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2018 Fall Tour to Louisville
Part 1: “How to Embrace Construction Delays”

By Larry Palguta

Once again the Brits assembled for another Fall Tour to a distant destination for fun, sun and excitement. This Tour had all three, but not always in the desired form.


Thursday September 20 – Eight LBC’s met for or after breakfast at Angelo’s Restaurant near 933S and Ireland Road. The travelers were: Randy & Bev Glanders (Spitfire), Keith & Mary Wishmeier (Spitfire), Bob & Mary Petersen (MGB), Roger & Ruth Deacon (MGB/GT), Tom & Debbie Shumaker (TR-8), Kai & Michele Shepherd (Mini Cooper), Mike Scullion & Vicki Bloom (MGB), and Larry & Deb Palguta (MGB. Our route south would take us to Clarksville, IN which is situated just on the north side of the Ohio River, across from Louisville. Everyone knew that the day’s temperatures were predicted to hit the low 90’s. Turning on the LBC’s air conditioning was not an option. We left the restaurant relatively on time for this group.


Because of the long drive to the Louisville area, our route required some driving on the main roads. We took US 31 south to our first bio and gas break at the BP gas station on the south side of Grissom AFB, at the entrance road to the maximum security prison. The amount of traffic on US 31 was fairly light and made the driving easy for an 8 car caravan of LBC’s. Just north of I-465 (a loop we would avoid), we headed west on SR 32 which took us through a part of Lebanon to SR 39 south where we had our second stop at a large Love’s gas station/terminal at the I-70 interchange. At Martinsville, we took SR 252 to Nashville, IN for a well-deserved lunch stop at 2 PM. Most for the travelers went to the Artist’s Colony restaurant for relaxation in the air conditioning and a good lunch. A late lunch avoided any lunch crowd and let us have the restaurant, and their staff, mostly to ourselves.


Our next intermediate destination was the famous haunted Inn at Story, IN, so we took SR135 toward Stone Head. The two-lane back country road was both scenic and fun to drive. However, somewhere out in the country before we got to Story, we were stopped by road construction, or more accurately, road demolition. The opposite side of the road was being demolished at a curve, and we had to stop and wait for 20 minutes until a dump truck of debris drove by and the road crew let us pass. If only the road delays to come were so obvious and temporary as this one!

Fun in the back country!

Lined-up at the Story Inn

After a brief photo-op at the Story Inn, we headed south on SR 135 to Salem for a bio/gas stop, and then to Palmyra and US 150, to an interchange for I-64 and a few miles of rush hour driving to an exit and our Best Western Green Tree Inn. We got checked into the hotel, as did a lot of well-behaved teenage boy lacross players in town for a tournament. Fortunately, the Senor Iguana Mexican Restaurant was located about 70 feet from the hotel lobby and Keith went over and got reservations for 16 hot and tired LBC’s travelers. The restaurant did a fine job of serving our sizable dinner group, once we finally got our much needed and delayed glasses of ice water. All-in-all, it was great to have a good restaurant next to the hotel after our long and hot day of driving. And no LBC issues!


Friday September 21 – The morning found many of our group eating breakfast at the hotel or eateries located within a minute’s walk of our hotel. The predicted temperatures were in the mid-90’s and hot it was. We drove our LBC’s over the I-65 bridge (still waiting for a toll bill in the mail) to downtown Louisville and the Louisville Slugger Baseball Bat Factory. This turned out to be a much more interesting tourist site than anticipated. Lots of history, information on wood, forests, how bats were and now made, and automated manufacturing where a bat is machined from a billet in 20 seconds. From this visit, we headed out on Third Street to Churchill Downs racetrack. This is usually a straight shot to the race track but multiple road construction sites on Third Street required short detours. We even got stuck behind a wagon load of hay (should have been a hint we were close to the track!).


Churchill Downs is a huge facility, far larger than one would expect. We parked out on one of the last of multiple parking lots, and a shuttle transported our members who did not need another walk in the heat. The group purchased tickets for the museum and about a half hour tour of the facility. The museum tour was very interesting and began with a ten minute video where you sit in the middle of a large room with 360 degrees of huge video screens. The video was excellent and a lot of fun to watch. Due to our tour at 1:30 PM, we were then able to be at the rail for the 1:45 PM race of seven horses. Yes, they do race even in that heat.

Entrance to the museum area

Paddock

After the race, we went to the paddock to view the horses for the next race being walked in, each checked for the identification tattoo on the inside of a lip, then saddled and walked out to the track. After the tour and at about 2:15 PM, we went to the Silver Spoon II Café located inside the museum building. Once again out of the heat and in the air conditioning, we all were happy to relax and have lunch without having to drive somewhere.

Lunch at the cafe

Churchill Downs 1:45 PM race

The group headed downtown to spend some time before our scheduled dinner cruise on the Belle of Louisville. We joined up with the Wishmeiers who had diverted to spend time with family, and tried to get to the NuLou area of shops, trendy restaurants, galleries, etc. Downtown Louisville has lots of road construction that made this difficult. Because time was limited, we tried to get into a parking lot that was near our riverboat dock. However, Louisville closes all of the parking lots near the river after people get out of work. So we finally decided to head a few blocks to a parking area next to the boat. Not at all easy – road construction, GPS listing streets that actually had no names, and lots of pot holes. We finally got into a paid, river front parking area entered next to Charley’s Crab Shack, and located under the expressway. We had about an hour wait until we could board the boat, so we relaxed as best we could in the shade. An approaching rain storm finally resulted in our group being allowed to board early but having to wait on the first deck until the dining area opened on the second deck.

Waiting before the dinner cruise

And then the storm, passing over the US 31 bridge

Our destination for the dinner cruise

The Belle left her dock promptly at 7 PM as the ~180 guests climbed the stairway to the air-conditioned dining room on the second deck. The Brits got to our reserved seats, lined up for drinks at the bar, and the enjoyed a good buffet style dinner as the Belle cruised east on the Ohio River. After dinner, everyone headed up to the third deck where we sat, relaxed and conversed as the river fronts passed by. It was a comfortable evening and a good way to relax after another hot day and lots of sight-seeing.

Wishmeiers, Glanders and Deacons await dinner

Deb Palguta, Michele Shepherd, Ruth & Roger Deacon enjoy the cruise

The Belle made a mid-river turn around and cruised back to its dock where we disembarked for our drive back over the river via the US 31 bridge to our hotel. The Brits broke up into groups for visiting, watching a late Friday night college football game, and gearing down after a very active day as tourists.

Part 2

Saturday the 22nd was our driving day to see the country side and enjoy some of the local sights. After breakfast, we left Clarksville and headed west on scenic road SR 62. It was a very winding road and enjoyable to drive. We soon came to a stop at the Quilting Bee so that Deb and Michele could buy fabric. Everyone enjoyed the short stop, the availability of a restroom, and some relaxation. From the Quilting Bee we drove on SR 62 to Corydon, IN.

Plenty of off-street parking for LBCs in Corydon

At the State Capitol square

Corydon is the state of Indiana’s first State Capitol (Vincennes was the territorial capital). By now a light rain was falling but it did not deter our enjoyment of this quaint little town. Another significant historical fact about Corydon – it is one of only three Civil War battles fought on northern soil (Antietam, Gettysburg, and Corydon)! Just recall Morgan’s Raiders and the brief carnage they inflicted along the Ohio River before being captured in Southwestern Ohio (this cavalry raid produced the story behind the Old Oaken Bucket football trophy contested each year between Purdue and IU).

Indiana’s first State Capitol building

Everyone visited the antique shops of Corydon, saw the first State Capitol building, and enjoyed the town. At Butt Liquors & Drugs, Larry bought a long sleeve, hooded shirt to stave off the rain. One of their mottos is “When you think of drugs, you think of Butt”.

Metropolitan Corydon

On the south side of the old State Capitol square, we got a long row of tables in the Beaver Street Tap Room & Pub where we enjoyed a variety of lunch items and beers. The Tap Room & Pub is a bar and restaurant located in an old building housing an equally old bar and lots of character. This style of local, small restaurant has become popular, fueled in part by the craft beer movement and sometimes unique food menus.

Beaver Street Tap Room & Pub

Finally, we departed town on SR 337 to SR 11 and SR 111 to return to our hotel in Clarksville. It rained along all of the route so we had a slower and bit more relaxing scenic drive.


For the evening’s entertainment, we had reservations at the Red Yeti Restaurant in Jeffersonville, IN. It was short drive to the restaurant, and it lived up to its reputation of having unique (and very good) dishes and a good list of craft beers. Kudos to Mary Wishmeier for another great restaurant selection. After dinner, the group headed back to our hotel for some evening football watching and socializing.

The Red Yeti Restaurant

Sunday the 23rd was our day for driving home from the Fall Tour to Louisville, KY. The planned route was to head east from Clarksville, IN to Old US 31, north through Scottsburg and to SR 7 just south of Columbus, IN, and then catch SR 46 east out of Columbus to SR 9 north. This would get us by the east side of Indianapolis where we could connect to SR 38 west to new US 31 just north of Westfield.


The initial route to Columbus went pretty much as planned but then road construction + no detour signs threw a major wrench into our LBC driving. SR 9 north of Columbus was closed for a long stretch of complete reconstruction, so Keith took us east and then north and back west to reconnect with SR 9. Alas, we were not far enough north to avoid the construction on SR 9, so we looped back around again and went far enough north to finally get onto SR 9. Somewhere along the way, we ended up on a true backwoods road as we drove down into a hollow and crossed over an open-metal deck, small bridge that had a sharply upward slope of the road on the opposite side. We were definitely way off the beaten path. Finally, we did get back onto a newly paved section of SR 9 that took us into the south side of Shelbyville, IN. Mush to our surprise, SR 9 is being rebuilt as a wide two lane, fully concrete road and berms. Why this secondary road is getting the executive treatment of all concrete, is unknown to our LBC group.


We stopped in Shelbyville and split up into two lunch groups – one going next door to McDonalds and another group walking across the parking lot to a Mexican restaurant. It was a much needed lunch break.
After lunch, we headed north on SR 9 to Pendleton/Huntsville where we had to drive a bit on I-69 to get to SR 38. After we got off I-69, we stopped for Mike Scullion’s MGB that was misfiring. Putting in two new sparkplugs did not help, but the LBC could be driven at higher speed and not miss, so onward we headed. Mike was placed at the lead so he could drive the speeds necessary to avoid the misfiring problem. We connected with new US 31 and headed north.


Due to heavy traffic on the two lane roads, we had lost Randy and Bev Glanders who were bringing up the back of caravan. They rejoined us at the large Love’s truck stop next to the US 31 - SR 28 interchange. By then Mike’s MGB was running OK and he filled up with a higher octane gas; the misfiring apparently being the result of some bad, lower octane gas. From there we continued up US 31, made good time and as we got south of South Bend, LBC’s began peeling off toward their homeward routes.
Despite the hot weather for the first two days, the Fall Tour to Louisville was a good trip and experience. Our LBCs had a variety of back country and city driving. We packed a lot of activity (sightseeing, shopping, historical sites, unique restaurants) into the two days and a lot of us got to see Churchill Downs for the first time. Needless to say, we are looking forward to another Fall Tour destination and adventure next year.

 

 

 
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