Monday, May 15, 2006

On the road yet again...

A few days down the road and I'm back to update the last 3 days of adventures. I got out on the road in the rainy morning from Lexington and headed out bound for Clarksville, Tennessee. Rain, sun, rain, sun, rainsun, I made it to my first stop the historic (aren't they all?) Makers Mark Distillery. Managed to arrive there just in time for the first tour of the morning. By now, of course, I'm an expert on bourbon distilling, but fortunately this tour actually was interesting and had a bit more science and detail than the previous tours had. I also put on my John Ratzenberger hat once again and found the hand-bottling assembly line where the distinctive red wax dipped seal is placed on each bottle. The red wax being their trademark, the obligatory gift shop contained a wide selection of red-wax-dipped merchandise, most of which was actually rather cool. I also had my chance to dip my own bottle of Makers Mark bourbon to seal the bottle.

On the road again, this time stumbling across Lincoln's boyhood home which is really nothing more than a little falling-apart shack on the side of the highway. Stopped, took pictures, done. Next I came into Hodgenville, KY, which stakes claim to the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln Museum in town was nothing to write home about (but writing on the internet about is apparently OK). The museum had about 12 scenes with wax figures of Lincoln throughout his life, and accompanying story to go along with it. Not glamorous, especially compared to the museums I have experienced earlier on the trip, but hey, it's history. Following that and a stop at McDonald's (the first, and I guarantee last such stop I will make on my entire trip, bleah) I ended up at Lincoln's Birthplace. This is the good stuff, probably because it's actually a national park and monument, and thus has real funding. The "symbolic" log cabin that he was born in (they don't actually know if it's the actual one, since it has been moved around so many times in its history, but they think at least part of it's legit) is enclosed in a huge marble building that is vaguely reminiscent of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Interestingly enough, that building was built back around 1910, long before the actual Lincoln Memorial was built in the 1930's. The Sinking Spring (apparently famous, though new to me) was nearby along with the site of the Boundary Oak (the large oak tree that is often referenced along with Lincoln's birthplace, but died a few years back).

Next stop was Bowling Green, Kentucky, home of one of General Motors vehicle assembly plants (in fact, the plant that manufactures every Corvette made) as well as, to no great surprise, the National Corvette Museum. Now I have no great interest (nor small interest, for that matter) in cars whatsoever. As long as a car gets me where I need to go in an efficient manner, I don't care too much about the finer details. But I succumbed to the intrigue (and the need to kill some time) and went to it. My suspicions were confirmed, the museum was filled with quite the obsessive car crowd--people who love everything cars, especially Corvettes. Sure there were some interesting displays, and it was interesting seeing some of the older cars and the like... but that's about it. The engines and inner-workings of the cars, not the most interesting in the world to me. But I succeeded in killing probably an hour or so and was back on the road.

At this point came the difficult decision-- really need to kill more time because I'm way ahead of schedule, but what is there to do? Pulling out and scanning the AAA map of Kentucky I notice a marking for "Jefferson Davis Memorial Monument." It's reasonably on the way I need to go, why not? Off I go along the highway, and eventually see something that looks vaguely reminiscent of the Washington Monument in the distance. Now, I must admit seeing this in the middle of Kentucky farmland sure is a shock, but I was reasonably certain that this was what I was looking for. Made it out there and yup, sure enough, it's a monument to Jefferson Davis, complete with an elevator that will take you up to the top (for a small fee, of course, which I did not pay). Yeah, uh-huh, ok, time to go.

Rounding the turn and headed down to Clarksville where Andrew's sister Rebekah lives. I arrived and found her, Andrew would be about 3 hours later arriving, so I went with Rebekah to meet one of her friends at a local bar they go to. This bar is the definition of redneck, with a Harley shop across the street, and colorful, yet friendly people who frequent the place. We ended up playing pool for several hours, prior to heading back to meet Andrew at Rebekah's apartment. I have a renewed appreciation for Washington State's new smoking ban that keeps smoking out of bars.

Today's blog has been brought to you by: Parentheses... they make the world go 'round.

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