Post 2 of 2 – William & Jasmin Visit from Germany (Bowling Green, KY)

Okay… better late than never – here’s post 2 of 2 on my son William’s visit to my daughter’s house in Bowling Green, KY.  William and his girlfriend Jasmin arrived on the 22nd of August and left on the 11th of September.

Other than just seeing the local sites, restaurants, shops, etc., – William also helped out with a couple projects around the house.  He helped paint a few of the interior doors, mowed the extensive lawn, etc.,  You might recall from previous blog posts that this is my youngest daughters (Joleen’s) first house along with her fiancé Dylan and one of the reasons we’re parked here is to help out with some of the renovations.

Over the labor day holiday, William & Jasmin went to rent a car so they could drive south and see some more sites on their own.  The rental agency upgraded them to a pickup truck for the same price due to the unavailability of a compact model.  They ended up at the beach in Pensacola FL and William also ended up with a sunburn 🙁


When Will & Jasmin returned from their labor day outing, we all (except for Dylan, who had to work) drove up to Clermont, KY to the Jim Beam Distillery for a tour:

Sign near entrance road just off I-65 south of Louisville, KY.
Appropriately painted barn at entrance road to the Jim Beam Distillery.
(L to R) Will, Joleen, Jasmin, Stilla. Tour registration and gift shop in background.
(L to R) WIll, Jasmin, Stilla, and Joleen waiting for our bus to start the tour.
The Jim Beam Tour Bus.

Inside the distillery:

Tour guide explains the ingredients.
Tour guide explains the fermenting system.
We could feel the heat rising from the process and we tasted the ingredients by dipping our fingers into the mash.
Low Wine and High Wine.




Tour guide demonstrated filling a barrel with the appropriate proof alcohol to begin it’s aging process.


Our first taste of Jim Beam before the aging process was with our finger dipped into a small glass that got passed around.
The tour continued with a walk-thru of the large vat room.
Looking at the ingredients in one of the large vats.
Quality Control.


Most everyone posed for pictures between the two alcohol fountains.
The tour continues at the barreling section of the distillery.


At the end of our distillery tour, we had the opportunity to fill our own personalized bottle of Knob Creek.

Here I am rinsing out a new bottle with whiskey before it’s placed on the conveyer belt to be filled and capped by automatic system.
Waiting for our personalized bottle to whiskey to be filled and capped. (L to R) Joleen, WIlliam, Jasmin, and self.


The bottle cap is dipped into hot wax after it comes off the line.
I placed my thumbprint in the wax on the top of the bottle to personalize it and secure my identity in the federal database 🙂
Our own personalized bottle of Jim Beam “Knob Creek”. Have to save it for a special occasion.
A bottle of each Jim Beam type or “batch” is saved at the beginning and the end of the filling process for quality control purposes.


Then we walked through an area to watch the large scale bottling process.




At the end of the distillery area tour, we got to see a display room with all the old Jim Beam decanters that were sold throughout the years:

I still have one of these ’57 Chevy decanters somewhere in storage.



I have this old Duesenberg decanter somewhere in storage also.



I used to have the corvette decanter, but gave it to my old high school buddy Mike when we “down-sized”.


Here’s a little “Did you know” item… This is one of the original I Dream of Jeannie bottles that the TV series used (below).

The “I Dream of Jeannie” bottle.

We boarded the tour bus again to go over to one of the Aging Warehouses and the much-awaited tasting room:





We walked by various outbuildings to one of the aging warehouses.


There were numerous huge warehouses scattered around the distillery property.






We walked into one of the huge warehouses.


Our tour guide explained how long each barrel is stored before bottling.  This display (below) shows how much whiskey is left in each barrel after a number of years due to evaporation i.e., “angels cut” and soaking into the charred wood of the barrel i.e., “devils cut”.


It was amazing how high the barrels are stacked in the warehouse.



Notice the Mila Kunis barrel (below) from the recent series of Jim Beam commercials.



After touring one of the barrel storage facilities our tour guide took us to the “tasting-room”.  A highlight for many of the tour guests, except for the fact the “tasting” is limited to tiny sips of 5 different brands.


All the Jim Beam brands on display:



The “tasting” machines automate and limit the amount each of us got to sample the various brands.  We were each given a swipe card loaded with five “tastes”.  You had to insert your card into the machine and press a button to get a “taste”.  Oh well, at least no one was going to get a DUI, right?


(L to R) Jasmin, Joleen, William, and Stilla sampling the various Jim Beam brands.

After navigating our way back through the gift shop with only a few small souvenirs (and payment for the personalized bottle during the tour) we headed back to the house in Bowling Green with a quick stop at Fort Knox.  We thought we’d check out the Patton Museum but we didn’t get through the gate because Will, Joleen, and Jasmin didn’t have ID cards and we would have to register at the  visitor gate building which looked like a long process and it was getting late.  So we just took pictures of the Gold Depository (←link) and headed on home.

Back at the house, Will & Jasmin bought a pool earlier for Joleen & Dylan so I even took my turn one day getting a sunburn.



On the last weekend of Will & Jasmin’s visit we had the opportunity to attend a “balloon glow” in Bowling Green.  It was nothing like the Albuquerque Balloon fest or others we’ve visited in the past like in Lake Havasu or Memorial Park in Colorado Springs, but still always cool to see.




On September 11th, a sad day for many reasons, we drove Will & Jasmin back up to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and said our farewells.



It was good seeing William & Jasmin again, hopefully again next year.


On the way back from the Cincinnati airport to Bowling Green we took the long way home (scenic byway) through Lexington.  At the beginning of our trip home we noticed that we would pass by the fairly new attraction “Ark Encounter” a life-sized Noah’s Ark, so we used the opportunity to stop by and check it out.



Entrance fee was $40 per person and $10 for parking.


There were several other “expensive” options at Ark Encounter as well.  None of which we took part of.


We boarded a bus for the short ride to the Ark.



Life-size Noah’s Ark.  Pretty impressive.



We toured each floor of Noah’s Ark to view stuffed animal displays and many, many small interpretive rooms where we fought the crowd to look at pictures, dioramas and displays.  My take-away was that it was a little overpriced and most of the interpretive displays too small and cramped for viewing with crowds of people.  It is definitely something to see once, but don’t think we’d go back again.  It was a lot of walking as the ramps inside between each floor extended the entire length of the Ark, then you’d circle each floor just to take another long ramp to the next floor.  View images (here).

I’m finishing up this blog post from Memphis, TN.  We said our farewells and ‘see-ya-laters’ to daughter Joleen & Dylan and hit the road on the 21st.  It was great staying with them for the last two months and we got a lot of renovations done on their new house.  Stilla especially enjoyed the quality time and use of a full kitchen while we were there 🙂  Love ya Joleen & Dylan, til next time!

My iPhoto program is still giving me some grief (it crashed again and I had to rebuild) and I finally broke down and got a new iPhone 6S and am working through how to get new pictures downloaded and saved for the blog.  It seems that I can’t just plug my phone into the laptop anymore and have the pictures download like a digital camera does.  All the pictures I take on my iPhone want to go to iCloud no matter what settings I make, so I have to manually download pictures from iCloud (which is a lengthy and convoluted process) before I can even edit and resize them.  So, I guess what I’m saying is that my next blog post might be awhile.  I have a lot of pictures that we took at Graceland yesterday that I’d like to share… anyway, stay tuned.

Post 1 of 2 – William & Jasmin Visit from Germany (Bowling Green, KY)

Once again, it’s been quite awhile since my last post 🙁  We’re still parked at my youngest daughters house in Bowling Green, KY and as I mentioned in my last post, we had our son William and his girlfriend Jasmin visit from Germany.  They were here for 3 weeks and we stayed very busy – so that’s my primary excuse for not updating the blog.  Let me try to bring you up to date on some of the stuff we’ve been up to since they got here…

Stilla greets Will & Jasmin at the Cincinnati airport.

On the 22nd of August, Stilla and I drove the Silverado from Bowling Green, KY up to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport to pick up Will & Jasmin.  We drove ~220 miles one way to pick them up.  It was a long drive but William found a good deal on their tickets and it would have cost them a lot more to fly into someplace closer to us like Louisville or Nashville.

Will and Jasmin with a happy Stilla, arriving at the airport.

One of the first places we visited while they were here in Bowling Green, KY was the Lost River Cave.


We took the Lost River Cave boat tour.  This tour is touted as the “only underground boat tour in the state of Kentucky”.

View from our seats in the flat-bottom tour boat.


We all had to duck our heads down for a short stretch to keep from hitting the cave ceiling.  Good thing there weren’t any stalactites hanging down, eh?


The boat tour was pretty cool along with the associated walking tour of the scenic valley in front of the cave entrance.  I highly recommend it if you’re visiting Bowling Green.  We also visited the National Corvette Museum on another day, but I didn’t take any pictures this time since I already blogged about it in an earlier post when  I visited there with an old Army buddy.

In other non-travel related news: My daughter Joleen and her fiancé Dylan had already scheduled to get the windows replaced on their new home, so we all hung around the house for a couple days to supervise the installers:

Old bedroom window being replaced.
View of backyard pool through the empty window frame.
Bay window being replaced; View of the Coach in front yard.

Will & Jasmin did a lot of running around town to get some shopping done while they were here.  We also checked out a large number of restaurants in the area many evenings.

On one of the weekdays while Joleen & Dylan had to work – I took Will & Jasmin to nearby Mammoth Cave National Park.  Stilla stayed home to watch the house and the dogs since caves aren’t her thing.


Will & Jasmin wait for the bus to arrive to take us to one of the cave entrances for our tour.
Walking to the cave entrance for the start of our tour.


The cave entrance had double doors to keep the climate controlled.
View downwards over a deep pit.

Our guided-tour took over an hour and it felt like we walked for miles.  We took the “Domes & Dripstones” tour for $15pp.



View of the non-skid cave floor… not too easy to walk on at times.




Our fascinating tour ended at a revolving door where we caught the bus back to the Visitors Center.


It was good to see sunlight again after our tour 🙂


Mammoth Cave is a “must-see” when visiting Kentucky… maybe I can get Stilla to take one of the shorter tours sometime.

Check back later for Part 2 of 2 on Will & Jasmin’s visit.  We also visited the Jim Beam Distillery and I have a lot more pictures but the laptop has been giving me trouble lately with loading and saving pictures into my iPhoto program.  We’re planning on heading back west soon so we can be at the next Alpine Coach Rally in Pahrump, NV by the 29th.  I’ll post again soon…