After we finished up at Limestone Branch in Lebanon, we headed back to our motel in Bardstown. At some point during the drive I noticed that the sky held some promise for an interesting sunset. I knew that we would be passing by Heaven Hill distillery and thought it might make for an interesting foreground, but I wasn’t sure we would get there in time.
We probably missed the peak of the dramatic sky, but we stuck around long enough to get a little color. I didn’t carry a tripod on this trip (I know, I know, but it was about the baby, remember? 🙂 ) so I had to be a little careful to balance shutter speeds and ISO.
Heaven Hill is a nice distillery, and we have visited there previously. Their visitor center is one of the best. We arrived well after closing time, but the parking lot was accessible so I was able wander around and get a few shots in the nice light.
On our way back from Ohio we made a slight detour to Kentucky. See, they have bourbon there, and we needed to get some. 😉
Several years ago I signed up to be an “Ambassador” for Maker’s Mark. The deal was that as an Ambassador I had a barrel which was “mine,” and when the barrel was ready for use I would be invited back to the distillery and given the opportunity to buy some of the bourbon. I received my “Golden Ticket” in October, and I had until the end of March to make my pilgrimage to take the tour and buy our bourbon. Since Kentucky was kind of on the way from Ohio it was easier to go on our way home than to make a special trip.
As it turns out, the bourbon is regular Maker’s Mark from a batch that contained “my” barrel and not just from the actual barrel itself. No matter. It was as good an excuse as any to go there, and we always enjoy the tour. Of course we purchased a few bottles, and at the end of the tour we went to the gift shop to hand dip our bottles with the famous red wax seal. We are now well stocked with Maker’s Mark! 🙂
Whew! After the (not) overwhelming response from my last post I needed a break. Actually, I just kind of got distracted and forgot that I hadn’t finished the series from our Florida trip.
If I had any boyhood heroes that weren’t astronauts, one of them would certainly be drag racing legend “Big Daddy” Don Garlits. Garlits’ name is to drag racing fans what Richard Petty’s or Mario Andretti’s names are to stock car and Indy car racing. Old fans, at least. 😉
As we were driving past Ocala, FL on I-75, I saw a sign that said “Drag Racing Museum Next Exit.” Then I saw whose museum it was! We didn’t have time to stop on our way south, but made a point to visit on the way back home from St. Petersburg. Yes, it was another museum, and art of a different kind than painting and glass! And of course Kathy was thrilled to have something else to look at besides airplanes. 🙂
Here are way too many photos from our visit. But there were way too many cars, and even this is a small sliver of what we saw. Highlight of our visit, of course, was that “Big Daddy” himself was there, giving a personal tour to a small group of fans. We listened to a few stories before they disappeared behind a door that said “Employees Only.”
Garlits has assembled an impressive collection of not only his own cars, but cars from the history of drag racing. And that is just in one building! A second building houses hundreds of mostly stock cars from the 30s forward. A few even older than that. Many of the cars are from Garlits’ personal collection, but a lot of them have been donated over the years by thoughtful and generous owners. We spent a couple of hours there. I could have spent longer, but we needed to move on up the road. So we could get home just in time for a winter storm!
So what do you do when you’re in Florida for a cruise and the cruise is cancelled? Well, for Kathy & me, we find something else to do! We had already been planning to visit our friends Bill & Cathy, who spend the winter in a community near Lake Wales. Our original plans called for us to visit them after our cruise, so we called them and said, “guess what?” They were somewhat relieved that we would not be coming to visit them after having spent a week on a Covid-infested cruise ship, even though we had planned to take a test after getting off the ship.
We were able to shift our motel reservation to a week earlier than our original plan, then take a few days there to decide what to do with our newfound time (and money). Since the cruise line cancelled the cruise, they are going to refund all of our money PLUS give us the equivalent amount in credit toward a future cruise. A deal for us – we get a few days in Florida and still get a free cruise in the future! Some strings are attached, of course, but nothing we can’t deal with.
We decided to play tourist in Lake Wales while we were there. We visited the Bok Tower Gardens, a relatively famous landmark that we had heard about but never visited. We stopped by the Florida’s Natural Visitor Center and learned about the history of Florida Orange Juice. Who knew?
So what to do? We looked at the weather forecast and decided that it was just going to be too cool to head to a beach resort somewhere. Yes, the temperatures were forecasted to be in the upper 60s to low 70s, which is warm if you are coming from Minnesota or Canada, but for us thin-blooded North Cackalackians it just wasn’t warm enough! We settled on a few days in St. Petersburg, another town we had heard about but never visited.
Over the course of three days in St. Petersburg, we visited the Salvador Dali’ museum, the Chihuly Glass Collection at the Morean Arts Center, and generally wandered around town exploring.
On our way home we stopped by Ocala and visited the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing, and were even treated to a “Big Daddy” sighting!
We’re home now and watching an assortment of winter weather passing through the area. Yes, it might be warmer if we had stayed in Florida, but it is nice to be home in our house any time. We’re well stocked and shouldn’t have to leave the house for a few days. So it can snow/sleet/freezing rain all it wants – the sun will probably be back out tomorrow then it can be almost spring! 🙂
Kathy & I were recently looking for someplace different to walk besides the sidewalk between our neighborhood and the main drag, and decided to explore the Mount Holly Trail at nearby Mountain Island Park. Walmart and Micky D’s are only so scenic!
The park is located next to the Mountain Island Hydroelectric plant at the south end of Mountain Island Lake, just outside the town of Mount Holly and only about 8 miles from our neighborhood. The park contains a large parking lot with fishing area, small playground and hiking/biking trails. We walked the 1.6-mile trail to the end and back, which made for a nice afternoon.
The trail is mostly an easy walk for anyone in reasonably good walking shape. There are a few hills, mostly on the far end from the parking area. A portion of the trail surface close to the parking area is pretty coarse gravel, which makes for rough walking for a bit. This area of the trail is close to the river, and I would guess it floods occasionally, thus the need for heavier base. We were there on a dry day without a lot of heavy preceding rain, and there were a few muddy places along the trail. Overall the trail is in very good shape, but I would suggest sturdy shoes. The woods should be very pretty as the trees and vegetation green up in the spring.
We were there on a Wednesday in January, so there was not much traffic, mostly couples and people with dogs. We saw a few mountain bikers on main trail as well as the adjacent mountain bike trails as it got later in the day, but not too bad.
We’re hoping to explore some more walking & hiking areas over the coming months, and I will report on them here for anyone who is interested. Or anyone who just wants to see the photos!
Tom’s Trail Summary:
Length: 1.6 miles to the end, or 3.2 miles round trip. There are several options for shorter loops, or out-back for a shorter distance is possible.
Terrain: Mostly flat with occasional hills
Surface: Mostly dirt with a few gravel places. Recommend sturdy shoes like hiking boots.
Comments: The trail is shared with mountain bikers and dog walkers. No motorized vehicles. Pleasant walking along the Catawba River. Should be pretty in the spring as trees and plants green up. I tried to find a link to a trail map but could only find a Google Map to the parking area!