June 26-July 1, 2009 Boone, NC


Woodland house

Originally uploaded by marymompics

(We added an extra day so we could watch the quarterfinals of Wimbledon)
A Little House in the Woods

We’ve rented this little house at Yonahlossee, a resort in Boone, NC. We plan on playing some tennis and recharging our vacationing batteries. Also it gives us a chance to plan some of the upcoming trip. Yonahlossee has an inn, a restaurant, various small cottages and vacation homes. It also has in and outdoor tennis courts. It’s quite pretty, up at about 4000 feet with lots of trees and rhododendrons and much, much cooler and less humid than what we’ve been experiencing.


Living room

Originally uploaded by marymompics

The living area as it looked when we first walked in

Our little cottage has a living room, kitchen with dining area, bedroom and bathroom. The little deck overlooks acres of trees. There’s also a washer and dryer which will come in handy since we have lots of laundry to do. We’ve gone to the grocery store and have food for the next couple of days. All seems set except….


Geeks on vacation

Originally uploaded by marymompics

Where’s the wireless?!!!

They told us there would be wireless internet. Oh uh, we can’t find any wireless connection! What will we do? How can we plan our trip? How can we keep up with what’s going on in the world? What if the kids write us? And, horrors, what if I can’t write my blog?!!

There is one ethernet cable so we can access the internet but then we would have to share. Not a good idea. So after a little moaning and groaning to the guy at the check-in desk, he brings us a box that can handle two ethernet cables and another cable. So we take the table out of the kitchen and set it up by the connection. Ahhh, so much better.

June 26, 2009: Louisville KY to Knoxville TN

Bottom of the Barrel

John here.  It has fallen to me to describe our lunch today.  On our way from Louisville to Knoxville, we decided to stop at a Cracker Barrel in London KY off I-75.  Cracker Barrel: regular people food, always busy, cute gift shop, what could go wrong?

Well, let’s see.

Mary ordered grilled catfish with baked beans and coleslaw; I ordered chicken and dumplings with turnip greens and fried okra, with cornbread and coffee for both of us.  Good Southern fare, food that we’ve had on occasion over the years.

The catfish was cooked properly; so was the chicken in white sauce.  Mary’s coleslaw was OK.

Things went downhill rapidly thereafter.

The baked beans lacked seasoning, despite being cooked with what looked like pieces of ham.  (How is this possible?)

The fried okra lacked any crunch or texture.  (Not enough time in the oil?  Oil not hot enough?)

The turnip greens had been cooked past death, just a stringy mess without much taste.  (Grrr…)

The dumplings were large and thick.  Most of them were not cooked through leaving large pockets of gummy flour paste inside.  (I suspect this is a serious felony in the South.)

But the absolute worst was the cornbread: dry, grainy, salty and greasy, with no hint of either sweetness or corn taste.  It was as if the salt, sugar and baking soda components had been replaced with salt, salt and more salt.  (This has got to be a capital crime in the South, with the offending cook’s grandmother obligated to mete out the punishment.)

Oh, and the coffee was weak.

On the way out, we noticed that the menu cover was emblazoned with the phrase “Good Country Cookin'” (note the apostrophe).  We should have known that the food gods would slap us down for violating one of our cardinal rules of road food.  (See the Mom’s Cafe post from earlier this trip.)

Suitably chastised, we continued on to Knoxville, where had to drive through one of the most intense patches of rain that we have encountered in a long time on the way to a perfectly decent dinner at Puleo’s Grill.

Tomorrow: on to North Carolina!

June 25, 2009 Louisville, KY


Making the Mark

Originally uploaded by marymompics

Marking time

Today was a busy day. As we’ve traveled about the U.S. we’ve noticed that many states are jumping on the “Wine Trail” tourist attraction whether their wine is drinkable or not. So why not a Bourbon Trail. Well, we are always happy to learn about fermenting methods so we jumped on the “Trail” this morning and took a trip down to Maker’s Mark.


Bourbon boxes

Originally uploaded by marymompics

The drip

As the box says, “Every drip is different. Every drop is the same.” The drip refers to the red sealing wax and the drop refers to the bourbon. We learned all about how bourbon is made and how Maker’s Mark is made in particular. We stuck our fingers into the fermenting vats to sample the product as it went along and we ended up in the tasting room with two tastes. One was basically moonshine and the other was the finished product. The moonshine had no color and tasted oddly like bread with a harsh kick. The bourbon was amber from the aging in oak barrels and had a smoother taste. But I don’t think I’m changing my drink of choice.


Studying the odds

Originally uploaded by marymompics

Odds man

After a disappointing lunch of bratwurst and beer, John carefully studied the horses in the next race. Ah, here’s one that looks good, Ivory Empress. She was the favorite. Unfortunately favorites don’t pay much but John felt that the horse I suggested who was going off at 9 to 1 was probably a bad choice. I demurred. We place our $2 bet to win and guess what, our horse won! Yay, $4.40!


Loser

Originally uploaded by marymompics

The Ess Curve

Okay, so now I am all into the betting on the favorite. In the next race we bet on Hungry Tigress. This suits me just fine because not only is she the favorite, but her name ends in “ess” just like Ivory Empress! In my scientific method of choosing winners, this is as good as a done deal. But for reasons unknown, Hungry Tigress just didn’t feel like running her best and we lost. Maybe it was the oppressing heat and humidity. We surely didn’t feel like running anywhere. (Not counting admission and parking, we came out ahead 40 cents!)

June 24, 2009 Louisville, KY

Slugger

Today we got off to a slow start. About 8:50 the front desk called to say that the water was going to be shut off in our room from 9 to 9:30. Unfortunately, this was right before John was going to take his shower. At 10:30 there was still no water and when it came back on shortly thereafter, it was brown. So then we had to change rooms. By the time we got out, it was already lunchtime.

Our goals for the day were to watch the Federer match and go to the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. Federer, check. Then off to the museum. Here’s a picture of John swinging one of Rod Carew’s game bats.


Babe’s Bat

Originally uploaded by marymompics

Babe’s Bat

There were lots of exhibits. Here’s one of Babe Ruth’s bats. HIs bat weighed 40 ounces which is really heavy. On the tour of the factory, the guide explained that players are using lighter bats now because it helps them swing faster (much like tennis rackets.) There wasn’t very much production going on. But we learned a bunch about baseball bats.


The Babe

Originally uploaded by marymompics

The Babe

Along with the exhibits and lots of statistics (baseball loves statistics), there was a movie about baseball and baseball bats. Not too much about pitchers, though. John says that is because the pitcher is the enemy when it comes to baseball bats.

Later we stopped at Whole Foods and bought some stuff to eat in the room, watched a bunch of TV and went to bed.

June 23, 2009 St. Louis to Louisville, KY




George Rogers Clark NHP

Originally uploaded by marymompics

Speaking of Clarks

We had to stop at the George Rogers Clark National HIstorical Park in Vincennes, Indiana. On my father’s side I am a Clark. On my mother’s side I am a Rogers. Am I related to William Clark or George Rogers Clark? Probably not but I do have a relative, William Clark, who fought in the War of 1812. Anyway, fact I did not know. William Clark of the Lewis and Clark (Clark and Lewis) expedition was George Rogers Clark’s little brother.

Frontiersmen

This is the monument to George Rogers Clark and the other frontiersmen who secured the territory that includes modern day Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and part of Minnesota during the the American Revolution. Clark and a small band of men endured incredibly harsh conditions to make a surprise attack on the British Ft. Sackville near Vincennes, IN, in the winter of 1779. Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicated this monument to Clark in 1936. It is currently undergoing renovations.

Your pod is ready

Then we climb into these tiny pods that hold 5 people. Well, maybe 5 Asian people but not 5 Americans. It is way too intimate. Everyone is touching everyone else. After being trapped in our tiny pod for 4 minutes for the ascent to the top, we get out and look out the windows. It’s a great view. You can actually see the curve of the earth on the horizon. This view is the one looking west at the historic Court House where Dred Scott sued for his freedom.


William Clark

Originally uploaded by marymompics

Westward expansion by Clark and Lewis

Next we see an IMAX movie about Lewis and Clark. It annoys me that it’s always Lewis and Clark. Why not Clark and Lewis? I’m a Clark. I want my name first! Clark drew maps and surveyed. Lewis picked flowers and drew animals. Lewis was a depressive personality who ended up killing himself 5 years after the exploration was over. Anyway the movie was interesting and then we went to the museum and read a bunch of stuff to put it all into perspective.


Clydesdale

Originally uploaded by marymompics

Giant horse

First we see the Clydesdales. They live a very cushy horse life. They don’t even smell like horses. They are really big! When we saw them at the brewery in New Hampshire many years ago, we were able to go up to them and even give them a pat. These horses were in their stalls and we were behind a rope. Wish we could have been closer.