined in the service's scope of trauma-care services. A trauma-trained nurse is immediately available, and physicians are available upon patient arrival in the Emergency Department. If not open 24 hours daily, the facility must have an after-hours trauma response protocol.

12) When we were in Florida on our previous trip, all the oranges that were available in the grocery stores were from California. What's up with that?


These are just a few of the questions we have come up with as we travel.

Interestingly, we rarely listen to the radio while traveling...simply too difficult to find a good radio station while cruising along. We usually just chat with each other and comment on the things we see along the way, which is where all the questions come from. This is only a sampling...we have over 100 in our travel diary.

The people we meet along the road are invariably nice people to talk to...most of them have little understanding of Canada and the question asked the most is "How cold is it up there"

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 05:08 Comments (2)

Day 23 - Long Drive - Day 24 - Bowling Green, KY

LOOOONG drive, Corvette Museum and Factory, planning

semi-overcast 27 °C

Day 23 - Driving

Distance traveled 527 miles (845 k) Total distance 4,535 miles (7,668 k)

Nine hours on the road, from Oden Arkansas, past Little Rock, AR, Memphis, TN, Nashville, TN and up into Kentucky, to finish the day at Staybridge Suites in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

We picked up sushi for supper, watched a bit of TV and crashed for the night. Lots of the plans for the next three days, and this was a good, although long, drive. We are averaging 7.7 litres of gas for each 100 kilometers we travel, which works out to 31 miles per gallon, pretty darn good mileage. Our Honda CR-V is working just fine.

Day 24 - Bowling Green, KY

Distance traveled 60 miles (100 k) Total distance, 4,635 miles, (7,768 k)

The day started with breakfast at the hotel. Now this is a good breakfast, compared to some of the crap that other hotels call a breakfast. Very good on you, Staybridge Suites!

This is the town where Chevrolet Corvettes are built and home of the Corvette Museum. This place has hundreds of Corvettes, back to the very first, a 1953:


There is at least one of every model year on display here, many of them privately owned and loaned to the museum by proud owners.



Two years ago a giant sinkhole opened up under the museum, swallowing 8 mint condition Corvettes. The sink hole video is on You Tube if you are interested.

The area here is riddled with caves and underground vaults that collapse at the drop of a hat it seems. We will be exploring the area's caves on Sunday when we visit Mammoth Caves National Park.

This is what the wrecked cars looked like when they were pulled from the 50 foot deep sinkhole. The guide we talked to said the cars were valued at $1 million:


This mural is made up of individual photographs of Corvettes:


We then toured the nearby Corvette Assembly Plant. The tour is very informative and well worth the almost two hours needed to go through the plant. The tour follows the assembly process from start to finish. It takes about 2 days to build a Corvette from scratch, and the factory builds about 140 cars per day on a 5 day work week. There are 1000 employees dedicated to this task, and they all seemed to be enjoying themselves as they assembled away.

The base car price is $70,000 US and goes up, from there, to a top end model for $132,000 US. For $1,300 US you can actually go to the factory and walk through as they build your car and have photos taken of the construction. There was a couple doing just that as we were on our tour. The guy told me their car was going to cost $85,000 and they had been waiting for two weeks for word to come down for the build. They pick up their car on Monday morning.

After the car factory we decided to take in the local Arboretum and entered the address into our GPS. After a convoluted journey over back roads, hill and dale we came out in the middle of no where. On the way to no where we saw several mailboxes of this variety:


We did finally find the Arboretum and had a nice tour, not too much in bloom, but Jenny did make one friend:


Tomorrow we tour a bit...a monastery where they make cheese, at least one, maybe two, Bourbon makers, explore a small town, and perhaps tour a horse farm.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 15:44 Comments (0)

Day 22 - Exploring Western Arkansas

Queen Wilhelmina State Park, Border Pictures, funky mailbox

rain 24 °C

Distance traveled 120 miles (200 k)

A lazy start to our day here at the Riverview Cabins. Today is a do as we please day. The weather forecast is calling for 50% chance of rain, with thunderstorms in the mix, and that takes out our plans for any longer hikes.

Jenny spends the early part of the day reading while I get the blog up-to-date and on-line. Around 10am we head out to explore this area right at the Arkansas/Oklahoma border.

Jenny want to see the Queen Wilhelmina State Park. This is due in part, to her Dutch heritage. The park is located on top of a mountain and back in 1898, a group of Dutch railway investors, built a lodge on the mountaintop and named it after the Queen of the Netherlands. The three story lodge was only open for three years and is now gone entirely, except for a couple of outbuildings.


The setting is absolutely lovely and there is a modern 40 room lodge on this spot now. We took a hike along the Lovers Leap trail, a ½ mile rocky downhill, followed by an equally rocky uphill back to the lodge. The views were great and we were pleased to have gotten in a hike on a rainy day.




We drove to the Oklahoma border for pictures and then returned to our cabin for a quiet afternoon, before preparing to depart in the morning.




As we were headed back to our cabin we came across a neat mailbox:


And lastly, just a ½ mile from our cabin in the tiny town of Oden, AR, was this bank building, which must date back into the 1800”s


Tomorrow we tackle the longest one day drive of this trip, from here to Bowling Green, Kentucky...a distance of almost 550 miles. Bowling Green will be our last US stop on the trip and we plan to spend three full days here, one in Nashville, one at Mammoth Cave National Park, and one exploring the horse farms of Kentucky

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 13:36 Comments (1)

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