Today our initial plan was to hit the road to Indiana first thing. However, it rained HARD last night and was still raining when we woke up. (I love the sound of rain on the Penelope’s roof, but not traveling in it.) The weather was moving northeast, and we thought that if we dragged our feet a little bit, it might be enough to keep us from driving in the mess all day. Since we didn’t make it to the quilt museum yesterday, we decided to go this morning. Thankfully, it slacked off just as we needed to get ready to roll out, so we got our act together and headed to Paducah.
If we are on the road the first issue is always parking, so let me say that they have a large lot that worked just fine. The National Quilt Museum was pretty cool. I’m a fan of all of what I call the old-fashioned, practical arts…crocheting, knitting, sewing, quilting…the things your great-grandmother sat around doing because it was necessary and not a hobby. The first “quilt” I looked at, though, wasn’t a quilt at all. It was a wood carving. Honestly, you could not tell that it wasn’t cloth draped across a quilting rod. They even had a piece of the material to the side that you could touch, because so many people did not believe it and touched the actual art. (Yes, I would have been tempted if they hadn’t had that little wood block there!)
The quilts in this museum are amazing, both hand- and machine-done and mixtures of both. There was a Japanese quilt display that was basically machined perfection. The Japanese are not taught quilting by their grandmothers or at little quilting circles. They go to school for it, and their goal is perfection. While I find “art” quilts beautiful, I really love and am fascinated by the hand-pieced, hand-quilted versions that would have been on a bed in a log cabin. They also had a display that was all
quilts made from patterns that were published in the Kansas City Star in the 1930s. I had several that I was drawn to. My favorite was totally hand done in Japan for the artist’s daughter’s wedding. Another favorite was made by an unknown artist and one of the Kansas City Star Quilts. Finally, there was one that appealed to me more as a piece of wall art and certainly not a quilt. It was all hand-done by a woman in Germany. I would really like to have that for my wall! Bottom line is, if you appreciate the work that goes into quilting and beautiful artwork, this museum is a good stop. They have a beautiful gift shop, too.
After a couple of hours wandering around, we hit the road. Unfortunately it was still drizzly, but not too bad. At Smithland, Kentucky we went down to an overlook where the Ohio and Cumberland rivers meet. This is another location where one river is very muddy and the other is less so, and it takes a while for the water to mix. For a good ways, there are two distinct bodies of water flowing side-by-side. Next to the overlook there was a huge, white house overlooking the river. I thought it was some type of welcome center or something, but it turned out to be a private residence. Man! I don’t know who the Straits are in Smithland, but it was quite a place. (Does anyone know if George Strait lives in Kentucky?)
We continued to Morganfield, Kentucky where we stopped for lunch at McDonald’s (they almost always have free wifi). I took the opportunity to download the update on my computer that has been driving me nuts for several days.
After lunch we crossed into Indiana and arrived at the Lincoln State Park around 3 PM. We had to circle around the site a couple of times because the first one they put us in was very short. The camp host saw us heading back out to the office and came running out to make sure we weren’t leaving, which was nice. This park is very large with open, slightly wooded areas, and lots of trails. Many of the facilities were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the depression. We don’t know what is happening here over the next couple of days, but they said there were only a handful of sites that we could get for more than one day. That is pretty odd for November.
Since it was still rainy, we went in and watched a little TV, and I worked on the journal. Dinner was sandwiches (tuna and egg salad that I made last night).
More from today:
This morning the rain was gone, but it was still a bit grey. We took our time getting up, then headed to Santa Claus to check it out. On the road into town there was a huge farm with miles of fencing and beautiful gates with the farm name (Big Tree Farm) on them. We thought it must be an amazing operation. Turns out it is just land that some guy from out-of-town bought and doesn’t use for anything. He spent a lot of money in fencing, though, so that helped the local economy.
Santa Claus was a bit of a disappointment. It is basically a strip mall with a few shops, only two of which were actually open. There were some pretty decorations and clothes, but that was about it except for a few Santa statues. There is an amusement/water park, but it is closed for the season. It just seemed to me that, with a name like Santa Claus, there could be so much more. It is November, and we are heading into prime Santa time. They need a new plan and marketing person.
We found a brochure for Saint Meinrad Archabbey and headed over there to check that out. This is a beautiful place. It was founded by monks from Switzerland in 1854 and is one of only two Archabbeys in the United States and eleven in the world. The architecture is beautiful. While the inside of the church was also impressive, I thought it a shame that they chose to remodel instead of simply restoring what was there. It doesn’t seem to match with the exterior now. Named for Saint Meinrad, who died in 961, the Archabbey operates under the rules of Saint Benedict and houses monks dedicated to prayer and work, as well as a theology school to train Catholic priests. Outsiders are welcome to sit in on some of the services that are held five times a day. The grounds are expansive and include a cemetery, a lake, and stables. Unexpectedly, there was also a large disc golf course and several other sports fields. (You just don’t think of monks running around kicking a ball, but they are just people after all.) The Archabbey also owns both Abbey Press and Abbey Caskets. Adjacent to the gift shop was a showroom for the caskets, and they are beautifully hand-crafted. (The story goes that the monks used to make caskets for their own who passed away, and people started requesting them for themselves or their family members. After lots of requests, the monks started a business.) They also make boxes/urns for ashes. One neat thing is that there is a cross inlaid into the top of the caskets and urns that you can remove when your loved one is interred and hang on the wall as a remembrance. I thought that was a nice idea. We spent a good bit of time walking and enjoying the grounds. The weather was still a little grey, but it didn’t rain and the temperature was perfect for exploring outside.
Next we headed over to Ferdinand to use the McDonald’s wifi. No luck this time. That is the first Mickey D’s that I’ve been in that didn’t have working wifi! Interestingly, there was a woman next to us who was clearly running a scam for cash. She got some takers, too, which was amazing to watch. It was our entertainment for the day.
After lunch we drove through Dale still searching for wifi with no lunch, then gave up and headed over to the Lincoln boyhood home. This is the site of the farm where Abraham lived from age seven until he was twenty-one (1816 to 1830). The cabin foundation is staked out to show size, and they cast some of the hearth stones in bronze, too. While it was not open now, there is a living history museum there during the summer months to show what life on that farm would have been like. Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, died here in 1818 and is buried in the nearby Pioneer Cemetery. It is a nice area to walk around. I did manage to sink into some mud in the field while trying to identify some type of squash that was left behind from the crop this season. (I couldn’t identify it, but one was broken open by animals and had insides like a common yellow squash in a gourd-shaped shell.)
Arriving back at Penelope we were amazed at the number of RVs that have come in. The park is not full, but at this rate it will be soon. I cleaned my shoes, then walked over and talked to the ladies staying next door. They were there for a geocaching social event that they come to every year. She said sometimes it is very crowded and other times almost empty. I can’t imagine 150+ sites being full for that on a cold weekend in November, but it does have a big following.
Having woken up this morning with a bit of a sore throat, I’ve been feeling a little bit puny this afternoon. I was happy to just stay indoors and watch TV for the evening. By dark, though, the noise level in the park was insane. I opened the door to see what was going on, and it was crazy. Kids were running EVERYWHERE…through peoples campsites, the open areas, up and down the roads, screaming and yelling. They were playing some type of game in the open, wooded area, but just took over the entire campground. I’m all for having fun, but peace and quiet are why we RV. There was none of that. It wasn’t just the kids, either. Some jack*** set up disco lights in the woods behind our trailer and was playing really loud music like it was a dance club. There was lots of drunken revelry, too. I guess I just don’t get it. Thankfully, except for one, they all quieted down about 11 PM. The exception was the guy in the camper next door who didn’t know how to close a door without slamming it or talk without yelling. He did quiet down before I reached my limit, though. LOL
Even with the noise calming down, I had a hard time sleeping. I’m either getting a chest cold or having a really bad allergic reaction, but either way, I don’t feel good. Hopefully, MW won’t get it. I think is was after 1 AM before I dozed off.
Today’s other pics: