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April 08, 2008

Tennessee & Kentucky 2008

Texas and East 189_editedWe crossed the Mississippi into Tennessee on March 24th.  The river which is normally wide at this point was massive.  It looked more like a lake and the current was obviously very fast.  The barges travelling south were making wonderful time but those pushing up-river were working extremely hard and going very slowly.

Texas and East 177_editedWe had visited Elvis’s home – Graceland – when we visited Memphis while travelling with our girls a bunch of years ago, so other than driving past, didn’t visit it this trip.  We did however, wander Beale Street and of course had to shop at A. Schwab General Store.  It was founded in 1876 and is a through-back to those old days with its ancient wooden plank floors and tables.  We saw size 74 men’s overalls (now that’s BIG), plastic back scratchers, BBQ sauce, every kind of souvenir, jewellery, bongo drums – you name it they have it.  We did buy a neat shorts outfit for Ricky – all of $3.00.


We walked up to the main business street which is now a pedestrian mall.  A trolley runs  in a loop, along it, down along the river and back to the main mall.  It was an interesting ride in a very old style streetcar.  We did learn that it was only old style – it had been built about 4 years ago. 

We left Memphis and headed northeast through Clarksville on the Tennessee/Kentucky border.  A lovely campground – except – they don’t tell you that there is a scrap yard across the road and the machinery starts working there at 7 in the morning.  Oh well, we had planned of getting an early start.



Next stop, Frankfort, Kentucky, the capital of the state and a city we hadn’t spent any time in, in the past. 

As we like to do we visited the capital.  Again a very impressive building and considered to be one of the most beautiful in the country.  The stairs resemble those in the Paris Opera and the State Reception Room is a replica of Marie Antoinette’s drawing room at Versailles.

IMG_6233_editedA little different tour was the one we took at the Buffalo Trace Bourbon Distillery.  We were fortunate that when we asked, they arranged a “hard hat” tour which not only included the warehouses and bottling houses but also took the group right through the whole distillation process. What the AAA book says is a one hour tour turned out to be about 4 hours.
IMG_6227_editedBuffalo Trace Distillery has continuously produced Bourbon on that site, since 1787.  Yes, even through prohibition.  It was one of four distilleries in the U.S. that was licenced to produce limited supplies of “medicinal” whiskey for those citizens with a doctor’s prescription for it.

Some interesting facts:  

-currently in the warehouses, should they shut down operations, they have enough aging bourbon, to fulfil sales requirements for 20 years.

– should you fall into one of the huge vats, trying to swim is useless.  The boiling action of the fermentation process will pull you to the bottom.  You will drown.

– it was the first distillery to ship whiskey down the Mississippi River and to use steam power for distilling.

– in 1886 steam heating was installed making it the the first in the nation to have a climate controlled warehouse for aging whisky.

– the distillery is built on the “trace” or track of the huge buffalo herds that crossed the Kentucky River at that location.  We hadn’t realized that there were such huge herds of buffalo that far east.

They make some well know brands – Blanton’s, Van Winkle, Buffalo Trace and one that Ross bought while we were there – Eagle Rare – aged 17 years.

We left Frankfort and headed pretty well straight north, past Cincinnati, Dayton, Toledo and crossed back into Canada 2 days later on Monday, March 31st, at Detroit/Windsor.  Since it was only mid afternoon we headed directly to Waterloo and Green Acre Park where we are staying for the month of April.

We had seen no snow until we were south of Toledo, but we were greeted by piles of it in Waterloo.  Since the park knew that we were coming, our site had been plowed and was generally bare where we parked but we walked through snow to get around the trailer.  We didn’t have park water for 3 days but that was OK as it froze solidly each night and we would have used our on-board water anyway.  Maybe next year we will wait a little later to come home.

However, we were there, safe and sound.

April is going to be a busy month as we are heading out again the first of May – Alaska here we come – but we’ll write more of that later.

Keep those comments coming – we love to hear from everyone.

Bernie & Ross

Posted by Bernice at 01:13 PM | Comments (1)