About Me

Tired of the mundane and craving an adventure, on Saturday, May 22nd, 2010, I embarked on the ultimate American road trip through all fifty states. After nearly a year and a half on the road, on a budget of less than 50 bucks a day, this is my story...

"Kentucky Woman"

Friday, September 17, 2010
My fondest memory of Jodi is hurling tomatoes at her and her brother Travis in an all-out tomato war during a visit to their place when we were kids.  Our mothers were friends, so sometimes I would get to go visit her and Travis, and see what kind of trouble we could get ourselves into.  Jodi has ridden horses for as long as I can remember, so it's only natural that after high school she would move to Kentucky where she'd go to school for Farm Management and buy a house in the heart of horse country.  I hadn't seen Jodi since high school, and even then we had sort of grown distant, but Jodi has always been just about the kindest person you  could ever hope to meet, so we remained friendly with the occasional hello as we passed in the hallways.  See, before middle school my family moved a little farther North - it was only four miles, but apparently that was enough for our introverted mothers to lose touch.  Now, after nearly a decade, I'd be visiting Jodi as an adult, nervous and excited for what our reunion would look like.

Jodi lives in Goshen, about 20 miles northeast of Louisville; a town where the wealthy like to build their retreat homes, easily identifiable by the huge red brick homes and flashy trucks in the driveways.  I knew I was getting close to Jodi's as I entered her part of the road I like to dub, "Ranch Row."  It had grown dark, and my GPS was confused (sometimes it gets nervous in small towns), but I managed to find Jodi's by the markers she has described (the 3 lots before hers all had For Sale signs), and as I pulled into her driveway I was greeted by Cappy - Jodi's affectionate, attention-craved long-haired German Shepherd, who thinks he's a lap dog.  I spotted Jodi behind him, and after a hug and hello, she introduced me to her lazy-boy, I mean her boyfriend Brian, who's been detained to the recliner the past couple weeks, after getting his leg broken when a co-worker backed into it with a piece of heavy machinery at work.  Good times, lol.  I also met Brian's cousin, who they've graciously taken under their wing for a while (they're good people!).  After getting all caught up, I turned in for the night, exhausted after the day's long drive.

Saturday, September 18, 2010
I awoke after Jodi had already left for work, and about an hour later I received a call from her asking me if I wanted to check out the farm.  Heck yes!  

I pulled up to the farm where she worked, just down the road a few miles, a picture-perfect setting for a tourism postcard reading "Come to Kentucky," a green plot of land filled with red-topped wooden buildings, white fences in front of the pasture of horses, and a very old, renovated log cabin.  My new friend Cappy barked hello as I drove down the dirt drive, up to the barn where Jodi would be.  She introduced me to the horses, including one that loves on you just like a dog, following you wherever you go, lol, and I met a co-worker who shared with Jodi all the local gossip, then Jodi got me on a lovely horse, starting in the corral to get us acquainted before we hit the trails.  I wish every day could start this way!

Next I went into Louisville (which the locals pronounce 'lool-ville'), being lunchtime I grabbed some grub Lynn's Paradise Cafe, the funkiest restaurant I've ever been to, marked by kitschy decor and ugly table lamp collection!  I ordered the breakfast scramble of eggs, local cheeses, tomatoes and battered shoestring onions - an item that beat out Bobby Flay's dish on Iron Chef!  It was accompanied by fried green tomatoes, homemade buttermilk biscuits and a side of cheese grits.  That's a whole lot of food ya'll!  And, being the Bourbon state, I had to try their Mint Julep, a sweet (and did I say strong?) Kentucky traditionalThen I explored downtown for a view of the world's biggest carbon steel replica of Babe Ruth's own 1920's era bat!

Sunday, September 19, 2010
Today Jodi took me to her favorite Chinese buffet of all time; it was sooo good, and they had everything, even sushi (I wouldn't have expected that in a relatively small town in Kentucky)!  After being resuscitated, I spent the rest of the day on my blog.  It was nice having a day where I could just lay low for a while.

Monday, September 20, 2010
Today I grabbed my camera and headed to Old Louisville, "a neighborhood of elegant homes, mansions, and churches form the late 1800s and early 1900s.  It's the third largest historic preservation district in the U.S.,with some 1,400 structures lining wide boulevards and narrow side streets."  Then I checked out Bardstown Road, the street with all the bars, restaurants and fun shops.  I tried the award-winning Dutch Apple Caramel pie ala coconut mode at Homemade Ice Cream & Pie Kitchen, a local favorite institution.  That was some seriously good pie, ya'll.  Afterward I met David, a really cool guy at Starbucks, who after talking about my trip, told me he will hook me up with an awesome house to stay at in France!  I can't believe the floodgate of opportunities my trip is opening!  Being my last night at Jodi's, she and Brian took me out to dinner for some laughs and stories, like how yesterday Jodi was so loopy after her overnight shift at the vet clinic, that when we were getting into my car from the Chinese buffet, she said "Matthew, your little thingy doesn't stick up very far!"  I confirmed that she was only referring to my door lock.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
This morning I took my memories of Jodi, the farm, and Louisville, and set out for Mammoth Cave National Park, where "prehistoric man roamed the longest, most extensive underground cave system on Earth, 2,000 to 4,000 years ago, leaving behind petroglyphs and artifacts."  Apart from the speculated 600 miles of yet uncharted territory, the national park offers some serious opportunities for adventure, from 2 hour historic tours (I chose this one) to strenuous, 6 hour spelunking extravaganzas complete with headlights, head hats, and knee pads!  The cave has many features, including Grand Avenue, Frozen Niagara, and Fat Man's Misery.  I had a good time, but my experience could have been improved if we were given a fun tour guide (we had an unpleasant old man) and opportunities to take photos WITH flash.

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