ROAD TRIP DAY 5: TAKE YOUR (MAKER’S) MARK, GET SET, GO!

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Getting to Maker’s Mark Distillery isn’t a quick trip, though, and that’s just the way we wanted it. From Bowling Green, it was a meandering drive through beautiful farm country once we exited I-65. The distillery was out in the middle of nowhere, but it was definitely worth the drive.

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Upon arrival, as we waited for the tour to begin, we wondered why on earth they would have a large book on glass artist Dale Chihualy sitting on the table in the waiting area. After all, wouldn’t a book on bourbon have made more sense? Oh well, we were quite content thumbing through the pages of his beautiful blown glass as we waited.

The tour was very interesting, and we especially enjoyed seeing the huge barrels of mash and watching the gals quickly dip the tops of each bottle in hot red wax. After being placed back on the conveyor, the bottles entered a miniature black tin “building” complete with red shutters to be cooled by fans. It was really very cute.

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After our tour and tasting session, we were ushered through a hallway to end the tour in their very nicely displayed gift shop. This wasn’t just any ordinary hallway, though. As soon as we entered, we knew why that Dale Chihualy coffee table book was prominently displayed in their lobby. See below, and you’ll see what I mean. WOW!

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ROAD TRIP DAY 4: VROOOM!

We each got to sit in a new Corvette on display at the National Corvette Museum.

We each got to sit in a new Corvette on display at the National Corvette Museum.

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Our reason for stopping in Bowling Green on our way to Louisville, Kentucky was to take the recommendation of our friend Max and tour the Corvette factory. We had heard from other friends, too, that this was a must-see tour, even though cameras or other electronic devices are not allowed for photography.

Instead, I did things the old-fashioned way. I brought my spiral notebook and pen with me, and I took notes during the 1-hour tour of the one million square foot factory (250,000 square feet of which are devoted to painting those gorgeous Corvettes).

We aren’t car buffs, and neither of us aspire to own a Corvette, but watching the assembly of these sleek sports cars was fascinating. It’s the only Corvette factory in the world, and an entire Corvette Stingray or Z06 is built in this plant in 3-1/2 days. On average, 170 ‘vettes come off the assembly line each day, and it takes 900 employees to make this factory hum.

Make that 901, if you cough up an extra $5,000 and assist in the assembly of your very own Corvette. It’s a new program that just started this spring, and you get to follow your car every step of the way and help get it built. There is even a photographer that hovers around you throughout the entire process, documenting you in action. At the end, you are presented with a “Baby Book” on the day your baby is born. There is even a plaque that gets mounted on the engine documenting your name and those who helped in building your car. And, of course, the born-on date is prominently engraved on the plaque as well.

When your baby is completed, you get to be the first one to start the engine and hear “Vrooom!”

All that for an extra $5,000!

For us $7 per person folks, it really was an interesting tour. At the end of the assembly line, it was fun to watch a ‘vette roll off and be driven into a booth where it was tested for 800 different quality-control checks in 3 minutes. (It was all computerized, of course, and Corvettes currently have a 99% pass rate.)

At the completion of the tour, we had a long walk back to our Toyota Prius that was forced to park with other non-GM cars in the furthest lot at the plant. (GM’s got to park in the close parking lot.)

From cutting edge 2015, we drove back in time 200 years to visit the South Union Shaker Village Museum, the southernmost and westernmost Shaker Village. It was quite a shock from the high-tech, fast-paced cutting edge Corvette plant to the quiet, simple life of the Shakers.

Along the way, the drive through country roads was gorgeous; so lush and green.
The Shaker village we visited existed until 1922 when the community had dwindled to only nine members, and they sold their property, buildings, and furniture.

Branching off from the Quakers, the Shaker religion began in America near the end of the 18th century. Originally known as the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, they eventually became known as Shakers because of their unique “dance” in worship.

Eleven Shaker communities flourished in New England and New York by 1805 when missionaries were sent to America. They are known for their celibate and simple communal lifestyle, pacifism, and their model of equality of sexes.

Learning about their culture was fascinating, and we enjoyed roaming through the buildings and seeing displays of the largest collection of Shaker furniture in existence.

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Our day ended by opting for another back roads drive to our hotel rather than the faster route of the freeway. We did make one stop though at Chaney’s Dairy Barn, rated by USA Today as the best ice cream in Kentucky. We shared a scoop of yummy “Wow Now Brown Cow.”

ROAD TRIP DAY 3: THIS CAVE IS MAMMOTH!

This morning, we made our way up I-65 from Nashville and headed to Mammoth Cave National Park on the recommendation of our friend, Toni.  Mammoth Cave is known as the longest cave system in the world, and we took a tour to see just a small part of this amazing underground labyrinth.

Our tour was two hours (and 400+ stairs) long winding up and down through some tight areas.  I was thankful to be no taller (or heavier!) than I am, because I could only imagine how difficult it would be for somebody of either description to make it through.

I was also VERY thankful I came through my hip surgery so well, because today was a good test of the strength of my hip.  I’m sure glad I was so diligent about doing my physical therapy exercises!  My hip did great today.

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