Month: March 2005

Fishing, finally

Today, for the first time since well before Linda’s surgery at the end of August, I went fishing.

I was a little disappointed.

I probably should have left work earlier, or just not gone at all. But it was such a beautiful day — sunny sky, temperature in the 70s — that I really felt the urge to fish.

So I ran by home to get my gear, then to the bait and tackle shop for my 2005 license, then to the lake. Or a lake.

My first choice was Ogle Lake, in Brown County State Park. It was close by and, being limited on time, seemed convenient. But north entrance to the park was closed, so I had to backtrack to the west gate. Then the road to Ogle Lake itself was closed for construction, so I punted and chose Lake Strahl, the only other fishable body of water in the park.

It amazes me still how many people come to our park to picnic and enjoy nature, even during a cool spring break. The area around Lake Strahl was packed with people. It appeared as though some sort of family reunion was taking place and those who weren’t eating seemed to be either fishing or walking (loudly) around the lake.

Because of the large crowd, I opted to carry in just a couple of small tackle cases and a lightweight rod/reel combo. Once at my destination, however, I realized that I hadn’t even remembered to wear my hat or new polarized sunglasses.

Finally, there appeared to be no fish in Strahl Lake. Of course, I don’t always fish to catch fish, but rather to enjoy the time alone and outdoors. It could have been better, though, if I hadn’t had to jump through so many hoops in order to get going.

Maybe tomorrow?

Be It Ever So Humble

Coal Miners Memorail Park, Benham, KentuckyWe’re home — the vacation is over.

I enjoyed this trip, but it was a lot more stressful than I expected. I realize that I brought some of it on myself, but certainly not all. I’m just glad to be back.

Saturday was a very eventful day. We spent Friday night at The Old Schoolhouse Inn in Benham. It was exactly what its name implied.

Formerly the community school, the building now houses a fine hotel. Guests enter through the main entrance of the school and walk down the locker-lined hallway to their rooms, which are half a classroom each. Ours featured a pair of cherry sleigh beds with matching cherry furnishings. It was quite elegant.

Saturday’s continental breakfast left a little to be desired, namely, more food. Still, it was better than the non-existant contintental breakfast at the Sheraton Suites in Lexington.

After eating and checking out, we took in the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum across the street. We easily spent three hours there, taking in all four floors of information and displays. In the basement was a mock coal mine, complete with four-foot ceiling. A volunteer at the museum provides a guided tour of the mock mine, which was fascinating to the kids as well as Linda and I.

We departed the museum for Lynch, Kentucky, just up the road from Benham, where a retired mine exists. In the works is a project to open Portal 31 to tourism, using robotics to demonstrate and explain the process of coal mining.

Though the mine itself was not yet open to the public, much of the grounds outside the mine was and was included in a self-guided walking tour of the area. It was really impressive, seeing how mining was such a lifestyle for the people of that era.

Portal 31 was our final tourist destination of the trip, so we loaded up and headed up the highway, through Cumberland, Harlan and Pineville to some of our old stomping ground in Barbourville and Corbin. We spent last night at the Fairfield Inn in Corbin, with an indoor pool and hot tub and a fine continental breakfast this morning.

We departed Corbin without any sightseeing around 10:45 this morning and arrived home safely this evening.

Like I said, it was a fun trip, a nice trip, but an exhausting trip. We’ve discussed going back to that region near the end of May, but basing ourselved in Corbin and taking day-trips from there. We’ll see.

From Lexington to Letcher

Sheraton Suites, Lexington, KentuckyAhhh … how did we live before the Internet? I write this from Benham, Kentucky, in Harlan County, middle-of-nowhere. There are access numbers for the city of Harlan, but that apparently is a long-distance call from here. And at 50 cents a minute, it’s not worth the long distance fees to post from here.

So this entry is being composed off-line and will be posted when the opportunity presents itself.

Our first full day of vacationing was Thursday of this week, and wasn’t much like a vacation. We took the boys (and ourselves) to what we consider the best bookstore ever, Joseph-Beth in Lexington. They’re still in the same general area, but in a new specific location from when we lived in the vicinity a dozen or so years ago. The boys were pretty impressed, being connoisseurs of booksellers themselves.

We backed that up by heading to Barnes and Noble for comparison. There was none.

Tyler and Brianna at Damon’s After several other stops, the highlight of the day (for me, at least) finally came to fruition. Mary, who I worked with at the newspaper in Corbin, and her daughter, Brianna, met us for dinner at Damon’s. Mark came down from Cincinnati and we all had a terrific time. It was amazing seeing the interaction between Tyler and Bri, as if they’d been raised together and had been friends for life. I’m glad that they’re forging a friendship.

As we were preparing to check out of the Sheraton, I found myself questioning the basis for awarding stars to hotels. While the Sheraton was very nice, it lacked in many areas. Perhaps we’re just not high-society travelers, but things like complimentary continental breakfasts and in-house snack machines for guests would be a nice addition. Maybe it would bump them from three-and-a-half stars to four if they added those amenities?

All of us on Mark’s lap at Damon’s Yesterday, Friday, we drove to Letcher County where we took the “scenic” route through Blackey and Roxana en route to Whitesburg. Linda took tons of photos along the way, building inspiration needed to finish her book. After dinner at the Pine Mountain Grill on the edge of town, we headed over the mountain (no exaggeration) and wound up here, in Benham, home of the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum – our destination in a few minutes.

All in all, it’s been a fun trip. Despite the insistence of others in our family, I’ve been pretty relaxed through it all. You just can’t believe everything they say. Also on tap for today is a trip to Portal 31, a renovated deep mine near Lynch, just up the road. It’s also part of the museum, and should give us an opportunity to go in and see what it was like in the mines. I think Tyler could take it or leave it, but Zach is quite excited about it.

After that, I think we’re heading toward Corbin for the night, though we might just head for home. We’re sort of winging a lot of this trip, which is kind of cool. Either way, I should get this posted by tonight sometime and be able to log another entry.

Until then …

Arrival

We finally got out of Nashville and made it to our hotel in Lexington, Ky., after stops at Burger King in Columbus, Wal Mart in Seymour and the Citgo gas station and truck stop at the Waddy/Peytona exit off I-64 between Louisville and Frankfort.

The hotel is Sheraton Suites, and awesome. It’s a 3-1/2 star facility, which is probably two more stars than I’m used to. We have a two-room suite on the fourth floor. Unfortunately, we’re on the opposite side of the hallway as those rooms with balconies overlooking the French Quarter themed lobby. We do have a view of the outdoor swimming pool, which is covered and closed for the season.

Our trip was rather uneventful, short of the longer-than-expected time shopping at the Wal Mart. We had to purchase some type of carrying object for the kitten, which made the trip with us, to disguise her in places where she might not be welcome (Sheraton Suites?).

Currently, Linda is enjoying a jacuzzi bath and the boys are playing video games. There’s a television in both rooms, so she and I won’t have to be bothered by their choices in video entertainment.

That’s about it for now. I believe it’s my turn in the jacuzzi. We don’t have anything concrete planned for tomorrow other than a dinner date with our friend Mary and her daughter Brianna.

Until then …

A Vacation?

Isn’t it peculiar how much work one has to get done in order to take time off work?

As our family prepares to depart on a small vacation to finish off spring break week, I find myself doing twice the work. Isn’t that more akin to cramming for final exams than a vacation?

Anyway, I have started this blog to share some of my thoughts and adventures. It’s taken a few weeks to get everything pretty much where I want it on this page, so the slate is clean and I can write.

Hopefully, I’ll even have guest bloggers from time to time, who will share some of their thoughts on life’s events.

So, let the trip begin!