Monday, June 15, 2009

Another National Park before Returning Home

After visiting the really interesting Wright Brothers visitor centers, part of the Dayton Aviation Heritage, we spent last night in Lexington KY. Today we'll start heading southwest toward Memphis to spend the evening with Mike's mom and get a good home-cooked meal.

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We left Lexington and hopped onto the Bluegrass Parkway heading toward Elizabethtown. Getting to the Parkway, we passed some gorgeous horse farms and estates and a really excellent trompe d'oeil painting on a building on the airport grounds. It was particularly realistic with life-size horse statues.

We would take a detour off the Parkway and onto a really fine KY scenic byway - US-31E, also known as the Lincoln HeritageTrail - to Hodgenville to visit Lincoln's birthplace and national park. This road took us past some old red brick factory-type buildings and as we rode by I looked toward the building on the right, where some large bay doors were opened and I could see coopers at work. This is the heart of Bourbon country, so these just had to be barrels for that purpose. That was a really neat little find!

This scenic road took us into the old downtown Hodgenville, with a "roundabout" encircling the town square and a large seated statue of Abraham Lincoln, a replica of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.


At the Lincoln birthplace national park, we took a walk up to the memorial, which encloses a log cabin of the same type and vintage as the one Abraham Lincoln was born in. We chatted with the young park ranger, a U. Kentucky student working there on a summer internship. The log beams were found near the original site, although they have been proven to not be the Lincoln logs. The man who found the logs assembled the cabin and then took it on tour around the country before it found it's home at this site at the turn of the 20th century. President Roosevelt laid the corner stone for the memorial, and President Taft presided over the opening ceremonies two years later.


This is yet another beautiful national park with knowledgeable rangers and beautifully maintained grounds. We spent a few more minutes looking at the area around the base of the memorial - the sink hole named Sinking Spring and the site of the boundary oak.


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After lunch at the McDonalds in town we got back onto the West Kentucky Parkway and continued toward Memphis where we spent the night at Mike's mom's house. She had a nice spaghetti dinner waiting for us when we got there, which was most welcome after fighting heavy rains much of the afternoon. We definitely were not interested in going back out to a restaurant for dinner!

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The next morning we'll get on the road and ride the 600 miles home to Houston.

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