June 27th, 2006

little review

Lyrics for Tuesday

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We made four major stops on Monday: Churchill Downs, the Louisville Zoo, Lincoln's birthplace in Hodgenville and Mammoth Cave National Park. One was more awesome than the next. We got to the racetrack just too late to watch the horses being put through their paces -- they don't race Mondays and Tuesdays -- but we took the tour of the track and museum and met the resident thoroughbred, Phantom on Tour. I have a strange and ambivalent relationship with horse racing: on the one hand, I agree with everyone who believes that animals should not be exploited in that manner, and on the other hand I find it competely thrilling and absolutely loved the 360-degree movie and all the exhibits on the champions. From Churchill Downs we went to the zoo, where we had a picnic surrounded by adult and baby geese trying to mooch food from us, then went to see what we considered to be the critical exhibits given our limited time: the African animals and gorilla exhibit, the herpetology house including the albino alligator *thinks affectionately of Viggo Mortensen* and of course the penguins, which in this case were Rockhoppers...and not entirely behind glass, so the exhibit was lovely and cool and it was possible to take photos without either blur or flashbulb glare!

The Lincoln birthplace was pretty much on the way between Louisville (dominated by its university sports teams, the Cardinals, whose logos were everywhere) and Mammoth Cave, so we stopped long enough to see the log cabin replica preserved inside a monument that resembles the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC and to walk through the visitor's center exhibits, though we didn't stay for the movie. We had reservations for a 4:30 tour at Mammoth Cave and despite crossing the timeline knew our timing would be tight. We did a walking tour of the part of the cave system with Frozen Niagara and the Drapery Room, and we also walked down to the original cave entrance -- Mammoth Cave National Park was originally two privately run, competitive entertainment complexes which the federal government did not control until the Depression, when the entrepreneur determined to find his own piece of the fortune who kept blasting into sinkholes until he found one he could purchase sold out his share. The parts of the cave I saw reminded me of Shenandoah and Luray Caverns -- it is hard to fathom that there are likely 800 miles of underground paths!

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We didn't get to the grungy Quality Inn until nearly 8 local time, had a very late dinner after letting the boys take a quick swim (and believe me, if I notice the grunge, it's pretty grungy). There is no cable or wireless anywhere around, just a phone line plugged into the laptop at 2400 bps or something, so rather than run up minutes on AOL's 800 number to avoid local long distance charges I am just going to post this quickly and get offline -- will try to answer comments, tags, etc. tomorrow! Sorry, again!