Luray Caverns in Virginia

Luray Caverns in Virginia
Luray Caverns in Virginia

Monday, March 31, 2014

5th Generation Mammoth Cave Tour Guide

Kenan Christiansen wrote this great article for the New York times about a FIFTH generation tour guide at Mammoth Cave!

This is a great article about the cave, its history, and the history of those who have worked in the cave.  Jules Verne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and the breathing, living Mammoth Cave itself all make appearances in the story, but the name Jerry Bransford is the one you will remember the most.

I might have to call about getting him as a guide next time I am in the area!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Lost Abraham Lincoln Photo?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/maryland-man-may-have-found-two-forgotten-photos-of-lincolns-funeral-procession/2014/03/19/8f5f5fa6-ade6-11e3-96dc-d6ea14c099f9_story.html

Check out the link above!  The Washington Post article by Michael E. Ruane is about a forgotten photo that one man (Paul Taylor) believes is of the horse drawn hearse carrying Abraham Lincoln's remains.

I love anything relating to Lincoln, and I really love the fact that an old photo, overlooked in the National Archives, might have some major historical significance. 

Taylor makes an interesting argument!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Random Thoughts On Friday- Travels with Friends and Family

When you travel, who do you take with you?  On pretty much all of my trips, with the exception of a few short day adventures, my wife goes with me.

Occasionally, my pal Rick goes with me on a day trip if I want to go somewhere maybe 2-4 hours away, and my wife can't go.  We have done a lot of trips where we literally get on the road and start driving with no plans.

When I was growing up near Owensboro, me and my best friend Brent would take day trips all the time.  As soon as we got our licenses, we were exploring.

Over the years, I have had a lot of friends that have been good company while driving around.

Like many other travelers, I have become very aware and careful of time and resources.  I like to get a good early start every time.  Being on the road by 6AM instead of 9AM means I have 3 more hours to see new places.

And this kind of gets me back to road tripping companions.  An old friend got into a habit of never being able to leave until noon.  Another friend always insisted on eating at the Olive Garden (forget trying the local unique spots).  As much as I love these people, their insistence on doing things a certain way have forced me to find other friends for my road trips.

That goes both ways too.  I am sure they have new friends for their road trips too.  Friends who love Italian food, and friends who like to sleep in instead of start early.  I am not offended.

But it is so much fun when you find friends who enjoy some of the same experiences while traveling as you.

If you are planning on a long trip with others, you especially need to make sure that they are on the same page as you.

We have done several longer vacations with our friends Nate and Holly.  They both enjoy minor league baseball, art and history.  We have had a lot of fun traveling with them as our interests are almost identical.

I have a friend who has a large, extended family.  They have done several family trips, where nearly 20 people go somewhere together.  Even though my friend enjoys these trips, they sound like epic fails to me.  Someone(s) in the group always forgets to pay their share of the cabin/room rental.  And they always deal with the timing issue.  Plans to leave early in the morning are cancelled, because one person in the caravan had a last minute obligation come up.  The plan to leave at 8 in the morning becomes a frustrating delay as 19 people hang around as the 20th person arrives at 1 for departure. 

I know of another family group that had been planning a trip to Disney for a year.  About a month before they were to go, one person pulled out because they had not saved enough money.  Another person pulled out because the first person couldn't go, and then another person backed out because the second person backed out.  At that point, things started going bad for the person who had made reservations, bought tickets, etc.

I only go on trips with close friends who enjoy the same things, want the same out of the trip, and who I care about.  I think it is a good thing to be careful about road tripping friends.



Friday, March 14, 2014

Bowling Green Corvette Museum

I am not a car person.  Not at all.  In fact, I simply don't know a lot about them.

And I have never really been impressed with sports cars.  Its just not my thing.  I have always appreciated a good, reliable car... with a nice sound system.

I have known about the Corvette Museum in Bowling for some time now, and it has been on my list of places to get to, but I simply never got around to it.  Over the last few years when I have been in or near Bowling Green, it has been to see caves, a Hot Rods game, or something else. 

After seeing the footage and hearing all about the sinkhole that just opened up AT the museum, I really wanted to make it down.

Just in case you don't know, on February 12th, 2014 a sinkhole opened up in the Skydome area (the museums beautiful hall of fame showroom area).  Eight rare cars fell into the hole.  Luckily, this happened in the early morning hours, before the museum opened so no one was around. 

I know, I feel a little bad that I am just now getting around to mentioning one of the great, and unique places in our state, AFTER something bad happens there.  Still, I figured now was better than never.

Attractive Corvettes are displayed throughout the museum, along with various historical items relating to the car.  I was impressed with the fact that Roy Orbison's Corvette was on display!  I was sad to hear that Roy's car will be auctioned off soon by the family, so you might want to get to Bowling Green if that's a car you must see.

There was a nice display on the company's involvement with NASA, and several displays on the evolution of the car, racing, etc.  There is also an informative film when you go in.

Everyone working at the museum seemed excited to be there.  The young guys who sold us our tickets told us about some exhibits, and they stressed that they encourage photography.  The girl who took our souvenir photos told us all about a couple of her favorite cars.  The guy in the gift shop pointed out a couple of items I may have missed.  I was happy to see my fellow Kentuckians taking pride in the museum.

AND, I was impressed by the fact that the Corvette Museum is actually allowing a lot of access to the sinkhole.  You cannot go into the Skydome area at this point, BUT the museum has a glass wall up so you can look in the Skydome and see hard hatted workers doing their job around the sinkhole.  ALSO, 5 of the 8 cars that fell had been recovered when I visited.  All 5 are on display.

There is something very strange about rare Corvettes, protected in a museum being the victims of this kind of damage.  I mean, these are some of the most rare, and valuable ones around.  You know that the museum has insured them and taken much care in their handling.  These should be some of the most well preserved cars around.

But these uncommon natural occurrences can happen anywhere and change things.









Thursday, March 6, 2014

Berry College Eagle Cam

I just found this site recently and I love it!  Check out the LIVE video of the Berry College Eagles!

http://www.berry.edu/eaglecam/

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Vancouver Island again









After all of the excitement on our day trip to the west side of the island, and seeing places like Tofino and Ucluelet, we felt like we had really covered a lot of ground in the area.

We were hoping to see sea lions though, and Gary from our tour told us we should go to Fanny Bay to see them.  We followed his directions and we saw hundreds!

On our last day on the Island, we also stopped at the nice local spot called Lefties.  It is called that because all three of the owners are left handed.  This was another great place where locals go and the food is unique.  I had a bowl of carrot and ginger soup.  I know that sounds odd but I am craving some right now.

After taking the ferry back to the Tsawwassen area to get off of the island, we stopped at a great local pub right out of casting.  The Rose and Crown Pub was the perfect spot for us to have a nice filling lunch and watch some of the Olympics.  Here I had an amazing po' boy and a massive bowl of French onion soup.  Hockey jerseys were on the wall, and the staff was super friendly.

Plus, I had one of those perfect moments at this bar.  I was happy to be in Canada.  I was happy to be in a unique place like the Rose and Crown with a lot of heart.  And, they were playing some of my favorite songs and artists over their speakers.  I heard the Eagles, The Grateful Dead, Dylan (Tangled Up in Blue!), The Pretenders....  It was just a perfect experience.

I think I have made it very clear that we loved spending time on Vancouver Island in Canada.  Even though I was unfamiliar with all that it had to offer before going, I am so glad that we went.  AND I know we will be back. 

This is the kind of area that will get put on our "sure we've been there, but we want to get back often" list.

The sad thing about it though, is that Vancouver Island is a pretty good distance from us.  There would be no way to do a quick 4 day weekend trip there the way we would go to Gatlinburg or St. Louis.  It takes a couple of flights AND a ferry ride to get there (and a lot of hours).

A few last thoughts on this trip.

Canadians don't use pennies!  Seriously, they have stopped using them.  I confused the heck out of a sales person when I asked for some change and asked for some pennies.

They have one and two dollar coins.  Add their quarters to the mix, and things get a bit confusing.

Canadians (at least the ones we met on Vancouver Island) are freakishly friendly!  Seriously, there were several times we would ask a question, like, "where is the nearest place to eat?" and we would be involved in a nice half an hour discussion about anything and everything.

Also, we encountered several that were just generally pleasant and helpful.  I mentioned before that I went to a few post offices.  I had great conversations with several postal workers about collecting stamps, postage rates, and things to do in the area.

One more thing that I loved about the people in this neck of the woods.....  NO ONE brought up a certain chicken chain when we mentioned that we were from Kentucky!  A friend recently went to another country, and EVERYONE brought up Kentucky Fried Chicken when they mentioned our state.  On Vancouver Island, I was a bit surprised at how many people associated Daniel Boone with Kentucky (I think that says a lot about the nature loving/exploring spirit of the area).  In fact, I would say that of the 5 or 6 people we talked to about Kentucky, Mr. Boone was the first thing they brought up!  Bourbon and horses were second.

Thanks Vacouver Island!  We will see ya again soon!



















Sunday, March 2, 2014

Karma Coffee- Vancouver Island

Before I am done with mentioning coffee on Vancouver Island, I did want to say that we also loved Karma Coffee!

Several locals recommended this place.  It was a bit hard for us to find it, so this is truly one of those, "go where the locals go" kind of places.  Plus, it seemed that a lot of people got their beans from Karma.

Set inside of an old garage/gas station Karma roasts their beans in house.  It is actually very cozy and comfortable.

The very cool man running the shop while we were there was great to chat with, and he seemed to have a true love of coffee.  I took a bag home with me too, and I have been loving it!

http://karmacoffee.com/