October 30, 2016


I have never in my life seen a Kentuckian who didn’t have a gun, a pack of cards, and a jug of whiskey.”  Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States

Carol writes:  Our next campground was just outside Georgetown, Kentucky, in the land of rolling hills dotted with horse farms where beautiful fall colors were in abundance on the doorstep of the Appalachian Mountains. 

In a nutshell, any visit to Kentucky is all about two things:  Horses and Bourbon!


I readily confess that neither Al nor I know much about horses, so I sensed a bit of a learning curve as we ventured out for a tour of “Old Friends,” a luxury retirement home for thoroughbred race horses whose racing and breeding days have come to an end.  By a stroke of good luck, we got to meet Michael Blowen, the creator and founder of "Old Friends."

We met Popcorn Deelites, one of five horses who played Seabiscuit in the movie.

As our tour wound past the paddocks of great and memorable thoroughbreds, there was a lot of enthusiasm for feeding carrots to these eager rock stars.

It took me a few tries to get over my hesitancy to put my outstretched hand with its yummy carrot up to the mouth of such a powerful animal… but I was determined to give it a serious go with 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, Silver Charm, who was more than eager for some visitors.

If Silver Charm was the star of Old Friends, War Emblem  was the boss!  To put it bluntly, War Emblem was described to us an extremely dangerous and people-hating stallion.  He was even nicknamed ‘Hannibal Lector’ by his trainer because of his habit of biting humans.  At Old Friends War Emblem’s paddock had a double fence to discourage visitors from any unintentional contact.  In 2002, War Emblem won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness at a time when our country needed a welcome distraction from the recent tragedy of September 11.  As the country eagerly followed War Emblem’s journey toward the third rung of the Triple Crown, the symbolism of this horse’s name provided a spirit of uplift for the malaise of the time… 

The somber part of the tour was the stop at the graveyard of Old Friends.  Our most knowledgeable guide had been particularly attached to the fiery stallion Wallenda and got very emotional when she was asked about the horse, who had to be put down in May after having spent the last 9 years of his life at Old Friends.

By the end of the tour, I was beginning to appreciate why horses have tremendous worldwide appeal.  To a person, the caretakers at Old Friends acknowledged that the people are not there for the horses; the horses are there for the people.  I was even starting to enjoy handing out carrot treats…


Very near the top of any casual search of interesting things to see in the Georgetown area would be a tour of the “Toyota Kentucky” manufacturing plant, which has manufactured the Toyota Camry since 1988,

First Camry to roll off the assembly line in 1988

in addition to the Lexus line, which was added just a year ago.  We took a riveting hour-long tram tour of the Camry division during which we observed the creation of a new car at key steps in the assembly line process… from its inception as a huge roll of steel

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to the final product rolling off the assembly line as a brand new Toyota.

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Toyota Kentucky claims that a new car rolls off their assembly line every 54 seconds, which means that each person on the line must to perform his/her task from start to finish within 54 seconds. 

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I have resorted to Internet pictures because no cameras, purses or phones were allowed on the tour.  

To me, the assembly line looked to be a tiring, repetitive job that entailed nonstop intense concentration, not a moment of goofing off, no drinking or eating while working, and total coordination of breaks and meal times with thousands of co-workers.  However, the residents of Georgetown, Kentucky, are most thankful for Toyota Kentucky which is, without a doubt, a vital partner in their local economy.


The state of Kentucky is rightly proud of the fact that Abraham Lincoln was born in its central rural hills.  Mary Todd Lincoln was also from Kentucky, where the Todd family home in Lexington

has been restored and is open to the public for tours.  As always, we enjoyed a trip back in time in the home of an influential person in American history.  Certainly, the tragedy and controversy that followed Mary Todd Lincoln

was a large part of her fascinating mystique, and the Todd family home nicely added to the story.  The home was beautifully restored and had a smattering of Lincoln family artifacts on display, and that was more than enough to make the tour worthwhile.


We had heard that the Kentucky State Capitol building in Frankfort was one of our nation’s most beautiful, so we decided to check it out.  From the outside, this stately capitol building sure seemed to live up to its reputation.

Inside, the marble rotunda area was graced by a bronze statue of Kentucky’s native son—Abraham Lincoln.

The self-guided tour led through both legislative houses— the newly remodeled Senate chamber,

and the spectacular House chamber.

The grandeur of the interior could best be appreciated from the upper floors where the vaulting and classic marble columns were most impressive.

At the start of this blog I stated that there were two things near and dear to the hearts of all Kentuckians:  Horses and…



After our visit to the Kentucky State Capitol, we made it an afternoon at Buffalo Trace Distillery, just outside of Frankfort.  The distillery gets its name from the fact that it is located along an ancient migratory path (or trace) once used by buffalo to cross the banks of the Kentucky River.

The tour was fascinating!  We learned that there are a number of factors that create a quality bourbon.  At Buffalo Trace the limestone-filtered Kentucky River water that is rich in minerals, combined with environmental factors that are unique to Kentucky, are key ingredients that influence the taste of bourbon.  We saw barrels of bourbon that were being aged in buildings with windows that were kept open year-round to allow seasonal temperature fluctuations.

Due to differing environmental conditions, each floor of the warehouse building results in a distinct taste to the bourbon in its barrels.  The most valuable part of the tour was the tasting room at the end of the tour.  We were curious if we would we have the ability to distinguish the less expensive bourbon (made from the barrels on the top floor of the warehouse) from the ‘better’ bourbon that was aged in barrels on the bottom floor.

Yes, sir!  We both have discriminating taste buds and had a definite preference for the slightly more expensive Eagle Rareand that decided our purchase along with some irresistible Bourbon Cream.  It’s hard to put into words exactly what is meant by a bourbon that is smooth, but when we tasted the Eagle Rare, we knew we had found it…

Kentucky is definitely Bourbon Country.  There is actually a “Kentucky Bourbon Trail” of nine different distilleries for travelers who are really serious about their bourbon.  As they like to point out in the bourbon business:


October 22, 2016


“The Amish are islands of sanity in a whirlpool of change.”       Nancy Sleeth

Carol writes:  We left Ohio and headed into northern Indiana for some scheduled RV warranty work at the factory in Middlebury, Indiana, where our motorhome was built.


We arrived in the northern Indiana area a week before our scheduled appointment and camped for a week in Goshen at the Elkhart 4-H  Fairgrounds.  When we pulled in we noticed that a huge Montana 5th Wheel rally was going on in the fairgrounds campground. 

This was our first time camping at a county fairgrounds, and we found it pretty interesting.  The grounds of the Elkhart 4-H facility were lovely and first rate.  The flowers were still in full bloom.


Individualized barns for each animal type was a tip-off that the 4-H people sure take animal husbandry seriously. 

The real reason we stayed in Goshen was for the opportunity to visit the Hall of Fame—The RV one that is!

We had a blast going inside classic RVs from the past, starting with campers built into the rear of very early cars like this 1916 “Telescoping Apartment.”

The inside cabinetry of some of the very early campers had wonderful built-in wooden drawers and cabinets, not to mention very primitive driving seats!


Two of my favorites in the collection were Mae West’s 1931 Housecar,

and the 1929 Wiedman Housecar with an optional driver’s seat.

All I can say is, “We’ve come a long way, baby!”


From start to finish, our week at the Entegra factory was top notch.  Before the sun had even risen over the parking lot campground at 6:30 each morning, we turned  our coach over to service tech Matt, who kept it for the entire work day as he worked his way through a list of about 20 items that needed attention.  At the close of every work day, our coach was returned to us so we could spend the night in our “home.”

Our personal service advisor Mary kept us up to speed daily on all the progress that had been made on our service items list. 

The days were ours to do with as we pleased.  We visited the nearby towns of Middlebury and Shipshewanna with their quaint little shops and yummy restaurants and bakeries where we observed the unusual Amish lifestyle up close.  It was most interesting to have short conversations with friendly Amish women in the retail stores.  We even found some RV items that we needed at the Shipshewana Auction venue.

Over the week, we spent a fair number of hours in the comfy service lounge where we met and networked with about a dozen other Entegra owners whose motorhomes were also being serviced that week.  We were so appreciative for the opportunity to share travel stories, favorite campgrounds, and problem tips.  By the end of the week we were exchanging business cards with another couple so we could stay in touch.

The best part of the week was the day of the Entegra factory tour, during which we observed an Entegra coach being built, mostly by hand, at every stage along the assembly line.

The goal of this plant is to build 3 coaches from start to finish every day!  This was a far more complicated process than at the Toyota plant where a new car rolls off the assembly line every 54 seconds!

We noticed many Amish workers, both men and women.  We have been told that the high quality of our cabinetry is in large part due to Amish woodworkers.
About midweek, we felt confident that all the warranty problems were under control.  We decided to step away from the stress and visit one of the country’s finest universities—University of Notre Dame.

The University of Notre Dame was founded in 1842 by a French priest named Father Edward Sorin, who was a member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross.

Strolling the campus past iconic Notre Dame buildings was a delight with many highlights:

… the magnificent campus Basilica of the Sacred Heart

with a poignant side entrance hanging light fashioned from the “doughboy” helmet of the 12th President of Notre Dame, who served as a chaplain in WW I, hanging beneath the insignias of the units in which Holy Cross chaplains served,
… the reproduction of the Grotto of Lourdes,

… the impressive golden statue of Mary atop the Main Building,

… the Word of Life mural on the 13-story Hesbaugh Library

… and the hall hung with championship banners leading to the football field, next to the statue of Knute Rockne.


We did a whirlwind tour through the campus fine art museum

and were struck by the awe-inspiring painting by Paul Wood entitled “Absolution Under Fire” which depicts an actual event that occurred during the 3-day battle at Gettysburg.

That was such an interesting walking tour of the campus with its magnificent iconic “Notre Dame brick” buildings. 

By noon on Friday our RV warranty repairs were completed!  It had been a bit of a stressful week, but Entegra folks sure did everything they possibly could to make our stay comfortable.  We felt quite reassured about getting back on the road with a 100% fully operational motorhome.  Time to head south and get back to our RVing life on the road.

“Instead of complaining that the rosebush is full of thorns, be glad that the thornbush has roses.”  Amish proverb