Vacation 2012

I didn’t have any way to post stuff along the way, so here it is all at once.

Total miles driven: 2,611
Number of states driven through: six
Cavalier sightings: Two (for a total of four dogs)
Cavalier souvenirs purchased: 1
Junior Ranger badges earned: 3

So we pulled out of out our driveway near Atlanta July 8. Plans were a little dicey there for awhile as Katy got tonsillitis followed by “walking” pneumonia, complete with high fever, about a week before. But she got better and off we were.

Here we go. We were hosting Flat Charlie, Flat Faith and the puppies from our Cavalier forum. They also went to Vancouver with us a few years ago.

We stopped at the Tennessee Welcome Center and didn’t find a welcome to Tennessee sign but we found this:

The real thing would have been nicer, but we’ll take the cardboard cutout!

We just passed through Tennessee and then into Kentucky.

We spent two days in Kentucky touring Mammoth Cave. We did two cave tours and a surface tour all about the history of slavery at Mammoth Cave (very interesting!) Heath went there several times as a child, we went before Katy was born and Katy has been wanting to go for the last couple of years. So we finally got a chance. Unfortunately because she was still on an inhaler for her pneumonia we thought it best to cancel her junior caving tour. But we enjoyed the two tours we took.

I didn’t get many photos inside the cave. We did the New Entrance Tour the first day. The “new entrance” is nearly a hundred years old! It had 285 steps that went down and my calves were really sore the next day. The second day we did the Historic Tour and learned a lot about the history of the cave. It was all very interesting.


Katy earned the Junior Ranger badge while she was there. Her book was finished the first day but we didn’t turn it in until the second day and they had just run out of the pins. So it’s coming in the mail. She got the certificate, though.

While in Kentucky we visited Lincoln’s Birthplace and Boyhood Home Unit. Abraham Lincoln was born at a place called Sinking Spring Farm and lived there until he was two. The farm was called Sinking Spring because of a sunken spring. The whole area is a karst landscape, meaning it’s made up of lots of sinkholes. We learned all about that from a geologist at Mammoth Cave. But anyway. Sinking Springs was a really nice 300-acre farm that Mr. Lincoln payed $200 cash for. When Abraham was two they lost the land because of a title dispute. The rented a 30-acre farm (not nearly big enough to support a family) down the street called Knob Hill. Abraham lived there from ages 2-7 when his and nine other famlies lost their farms for one reason or another. Mr. Lincoln tried to get Sinking Spring back but was unable to. By then the Lincolns were fed up with Kentucky’s screwy property rights laws and slavery and decided to head north to Indiana.

The main feature of the birthplace is a scaled-down replica of the Lincoln Monument and a replica of the cabin is inside. No flash photography is allowed so the photos were all a little blurry.

This is a replica of the home Abraham lived in from ages 2-7. It looks just like the birth home.

On the way out of Kentucky we went through Owensboro where Heath was born and lived until age 14. We looked at his birthplace and boyhood home! And ate at a famous barbecue restaurant called The Moonlite Inn.

The next stop was Indiana. No welcome sign there, either! Since it was on the way we decided to stop at Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. We got there on Wednesday and it turns out they had had some kind of grand reopening on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, so everything was nicely mowed and trimmed. It was a living history museum with people in costume. A blacksmith made Katy an S hook while we watched.

The cabin is a replica, but they’ve found the footprint of the original cabin and have it staked off. This is where Lincoln lived from ages 7-21. His mother died when he was nine and two years later Mr. Lincoln hitched up the wagon and headed to Kentucky to find a wife. There was a family friend with three children whose husband had died. So he married her. I got the impression that Abraham’s stepmother really encouraged him in his studies, picking up where his own mother had left off.

The kitchen end of the cabin

Katy climbing the ladder to check out the loft.

The outline of the original cabin.

After exploring the grounds and after Katy got another Junior Ranger badge we loaded back up in the car and continued north.

No welcome to Illinois sign but we stopped off at Effingham to look at the big cross.

I don’t remember how tall it is, but it’s impressive.

Finally we made it to Wisconsin!

The main point of the trip was to go visit Heath’s sister and her family in Wisconsin. Here are Katy andher three first cousins and their combined seven children. I think Katy was a little overwhelmed by it all but she did like having lots of playmates.

Katy, Ethan, Evan and Ella pounding Oreos to make dirt cake.

While there we visited to different museums. The first was the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in  Manitowoc. The big attraction is touring a WWII submarine called the USS Cobia. It’s the most complete WWII sub in existence. We learned all about live on that type of submarine. The main thing to know is it was 90 degrees. The men hung around in their boxers although officers had to wear shirts and everyone had to wear a shirt at meals. It was so humid in the engine room that clouds formed and it rained. The had the best food in the whole military to make up for it, though. They even had an ice cream maker and got ice cream!

Katy and the dogs on the deck of the sub.

It was hard to get pictures inside. This is the kitchen. It was 90 degrees and the cooks baked fresh bread every day and birthday cake if someone had a birthday. But on the other hand, they got to go on deck if the submarine has surfaced.

There’s not a lot of room to spare in a submarine. These bunks are on top of torpedoes.

We went from an undersea adventure to a high-flying adventure. Oshkosh is home to the EAA, Experimental Airplane Association. They have a museum and every year they have a fly-in. I think the fly-in started today (July 21) but might start Monday the 23. At any rate, so many planes come in that for that one week it’s the world’s busiest airport.

This is Space Plane 1 that was on display.

They had a nice WASP display.

I didn’t really get any pictures but one day we went to a nature center that had a prairie. It was the three of us along with Lee, Chip, Ethan, Evan and Ella. Lee taught the kids all about prairies and we also checked out butterflies and frogs. And we nearly left Ella behind.

Heath got this picture of the kids playing the role of dead prairie grass. I think what happened next is a fire burned them up to let the new plants underneath have room to grow.

So that wraps up our Wisconsin adventure. Then we loaded up the SUV and headed back south. We thought about swinging by Lincoln’s tomb but decided not to. We were kind of anxious to get home.

We did stop in Metropolis, Ill., to check out the Superman statue.

Oh, and I got this picture Wednesday somewhere in either Wisconsin or Illinois. Glad we had air conditioning!

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