This one follows right on the heels of my trip to New Hampshire. Cathy and I decided to head down to Southern Ohio and Kentucky. I took on the role of trip organizer, wanting to make sure I maximized the outdoor experiences and left no attraction unturned. First stop was the city of Cincinnati. I had been through here in college when a friend had his car broken into. I decided to give the city a second chance. Just like the Eagles to Michael Vick, I am a forgiving soul.
Below is a map of the city I made with call outs for all the attractions I was hoping to visit.
We had a bit of an inauspicious start at the Union Terminal. I admit I relied to heavily on TripAdvisor for my attractions. I think I selected this location because I thought it had some great picture taking potential. As we pulled in, we noticed everyone was with kids. Then we got charged $6 to park. I had no clue what was actually inside, but it turns out is a kids museum. I took a few shots, left hoping the next stop would be better.
Next stop on the tour was the Findlay Market. It was the middle of the day so I was not expecting much action...I was correct. That being said, it was a cool place that I can only imagine is a cornucopia of eccentricities in the morning. I ran into the lobster below in the corner of a booth. He backed into a corner ready to battle to the end. I think it unfair to bandage his claws. If you want to eat lobster, then at least make it a challenge and free the claws and maybe give him a trident.
Next stop was to be the Sign museum. We could not find it...did not really look too hard. After that headed up to Mt. Adams, which is basically a little community upon a hill overlooking the city. I can only guess at the housing prices here (I would guess high). The Krohn museum was closed for repairs, so I figured we were batting about 500 at this point.
After this we stopped along the riverfront to stare at the statue of some Greek, Roman, whatever, for whom the city was named.
Final stop in the city was Fountain Square. This is the city center, where you can feel the pulse of the streets. I took a couple shots of the main statue, grabbed dinner and off to the hotel for a few hours of rest before a big travel day.
Louisville was the next stop. Below is the plan of attack.
We pretty much skipped that plan and just parked our car along Main street and walked about. The first thing I saw was this building decorated with Penguins. I was in love as my life revolves around the actions of these evolutionary challenged beings. The street was covered with decorated horses, the same decorated animals that you see in every city created to benefit local charities. I am kinda tired of it to tell you the truth (animals, not the charities).
We just missed a car show, but I came across a couple left over from the festivities.
Next up was the Slugger Bat museum. I was content at looking in the windows and skipping the tour. Although it would have been fun to get a souvenir bat before we walked into the glass blowing museum and watch the reaction of the employees.
Next we we headed over to 4th street. Not much going on right now, but I had been there at night, and was quite familiar with its reputation as a party destination.
I thought this was cool way of listing sister cities, by showing the distance and direction. I still have no clue what are the requirements for being a sister city. I think that if a sister city is attacked you must send a local military made of townspeople with pitchforks. Then people would be a little less casual of just adding random cities to the list.
We drove through a historic district filled with nice homes. I actually liked Louisville better than Cincy because it seemed to have more character, but I don't think I would make either my final destination.
Next stop was Churchill Downs, home of the famous Kentucky Derby. We toured the track and met some horses. The boxes right next to the track go for 10K on derby days and $3 on any other race day. You can bet I would scalp the hell of out those if they ever ended in my lap. I would take my 10K, get a seat on the infield, buy 2K Mint Juleps, make an igloo out of empty glasses and invite in only southern girls in with thick Kentucky drawls that could utter a ridiculous saying like how a one-legged duck swims in a circle.
After the track, it was off to mammoth caves. We ended up taking a 2.5 hour tour of the caves. I was concerned that it would be too long and get boring fast, it was. Our tour guide was funny, though not in the way that he was trying to be. He started the tour off by trying to dissuade anyone from going because it was going to be tough. We would have to walk down about 200 steps and then walk back up them. What has our society become? The cave was cold, which was perfect for me, I could have lived down there. I think it would have been cool if during a tour I walked from behind a rock with a toothbrush and towel in hand to go stand under a dripping rock, casually asking "How is the weather top-side today?"
Part way through we gathered together and the leader was explaining about a cricket or something he had in his hands. He was talking about how you rarely see bats or crickets down here, and at that time a bat flew behind him. Everyone screamed "bat" and the old guy just dropped his head in disgust, I guess because he was interrupted by stupid jokes. Then he said the people in the back need to keep up. A guy called out that he paid money and wanted to enjoy his time. I wanted to say, "easy....easy big fella, we don't need to upset the ranger, causing him to snap and leave us for dead."
We stopped again and the ranger turned out the lights and told us to be quiet. It was pretty crazy as you could see absolutely nothing, not even the hand in front of your face. Normally at time like this, I would reach into my pocket and throw change into the corner of the room or smack someone in the head, but again I did not want to set the captain off.
as we climbed out, these two 16 year-old girls behind me would not shut up. Basically typical teenage girls. They were joking about how the ranger told them not to touch anything. I told them they could touch anything because this was the man-made section of the cave. They fell in beautifully as they recalled the ranger saying something about part of the cave being dug out, so now they thought all the rocks were fake. They kept grabbing things saying how real it felt as everyone was making fun of them. At the end, they asked the ranger if we were still in the fake section. He just looked at them and shook his head.
Next stop was Red River Gorge where we had a room in a lodge for a couple nights. It was kinda creepy as there were no other customers in the lodge and the office was a few miles away, kinda felt like the Shining. I included some shots of the cabins available. They were nice places, here is the link if interested
Woke the next day and took the scenic tour around the gorge, stopping at a few attractions. The highlight was this man-made tunnel. Red River Gorge Map
After stopping at a few arches, we hit the resort, where the main attraction (natural bridge) sits. I decided we would take the most difficult trail without telling Cathy. I told her midway and she was not happy. I immediately responded with my usual, "I am kidding" as I see that the joke was not as funny to the other person. Sometimes it works, but usually they have that gamed figured out with me. Here is a link to the park and the trails offered
We came to a chairlift. Cathy is scared of heights, but we went anyway because this adventure, like all others is all about what I want.
Here is a shot from the top of the bridge and then of me with the bridge in the background. You probably can't see it, but take my word for it, it is amazingly average.
Here are some creatures I found along the way. The first one is an Easter Fence Lizard....no i did not know that without looking it up. The second one I saw from a chairlift. The second one I believed was a wood chuck. then i thought maybe it was a groundhog, or maybe a gopher. This caused me much anxiety and had to look it up when I got back....it is both a groundhog and a woodchuck
This is a shot of Cathy walking down to the lodge. Soon after she was stung by a huge hornet (I never saw it...feel free to read between the lines here), that pretty much ruined the rest of the day. I did spray here down with WD40 because I read somewhere online that it worked on insect bites. She claimed it worked....can you say placebo. I should have looked at my computer and told her that I read that it says to use horse manure to cure bites. I wonder if I could have convinced her to cover her hand in that as well.
Anyway, it was good trip, got to see lots of different areas and realized although Ohio and Kentucky can be interesting, I would not want to be there longer then a few days.