Year-long Retirement Odyssey
Our plan while staying with the Allens in La Grange, KY was that during the day, while the family was at work and school, we would go sightseeing. Then we would be at home, hanging out with the family. This day, we planned to go to Lexington, KY (about 70 miles east of La Grange).
We arrived at the entrance to the Kentucky Horse Park after an hour and a half drive ~ including a goof-up by the GPS! The 1,224 acre park is beautifully set in a valley just north of the I-64 freeway. After parking, we walked towards the visitors center and were greeted with a statue named "Promise and Frisky Philly". Beyond that, we came to a mechanical horse, a very interesting display on how a horse gallops (click on the picture for the video). Finally, we came to a statue in memory of Secretariat. It was cool to see Secretariat statue having seen the movie back in 2010.
After checking into the visitors center, we proceeded out to see the memorial garden. Right outside of the garden was a display about the strides of thoroughbreds. Most thoroughbreds have a stride of 20 feet. However, Man O' War (1917-1947), arguably the greatest race horse of his day, had a stride of 28 feet. A marker was placed 28 feet away to demonstrate one stride of this magnificent horse. Passing a large hedge, we entered the memorial garden. Man O' War is buried here. Traditionally, most owners bury only the head, the heart and the hooves of a horse and have the rest of the horse cremated so that the ashes can be scattered over the farm. Horses at the Kentucky Horse Park are buried in their entirety. Man O' War has several of his offspring also buried in this memorial garden with their headstones circling the statue of Man O' War.
Also buried in the memorial garden is Isaac Burns Murphy, the first African-American jockey in the sport. Murphy was a slave but rose to be the most prominent jockey and the first jockey to be inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame.
Walking to one of the exhibit areas, we passed a statue of The Phoenix, an American Saddlebred, who was a champion show horse. He won 5 World championships and many other awards. In the exhibit area, five or six of the retired racehorses were brought out for the audience to see. They showed the races that the horses had won. These horses are now being used for breeding ~ hopefully, some champion prodigy!
In the arena, there was a parade of different horse breeds. There were about six horses that were introduced and ridden out into the arena. I've included pictures of two horses that were beautiful (I'm partial to the palomino!).
Roxie was able to accompany us on a horse-drawn trolley ride, touring the horse park. There was a lot more to the park that what we were able to see in the few hours that we spent there.
I was all tuckered out from "hoofing it" (no pun intended!) around the park, so I returned to the truck with Roxie while Sharon went into the International Museum of the Horse. The museum highlighted the relationship between the horse and people, the uses of horses and specialized sections for different breeds, like the Arabian horse. The story of how horse racing found its place in Kentucky is very interesting.
We soon left the park and headed into Lexington. Joei's (our daughter-in-law) father lives in Lexington, so we stopped by to visit with them for a little while. It had been quite awhile since we had seen them.
On the freeway, I saw a sign for Georgetown. Remembering my old shipping days, I remembered that Toyota had built a manufacturing plant there. So, with a little help from my GPS on my smartphone, we were able to locate Toyota Motors Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK for short). It was awesome to finally visit a place that I had heard so much about over my 20 years at K Line. As an added bonus, there were 3 K Line containers at the receiving dock behind the plant ~ only I could appreciate 3 shipping containers! Amazingly, this plant is Toyota's largest plant in the world (capacity-wise) and produces many models of Toyota and just started producing the Lexus ES350. I was in "hog-heaven"!!!!
As it became dusk, we decided to drive through Frankfort to see the Kentucky Capitol Building. We were able to snap a few pictures of the capitol. We would have like to have done more exploring this old city, but it was getting dark....and I was getting hungry!