I have just taken a new job in Great Falls, Montana. A new state and new areas to explore.
By: joealaska , 5:53 AM GMT on June 25, 2012
Having a great time at the family reunion. That is exactly why I came.
My plan was to show up when everyone was already here spending the first night at dinner at my folks home. I was going to call them from my cell as I stood outside, have them pass the phone around a bit, then ring the doorbell while still talking. I really wanted to have someone become “in” on the deal at the last second, so they could stand back and film the reaction. But that just did not work out.
I showed up in town at 1 PM, well before dinner time. The only people in town at that point were touring a bourbon distillery and enjoying free samples near Lexington. I did not know that at the time, so I headed home not knowing what would happen. I took a cab and got out a few houses down the road. I called the house and my mom answered. After a bit of chit chat I rang the doorbell and kept talking. She said the doorbell was ringing and someone was there. She answered the door still holding the phone. Her great face reaction was caught as I filmed, and she started laughing and yelling, still talking into the phone. I could only film a few seconds, then I had to give her a hug.
Dad was downstairs and I walked down as he walked up. He was stunned.
So now my big surprise became a series of surprises. People arrived at various points thru the afternoon, and we did the surprise over and over. Usually I just walked in as everyone was hugging and saying hello. Some good reactions. My sister CYBER could not stop laughing. (The free bourbon samples had NOTHING to do with it!) It was all very fun. Every ONE of them thought everyone else was in on the surprise. I told NOBODY.
I had the tickets for over 2 months. A month before I came through here last time. When the reunion dates were changed from late May to late June I called Mom and said it was not good for me to leave at that time. She got upset, but accepted it.
Next day I called my boss and told him I was committed to being at work this particular weekend, but I further explained I wanted to attend the reunion. He said to go for it. Very COOL. I bought tickets right away, knowing I would wait until the last second to make a decision. If it got busy, too busy, I would just not go. Nobody would be disappointed. I could use the ticket later.
Then my boss came to Dutch last week. I told him I was still not definitely going. He asked why, and then he explained he had backup arriving from Seattle to cover for me. One guy I knew could help out, so the trip was ON.
First night, FRIDAY, all of us had dinner at the folks house. German cuisine with brats and potato salad. Very good. The kids frolicked in the back yard by the golf course.
Saturday we went to Churchill Downs. We had plans to just stop by for some pictures, but when we got there it was a big race day with the running of the Debutante Stakes. We all went in and enjoyed the food, drink, and the races. EVERYONE was betting mainly $2 bets. Some won and some lost. I favored the long shots, and by the end of the day my money was long shot. We only stayed for three races, but everyone had a good time. Plus, everyone got a taste of Old Louisville and the red brick houses. It was tough to do something that all 21 of us enjoyed, but Churchill Downs was a bullseye.
Saturday night we took over a room at The Bristol in downtown Prospect. The food and service was great and reasonable. Again, no complaints.
Today was a bit more free form. Those with the most energy went south to Mammoth Cave for a cave excursion. Those SAME then stopped by Bernheim Forest on the return trip. Bernheim is like an arboretum with all sorts of trees and natural settings. The gang was in the middle of a long day so they made the quick tour and then returned to Louisville.
Meanwhile, a smaller contingent went to Sunday Services then brunch at a nearby restaurant.
And the rest of US took a tour of the horse farms and tobacco farms along US 42 heading northeast from Louisville. We turned off and took some small side roads here and there, checking out the cool small communities in rural KY. Sligo, Bedford, Milton, and Campellsburg. And many more.
We stopped for gas in Sligo along US 42. We looked at the cars that shared that small parking lot with us... A vintage Rolls, a vintage Bentley. A couple of premium series Ferrari, and a nice Peugot. They were just coming from a car show in Louisville and heading for Detroit. We were talking a bit as THE DRIVER of my vehicle filled the tank with gas. Something went wrong, and the tank overflowed pretty much, only stopping when the driver grabbed the hose out. The automatic turnoff did not work. So there was gas all over their rental car, which we washed off. The owner helped out with the cleanup.
We eventually went down to The Ohio River where there was a narrow bridge across the river, from Milton KY to Madison Indiana. Madison is home to a big speedboat race on the river each year, The Madison Regatta. Very quaint town with interesting architecture, like many KY cities. First we crossed that bridge, a suspension bridge. It was under construction / repair. Looks they are adding two more lanes on the west side, making it two in both directions.
Then we stopped for coffee/latte/smoothie whatever. Drove by a local golf course that I will remember to play next time.
We returned via southern INDIANA, passing through Henryville which was hit hard a few months ago by a tornado. I wanted to see some of the damage, and at least ONE of the other passengers also mentioned earlier they wanted to see it. But we drove through an undamaged area and were suddenly out of town, and there was no groundswell of support to turn around and look around further. People were hungry, so we just had lunch.
Later, everyone returned from their various adventures to meet for a pizza dinner to finish off the reunion. Another great night of weather, so we all were mainly outside. Eventually we all said our goodbyes. Just then, the dusk hit hard and the lightening bugs came out. Most of the kids had never seen these before. They waited for them, and they were not disappointed. Another hour was spent catching them. Good stuff.
Then we finished the goodbyes and they were gone.
Had a really good time, and everyone is talking up SMITHTOWN, NEW YORK for 2014. Just east of the big city on Long Island.
That will be longer than the trip I made THURS / FRI to get HERE. Had a 6 hour leg from Anchorage to Chicago that left at midnight. I have been trying to catch up on my sleep ever since.
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