Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Family Reunion 2012

The main (or at least instigating) destination of our big road trip was our family reunion in McCormick's Creek State Park outside Indianapolis, Indiana. We spent three days there with about 60 relatives of my husband's father.  It was a really nice time!  We meet at that location because there is a full service hotel in the state park, making it a pretty setting that also has all the conveniences needed for that number of people.  In addition there is a branch of the family that is local to that area who is really generous to have the whole group out for a dinner at their house.  

One fun thing that has been added recently is a family talent show.  This year Zack and his Uncle Bill did the Abbott and Costello routine, "Who's on First" - it was pretty amusing!  They wrapped it up with Sammy singing" Take Me Out to the Ballgame", so there was cute factor too!  

The best thing (well, the quilting part was great too, but I will tell you about that tomorrow!) was that the kids really formed and renewed relationships with their cousins (technically, second cousins once removed, I think).  It was so neat to see the next generation remembering each other and playing together! 

We wrapped the whole thing up with time of singing hymns and a brief candlelight moment in memory of family members.  Quite a lovely and special time - we are looking forward to doing it again in two years!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Ballgame - The Cincinnati Reds vs. the St. Louis Cardinals

Our next stop was Cincinnati for a baseball game.  We really wanted to see a ball game on our trip but the Rangers were out of town and we couldn't get good tickets to see the Cardinals-Cubs game in St. Louis so we decided to make Zack happy and see a Cincinnati game in the Great American Ballpark.  He is, inexplicably, a big Reds fan.  Although we do like both the Reds and the Cardinals, we had to root root root for the home team so we were all Reds fans! 

It was a beautiful night (a bit hot) and a really great game - fast moving (not always the case in baseball!) and very exciting.  The Reds won in the end to sweep the series and we all had a great time!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory

Since we took a more easterly route this year, we decided to visit Louisville to see the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum.  This is where they make baseball bats for everyone from Walmart through Major League Baseball.  

As you may remember, the boys are absolutely obsessed with baseball so this was right up our alley.  There is a little movie (included with the tour), you can hold game-used bats from some of the famous players and you can bat at the batting cages ($1).  You can even choose your bat based on the specs of historical and current players.  James and Zack batted in the batting cages and then I had to go bat too.  I was pleased that I actually hit the ball a few times and was not completely embarrassed!    We all liked the Factory Tour where we got to see bats being made for various groups and for individual major leaguers.  I am always interested in factories and even though it is a small operation, they turn out LOTS of bats!  And everyone gets a free mini-bat at the end of the tour - an extremely exciting souvenir for the boys!

One really nice thing is that it is all indoors so it's a good thing to schedule in the heat of the day or do when it's pouring (as it was when we visited). 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mammoth Cave in Kentucky

Our first adventure was the Historic Tour of Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.  It was a really neat tour, covering 2 miles of tunnels in the cave.  I recommend it if you are ok with that amount of walking!  It was pretty narrow, short and steep in places, but that made for more cave-excitement.  

Our tour guide was really personable and funny and talked about different aspects of the cave formations and the history of the cave and the area as we went through.  The area was beautiful and green.  The air was VERY humid and then became chill as we approached the mouth of the cave.  We were surprised at how cold it was, even though we read about the temperatures on the website!  I had intended to bring sweatshirts for the boys and then had forgotten, but they kept themselves warm enough by being their usual "energetic" (ahem) selves.  

We tried to take pictures but it was really difficult to get good shots (here are some if you want to see more) in the darkness of the cave.  The pathway was lit, but dimly.  There were some very large rooms plus areas we had to scoot sideways through or duck down for quite some length.  At one point they turned off all the lights to show the darkness of the cave, then lit just a kerosene lantern to show what early explorers would have had to see by.  We crossed The Bottomless Pit and heard about how the first explorer of the area crossed on a beam he rested across it, rather than on the steel bridge we had! 

The boys really enjoyed it, though it was a little long for Sammy who said it was "too many walking".  But really, it was fine for him until the very end. If you have the chance, give it half a day or more.  

If you do, one last note - we went to the first tour of the day, buying our tickets online ahead of time to be sure we could go at the time that worked for our schedule.  We were glad we did because the tour sold out, but that was also the downside: it was a HUGE group.  The next tour was much smaller.  We would have preferred a smaller tour because the group had to rush in many places to make up for the backup that would form in the narrow/steep places.  I think a smaller tour would have let us go at a more even pace and see more.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Back from our Big Summer Roadtrip!

Road Trip Stats:
2675 miles
11 days
11 states
7 hotels
8 museums and attractions
12 quilts
923 pictures

We've been gone on a rather long road trip!  Just as we did two years ago, we went to a family reunion outside Indianapolis, but we also went to Louisville, Cincinnati and St. Louis.  Quite the tour of the midwest!

Check back for several posts about various events and attractions!