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Bowling Green, KY

2019-05-16 – Airstream Caravan Travels – Springtime in Kentucky; Final Banquet, Berea, KY – Day #22 – the Caravan ends, and the Wedding Trip begins

Easy morning today.  We made last minute preparations for our upcoming travel; we hitched up the Villa, and headed to Berea…

We parked the Villa at the historic Boone Tavern, which isn’t really a tavern, but a very nice, modern hotel.  It is owned and operated by Berea College, and is staffed mostly by Berea students…

We were having our “Final Banquet”, a time to remember our good times, to have a little entertainment, and to say farewell to our new old friends…

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Our caravan leaders, with a few parting words…

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After the banquet the Airstreamers headed out; some were leaving, others returned to the campground for one last night…

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We headed for Bowling Green, KY… for a little while we followed another caravanner…

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We stopped in Bowling Green, rented a car, and drove to Franklin, KY.  There we found “Courtesy Parking”, a feature of the Airstream Club (WBCCI) whereby another Airstream owner lets us park on their property…

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In this case, we parked on an empty lot behind this Airstream owner’s house…

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We did some final packing, enjoyed some happy hours, and turned in early.  Tomorrow we drive the rental car to the Nashville Airport and fly to California!

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-04-28 – Airstream Caravan Travels – Springtime in Kentucky; Traveling from Bowling Green to Bardstown, KY; Jim Beam! – Day #4

Time to move on… The caravan moves to Bardstown, KY, the center of Bourbon production in Kentucky…

But first, we attended services at the Christ United Methodist Church in Bowling Green…

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(I didn’t take this photo – I stole it off the internet…)

It was a remarkable little church and the services was excellent – lots of singing by EVERYONE!  ABout 130 people by my estimate.  Old People, young people, everyone!  Olde time hymns, plus the Gloria Patri and the Doxology… It felt good to sing!

And then we moved on.

We hitched up the Villa and headed to Bardstown, KY.  We are staying at the White Acres RV park.

We set up easily and quickly, then we drove about 1/2 hour away to check out the Jim Beam Distillery.

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Unfortunately, tours were sold out for the day; we made a reservation for Tuesday.

We walked around a bit and learned something about the Beam family; here is the family tree of Master Distillers for the past 150 years of so…

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Booker Noe was not a direct descendant, but was a nephew of T. Jeremiah Beam; his son, Fred Noe is the current leader.  Jim Beam is now owned by Beam Suntory, which is owned by Fortune Brands, an Multi-national holding company that owns many brands of wine, beer, and spirits.

We did do a tasting of three premium versions of Jim Beam Bourbons…

Jim Beam Bonded – 100 Proof Bourbon:  Just OK

Jim Beam Black – Extra Aged Bourbon:  Not bad; nice and toasty, smooth

Jim Beam Double Oak – Aged in a second new oak barrel after 3-5 years in the first new oak barrel:  Pretty good.  Very smooth…

Jim Beam also makes Knob Creek, Bakers, Basil Hayden’s, and, of course, Bookers.  We will have a chance to taste these after our tour on Tuesday…

We returned to the campground and enjoyed a dinner prepared and organized by a team of fellow caravaners…

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-04-27 – Airstream Caravan Travels – Springtime in Kentucky; Dairy Farm Tour in Bowling Green, KY – Day #3

The caravan set out today to tour a dairy farm.  But not just any dairy farm!  We visited the Chaney’s Dairy Barn just south of Bowling Green.  It was not like any dairy I had ever seen before, and I have seen one or two…

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The Chaney family has owned this land since 1886, and they started a dairy here in 1940.  They have exclusively Jersey cows – the light brown ones…

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We started the tour at the gift shop – cafe – ice cream parlor; we boarded the farm wagon for the trip to the barn…

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I was shocked to learn that they are currently milking 60 cows (out of a total herd of about 120 or so…).  They have about 55 acres of land.  Wow!  I thought all dairies milked hundreds if not thousands of cows!  The next thing we learned is that they have no milkers – no people wrangling the cows into the barn, no one attaching the milking machines, no one.  They have one herdsman, who is in charge of all the cows, and one robotic milking machine, made by Lely in the Netherlands… The herdsman is the niece of the farm’s owners…

The cows spend all their time hanging out in a comfortable barn…

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When they feel the “urge” to get milked they wander over to the robotic milking machine and get milked!

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The next cow in line is waiting patiently…

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When the milking is complete she moves on…

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During the five-six minutes it takes to complete the cleaning and milking process the cow is weighed, the milk production is analyzed, and the herdsman gets lots of data to ensure the cows are healthy and happy…

They even have automated back-scratching machines and a “Rumba”-like robot which sweeps the feed lane and pushes the feed up closer to where the cows are eating… Amazing!

Then the real story comes out.  The cows and the milk don’t pay the bills here.  Like many dairies, they barely break even on the milk and often lose money.  That is why many small family dairies are closing down and selling out.  The Chaney family figured out a way to keep the family farm, and its inherent lifestyle:  Us!

Yes, Agri-tourism is a big thing here.  By offering tours, plus the cafe, playground, gift shop, ice cream, and other related things the family can make a living and keep the farm.  The next generation is starting to establish the ability to process their milk themselves, so that they can sell their own cheese, ice cream, and, yes, milk.

The Chaney family were delightful people and they really have a passion for these cows.  It was a fun tour!

Rather than ride the wagon back to the cafe, we walked…

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We did, of course, have lunch and some ice cream…

And then we moved on.  The only distillery in Bowling Green closed up shop and moved to Nashville a few months ago, so a few of us drove about 10 miles south to Franklin, KY, to the Dueling Grounds Distillery.  So named because several famous duels took place near here on the Linkumpinch Dueling Field in 1826.

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Tennessee Representative Sam Houston gravely wounded General William A. White, a veteran of the Battle of New Orleans, in a pistol duel.  In a convoluted turn of events, White was the stand-in for Nashville Postmaster John P. Erwin.  Patronage politics were at the root of this affair of honor.  Andrew Jackson of Tennessee had promoted another candidate for Nashville postmaster against Erwin.  Jackson encouraged Houston to thwart Erwin’s appointment.  Houston wrote to President John Quincy Adams, that Erwin “is not a man of fair and upright moral character.”  He also attacked Erwin in a speech on the House Floor.  When Houston returned to Tennessee after the 19th Congress (1825–1827), Erwin dispatched Colonel John Smith T., a professional duelist, to deliver a challenge to Houston for besmirching Erwin’s character.  That challenge was rejected, but General White then proceeded to challenge Houston directly, who reluctantly accepted.  Houston was tried for attempted murder, but was acquitted on the grounds of self-defense…

Anyway, this is as good a reason as any to name your distillery “Dueling Grounds” and to name your Bourbon, “Linkumpinch”.

We had a great tour!  Unlike Jack Daniel’s, where the process is controlled by computers and two guys sitting in a control booth, these guys at Dueling Grounds really make the Bourbon!   We saw them adding corn, then wheat, then malted barley to the mash cooker, we saw them punch down the fermenting mash, we saw them transferring the fermented liquid to the still, and we saw their manual bottling line.  (Their barrels are stored off-site in a borrowed facility…)

Adding wheat to the mash cooker…

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The fermenting mash…

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The three fermenters…

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The still.  Clear ethyl alcohol drips out of the still like a weak stream of water from a small faucet.  (At Jack Daniel’s, it pours from their 90′ tall stills like water shooting out of a fire hose!)  They distill the whiskey here twice, to clarify and purify it, and to increase the alcohol content.

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They have a very small production – three 250 gallon fermenters each produce about 50 gallons of clear whiskey.

The clear whiskey is placed in new charred oak barrels and aged a minimum of two years.  Since this distillery is quite young, their current Bourbon has been aged just two years.  They have plans to age some barrels 5, 7, and 12 years…

Most of the flavor in Bourbon is imparted by the barrel.  The clear whiskey (“White Lightning”) is not very pleasant to drink.

Tour over, we returned to the tasting room…

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We tasted their whiskeys and some of their fruit liqueurs.  Purchases in hand, we headed back to the Villa…

We were able to relax a bit in the afternoon, then we had another GAM.  Afterwards, we walked about the park.  We found baby Canada Geese…

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And we found a puppy raiser for CCI – Canine Companions for Independence…

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Our son has a Service Dog, professionally trained and certified by CCI, a great organization that provides service dogs to those who need them for free… This couple has raised 12 puppies, each for about 18 months, then has turned them over for professional training…

This evening we had another Drivers Meeting; we travel tomorrow to Bardstown, near Louisville, for various activities at Churchill Downs before the Kentucky Derby on Saturday…

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-04-26 – Airstream Caravan Travels – Springtime in Kentucky; Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY – Day #2

After raining all night we awoke to a lovely morning.  We carpooled to the National Corvette Museum.  Not only were we Airstreamers doing this tour today, but it was the 25th anniversary of the museum and hundreds of Corvette owners were coming to gather as well…

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Even our campground was not immune to this invasion of Corvettes…

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The museum is located only a quarter mile from the Bowling Green Assembly Plant, where Corvettes have been made since 1981.  Unfortunately, the plant is closed for re-tooling; rumor has it that the newest model Corvette will be revealed at this event this weekend…

(Spoiler Alert:  Yes, the new C-8 Corvette, with a mid-engine configuration, was revealed at the Museum on 4/27/19!)

This yellow structure is called the “Skydome”.  It contains a large exhibit hall inside, as an addition to the main museum.  More about the Skydome later…

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We gathered in front of the museum for a group photo, then went inside for a tour.

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The exhibits started with a display of a 1953 Corvette, showing its innovative framework and chassis design.  Note how light the structural framework is.  These cars were clearly designed for performance, not for safety…

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We proceeded through the exhibits, seeing the Corvette design evolve.  The first years were difficult, and very few cars sold in 1953-1955, but the 1956 model caught on and sales sky-rocketed.  However, they have never reached the 1,000,000 cars per year that were originally envisioned…

The 1956 – 1962 years (Model C-2, as the aficionados call it) are my favorite Corvettes…

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This is the interior of the Skydome:

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A particularly interesting exhibit centers around an event that happened a few years ago…

On February 12, 2014, a sinkhole (40-foot-wide and 25-foot-deep) opened under the floor of the Skydome area of the museum.  Video from the museum’s security camera shows the collapse occurring at 5:38 AM local time.  Since this did not occur during visiting hours no one was injured although much of the Skydome area concrete floor collapsed.  Eight rare and one-of-a-kind Corvettes, portions of the display stands and rails, large concrete floor slabs, boulders, and dirt fell into the sinkhole, causing serious damage to all eight of the Corvettes.  The Corvettes involved had an estimated value of a million dollars.  The remaining 20 cars in the Skydome were immediately removed from that area.  All eight of the Corvettes were recovered from the sinkhole.

Exploration in the sinkhole discovered a cave passage 80 feet below the Skydome floor and that this previously unknown cave had an unstable area in its roof that collapsed.  Apparently, when the museum was built, a large storm water retention basin was dug adjacent to the Skydome, which altered the flow of ground water under the museum.  This change in geologic activity contributed to the cave collapse.

The Skydome reopened after repairs were completed on September 3, 2015.  The eight Corvettes are displayed in their original location at the time of the collapse, although only three of them have been repaired/restored.  The other five were deemed too damaged to be repaired, so they are displayed is their “as found” condition…  It is a remarkable thing to see!

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We continued to look at the displayed until lunch happened…

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After lunch we visited the Historic Rail Park, located at the historic L & N train depot…

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It was great fun…

There were model railroad exhibits that little kids really love…

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There were historic exhibits inside the museum; but the best part was the train!

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We were able to go through all the cars…

First was the engine (with the engines and generators removed…). We also could go into the cockpit and sit in the engineer’s seat.  No steering wheel!

This is the Post Office car…

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The dining car…

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The kitchen…

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We saw a 3rd class Pullman sleeping berths, the 2nd class “roomettes”, and the private bedrooms in 1st class.  Finally we saw the private car of the L & N president, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a dining room and a parlor, plus observation platform at the rear.  This car was used by Herbert Hoover during his presidential campaign.

We also saw cars that are not on display; a caboose…

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And a hospital car, used to transport injured troops from WWII and the Korean conflict…

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We returned to the Villa in time to prepare for the first GAM – Get Acquainted Meeting.  As luck would have it, we already knew these four couples…

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-04-25 – Airstream Caravan Travels – Springtime in Kentucky; Bowling Green, KY – Day #1

Beautiful day in Kentucky!  The 2019 Springtime in Kentucky Caravan starts today!

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We spent the morning rearranging the supplies and tools in the truck, running errands, and buying groceries… I also spent quite a bit of time planning our return trip home in June…

We turned in our emergency forms to our caravan leader, and we were given our “Drivers’ Manual” in exchange.  This is a three-ring binder containing all the information we will need for the next three weeks – schedule, driving directions, names and contact information about all the caravaners, financial data, GAMs, and caravan rules.  The first thing I normally do when I get the manual is enter all the contact information into my phone – we do a lot of text messaging on the caravan;  it is frustrating to get a text message and having to respond, “Who is this?”…

At 3:00 pm we all gathered for our first meeting.  We shared brief introductions – there are five couples from California, only one of which we have previously met.  Caravaners are from all over the country – Washington, New York, Florida, Texas, and everywhere in between.  (No one from Kentucky… However, the leader who was supposed to be here IS from Kentucky, but he has had health issues and needed time to recover, so we have a non-Kentuckian as our leader…)

We were dismissed from our meeting in time for us all to carpool into downtown Bowling Green for dinner at 440 Main, one of Bowling Green’s best restaurants.  We arrived early enough to enjoy some adult beverages before dinner.

Soon we were all gathered for dinner.  The service was good, especially considering that the servers had to wrangle requests from 50 people at once.  And the food was excellent; I had salmon, Lynda had chicken.  Dessert was cheesecake with raspberry sauce.  I only had a bite or two, but it was excellent, too.

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After dinner we returned to the Villa.  It was starting to rain as we hurriedly walked to our campsite.  Ir continued to rain lightly all night long…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-04-24 – Airstream Caravan Travels – Traveling from Tuscumbia, AL, to Bowling Green, KY;

Today we check in to the RV Park where the Springtime in Kentucky caravan starts.  We are one day early, but we like to arrive before the crowds…

Last night we caught a nice sunset in the window of the Villa…

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We left Tuscumbia, AL and headed through the countryside to find the 65 north…  At about 11:30 we met up with two other caravaners at the Cracker Barrel in Franklin, TN…

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After lunch we traveled north into Kentucky!

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Lots of green in this neck of the woods!

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We pulled into the KOA in Bowling Green, KY, ready to check-in…

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We added another state sticker to our map… Number 39!

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It’s a nice park, with a lake and a good supply of Canada Geese…

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We played a little chess before Happy Hours…

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So Happy Hours happened – there are about 10 Airstreams here a day early…  And an enjoyable time was had by all…

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