Posted: July 2, 2010 Filed under: Gulliver's Travels
This morning we had a leisurely start and didn’t even leave the hotel until check-out time. We had 4 hours of driving from Louisville to Charleston, so most of our trip was lengthwise through Kentucky.
We saw some quaintly dilapidated old barns...
...but mostly it was full of very green trees.
Welcome to West Virginia! You may have guessed that the Romgi was the passenger in charge of picture-taking this time.
West Virigina looked kind of like this.
With places like this (Tudor's Biscuit World).
We got to see the capitol building. (Yes, I double checked; the capital is the city, the capitol is the building.) Shiny!
The Bwun was kind enough to sleep for over 3 hours of our drive.
When he finally woke up, we were less than 15 minutes away from our hotel. And he was in a good mood. Thank you, the Bwun!
It was still afternoon when we checked in, but I was ready for food (thank you, the Oeuf). Although we’ve been trying to eat at local restaurants, what sounded good was Cracker Barrel. And oh, it was exactly what I wanted. French toast, biscuits and gravy, and the best hash browns I’ve eaten outside my grandpa’s cabin. Thank you, West Virginia!
Posted: July 2, 2010 Filed under: Gulliver's Travels
Thursday morning turned out to be a lot of fun, but it didn’t start very well. I’d slept on the couch and was grouchy, and when we got into the car we discovered the GPS had no battery charge. Something was wrong with the power cable that plugs into the cigarette lighter. The Romgi saved the day again with his ingenuity; he got out our camera cable and USB car charger and hooked everything up, since the GPS uses a micro USB cable for power. This turned out to be extra extra good because I am possibly the world’s worst navigator (which is why we bought the GPS in the first place), and our destination was tricky to get to.
Where did we spend our morning? At Grant’s Farm, once owned by Ulysses S. Grant. Not only is it a wildlife preserve featuring animals from six continents, it also has the log cabin that Grant hand-built. How cool is that? Want to see pictures? (Oh, and before I forget the other reason I was grouchy: you have to wait in line when you first get to the park, because a tram takes you around to see the animals roaming around and then drops you at the food court/gift shop. The Bwun wasn’t thrilled about waiting, but I’m guessing I was even grouchier than he was. The Romgi will probably back me up on that.)
Actual cabin built by actual U.S. president.
Some zebu. Sorry for the shaky picture; the tram was shaky.
Some type of African cattle...I was wrangling the Bwun, so I didn't catch the name.
Once the tram dropped us off, it turned out there was a whole section of the park there with less-wild animals. Like, ones that were just in cages you could see sort of close-up instead of many many yards away. The Bwun had a lot of fun and you’ll see why!
First up was a capybara. I'm always sorely tempted to call these chupacabras, but those are something else entirely...
Next, some rather large tortoises. Is there a different plural for the word tortoise?
A parrot (on the other side of the fence). He sang "La la la" and waved goodbye, about the same as the Bwun does. Kind of cute!
Another tortoise, but this guy was speedy. He kept walking along the length of his fence and would use a rock at the end as a pivot point to turn around again.
Guinea pigs, which scamper quite quickly.
Monkeys. Too bad the Bwun just couldn't see them from where we were; I think he would have enjoyed seeing them monkey around.
A bald eagle who came to the park after an injury left him unable to fly. He does look kind of regal, huh?
...But he looked kind of ridiculous when he started walking.
Camels. I like their tufty beards and shoulder hair.
What collection of animals would be complete without a llama?
The absolute best part of the park was the pygmy goat pen. There were about 40 pygmy goats (some grown, some kids) and for $1 you could buy a bottle of milk to go feed them. Hilarity ensued.
As soon as we walked into the pen, we were swarmed.
The goats were willing to do just about anything to make sure that bottle didn't go to any other goat.
Even once the milk was gone, goats would stand up to try getting the bottle.
The Bwun really liked the goats (they were about his size, as you can see) and is here saying, "Eye!" My apologies to the Romgi for getting in the picture. I was just trying to stop our son from poking an animal in the eyeball.
Despite the Bwun's behavior, the goats really liked him too. They wanted to gobble his hands up. They almost succeeded.
See how well we've taught the Bwun to be nice to animals? (Ignoring the poke-in-eye picture up there, of course.)
Wouldn’t you know, when we finished at Grant’s Farm and got back on the road, the GPS died again. The USB cable wasn’t working to charge the battery anymore. We found a McDonald’s for some free internet access and the Romgi wrote down directions to our next destination (Louisville, KY) while we tried to think of what to do. But another wouldn’t you know, prayers worked and the USB cable started giving a charge to the GPS again. We haven’t had any problems with it since.
As we headed out of St Louis, the Romgi asked me to get a picture of the arch. It turns out I am possibly worse at taking pictures than I am at navigating. The main reason seems to be that I wait just a fraction of a second too long to snap a photo – or maybe that I just don’t pay enough attention to the scenery. Either way, we end up with pictures like this:
Yes, that arrow is pointing to the St Louis arch. We had a lot of great views of it before then.
About eight shots later, I managed to get this, although admittedly it isn't a very scenic view.
Another thing I’m not so great at: geography. I honestly didn’t know (because I have obviously never looked at a map in my life) that St Louis is right on the border between Missouri and Illinois. That’s my excuse for not even looking for a Welcome to Illinois sign. We decided it wasn’t a big deal, because we go through Illinois again on our trip home.
Welcome to Indiana!
I was asleep for most of Indiana (the drive through wasn't more than a couple hours), but the Romgi took over documenting the trip, I guess. Zoom in and you'll see a crop duster plane. I'm a little bit concerned that he took this picture while driving.
Indiana is primarily made of corn.
Because of previous state welcome sign mishaps, I had the camera out and ready when we crossed the bridge into Kentucky. But the Romgi has this habit of pointing things out to me without saying something useful like "There's the state sign TAKE A PICTURE!" Instead it comes out as just pointing and maybe a "LOOK!" So I missed the "Kentucky state line" sign. Just barely. I thought he was pointing on the water that had just splashed onto our windshield.
Not to worry! We were welcomed to Kentucky on the other side of the bridge.
I got us a room at this fabulously nice inn for the same price as our spidery Motel 6 room in Denver. There were marble floors with inlaid designs, dark wood furniture, donuts at the continental breakfast...this place really had it all. Including a horse and rider on the roof.
We had a nice quiet night in Louisville (aside from the Bwun, who didn’t want to sleep except in the bed. Again). With only 8 hours of driving left until we reached Greensboro, we decided to do a half day of travel on Friday and Saturday, which meant we got to sleep in. Thank you, Louisville!