Getting our kicks on Route 66 and a little bit of Louisville
After the joy of seeing snowfall for the first time in my life, I soon became rather tired of it (or at least concerned by it) as the snow pelted our windscreen on the highway drive from Nashville to Louisville. We decided it was best to take our time and break up the drive with plenty of stops to stretch our legs and visit local attractions. After skipping the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green - which had recently made the news due to a sinkhole opening up and swallowing a handful of classic 'vettes - we stopped in Clermont, KY to visit the Jim Beam Distillery. Unlike our visit to Jack Daniels, we didn't do the whole guided tour. We just took some snaps of the historic distillery and took advantage of the thick roadside snow to make a few snowballs and throw them at each other!
Once we arrived in Louisville we got ready for dinner with Dan and Beth, a Kentucky couple whom we had met on the cruise a few weeks back. Dan and Beth took us to Garage Bar - an old mechanic's garage that had been converted into a restaurant and served wood fired pizzas and a selection of Ketucky hams (and bourbons, of course!). The hams were kind of like prosciutto - cured, salty meats of varying degrees of smokiness - and they were sensational. To my delight, Dan and Beth are quite the bourbon aficionados and they had just the dram in mind for the occasion: a Maker's Mark 46. Top notch!
We really enjoyed the time spent with Dan and Beth and appreciated the effort they made to come and see us, driving 2 hours in the snow on a weeknight when they had work the next day. After 30-odd years of marriage they're still happy as Larry and have a fantastic sense of humour and positive outlook on life. Gives all us youngins a bit of hope doesn't it?
On the tourist front, there wasn't a whole lot to do in Louisville. Well, at least far as Jess was concerned. She opted to avoid the chilly conditions outside and settled on the couch with a good book. Meanwhile I had a ball visiting the Louisville Slugger factory, where the world's most iconic baseball bat is made. I also checked out the Muhammad Ali museum which had five floors dedicated to the life and times of Louisville's most famous son. The Ali museum was very detailed but it tried just a little too hard to turn Ali into Ghandi. I'm a huge Ali fan but I don't think he was quite the bringer of peace or reconciler of racial tension that the museum made him out to be. The greatest boxer ever? No doubt about it. But he ain't Martin Luther King!
But I digress….
From Louisville we made our way across four States (Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri) in one day to arrive in St Louis, Missouri. St Louis was always going to be a brief stopover on our way to Kansas City, but we still managed to cram a fair bit into our three days there. We:
- visited the Gateway Arch - the tallest man made monument in the Western hemisphere, built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States. You can (and we did) go inside the monument and ride a tiny little elevator car all the way to the top
- spent a day at the Zoo. Entry was free and Jess got her animal fix. We spent hours in the monkey enclosure watching them carry on like pork chops.
- went to a local bar to watch the Chiefs take on the Raiders on Thursday Night Football. Embarrassingly, the Chiefs lost to the previously winless Raiders (just a week after beating the reigning Super Bowl Champs from Seattle). And to make matters worse, we arrived back at the car to discover it had been broken into. Luckily the riff-raff made off with only Jess' iPod. Her crappy pop music wouldn't be missed on our road trips and now we could get back to playing Whitesnake and Def Leppard all across the Midwest!
- managed to get out of town just before the Grand Jury handed down its verdict in the Police shooting of Michael Brown and the riots kicked off. I can sorta understand people protesting allegedly heavy handed police tactics but I'm not sure where the rioting and looting your own local shops fits into it. How do you go from "this is a racial injustice!" to "I need a new Blu-Ray player"
But, again, I digress….
Next stop: Kansas City, MO