Thursday, August 6, 2015

Louisville KY

Monday (Aug 3):

Monday morning we moved the Duchess from North Fork Campground in Kentucky to the Charlestown State Park north of Louisville in Indiana. The campground is located close to the Ohio River but is not on the river itself. The campground has about 200 campsites and only about 20 were occupied while we were there. Since we did not have full hook-ups at the North Fork Campground and do at the Charlestown State Park, we proceeded to do all of our laundry which took several hours.

Charlestown was the location of the world largest smokeless powder plant which was constructed during WWII and operated until the early 1990's. At the height of production there were 1,700 buildings located on almost 20,000 acres of land.

Today all of this is a ghost town with trees and vegetation now growing up around all of the buildings. Here is a link to the history of this plant, Indiana Army Ammunition Plant ,which I found very interesting. Charlestown State Park was created from 4,500 acres that were transferred to the State of Indiana in 1992.

Tuesday (Aug 4):

We left the campground and went by an RV dealership in Clarksville IN that that has a parts department to purchase several items for the Duchess. From there we proceeded to the Cave Hill Cemetery which is the oldest cemetery in Louisville. The cemetery contains 300 acres with a lake in the middle. One side of the lake is "old money" and the other side is "new money". The monuments and grave markers in the old money section were beautiful and interesting to look at.

From there we proceeded to Churchill Downs to visit the Kentucky Derby Museum. Connie had attended the Kentucky Derby a couple of times in the early 1980's so this was a return visit for her. We had a quick tour of the track and visited some of the areas underneath the stands. From there we viewed a movie of the history of the Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby and then took a tour of the museum. The Kentucky Derby has been run every year since 1875 which is a year before Custer's Last Stand (to put it in perspective).

Old and New Stands at Churchill Downs

These spires are now in the National Historic Registry.

It's Connie by a nose
Mike leaving the starting gate. It is $25,000 for a horse to enter the starting
gate at the Kentucky Derby and $25,000 for them to open the gate and let the horse to run the race.
"Larger than Life" statue of Pat Day stands 5 ft tall. Pat Day has won the
Kentucky Derby more than any other jockey and is 4 ft 11 inches all in real life.
Hats worn at the Derby

More hats from the Derby

Some more hats worn at the Derby. It is tradition for women and men to
dress up for the Derby.
A couple of interesting stories from our visit:

In the early years of the Derby jockeys would carry lead to make the required minimum weight of 126 pounds for sires and 121 pounds for mares in the Derby. As they reached the back side of the track they would throw the lead in the infield to lighten their load and make the horse faster. So they started weighing the jockey after to the race to make sure that their starting weight is also their finishing weight. This is were we get the expression - "Getting the lead out".

In 2015 Wes Welker, a wide receiver for the Denver Broncos, won several hundred thousand dollars on bets during Derby Day (all of the betting at Churchill Downs is in cash and in 2015 over $120 million dollars was wagered). As he was leaving the stands he autographed $100 bills and handed them out as souvenirs.

During our visit to the Kentucky Derby Museum we ate at the Cafe. We enjoyed some of the Derby traditions.

Connie has finished her Mint Julep (Mike helped)

Mike and Connie shared a Derby Pie.

Wednesday (Aug 9):

We decided to visit downtown Louisville today. Our first stop was at the Muhammad Ali Center. The Center celebrates the life of Ali who was born in Louisville and has been very generous with the city and community. The Center deals with Ali's life as a boxer, a humanitarian and as an international personage. It was enlightening to see all of the charitable contribution that Ali has made from the beginning of his boxing career through today. He donated money from his first professional fight to a local charity in Louisville and he has continued this pattern throughout his life.

Connie is my "Greatest"

Replica of where Ali trained in Pennsylvania
After leaving the Ali Center we walked a few blocks to the Louisville Slugger Museum. We walked through the public area of the museum but decided not to take the factory tour. The company, Hillerich & Bradbury Co, has been making baseball bats since the 1890's in Louisville. In downtown Louisville there are plaques including replicas of bats of the Baseball Hall of Fame members who used the Louisville Slugger bats in their careers.
Mike in front of the Louisville Slugger Museum

A rather large baseball bat

Honus Wagner plague and bat

Babe Ruth plague and bat
There also was an exhibit of Topps Trading Cards which have been around since 1948. They make cards of all major league baseball players but they also make trading cards of TV shows and movies. Some of the TV shows include Batman, Happy Days and Star Trek. The movies included Frozen, Indiana Jones series and Star Trek.
Sure to be a collector's item

After finishing at the Slugger Museum we stopped at the Bristol Bar and Grille to eat lunch. We tried two of their specialties: I had the "Hot Brown" and Connie had the "Theresa's Sweet Chili Linguine". I liked mine more than Connie like hers.

From downtown we traveled out to Vicki and Gary Edelen's house which is located in Floyd's Knob, a suburb of Louisville located in Indiana. We had a nice visit with them and their daughter Maggie before all of us headed out to Huber's Orchard and Winery. The farm has been in the Huber family since 1843 when Simon Huber emigrated from Germany to Indiana. They have been making wines for generations and have now started a distillery that makes gin, vodka and bourbon. We did a wine tasting and neither of us were too thrilled with the wines which tended to be on the sweet side. It is amazing that the same family has been farming the same land since 1843.
An old grape/wine press

Connie & Gary doing their wine tasting
We said our good-byes to Vicki, Gary and Maggie and returned to the Duchess. We have enjoyed our visit to Louisville and the sights we were able to see while we were here.