Leaving The Snow Behind, “Southward Bound”

As I mentioned in my last post, we had woken up Tuesday morning Oct. 29th to a few inches a measurable snow. It was beautiful but this was an indication it was time to start heading south. 20191029_07491320191029_070706

I had been gradually packing up since I returned home from New Mexico. On Wednesday I finish putting everything away and took my slides in so that I could head out Thursday morning. They were predicting more snow for Thursday but I did not expect the whole lot, boy was I wrong. I awoke to about five or six inches of fresh sticky snow; I said the heck with it I’m heading south no matter what. I finish closing things up loaded the car and was gone. The first 30 miles the roads were slippery and snow packed but once I got close to Madison, WI the roads were only wet but the visibility was terrible all the way till Bloomington, Illinois. Here’s what it looked like most of the time out the windshield. 20191031_122106

When I stopped you could see how this had been sticking to the whole RV making a mess of things. 20191031_131459

At Bloomington I started heading east to Indianapolis, the roads were dry from this point on. But there was snow in the fields all the way to just west of Indianapolis. By the time I got through Indianapolis it was dusk and I found a wayside to spend the night. The next day I had planned just a short drive to Bardstown, Kentucky. Where I got a campsite at My Old Kentucky Home State Park. This is a small campground, but the park itself is quite large with the full golf course and of course the historical mansion that the song “My Old Kentucky Home” was wrote about. Check out their website here. I had checked the website the day before and knew there would be plenty of available campsites for a night or two. I arrived early before 9 AM and got into a campsite large enough for my rig. This campground is kind of poorly laid out, with uneven and poorly arranged camp sites. I’ve stayed here a couple times before and knew that I could find sites that would work. You ask why would I stop here if I knew it wasn’t a very nice campground. Of course for the bourbon. Bardstown is located right in the middle of bourbon country. After I got settled in, I was off to my favorite bourbon manufacturers distillery “Maker’s Mark”. Years ago, I had joined the program online that they promote called “Ambassadors At Large”. It’s just a gimmick to have you follow their website and get you on their email list. They do put your name on a plaque on a barrel of bourbon, when you join. Of course, when that bourbon matures and is mixed with the bottling batch. They contacted you to let you know that your barrel has been mixed with a batch and is ready for pickup. You can come down and get a free tour and purchase bottles of bourbon that you can hand dip with their famous “Red Wax”, yourself and get your name printed on the label. 20191102_22355420191102_223647It was a cool and sunny morning and it’s only about a 15-mile drive from the campground to the distillery. You travel on country roads, through the beautiful Kentucky landscape. Everything was green and beautiful. The distillery is located on beautiful grounds with beautiful gardens and well-manicured lawns as you can tell from these photos. 20191101_14383220191101_14394120191101_13274420191101_131440Upon arrival they get you in the next group for a free tour and sampling at the distillery. They had some unique “Handblown Glass Artwork” that had been on display all summer. And in a couple weeks was going to be auctioned off for money for a scholarship fund which is a nice program. 20191101_12501820191101_12492120191101_124932We joined our guide and she took us into the main distilling room where she explained how this bourbon is different than most. All bourbon is made with at least 51% corn in its mash, but most bourbons have Rye as it’s other main ingredients. Whereas “Maker’s Mark” is made with corn and wheat. This makes for a sweeter smoother bourbon. 20191101_13223220191101_132205

Here are large wooden tanks that the mash is kept in to ferment. 20191101_132306They take you in and out of the many buildings explaining how their signature brands of bourbon are made. We got to go watch the high-speed bottling line automatically filling hundreds of bottles of bourbon in an hour. 20191101_135807Here’s where they would hand dipped each bottle and sealed them with the red wax. 20191101_135914There was more beautiful glasswork scattered throughout the buildings. 20191101_13503820191101_13533920191101_142104 

Then it was off to the sampling. 20191101_14040120191101_140503We got to try five different types of bourbon they bottle. Our guide explained the unique differences of each of them. They were all quite good but there is definitely a difference in flavors. 20191101_14043120191101_140511By the time I was done touring the distillery it warmed up considerably and I spent the rest of the afternoon driving around the countryside with the top down. I had a relaxing evening and got up early the next morning to continue my journey to Georgia. On Saturday I put in a fairly long day of driving and when I stopped for the evening, I was less than 100 miles from my destination of “Hamburg State Park”. This is where I will be volunteering the next couple months. I spent six months here back in the winter of 2017–2018. My friend and the park manager Julie had reached out to me in the middle of October because one of her hosts had to leave early for medical reasons. I had talked to her back in August to see if she needed any help and at that time, she was all set. I told her to keep me on her list in case something changed. It just so happened that things did and I was happy to come because my friends Stanley and Tammy, are here for the winter. We were all volunteers here together the last time I was here and had become like family. It’s wonderful to be back with friends and I’m looking forward to holidays together with all of them. I arrived before noon on Sunday Nov. the 3th and got all set up.  It was nice to be able to get back in shorts again and relax, here’s my spot for the next couple of months. 20191103_12361120191103_123756

At the time I’m writing this I’ve been here two weeks already. It’s hard to believe how much things have changed in just two weeks. It was dried down here all summer and the lake level were down considerably. We’ve had several rainy days in the past couple weeks and the lake has risen some already. The trees are starting to turn bright colors and falls in the air once again. Here’s a couple photos, you can see some of the changes. 20191114_16514620191114_165347Maxine loves the open spaces she can run in. 20191114_165330Well that’s it for now, I’m glad to be down here where it’s warmer. Looking forward to the next couple months at this beautiful park. The only downside of being out here in the middle of nowhere, is I get very poor cell reception, and the Internet is almost nonexistent at the park. So that means when I want to do work online and write these blogs, I need to go into town to upload them which is somewhat of a hassle. But that’s okay I and love being in the middle of nowhere Georgia. Till next time “Safe Travels and Best Wishes to All”, Rick



  1. I loved Hamburg State Park! I was there in the spring of 2018 just for a long weekend. Definitely one of my favorite Ga. State parks that I would like to visit again.


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