Month: October 2023

Rail Explorers – Bluegrass

For the end of the month, and to celebrate Pam’s birthday, we traveled to Salvisa, KY and stayed at Cummins Ferry Campground. A very nice, but expensive campground. The pool was closed, and it was too cold to enjoy the river and outdoor activities.

This location was all so we could ride the rails with Rail Explorers; something that Pam has wanted to do for a long time.

We spent 2 hours travelling 8 miles (round trip) on “eBike” like rail trolley traveling through the picturesque Kentucky countryside. Passing the thoroughbred horse farms and descending into deep cuts through the limestone hills. Pam brought drinks and snack to enjoy at the turnaround area on the cliffs above the Kentucky River gorge.

We really enjoyed our experience and will probably do it again elsewhere in the country. The video turned out nice, and Pam recorded the return trip as a timelapse video. They use a 1973 Airstream as their gift shop. All the people were great.

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Northern Kentucky

We spent the last week+ moving around northern Kentucky. We started out at Riverfront Park in Bradenberg. A nice city park right on the Ohio River. Simple and peaceful with a nice walks. The park has a confederate monument that was moved from Louisville when they no longer wanted it and were going to relocate it. We enjoyed pizza at Jailhouse Pizza which was just outside the park. We drove to Fort Knox but there is not much to see or do. No tours and they were very strict on pictures. The depository is surprisingly small.

We then traveled to Cave City, to see Mammoth Cave National Park. We took the Extended Historical Tour. This was a 2 mile walk through the main cave. Although huge, not an impressive hike. We would recommend taking one of the other hikes.

The second day, we rode the Mammoth Cave Railway Bike Trail on our Blix eBikes. This was a 20-mile round trip ride. What a great bike ride in the fall. Calm and beautiful.

Next we travelled to Bardstown, Kentucky. But on the way, we stopped to visit Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site. A small and simple national park but worth a 1 hour stop to visit.

Bardstown is known as the Bourbon Captial of the World and named America’s “Most Beautiful Small Town” by Rand McNally. It is a very nice town to walk around. We had lunch at the old Talbott Tavern. We went to Scout and Scholar Brewery for a local beer. Stopped at Hurst Discount Drug to have a shake at the old-fashioned counter.

We visited Heaven Hill Distillery where they make many of the top bourbons in the world. Although we are in no way bourbon connoisseurs, we did their “Whiskey Connoisseur Experience” where we learned about and sampled 5 of their top whiskeys and bourbons. From 90 proof up to 133 proof – Wowzah that is strong stuff.

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Covered Bridge Festival

We travelled to southern Indiana to partake in the Covered Bridge Festival of Parke County. We are staying at a small campground Pam found on Hipcamp: Happy Campers Campground in Brazil, Indiana. They only have 4 sites, but they are nice.

Happy Camper Campground – Site 1

In total, there are 31 covered bridges in the county laid out nicely on this map. There are 5 colored routs you can take to see all of them. We only visited around 20 bridges in 3 days. They all start to look the same after 10. The drive around the county is beautiful. Narrow tree lined roads – many gravel – with lots of old farms and rolling hills.

There are 10 festival locations in small towns across the county where community organizations and vendors offer crafts, food, and unique items.

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Mirror Lake

After the family reunion in Barneveld, WI, we traveled back to Mirror State Park for 4 nights. We met up with Terry & Kirk Atkinson again.

We took the Upper Dells Boat Tour which was great. The tour travels the Wisconsin River above the dam in Wisconsin Dells. We cruised the channel cut by ancient glaciers, passing under pine-crowned cliffs, through the Narrows and past iconic sandstone formations. We had 2 shore landings: Witches Gulch — a dramatic and spooky walk through a passage carved by wind and water — and Stand Rock — a towering pillar of sandstone that’s home to the famous “Leaping the Chasm“, which a dog reenacted for us.

We had dinner and drinks at Tumbled Rock Brewery & Kitchen – Fantastic drinks and food. Highly recommend it. Pam and Terry fell in love with the “Champane Cosmo” and it huge gobble style cut glass.

We had lunch at the Ravina Bay Bar & Grill. The setting was beautiful and there was a bald eagle flying overhead, but the food was just okay.

We had dinner at Ishnala Supper Club and it was fantastic (again). We took inspiration to make and test Old Fashions with 4 different alcohols – Ishnala Brandy, Christian Brothers Brandy, Cognac and Burbon. All were good.

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Baraboo Rally

In early October, we attended the Airstream Wisc-UP Rally in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Our 3rd rally of the year. There was good attendance with over 20 trailers. We stayed at the Skillet Creek Campground on the south side of Baraboo.

On Friday, we took care of official business and elected new officers:

We then toured the Al Ringling Museum with the Al Ringling Brewery attached. This is the only museum tour we have ever taken where you can take a beer with you! The tour was interesting and afterwards, we had dinner in the beer hall. The circus organ is amazing.

Saturday, we visited the Ski-Hi Apple orchard in the morning where they have a huge gift stop and great baked goods baked on site. In the afternoon, we visited the Mid-Continent Railway Museum where we took a 7-mile (round trip) train ride through the countryside.

On Sunday, small group of us toured the Al Ringling Theater. Truly outstanding; you need to take this tour if you are in town. Called America’s Prettiest Playhouse
built in 1915. Al. Ringling Theatre is a treasure of rare quality. Magnificent and richly designed in the style of grand French opera houses, the theatre is a masterpiece of European architecture.

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