Whether they actually take the time to write it down or not, most people have "bucket lists" or at least a mental list of things they want to do in their lifetime. When I was finishing up my senior year of high school, I started to write my own personal list. Maybe it was the large transition I was about to make as I headed my way into the unknown world of college, but it felt like the perfect segue into a new chapter of my life.
One such thing to do on my bucket list is to spend the night in each of the 50 states. Over the course of my childhood, my family used to take road trips across the country, but I decided at the start of my list writing that I only wanted to count states that I visited from that moment on. As a result, my list boasts only five or six states even though I'm pretty sure I've visited well over half of the country, but I wanted to make sure I had a solid remembrance of all the states I would one day visit.
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to go to Kentucky, a new state for me. David's sister was going to a wedding there, and in exchange for a mini-vacation in the Bluegrass State, David and I were going to babysit her three kids on Saturday night while she and her husband were at the wedding. We left Atlanta around one in the afternoon on Friday, and what would have regularly been a six hour trip to Louisville promptly turned into a nine hour drive considering we were riding with three kids all under the age of five. The two highlights of the drive: stopping for dinner at a great barbecue place on the outskirts of Nashville, and finally making it to the house we had rented. Little ones were put to bed and water was put in the kettle for a nice relaxing cup of tea--the perfect ending to a long day on the road. Combine that with A Storm of Swords and a big bed and I was definitely content to spend my first night in Kentucky.
The next morning, we loaded up the van and drove towards downtown Louisville for breakfast at Lynn's Paradise Café per the suggestion of David's Kentuckian friend. And it definitely lived up to its reviews! This goofy restaurant was decked out in crazy, brightly colored paraphernalia, and after scouring the menu for a solid ten minutes, I settled on the Bourbon Ball French Toast. When the food was placed before me, I was face-to-face with a plateful of four slabs of cinnamon swirl French toast, topped with bourbon vanilla custard, chocolate sauce, strawberries, sugared pecans, and mounds of whipped cream. I essentially had dessert for breakfast and could only finish two slices because it was so rich.
Later in the day, we escaped the 100+ degree heat by going to the Louisville Science Center. It was a small disappointment for David and me since we weren't expecting it to essentially be a giant playpen for children, but there were some interesting things to look at and play with that appeased the kids in us too :)
Enter the babysitting extravaganza. In a nutshell, it was a giant six-hour nightmare, and I can say with confidence that I am nowhere near ready to have my own children. It was joked later that we could sell babysitting jobs to high schoolers and college students as a means of birth control. Seriously. I was not more grateful for putting the kids to bed and for when the whole thing was over. As soon as David's sister and brother-in-law got home, David and I went straight to Kroger to buy ice cream and beer, and we unwinded by watching a hilariously bad Sci Fi movie and consuming our loot. A greatly needed ending to a crazy night.
Wrapping up the trip was a visit to Mammoth Cave National Park on our way back to Atlanta. It was a little unnerving, the temperature difference between the scorching heat outside and the cool dampness inside the cave, but it all added to the dark, eerie atmosphere. We only took the short, self-guided tour since we were eager to get home, but it was cool to see such an old and magnificent part of the Earth. Overall, the visit was a much needed break from the car and a perfect ending to my first trip to Kentucky.