Posted by: athike2011 | September 22, 2011

South Carolina

I made it to My uncle Peters place by around four today, we cooked up a bit of dinner and set off to get our kayaks for tomorrow excursion.

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The rest of the evening we spent taking it easy, watching TV as we had a big day planned for tomorrow.

We left in time to get to the dam at the beginning of our first run just as they were letting the water out at ten am. It was really cool to see the difference in water level and just how much it rises very quickly

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There was about four minutes between these photos.

We set off down the river through some flats and mild rapids, finding our way through some rock mazes, which was pretty neat. We saw a few turtles, lots of fish jumping around, including one, which pretty hilariously scared the crap out of Peter as it jumped right next to him. Sierra also came with us, I wasn’t sure how this would turn out as she had never been on a kayak before, but she did really well. We ended up beating the water back down to the car somehow and it didn’t really catch up until we had already retrieved the other vehicle.

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We headed out to another state park about 25 minutes away to put in another mile and a half or so run before the end of the day. In the end we both had a blast and a Kayak is definitely on my “to purchase” list!

The next day, Peter, Nancy and I went down to Congaree National Park, which is the only National Park in South Carolina. We did a pretty decent loop through the park, and I have to say it was the flattest national park I have ever been to, but it was a really cool place.

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In the picture above, around the trees are these spikes that stick out of the ground. They are actually the roots of the trees, that grow a pretty good distance out of the ground. We also found these really gnarly looking spiders that we all tried to take pictures of, sadly I left my memory card in my computer again so I was really stuck with what my iPhone could do. I later found out these are called banana spiders, but they are pretty huge and scary looking.

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On the way back we stopped and did another mile loop around a historic revolutionary war battle field, which was a rather plain but informational walk before heading home.

The next day was a football day. Peter and I went to the bar to watch our respective games, both with disappointing outcomes, before heading out to meet up with his girls and Nancy’s daughters for one of their birthdays. Dinner was nice, and it was really cool to get to reconnect with a few cousins I haven’t seen in forever.

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Posted by: athike2011 | September 18, 2011

North Carolina

I got into Asheville around 4, but sadly had not been able to get ahold of the friend I was planning to visit. However, I have another friend, High 5, who I met on the AT earlier this year, who lives just south in Brevard. I had planned on seeing her tomorrow, but as I couldn’t get a hold of my other friend, I got in touch with her and headed down early. We met up for some Mexican food and headed to the Pisgah National Forest to set up camp for the night.

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The next morning we went out to get some coffee then headed out to take a hike up John Rock, which was just a little further into the National Forest. It was fun to be back out hiking with a friend from the trail, we both spent most of the time reminiscing about the AT. The hike was a good five mile loop with about a 1,000ft elevation gain.

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That afternoon we drove up to Asheville High 5’s friends going away party. We had some lunch and wandered around a bit before hand. The party was more of a small gathering and pretty short lived, so we were headed back to Brevard by seven. When we got back we set up our camp in the same spot then headed out to the store to grab a few beers and spent the evening hanging out around our imaginary camp fire.

The next morning we started with coffee again and then went out to look at the new apartment she will be moving into once the summer camp she works at ends. From there we went out to the camp, which was just down the road, where I was treated to a shower.

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After we both got cleaned up, we grabbed a bite to eat and parted ways as I set off four my Uncles house in South Carolina.

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Posted by: athike2011 | September 17, 2011

West Virginia

I got to my Grandpa’s house today around 3 after my last two distillery visits. We sat and talked for a while before making some pork chops for dinner. Afterwards he showed me some of the various woodworking projects he has completed, which has given me something to aspire to.

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We spent most of the rest of the evening watching Nascar and reading. I found out that unlike most grandparents, my grandpa doesn’t go to sleep till midnight every night and also sleeps in until 9:30 or 10, which are my kind of hours.

The next morning I met up with my aunt Tish and her husband Steve, piled into their truck with Sierra and a Ranger four wheeler and headed out to my uncle Tom’s house.

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We got to Tom’s and unloaded the truck just below his house. We took the Ranger up the driveway, and just as we got to the top of the hill Sierra decided to run back down to play with a little dog that had followed us most of the way up. After dragging her back up the hill we went inside, said hello and watched a few minutes of the Steelers getting crushed before heading out in the Ranger up the hill further to their campsite.

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We sat and ate lunch at the campsite and watched Colton and Luke run around swinging golf clubs and sticks and trying to keep up with Sierra.

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When we finished our lunch we followed Tom out to fill his corn feeders then set out on a 4-wheeler trail to take a tour of the area.

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We headed back to grandpas and met up with my cousin David, his wife Danielle and their son Elijah. We went out to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, where we also met David’s brother Tyler and his girlfriend Selena. After dinner I went back to grandpas an relaxed for the rest of the evening.

The next day was mostly spend relaxing and watching football. I did meet up with my uncle George for a half hour or so as well. Grandpa had been telling me about how he bakes bread every week, so we decided to bake a loaf of raisin bread.

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While we let the bread proof we went out for my grandpas evening walk, but this time we went out to a local park and went for a little longer than normal.

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We got back and baked the loaves while watching football for the rest of the evening.

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Posted by: athike2011 | September 11, 2011

Kentucky and The Kentucky Bourbon Trail

I have seven distilleries on my list, six of which are part of “The Kentucky Bourbon Trail”. The six distilleries on the trail are Jim Beam, Makers Mark, Four Roses, Heaven Hills, Wild Turkey and Woodford Reserve. The only one not on the trail that I plan on visiting is Buffalo Trace. Today I drove straight from Indiana to Kentucky to try and get at least two tours in. The only stop I was forced to make was a 10am stop at White Castle. I know this sounds strange, made even stranger by the fact that I was not hungry at all, however, I had never been to a White Castle prior to today and it has been on my to do list for quite a while and has somehow eluded me. For my first White Castle ever, it was about exactly what I expected, fast food. Honestly the best part was the onion strips instead of fries, though the chicken sliders weren’t bad.

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For most of the distilleries I will just post pictures, as it is all about the same process and similar tours, but I will try to describe what is shown.

Jim Beam

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Worlds smallest, fully automated working distillery

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One of their warehouses

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Heaven Hills

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Visitors center and warehouses

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Inside the warehouse

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A whiskey thief for tasting whiskey from the barrels

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Our Tasting

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The gift shop

Makers Mark

 

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Entrance to the distillery and the mash tub

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Fermenter

Bottling

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Inside of the barrels

Four Roses

 

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Filling a fermenter

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Wild Turkey

 

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Buffalo Trace

 

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Woodford Reserve

Woodford for some reason thought their tour was worth $5 while all the others were free, I disagreed and decided to skip it.

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While I was in Kentucky I drove through Lexington, which is where my dad went to school at the University of Kentucky. I drove around for a bit and had a very good sandwich at Firehouse Subs. From here I will be off to West Virginia to see my Grandpa and a few aunts and uncles.

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They had this crazy new coke machine that has 100 different types of soda and a touch screen.

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I also thought I’d post a picture of a friend Sierra made at a dog park outside Frankfort, KY.

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