Louisville, KY

LEW-ee-vill? LOO-vill? Lu-UH-vill? Having now been here since August 5th, we believe we are pronouncing it correctly when we say Lu-UH-vill. At least that is how Genie (the Google Maps voice) says it, and about 85% of the residents we talk to say it. So, we’re going with that. We are beginning to feel like residents after being on the hard (or in the yard) for 25 days. We know every breakfast item that Staybridge will offer, the front desk knows us (and the boys) by name, and we are becoming familiar faces at some of the local restaurants.

The boat is being towed front of us

Now, you may have done the math and said, “Wait a minute. If this entry is as of August 31st, you should have said you were on the hard for 26 days…” Good news! Then Again was launched Thursday morning, the 30th, after a propeller repair, two oil changes in the engine to get rid of all the water she ingested, and the mounting of our new Portland Pudgy dinghy. Normally, the boat is towed behind the vehicle, but as you can see to the right, the boat was towed in front of our vehicle for launching at Marine Sales and Service. Very reasonable prices for the work that was done, although we are almost at square one as far as re-loading the boat goes.

We’re at Riverpark Place Marina until Wednesday morning, September 5th, when we will resume our journey. We have decided to turn around and head downstream. The time we spent here was time we were going to spend in Cincinnati, and after some calculations and peering at the Reds baseball schedule, we re-planned our trip. Back to Lesson 1A “All itineraries are flexible.” We will be returning to some familiar places, like Evansville, IN, but now that we have the dinghy we will be able to explore some anchorages on our way back to the entrance to the Cumberland River that were inaccessible to us previously.

The Portland Pudgy on the back of the boat
The Portland Pudgy mounted on the swim platform.

The Portland Pudgy is a double-hulled fiberglass dinghy and not an inflatable. Its purpose is to be the Dog Taxi and Chip and Dayle needed a firmer surface that could not be punctured. The double hull means that there are waterproof bins where the oars and other accessories can be stored. We also have an electric Torqueedo motor that will be its main propulsion. We will not tow it behind us but will have it mounted on the swim platform with davits and straps to keep it out of the water when we are underway. It’s a pretty neat little tender; you can read more about it at www.portlandpudgy.com.

While we were waiting on all the repairs to be completed, we did some more sightseeing. Everyone told us that we should go bourbon tasting and recommended the Evan Williams Experience, located right in downtown Louisville. We had advance tickets and it was on a Tuesday, so it wasn’t very crowded. In fact, it was just us and one other person from China on our tour. This was an excellent venue to learn about the history of bourbon making and the transformation of Louisville from a minor harbor on the Ohio River to a major commercial center in the 1800’s. Both of us had to go back in time to 9th grade American history class. That’s when we learned that the Northwest Territory was a critical part of the expansion of our country. As the bourbon tour guide pointed out, the Northwest Territory was not Oregon and Washington, but part of the current states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Louisville, being just across the Ohio River, was a supply location for many of the troops, settlers, and explorers of this huge tract of land. If you need to refresh your history, you can find more here.

The bourbon tasting setup
The bourbon tasting setup at the Evan Williams Experience.

So, onto to bourbon tasting. We had three samples of bourbon to taste, and our tour guide explained all the differences among them just like a wine tasting — except neither Lenny nor Louise actually like bourbon, so most of the samples were left in the glasses. Our Chinese companion, however, enjoyed them thoroughly. What we did enjoy was some bourbon-flavored cheese spread that we brought back to the hotel with us.

We decided to take a longer road trip and spent a little over an hour driving south to the Kentucky Railway Museum in New Haven, KY. We are railway aficionados and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to add another museum to our list, especially with the considerable number of rolling stock that would be on display. We got there just before lunch so we ate at Howie’s Diner across the street, which really was an old-time diner, complete with hamburgers made with fresh ground beef and hand formed. Yummy!

Old Number 52
Lenny admiring the restoration work on Old Number 152 of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.

When we arrived for the noon tour, we were told the previous 10:30 tour was running a little behind and could we explore the small museum first. The items that were there were well-curated individually but needed some additional touches to bring them into a cohesive story. However, we didn’t really care about that; we wanted to explore the engines and rail cars that we saw as we drove up.

Our tour finally started about a half hour late, but besides us was a mom with her 3-year-old son. Our tour guide was the president of the board of directors and he had a wealth of information to share with us. This museum is focused on restoration, not preservation. Many museums seek to preserve what was given to them, to halt any further deterioration. The difference is that this museum restores the old equipment so that it’s in working order. Thus, the bulk of the Kentucky Railway Museum’s budget goes towards re-assembling the engines or rail cars such that they can be used on their weekend or special event train rides. Almost half their budget comes from moving around freight cars currently in service onto and off of sidings in the area; they are like an off-site storage yard for excess cars.

The "Jim Crow" car
The “Jim Crow” car, awaiting funds for restoration.

One of their main goals is to restore an old “Jim Crow” passenger car, with its separate accommodations for white and non-white individuals. They say “non-white” because it was not just African Americans relegated to that section, but Mexicans and any other individuals that did not have white skin. Even in its current condition, it is a symbol of segregation. The museum believes it is the only one still in existence, and once restored, will have a prominent place on the grounds.

Another day we went to Locust Grove, a restored mansion on the outskirts of Louisville, and not very far from the marina. This beautiful house, built in the 1790s, reflects the wealth of Croghan family, who owned a 700-acre farm on the banks of the Ohio River. Revolutionary War hero George Rogers Clark was the brother of Lucy Croghan and died here in the early 1800’s. He was also involved in capturing the Northwest Territory from the British and helped found Louisville. Again, we were there mid-week and scored yet another private tour. A 45-minute tour turned into a 90-minute tour by the time we saw other outbuildings on the grounds. Our brains have really gotten a workout on early American history.

Locust Grove Mansion

We had been delaying going to the Kentucky Derby Museum because neither one of us has ever been very interested in horse racing. But, after the second delay in getting the propeller back from its repairer, we decided we might as well go. WOW! This place knocked our socks off! The tour began with about a 20-minute 4HD surround movie on the history of the Kentucky Derby and horse racing. The theater is actually an oval and you sit in the middle, on swivel seats, so you can take in every bit of the film. The film is new to the museum this year, and we will not be surprised if it becomes an award winning one.

The track at Churchill Downs

The tour continued out to the grounds, where we could enter the paddock where the horses are brought out to be mounted, see the jockey room, and go onto the track area itself. Fun fact: the track is actually a 20-foot-deep, carefully blended mixture of sand and clay. The condition of the track can be manipulated by watering and/or furrowing to provide an optimal running surface for the horses. A downpour at the time of the race is the only time Mother Nature has a free hand in horse racing at Churchill Downs. There was so much to see and do that we stopped for lunch after 90 minutes there, then stayed another hour or so after we ate. What we thought would fill up a morning actually took most of the day.

You may be wondering where Chip and Dayle have been during all our tourist times. Surely, we would not leave them in a hot car or a hotel room to terrorize the maids? Of course not! The boys spent our touring days at The Pet Station Country Club, about 20 minutes from the hotel, hanging out with their other small dog buddies in the Luxury Lounge. We had boarded them beginning August 5th until we moved to Staybridge on August 13th. After that, they went to day care and spent evenings with us. We know they liked it there because they would get really excited as we made the turn into the driveway, and they came home tired and happy.

Our time until September 5th will be spent cleaning the boat, re-provisioning the boat, moving back onto the boat, and making sure the engine is working properly. All of us are eager to resume our Great Loop Adventure on the water, having had a Great Loop Adventure on land.

Our Trip So Far

As of Friday August 31, 2018…

  • Days: 76
  • Locks Passed Through: 33
  • Miles Sailed: 1,295
  • Engine Hours: 158
  • Gallons of Diesel: 468

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Teresa Poplawski says:

    What a wonderful blog! Eddie & I are thoroughly enjoying reading about your travels!

  2. nancy davis says:

    Thank you for all your information. I love seeing your pictures & hearing about your adventures. Nancy

  3. Dianne Foster says:

    It was our good fortune to have Lenny and Louise spend over 3 weeks with us in Louisville (pronounced by natives as Lou-uh-vul). We made them adopted members of our River Park Marina family and were sad to see them go. However, we look forward to hearing if their adventures and hope to see them again.

  4. Glad to hear you are underway again! We’re putting in a fence along the back; taking down some dying arborvitae. All is well on the home front.

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