The alarm went off at 5am. We got cleaned up, bags loaded in the truck, and reported for breakfast at 6:15. Just one problem. The staff in the kitchen told us that breakfast started at 7. Ouch! We even asked at the front desk last night! They generously said we could go ahead and eat anything that was already out, so we got our nourishment from donuts, muffins, and bananas.
We were on the road by 6:45, and aiming the truck east.
Our vehicle made good time today, except for when we came upon a state’s welcome center. We visited many today.
As we were cruising through Indiana, we had to stop for gas at some generic gas station in some generic town. The store was adequate, nothing special…but it was no QuikTrip. But the bathroom had an unexpected surprise. It had this one-piece combination sink that held the soap dispenser, water, and hand dryer. I’d never seen anything like it, and actually made a second trip in to take a picture.
As we loaded back up in the truck, KK tells me “When I was getting a bottle of water out of the cooler in the back of the truck, your garment bag got snagged and has a tear. I will buy you a new one.” “Oh, you don’t have to do that. It is an old bag. We’ll put some duct tape on it, and it will be fine.” (Remember this story later…)
We pulled out, and were on our way to collect more state maps.
While inside the welcome center, PK pointed out that there was a monument on-site dedicated to the OKC bombing of 1995. We located the monument before we left. What a touching and generous gesture from the fine people of Kentucky.
As we approached Lexington, we exited the interstate about 10 miles west of town. The two lane highway we drove into Lexington was everything you would hope it would be. The road was lined with sprawling horse ranch after horse ranch, with the traditional horse fences. It was a neat experience. My only regret is that we did not get any pictures.
While driving into town, KK said he would like to take a nap but doesn’t want to miss anything. I asked PK if she ever felt that way and she said, “No”. PK is probably better at sleeping in the car than my 1yo niece, Ellery!
I was excited when we got to Lexington, and I talked PK and KK into driving by Rupp Arena, where the University of Kentucky plays basketball, and to their campus as well. I knew that Rupp Arena was off-campus, because Stephanie had visited it 20+ years ago. Google Maps took us downtown to where it should be, but there was not a single sign identifying Rupp Arena. As best we can tell, it must have been re-branded as the Lexington Convention Center. I was very disappointed we could not find it.
We shrugged that off and made our way to the campus and the football stadium, Kroger Field. The stadium had obviously had some renovations in recent years, as it looked great. (At least from the outside.)
We attempted to take a drive around campus, but University Drive seemed to take us along the outskirt of the campus and dumped us off. I will say this, most of the buildings we saw appeared to be new. Dorms on top of dorms. So we got an abbreviated look at the campus, but we did get to see it.
We were ready for lunch by this time and we found a place called Locals’ Craft Food and Drink. We managed to arrive during the 30 minutes the kitchen is closed while they transition from brunch to the regular menu, but we liked the looks of the place and stayed put.
Locals’ had one wall of garage doors, which were wide open, because it is important to note that the WEATHER HAS BEEN POSTCARD PERFECT. Highs in the low 80s with blue sky. We have enjoyed our trip so far and the weather has been a contributing factor.
The entire drive from Lexington to Charleston, West Virginia, was tree-lined. While it was pretty, it was difficult to see much more than the immediate area.
Of course, we did visit the West Virginia Welcome Center. While we were there, KK booked us a room in downtown Charleston. Things are starting to feel official now.
As we were getting in the truck, PK asked for a bottle of water so I went to the truck bed to grab her one. When I opened the tailgate, this is what I see:
We got checked into our hotel by 6:30, even with the change to the eastern time zone. We unloaded the bags and took advantage of the manager’s reception downstairs. Much to my delight, they were serving Yuengling beer, which was on my list of things to try on this trip. It did not disappoint.
After dinner, KK and I walked the few blocks over to the Kanawha River, at the recommendation of the bartender. We really lucked out showing up at the river at dusk. It was a gorgeous site, and a nice way to end a productive day.