Saturday, July 30, 2011

And the Ohio State Fair

First let me say that I am trying something new (for me). Some of my friends and family are getting an email letting them know when I post a blog. If you want off that list or if you want on that list, just email me and let me know either way,  Now to our blog…

We have been staying at the  Lancaster Campground, a very old church camp that is today used for summer vacationers, school band camps and of course church summer campers. It is very clean, friendly and has PassPort America rates for RV’ers.  We drove into the downtown area of Lancaster on Tuesday, but found the Glass Museum  and Sherman House, birthplace of William Tecumseh Sherman, closed.


We did see the very old and beautiful Elks Lodge, but obviously there was no RV parking here. 


We pulled over across from the Glass Museum on Main street and parked when I noticed a car pulled in behind us and was taking our picture.  The guy got out of his car and walked up to my window.  I rolled down the window and said, “Geocacher?”.  Yup, he was taking a picture of the Travel Bug on the back of our Jeep. We talked about caching and he mentioned he was a teacher. What did he teach? Woodshop. What a small world, Tom and HUGN8R (cache name) compared notes on SkillsUSA and other woodshop things.

On Wednesday we had planned on moving north toward Maine, but decided to go to the Ohio State Fair.  I even wore my Big Fresno Fair shirt.  We were up early (for us) 7:30 am, got our coffees in our travel cups, grabbed 4 mini biscotti’s and headed to Columbus. It was a 40 minute drive from the Campground to Hwy 33 to Hwy I70 to Hwy I71 to the Fairgrounds. Traffic was light and  we drove by the Highway Patrol Academy as we entered the fairgrounds and were directed by Highway Patrol volunteers. These guys and gals volunteer their time to patrol the fair and are great information people.  They offer a great service to the fair.   Our shuttle bus driver said this school is host to many other state Highway Patrol Officer trainings. We’ll have to ask our friend, Dan Chance, who retired from California HP and writes a terrific blog on his and wife, Patty’s, travels and occasionally tells a story of his days as a CHP Officer.

Our first stop after paying a bargain $3 for the first day entry fee was the Youth Center Building.

This was a combination of the Big Fresno Fair’s old Career Path and current Junior Exhibit buildings.  This building is almost entirely hands-on exhibits, corporate sponsored booths/areas, and youth organization competitions (4H Health Interviews).  We talked to the Home Economics student leadership organization’s state staff about vocational education in California and Ohio and it seems the challenges are the same… all students are going to college and do not need Voc. Ed. classes.

We then spent quite a bit of time with Dick Dieffenderfer, Ohio Dept. of Ed. Technology Education staff, talking about the partnerships between the Fair, the Universities, and the school programs displayed at the fair.  It definitely works and offers fairgoers lots to see and DO.


We saw lots of horse show activities which are not at our Fresno Fair.  The exhibitors were so good at handling their horses that neither Tom nor I guessed the winner, the rider on the horse next to the end on the right.


The butter cow sculpture has been shown at the Ohio State Fair for over 100 years.  The detail on the cow and her calf is pretty amazing.The other sculpture was of an astronaut though it looked more like a Martian than astronaut.


My favorite sculpture was of the pigs. They were all made out of chocolate and so the building they were in was air conditioned. Boy was that appreciated as by noon it was very hot and humid. 


We rode the shuttle around the fairgrounds from building to building as this is a huge fairgrounds and as I mentioned before it was very hot and humid.

We had to check out the Floriculture department for ideas.  This fair does not have daily entries so everything is pre-entered. Exhibitors can enter as many flowers or plants as they want for $10 a person not entry. We liked some of the names of the entries, Black Magic, Coleus Craze, Miniature Landscapes, and Reach for the Sky.


A couple of exhibits we’ve never seen before were the Brillo Pad Designed Bra


The toilet design exhibit


and the Origami exhibit.


We finished our day riding the overhead tram across the fairgrounds. Tom really concentrated on holding his shoes on.

We left Lancaster the next morning and drove 225 miles up I-71 then onto I-90 to Ashtabula, OH which is just a few miles from Lake Erie and a few miles from Pennsylvania.  We are going caching. Until then we are On the Road Again, Tom, Barbara & Pansy

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Family History–Kentucky History

We left Bardstown last week and moved upstate to the Capitol, Frankfort.  We checked in at a cute RV park right on the Kentucky River, Still Waters Campground.  We had to go over an old single lane bridge which I thought might be a challenge for our 40’ RV, but we had no problem.  We were not there 10 minutes when the rain began. Boy does it rain BIG drops in Kentucky. 


This is an old campground that rents kayaks and fishing gear, but we didn’t do any of that because we were on a quest to check out Tom’s gr. gr. gr. gr. grandfather’s information at the Kentucky History Museum and Genealogy Library.


After driving to the Library/Museum we discovered the library is not open on Monday, but the Information lady let us go through the Museum for an hour. This has a wonderful display of the history of Kentucky which once was a part of Virginia which makes it hard to pin down family information in the mid-1700’s.


After our visit to the museum we went to dinner, but not before stopping at a bakery that had a lot of recommendations on our Droids. We had just stopped when the STORM hit. This thing made the news from Ohio to Kentucky.  We were parked right next to the covered walk so we decided to make a run for it. That was a bad decision.  We were drenched in 5 seconds!  We got our muffins and scones and ran back to the car.  The drive on a steep hill was only 1 block to Jim’s Seafood. It was a challenge with inches of water running downhill on the road. This time we used the umbrella to get the 15 feet to Jim’s door.  We had a window seat overlooking the Kentucky River, the dam and lock #3.  Dinner was super and the view was too. We sure were glad to be inside and dry.


The people at the bakery and at the restaurant all said this storm, heavy rain and lots of lightening was definitely not normal.  As you can see from the picture,  above, the dam was not holding the water back.

The storm only lasted about an hour and by the time we left we had clear skies and wet roads traveling home. 

This part of the country has been under extreme hot weather watches most of the week. In spite of the rain, it was still hot and sticky but not unbearable.  Now the next day was a different story. We were glad to be inside the museum all day as it was a heat index of between 105 and 110 degrees. It  is not a dry heat that we are used to in Fresno.  It was muggy, steamy, almost foggy because of the oppressive moisture in the air.

We spent 3 days doing research; it’s like eating peanuts – so addictive.  We had to look in just one more file cabinet, one more area of the stacks, one more book. Then every evening we spent time on to make more connections.  We did find wills, marriage, and tax records.  We found that John Ralston was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and was pensioned from Virginia. All in all it was quite productive.  We’ll be sending our discoveries to cousin Susan when I can get it in the family tree maker.  I also found a very cool app, GedStar Pro, for the Xoom and Droids that we can move all data from Family Tree Maker onto these Androids. Very cool to have all our genealogy information with us when in the library without having to lug in the laptops.

We did have a tour of the Old Capitol on Thursday when the library stays open until 8 P.M.


A couple of interesting facts: notice no windows in front, the architect wanted the look of honor, authority like a Greek Temple.  The staircase was constructed like an arch with no supports, only the wedged keystone at the top holds the entire staircase in place. This was designed in 1900; pretty smart architect.


We also drove over to see the New Kentucky Capitol, but it was too late to have a tour.


Back at the Library/Museum (we visited on and off over 3 days) we discovered another very interesting fact about the swearing in of all the governors even today.  A part of the oath includes the following, “have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this state,  nor out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, not have I acted as a second in carrying a challenge, nor aided or assisted any person to fight a duel with deadly weapons…”.  I guess in Kentucky they do not want their governor dueling.

We left on Friday and took the back roads and drove 5 hours to  Lancaster, OH.  We are staying at Lancaster Camp Ground, a very interesting religious campground that was build around 1881 and followed the Chautauqua movement. 

We have had a couple of days of catching up on sleep, doing mountains of wash (two days to the laundry),  and mostly watching the storms roll through.  Yesterday, Saturday, it rained so hard and long we waded through inches of water just to get from the RV to the car.  And did I mention HOT!  Thank goodness for 2 working air conditioners. 

Until we send another blog we will be Caching on the Road.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Moving North

Sunday was our last day in Bardstown, KY.  We wanted to see the Maker’s Mark Distillery, but it was about 20 miles out of town and we have not had the day to go there earlier in the week.  So we drove out into the Kentucky countryside – up and down hills, and around and around curves on a narrow 2 lane road. We saw the most beautiful green mown lawns and homes on this drive.  Other than the locals wanting to go 55 mph we had a nice 40 minute drive.


We finally arrived minutes before the 3 o’clock tour began.  This is one of the smaller distilleries; they bottle, cork and seal the bottles with wax by hand in house.  This has been in the Samuels family for generations. After prohibition, Bill Samuels, Sr. did not like the taste and wanted to change the 17% portion of the  formula from Rye to Sweet Wheat.  He burned the old family formula, bought another distillery and started making a new bourbon.  They had a few years to work out the details since the bourbon had to age at least 2 years in the charred barrels.  Mrs. Samuels was known as the Martha Stewart of her day.  She experimented with the wax seal in her crock pot. 


She chose the name, Maker’s Mark, because she saw the mark of the maker on her collection of pewter. She reversed the name, mark of the maker to Maker’s Mark.  She didn’t want the black fungus that grows on the rack houses to show so all Maker’s Mark rack houses are painted a very dark brown (almost looks black).


Her favorite color is red so the the accents on the rack houses are all red and the wax sealer on all the bottles is red too. 

Makers Mark

Some of the features that set this distillery apart are: the corn, wheat, and barley are rolled not pounded, yeast is added in large open vats and when we tasted the new yeast fermenting it tasted sweet - no alcohol yet.




Bottling.  The little boxes in the lower right corner hold the red wax. Each bottle is dipped by hand.


We did do the tasting, but honestly I could not tell the difference between Heaven Hill, Jim Beam, or Makers Mark.  Guess we are not connoisseurs.


2011-07-17_16-51-23_222As this was our last day we went back to Kurtz for dinner.  We started with a real Kentucky Bourbon Mint Julep.  Kurtz grows their mint in the back yard and mulls it.  This was the first Mint Julep we have ever tasted and following our week of bourbon tasting it was true to the pure taste without the burn. 

The salad was next and I chose the cold slaw and Tom had a green salad and pickled beets. I have never tasted better slaw!  My order, the special, tilapia, baked apples, and broccoli was perfect. Tom had a Kentucky favorite, pan fried chicken, Kentucky smoked ham, new potatoes and green beans with bacon. We finished with Kurtz’s special recipe of biscuit pudding with whiskey sauce, like bread pudding only made with tender biscuits. Awesome.  What a way to wrap up our visit to Bardstown.  The only thing left to do was to head over to Kroegers Supermarket and get a couple half gallons of BLUE BELL ICE CREAM, Homemade Vanilla, and Pralines and Cream. (that’s all the space I had in the freezer).  We hope to move on to Frankfort, the state capitol, and home to the state history and genealogy museum next week. 

We will of course be Caching on the Road, Tom, Barbara and Pansy