[Today we have a guest post from my husband Michael Mayo “Vacation Journal Entry #1: Onto Old Virginny.” This will be a series, so stayed tuned! –Gena]
Onto Old Virginny – Part I
We took leave for our annual American pilgrimage in July. We normally unfurl our sails in the sixth month in preference to longer days and lesser heat, but it couldn’t be helped this 2016. Seeing how we traveled East last year (Maine coast), I figured it was time to brave the West with sights on Yellowstone and the Rockies. No sooner had my plan been unveiled, then it was summarily shot down by the nine others. It was the beach these plush-bottoms desired, so they said. Despite my protestations of driving into the July Virginia sauna, they would not waver. My bride dangled the spectacle of the newly completed Ark in Kentucky, a third of the distance to old Virginny, and I swallowed the lure.
We left the safe confines of suburbia on Saturday, the 16th to clear, sunny skies. The ship was filled bow to stern with supplies for the journey: clothes, snacks, extra bedding, swimsuits, beach towels and a horde of USB chargers. We hauled down I-65 through familiar Indiana territory to Indy. I jumped off the main cable south to lunch in Columbus, Indiana, an unusual town for its size (~ 40,000). Somewhere along its timeline, the town had garnered the interest of numerous architectural artists. The town feels more like a clever little city, than an outpost among the farms and hills of southern Indiana. We dined at Joe Willy’s, a Victorian converted restaurant—Jill’s Diner and the other downtown haunts had closed at 1pm—to my pleasant acclaim (had the Shroom Burger!).
We found the Vietnam memorial of limestone pinnacles that had been the site of a now famous family photo of J and M at sunset, some ten years prior.
Onward to Louisville, we sailed as we again linked to the main thoroughfare heading south. But soon we hit the doldrums as six lanes became one for what I counted to be only three minor repairs. As an hour labored with little movement, my untempered anger spilled ill-advisedly upon the Navigator, who had just informed me that the last exit to free country roads was now behind us. Undaunted, the Navigator, also wearing the ship’s Cruise Director hat, popped in a CD and the Captain was conciliated (and remorseful).
Alls well that ends well as we limped through the I-65 naughty joke and cruised across the Ohio into Louisville. We were an hour and a half early for the late afternoon discount at the Louisville Slugger factory and museum. Too early for dinner, my mind searched briefly but effortlessly fell into the well-worn ruts of happy diversion. We found a unique establishment, The Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen, in a gentrified neighborhood southwest of downtown. The brood spread out amid the hardwood and booth creamery with flavorful delights. Though I ordered some standard Mint Chip, I soon after noted homemade cherry pie and added a slice for posterity.
We drove by the University of Louisville, as we often drive by colleges on our adventures, and said our familiar phrase, “B, look, you could go here.” The crew found this one preferable to the last one we saw in Ripon, Wisconsin.
Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory
At the Louisville Slugger Factory we watched ash and maple turned from billets to bats with an auto-lathe invented for the famous company. What joy was before me! Who hasn’t slid their hand up the barrel of a smooth, unfinished woody in summertime? The makers used to hand-turn all of their bats. The billets are bored out of the outer wedges of a tree and cured before undergoing the lathe. The sweet smell of hardwood called me longingly to touch the flat matte white wood, but I was prohibited from touching their unsold masterpieces. Oh well, in the museum I got to hold the bat of Johnny Bench (the Ruth bat was under glass).
[We, unfortunately, weren’t allowed to take photos during the tour of the factory which was producing bats at the time we were walking through. –Gena]
We left the town of Cassius Clay and followed the Ohio, northwest to Petersberg, Ky, our landing for two nights and a day.
Join us next time for . . . An Ark of Biblical Proportions.