Sunday, July 30, 2023

Creation Museum & Concrete Stonehenge

 Location: Versailles State Park; Versailles, Indiana (about 45 minutes west of Cincinnati, Ohio)

After a short two hour tow, I'm at another Indiana State Park. These short tows were originally used to kill time until the RV Rally date of August 13th but I'm beginning to like them and may keep them as a regular thing.  

My campsite. Plenty of afternoon/evening shade. Electric only. Don't forget to fill your fresh water tank before setting up camp.

The view out my back window from my computer desk. That road leads to another part of the campground and was very busy yesterday with bicycles being ridden by kids and adults. It was interesting to see the little ones trying to keep up with the older kids. Good view.

As has been my usual plan over the years of my travelling, I'll find 1 or 2 main things to see or do in an area, then move on down the road. The two things to see here are the Creation Museum, which is actually back in Kentucky. A while back I had thought it was located very near the Ark Encounter which is a little deeper in Kentucky. But, I was wrong. It seems this wrongness is becoming a pattern. Just the other day, I thought I was in Central Time when I was actually in Eastern Time. My cell phone broke the truth to me since she almost always knows where she is located. Anyway, the Creation Museum is only about 40 minutes away from this campground. So, I headed there on Friday, thinking I would beat the rush of people since it was a weekday. Wrong again. Geez, not again. Since school isn't in session around here, weekdays are similar to weekends. The museum is a little expensive and more commercialized than I expected but was still a good visit. There is so much information to read and see that you can't do it in just one day, especially with so many people moving around while you're trying to read and see a display/exhibit. They have a great 30 minute long, 4-D video that is really good. If you miss something in your visit, don't miss this. All in all, even with the expense and crowd, it was worth the trip and I would definitely return but when school is in session during the school week.

I arrived within 30 minutes after they opened on a Friday morning. There were already hundreds of people there. I can only assume they got there an hour or more before the place opened. Wow.

They have lots of displays like this to attract attention.

More displays

This is just one of the many "compare and contrast" displays between evolution and creation.

I've mentioned my dis-belief about the Colorado River carving the Grand Canyon before. This was one display showing my questions and curiosity is not too "far out" there. 

The other thing to see around here is much smaller than the museum. It's also free and I was the only one visiting it. It is called Paul-henge. It was created by Paul Morris as a recreation of Stonehenge. It is made out of concrete slabs with viewing holes cast into the slabs. It tracks several of the astronomical alignments such as solstices and equinoxes just to name a couple. This is what you get when you have an engineer/architect with too much time on their hands. If you go see it, there isn't any parking and there is supposedly a sign saying "by permission only", but I didn't see the sign. I boldly entered slipped in and out within about 15 minutes and didn't see any other visitors or the owner. Stealth visiting?? Anyway, it was a good stop and interesting to see. For anyone living close by, it would be nice to see all of the other alignments he has calculated for in his slab positions.

This isn't part of the henge. It is somewhat of a sign out near the road. By the way, the dog isn't real.

This picture captures the entire henge. 

This is a little what it would be like to see one of the alignments. You line up two holes and when you see the sun, moon or star in the hole, then that is a calculated alignment. Pretty neat, uh?

I didn't hang around long enough to figure out the purpose for the half circles. Maybe if that "permission only" thing hadn't been bouncing around in my head, I could have stayed longer.

Tomorrow is moving day and I'll be headed farther north to another Indiana State Park. This one will be within 45 minutes of Indianapolis so if I need anything from a big city, I be close enough for 4 days. Also, as a point of reference, Indiana State Parks are twice the cost of COE campgrounds but since Indiana doesn't have any COE's, they are the next best thing.   

Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe, I'll Cya down the road. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Serendipity Day & Top 10 Museum

Location: Charlestown State Park in Indiana but near Louisville, Kentucky

Yesterday was a drive around and see what all I could see. The plan was to follow the Ohio River road on the Indiana side down towards the dam at Louisville. Just about every town near a river has a river road and there was one here as well. Although I am aware of the app "Marine Traffic" that will tell you where ship/boats/tows are located, I didn't look at it and planned to just wing it. I guess that is where serendipity took over because it seemed like she was in charge all day. I didn't plan to cross the river back into Kentucky based on principals. I refused to pay the toll again after paying the gas tax at the fuel pump. However, Serendipity changed that too. 

I think the best way for this post is with pictures. The captions may be a little bit longer than usual.

The campsite at Charlestown SP. The terrain isn't as hilly as it has been over the couple of weeks. I arrived around 3:30 on Sunday and there was a mass exodus going on. By that evening, the campground was about 25% full. Looks like most of Indiana State Parks are electric only sites with a water fill station near the park entrance. Every state is a little different and since the bad Juju at Baileys Point, I'm more aware.

The campground is on land that used to be part of a Government owned ammunition plant. It sits on the Ohio River, but the campground is a couple of miles away from the banks. I saw on the campground map that there was a river overlook. I headed that way before I left the campground for more exploration. I didn't check Marine Traffic because it didn't matter if there was any boats in the area because I was going to see the river anyway. This is the road leading to the river. Nice little drive.

I was happy to see a "thinking bench" at the overlook. Good job, Indiana.

Serendipity #1. While at the overlook, a nice commercial riverboat paddled by going downstream towards Louisville. I thanked whoever planned this, and headed out of the campground to find the river road. 

The highway between Louisville and Charlestown is lined with very large warehouses. Most look very new and many don't have any name or logo on them. Very "X File(ish)". After passing between a few of them, you reach this road that leads to the river. Again, a little spooky. I kept my head on a swivel, half expecting a "rougarou" to jump out in front of me.

Once you get to the river, the spookiness goes away. Houses are everywhere. I liked this view. It was the side yard of a nice house, that I didn't take a picture of. 

I did get a picture of this one because I had to stop at a stop sign. This is probably the average house. Some were larger and some were smaller. There were some old mobile homes and some cinder block houses. All were right on the rive with a great view.

I followed the River Road all the way into town. That cable stayed bridge is the toll bridge I used to cross into Indiana. It was a nice day for a drive.
The only planned stop on my trip was this place. It is the Howard Steamboat Museum. It is located in the house that was built by Edmonds and Laura Howard in 1894. Edmonds father, James, started the shipyard back in 1834. During the 107 years of operation, they built over 1,100 vessels. The shipyard was located between the house and the river. I was really impressed by their family history. Great Americans living the American dream.  

I had a hard time getting a picture to represent the magnitude of the house. The tradesmen from the shipyard was used to build the house in between boat building. You can just imagine the quality of work those well trained craftsmen did in building the house for the "boss" and his family.

This was in one of the bedrooms. A nice sitting bench with a backrest on the ends. I wonder how many people sat there over the years looking out those windows. 

Another nice sitting bench with a baby crib.
Serendipity #2. A picture of the packet boat "Cape Girardeau" which was built at the Howard Shipyard in 1923. It was christened in the town of Cape Gireardeau, Missouri on the Mississippi River in 1924. About 50 years later, I graduated high school in the same town. I had never heard the story of the boat while living in Cape, although I only lived there a couple of years. It was a nice surprise just seeing the name.

Serendipity #3. A nice little display about the LST's (Tank Landing Ships) of the U.S. Navy. They were ocean going ships with adjustable ballast tanks so they could beach themselves, unload tanks/trucks, then pull themselves off the beach using their stern anchor. There were 1,051 of them built during World War 2. They were built so fast, they couldn't give them a name, only a number. The coastal ports of the country couldn't build them as fast as was needed so the Navy used inland, river shipyards to build them. One such shipyard was Howards although it had been sold to the U.S. Government in 1941. There were 123 built at the former Howard shipyard. The reason this was serendipitous, was I served onboard an LST during the 1970's. It was a newer design, but served the same purpose. I've visited the only two existing LST's that I know of in Evansville, Indiana and Muskegon, Michigan. All of the LST's have been sold or given to other countries now so it is nice to see anything related to them. The one I served on, the U.S.S. Manitowoc (LST 1180) was transferred to Taiwan in 2000.  

Yeah, yeah, I'm taking a picture of the bathroom. Notice the plumbing for the tub. In the center is a thermometer so you can see the temperature of the water going into the tub or shower. The small thing on the left is a foot washer but served double duty as a bathtub for a baby.
Serendipity #4. As I was looking out the window of the museum to see where the shipyard was located, a tow boat and barges was working its way up river. For information sake, each barge can cargo equal to 18 large train cars or 58 semi-trucks. It was serendipitous to have the tow be passing right as I was looking out the window. Again, thanks to whoever helped time it. 

Serendipity #5. That is the skyline of Louisville, Kentucky and that bridge is a FREE bridge crossing the river. One of the men at the museum told me about it when I mentioned I was heading to see the lock and dam on the river but didn't like having to pay the toll. He also mentioned a viewpoint at the locks. I had looked on Google Maps but couldn't find one until he pointed it out to me. The route to the locks was through some bad parts of town that most people shouldn't try to go through. The serendipity is the man being at the museum. 

Serendipity #6 and last. Just as I walked out on the viewing platform, a tow boat with 3 barges was pulling into the lock. Again, perfect timing. That many times on the same day usually isn't accidental.

The upstream lock doors are closed as the tow enters the lock. You and see the discoloration on the lock. That is the depth difference the lock is going to make up.

The gates closing behind.

Locking through is almost done and the tow will be on it's way.

 It was a good day of many surprises. One of my plans for this campground was to check out one of the many trails. But it has rained some just about every day and I didn't feel like walking in mud. Oh well, if the rain holds off today, I may walk around the campground. 

Tomorrow is moving day and I'll be heading about 100 miles north and deeper into Indiana. It will be a small town with just a couple of things to see, but you never know what "serendipity" will do. 

Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe, I'll Cya down the road.


Saturday, July 22, 2023

Life Line Screening & Duncan Hines

 Location: The Narrows Campground (COE); Glasgow, Kentucky

Before I left on this trip, I received an email from Life Line Screenings telling me they would be in my hometown of Mansfield, Louisiana to perform screenings. I was somewhat familiar with what they do and the price was reasonable. The only problem was they were going to be there a couple of weeks after I left on the trip and I already had reservations all the way to the middle of August. Life Line is a roving testing outfit that comes into an area for a few days then moves on down the road, about the same as my travels. So, I went to work trying to see if I could find a time and place where our paths crossed. I finally had a bingo at this campground. Life Line was going to be in Bowling Green, Kentucky which is about 40 minutes away from me. I made an appointment and paid for my tests before I began my trip. I attended that appointment yesterday. 

I was only interested in their basic four test package. Those four tests are Carotid Artery Scan, Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Test, Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Test and Arterial Fibrillation Test. The entire tests took right at an hour with a half dozen people being tested during the same time. In plain English, they checked for blockage in my carotid arteries on the side of my neck. It is possible a piece of plaque broke loose from that location and went to Brandon's brain causing his strokes. They also check the Aortic artery that runs from my heart to my kidneys and then to my legs to see if there was any aneurysm. That is a ballooning of the artery where it swells up and if it bursts, there is a good chance you will bleed to death before reaching a hospital. There aren't any good symptoms of it and the scan is the only real sure way of finding it. My X-wife has one that will be repaired later this year. They have been monitoring it for several years waiting for it to get large enough for the insurance company to pay for the procedure. The PAD test checks for blockages in your legs and arms. Again, any blockages can break loose and travel in your bloodstream to other parts of your body causing damage. They also check for Afib. I was pretty sure I didn't have that since my blood pressure monitor detects irregular heart beat (Afib) and since I check my blood pressure every morning, I have been monitoring that one on my own. Nothing was found that required immediate attention and I'll receive a formal report by email in about 10 days after a groups of doctors review the tests. I breathed a big sign of relief as I was leaving the testing site. Early detection of these problems is crucial and without symptoms, the insurance companies usually won't pay for the tests. Mine cost, out-of-pocket, $150.00. I was satisfied. They are worth checking out.

After the tests, I picked up a prescription I had refilled at the Bowling Green Walmart then went to visit the Kentucky Museum on the campus of Western Kentucky University (WKU). A lot of the displays were by the students and I didn't find anything of theirs that caught my eye. I actually started to turn around before entering the museum because of a sign as you enter. There were a lot of weasel words and I'm a little out of practice with them but I believe it said there were some "woke" exhibits inside and if I didn't like it, too bad. 

There was one exhibit I knew about and wanted see. It was about Duncan Hines. Yep, that's right, there was a real guy named Duncan Hines. He was a salesman that traveled around the country and made a list of good places to eat. This was back in the 1920's thru the 1940's. His list became so popular that he eventually wrote a book and published it on his own. The initial version of "Adventures in Good Eating" contained almost 200 restaurants around the country and sold out quickly. He published more and raised the price from $1.00 to $1.50 where it stayed until he passed. When he ate at a restaurant, he would ask to see the kitchen, if they refused, he would leave. He was looking for cleanliness which translated into pride. He would publish the good and bad about the places he tried. He is worth exploring deeper, and I'll put it on my ever growing list of "things to check out". 

Tomorrow is moving day and I'll be entering southern Indiana. The tow should only be a couple of hours.

Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe, I'll Cya down the road.

Friday, July 21, 2023

Mammoth Cave National Park (mostly pictures)

Location: The Narrows Campground (COE); Glasgow, Kentucky

I thought long and hard if I would be going to see Mammoth Cave or not. I've toured two cave systems in the past and was only half pleased. That sounds strange, it sounds like I was sad half the time. It isn't that. Perhaps my expectations were too big when I saw Carlsbad Cavern in New Mexico and Longhorn Caverns in Texas. I guess caverns to me is like Redwood Trees were to Ronald Reagan, "you seen one, you've seen them all." Carlsbad Cavern reminded me of the It's A Small World ride at Disney Land. It sounds strange since they should be opposites, but as soon as I got off the elevator at Carlsbad, my immediate thought was it was all fake. That probably tainted my viewpoint after that. I gave the cavern thing a second chance by going to Longhorn Caverns and it was a little better. I think it was better because you walk into the cavern by a pathway instead of an elevator. You can use the search bar to find my old posts about those caverns by searching for Carlsbad and Longhorn.

So with those past experiences in mind, I decided to give this "going underground with tons of rock above your head that can fall down and crush you at any moment like what happened to Big Bad John just to see something that Disney could create using plaster paris and set it to a song that will run through your head to make you a little more crazy." Yep, I did.

Although it is interesting, I won't get to deep into how and when the experts "think" the cavern was made. I take their ideas about some things with a big grain of salt, heck, they still think the Grand Canyon was formed by rock being eroded by a small river. Anyway, you see I got distracted again. Most caverns are formed over many millions of years as a large inland lake deposited material that became limestone with sedimentary rock and shale over the top of it. The limestone is dissolved and washed away leaving the large open caverns behind. In just a couple of sentences, that is the guess of the scientists. Wait a minute, since I have a Bachelors of Science degree in Civil Engineering, technically I'm a scientist. Maybe I need to be a little nicer to my "science brothers", nope, not gonna happen. 

The rest are a few pictures to give you an idea of what the cave is like in case you want to visit. Of the three caverns I've visited, this is perhaps the best. Entrance fee for the self guided tour, with senior pass, is a bargain at $4.00. 

They don't charge you a fee to enter the park, but they do charge for cave tours. I arrived a little after 9:00 am and most of the guided tours were already reserved. If you want one, you better make a reservation online and not just show up. That was fine with me since I was doing the self-guided tour which is usually open all day long.

From the Visitors Center, you walk downhill about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile to get to the historic cave entrance. You don't want to think about the return walk will all be up hill. But they do have a few benches along the way. "Thinking benches" on the way down and "Let me catch my breath" benches on the way back up.

You get the rush of very cool air coming out of the cave. The water dripping from the entrance is from yesterdays rain but it adds to the mystique of going underground.

More steps. 

Light at the end of the,,,,,,, that ain't right, I'm at the beginning.

The cave is large

As an engineer I was just as impressed with the material used to create the pathway. 

I thought I was going to be mostly alone, but there were at least 30 or 40 visitors already in the cave

On the self guided tour, you go about 1/2 mile in the cave then turn around and go back to the light.

A bench would have been nice about half way out.

Looking back at the cave entrance to give an idea of how little bit of rock is bridging the cave.

It was a nice way to spend a few hours and get some much needed walking exercise at the same time. 

Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe I'll Cya down the road. 


Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Random Thoughts on a Stormy Day

Location: The Narrows Campground (COE); Glasgow, Kentucky

I moved about 25 miles north to another COE campground on the same lake, Barren River Lake. Fortunately, the bad juju didn't follow me to this campground so I didn't need any assistance from Marie LaVeau. 

The water spigots are similar to the last campground by being jointly used with neighboring campsites.Two 25 foot hoses just reached my fresh water fill spout. I'm still using my fresh water tank and pump instead of connecting to city water. Some people think it is strange, and maybe it is, but I've been doing it for years while traveling. My reasons are, 1) the pump gives me consistent pressure compared to the varying pressures of city water systems at different campgrounds, 2) I don't have to use my water pressure regulator, 3) with a flip of my pump switch inside Liberty2 and a quick opening of a faucet, I can relieve the pressure in my whole water system. With city water, your water system is always pressurized until you turn it off at the outside faucet, so if a leak occurs while you are gone or if it's a slow leak, you won't know it for a while. With the pump, if it comes on without opening a faucet, you have a leak or a pump going out that is losing head pressure. 4) I can treat my water with Clorox as I'm putting it in my tank. I used to use an old diner style ketchup bottle, but now-a-days, I just pour it in my hose before filling my tank. Only on very rare occasions do I ever smell the Clorox. 5) I'm always using my fresh water tank which keeps the water "turned over" all the time. If I used city water sometimes and water tank other times, I would be concerned things may start growing in my fresh water tank between usage times, especially with these hot summer days. 

I ran into some new friends at the last campground. We had met earlier in the year when we were both staying at Mustang Island, near Corpus Christi, Texas. Their RV is also an Rpod and they are from just up the road a bit. Steve and Lisa Akin, it was good seeing ya'll again. Safe travels. 

I dropped a medical prescription off at the Walmart in Bowling Green on Monday and will pick it up this Friday. They texted me that it was ready about an hour after I left the store. Many people give Walmart a lot of grief about things but I like them a lot. I can get my prescriptions filled at their pharmacy, except when I'm in New York or North Dakota. You can get it filled in New York but a stupid state law forces them to "zero out" any refills. There aren't any Walmart pharmacies in North Dakota because of another stupid state law. This North Dakota saw says the pharmacist has to be a majority owner in the pharmacy and since that can't happen at Walmart, no pharmacy section in their stores. Mostly just mom and pop pharmacies which I would trust to transfer my script from an out of state Walmart. Walmart will also give me cash back, if I need it, which save me having to go to a bank or ATM. Their grocery and departments are usually well stock and have most everything I need. As I'm said before, once you're inside a Walmart, you can't tell what state you're in since they all look the same. But after visiting so many of them, I know they have at least two types of layout in the stores, either left-hand or right-hand. 

Speaking of stupidity, my next campground is in southern Indiana. To get there, I obviously have to cross the Ohio River. I'll be making the crossing at Louisville, Kentucky. There are three bridges in Louisville that cross the river and each of them are toll bridges. Towing an RV across will cost about $8.00 one way. If I don't want to pay the toll, there is a free crossing about 20 miles or so down river. The $8.00 would buy a little more than 2 1/2 gallons of gasoline. That 2 1/2 gallons would get be about 20 miles down the road. So it is cheaper to pay the toll. Heck, I won't even be paying toll for months since they will be taking a picture of my license plate and sending me the toll bill in the mail. I will surly look for it when I get back to Louisiana in a few months. I'm not sure if I will be paying to leave Kentucky or to enter Indiana, but whichever, it better be a smooth riding bridge since I'll be paying a toll as well as gasoline taxes at the pump. 

The worst of the storms passed to the south of me this morning. They were bad enough for me to change my plans about going to Mammoth Cave today. I rescheduled that exploration until tomorrow. I've been lucky on this trip and missed a lot of the major storms that have come close to me. It's a been a strange weather pattern this summer. I'm guessing that means it will be a cold winter. 

I have made reservation at campgrounds thru September 21th which gets me to a campground on the Gulf Coast of Florida that has been on my "to stay" list for many years. Liberty was too long at 30 feet to get into most of the campsites but Liberty2 fits in them just right. The campground is very strict about not parking on the sand or grass. I'm looking forward to the stay.

The last campground and this one has a 5:00 pm check-in time. To me, that is way to late. I used to think 3:00 pm was late. The rationale is so RV'ers with boats can spend the day on the lake before have to check-out at 4:30. It doesn't work too good for travelers though, especially with me starting to like the 100 mile towing distances. I just checked my next campground and they have a check-in time of 2:00 pm but only for Monday thru Saturday. I arrive on Sunday which has a 5:00 check in time, oh great. I've been lucky at the last campground and this one that the previous campers did not stay late in the afternoon. I was able to arrive and set up by 3:00 pm. 

I found this metal chicken on my picnic table at the last campground. It had directions to put your name, date and campsite number on it and pass it on to another camper. I ain't gonna sneak into someone else's campsite to put this on their table so I dropped it off at the office on my way out.

I found this rock at my last campsite. Someone painted and put the words "Be Kind" on it. It was nice and made me smile. I've know a couple of people who have done this before. I like it.

My campsite at The Narrows. So far, no bad Juju.

The view out my back window. The red building is the bathroom/showers. I've only showered in one in all the campgrounds I've stayed. 

A picture of the lake. That is only a very small part of the marina on the left. 

I guess this is enough random thoughts. It started sounding more like belly aching. 

Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe I'll Cya down the road.