On my fourth day of my trip, my girlfriend's father had the day off from work. He was intrigued at a slightly insane road trip idea I had, which would take us first to Nashville for breakfast and then onward to Kentucky, land of Lincoln and bourbon. Here are the highlights.
First stop = Nashville, TN for the famous Loveless Cafe.
Their breakfast spread was delicious; they also had moonshine on the menu, which we had with our orange juice.
Nashville's a great town, but we had bigger fish to fry.
Mainly, the Bluegrass state.
Illinois may be the "Land of Lincoln," but Kentucky was his birthplace and spiritual home. During the Civil War, he was quoted as saying, "I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky."
The memorial is built over the location of his birthplace cabin.
There are 56 steps, one for each year of his life.
My girlfriend is a ham... which is why I love her.
Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, helped the memorial come to be in 1909, when the cornerstone was laid.
The cabin inside is not the original cabin, but was believed to be so when the memorial was built. The location is correct, however (or so said the ranger).
I had been to Kentucky before, but this was the first attraction I had seen in the state (previously I was just passing through).
Abe Lincoln's family (he's in his mother's arms).
The family Bible.
About ten miles away lies Abe's boyhood home at Knob Creek. Like the memorial, the cabin isn't a Lincoln cabin, but unlike the memorial, the cabin is that of one of Lincoln's childhood friends. We couldn't go in, however.
My girlfriend's dad is a bourbon connoisseur, so we went to Maker's Mark. Lo and behold, Loretto, KY also proclaims the majesty of Rock City, GA. We howled with laughter.
Make yourselves at home at Maker's Mark (before the tour, that is).
Maker's Mark is the oldest continuously used bourbon distillery in the US, although it wasn't always owned by Maker's Mark.
Since Maker's Mark is part of the official Bourbon Trail, its tours are quite popular.
Many hundreds of gallons of mash are in this vat.
Their bottling conveyor belt system had their own signature touch.
Of course, no bourbon tour is complete without a taste of the good stuff.
We were having a grand time.
Last stop in Kentucky = Mammoth Cave National Park, home of the longest known cave system in the world. We got the last tour of the day, the Frozen Niagara tour, which covered only a small fraction of the cave. I found it amusing that the entrance to the cave was through a door.
The formations inside are pretty cool = this is the best photo of the bunch.
To end our day, we had dinner in Nashville at Amerigo's.
I'm not normally a tiramisu fan, but theirs is easily the best I've ever had.
Coming next = Lynchburg!