Monday, June 14, 2010

Making Tracks

Our most recent excursion, unlike the previous ones, did not involve the Millennium Falcon or the Royals. It was related, though. We left on Wednesday of last week via American Airlines bound for Lewisville, KY, to pick up our "caboose." That is, we went to acquire a 2004 four-wheel-drive Chevy Tracker, which we will tow behind our fifth wheel. If you followed our previous trips with the big truck, you know that thereare downsides to having only one vehicle to drive if it's the tractor part of a tractor-trailer! 

So, when we learned that the Tracker was available from a fellow Escapees RV Club member, we made arrangements to add it to our assortment of vehicles and (hopefully) make traveling with the fifth wheel less complicated. We were also excited about seeing a part of the country that neither of us has visited before, to check out things to see and do, and to locate RV parks for future use.

We arrived in Louisville and were met by the folks who were selling the Tracker. After lunch and a thorough examination of the vehicle, we decided to spend the night in Louisville and see some of the local color before undertaking the +/- 1,000-mile trip home. Luckily, we found space at the downtown Hampton Inn, just a couple of blocks from the entertainment district, shown here.

Being in the heart of Bourbon Country, we decided to sample some of the good stuff, and headed for the Maker's Mark Bourbon Bar. A couple of appetizers later, accompanied by a couple of Manhattans and a flight of Bourbons, we called it a night. We liked the Maker's, but were wowed by the Four Roses! You can see how much we liked it, and no's 100 proof!

Thursday morning, we set off for a nice walk through the downtown area. Louisville is lovely, and probably the cleanest city we've ever visited. There wasn't a single beer can or cigarette butt to be seen. There was, however, plenty of art. The waterfront park features a magnificent sculpture of York, one of the members of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Sculptures of horses, however, are more numerous. Austin has its decorated guitar sculptures; Louisville has its thoroughbreds. Two examples are sculptures depicting Derby Winner Real Quiet, and 1987 contender Alysheba.

We also toured Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. We were told that last year's Derby winner Mine That Bird was in residence, as well as super filly Rachel Alexandra. We didn't see either of them, but we did watch this handsome guy getting a bath after his morning workout.

After leaving Louisville, we stopped for a tour of the Jim Beam Distillery, part of the Bourbon Trail that stretches from Louisville to Lexington and back. Unfortunately the Jim Beam facility was being renovated and actual tours were not available. We did sample a couple of their fine whiskeys, though, and will return another day to take the full tour.

Thursday night found us in Jackson, Tennessee, relaxing in another Hampton Inn. On the way out, we planned a visit to the Casey Jones Village, named in honor of the legendary railroad engineer who sacrificed himself to save his passengers. Our sightseeing Karma still wasn't working, though. The railroad museum was closed due to a power problem. We made a quick visit to the Country Store, with its supply of Elvis Presley memorabilia and old-fashioned candies, and were on our way.

Friday night we stopped in Little Rock, Arkansas. We would have visited the Clinton Museum, but John said that, since we are registered Republicans, our names were probably on the equivalent of the "No Fly" list there. We did, however, visit the Peabody Hotel, where we were just in time for a cocktail and the Parade of Ducks.   At precisely 5:00 p.m., surrounded by camera-toting fans, the ducks are escorted from the lobby fountain along their red carpet to the glass-fronted elevator, and from there to the Duck Palace on the second floor. Sometimes being a duck can be pretty nice!

Saturday morning we took a walk along the Arkansas river, and saw the famous "Little Rock" for which the city is named. It's located at the base of the pedestrian bridge over the river, and is shown in the photo below.  (And it really is a little rock.)

After our walk, we visited what is the probably the best farmer's market I have ever seen! Located along the waterfront, it features an amazing array of produce, flowers, and arts and crafts.

I could have spent the morning, but we had another 300+ miles to go. We bought a few vegetables to take home, and headed for Fort Worth.

We spent the night with Cousin Kathy Cash and her husband, Eric Vanderbeck and family dog Jack. Kathy, Eric and Jack are frequent visitors to the farm in Hamilton County, but we had not seen their Fort Worth home, nor the three chickens who always send a supply of eggs to farm weekends. Released from the "hen spa" for some foraging time in the yard, they made good use of their time to stock up on bugs, worms and whatever else chickens enjoy. Eric's special favorite is "Nekkid Neck," the Turken, sporting her (really) naked neck and small cap of black feathers.

Here chicken-sisters, the Silver Laced Wyandotte, and "palomino" Araucana entertained us with chicken conversation as they scrounged around for bugs.

On Saturday, we had breakfast with Michal's brother, Allan and wife Jefflyn Jones, Kathy and Eric, and Michal's mother, Evelyn Jones, who was there for a short visit. We also had a chance to visit Cousin Karen and the homes of Nieces Anna and Erin and their families.  We took Evelyn back to Hamilton on our way home. Only one small hitch...when we got to the farm to check things before returning to Austin, we found that Bos, our sweet and gentle Bonsmara bull, had decided to go visiting next door and had demolished about 50 feet of fence. John and I spent Sunday afternoon making repairs so we could return him to his home pasture....and hope he stays put!

The Tracker performed well on the trip home, and we look forward to hooking it up and heading out for a longer trip this fall.

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