Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY

9/25-27. So far a wet weekend.  Well, another Murphy’s law: “ If you wash your RV and truck, it is a certainty that rain will arrive shortly”.   I just washed everything before leaving Virginia Beach.  It rained in Richmond and got things a little dirty.  We had two beautiful days in West Virginia.  But yesterday it rained all the way to the Kentucky Horse Park campground, getting the RV and truck REALLY dirty after all my hard work to make the old gal look good.  Things get dirty but I would have liked to admire my handy work for at least a little while! 

The campground has 260 sites and we got one of the last remaining 3.  Talk about good timing!  We were told that the campground is full every weekend, whether or not there is an event over at the Kentucky Horse Park.  The sites are a little short but it was alright to back up and extend over the grass. Folks were coming in right and left. I would say almost half of the sites were used by people camping in their horse trailers!  They probably drop their horses off at the Horse Park, then set up in the campground.  We are talking huge trailers that could carry 4 to 6 horses!  I sure am glad we got set up before the heavier rain started.  Oh boy, Cracker Barrel was just up the street so we both agreed that some good comfort food was a far better choice than the fish we were going to have! 

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Lexington is the 2nd largest city in Kentucky. Known as the "Horse Capital of the World", it is located on the Kentucky River in the heart of the state's gently rolling plateau in the center of the Bluegrass region.  The area is noted for its fertile soil, excellent pastureland, and horse and stock farms. Bluegrass thrives on the limestone beneath the soil's surface, playing a major role in the development of champion horses.  When you hear the town name “Lexington, Kentucky”, you automatically picture green rolling  hills, white fences, and beautiful horses.  The weather was overcast so not great for pictures. 

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I really looked forward to being close to the horses and the horse park was right next door to the campground.  Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm and an educational theme park opened in 1978 in Lexington, KY.  The facility is a 1,224-acre park dedicated to "man's relationship with the horse." A bit pricey at $5 to park and another $16 just to walk the the park and see the barns.  The statue of Secretariat  is in front of the main gate.  I did an oil paint-by-number of this horse when I was about 12 years old.  Secretariat (March 30, 1970 – October 4, 1989) was an American thoroughbred racehorse that, in 1973, became the first U.S. Triple Crown winner in 25 years. He set race records in all three events in the series – the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes –his records still stand today.  He is considered to be one of the greatest Thoroughbreds of all time. 

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Beginning in 1979, the Kentucky Horse Park has been home to some of the world's greatest competition horses, including John Henry, Horse of the Decade for the 1980s and the top money-winning Thorough gelding in racing history.  We were told we could pet the horses but as I toured the different barns, I was very disappointed because the doors to the stalls are now tall metal mesh style gates.  You couldn’t pet the horses or take pictures.   In the Hall of Champions, these two were just window gazing. 

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Out side the Hall of Champions, 4 of the world class money winning race horses who were in all the Triple Crown races were brought out for us to see and hear stories of their careers.  I don’t remember all the names, but their winnings brought their owners millions of dollars!  Now they are retired and just taking things easy.  They are still owned but pay the park to take care of them.

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This guy let me know what he thought of my taking his picture!  And I even found a real barn cat.

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I did manage to pet a couple of the hoses in the Police Barn, where the mounted police who patrol the park keep their horses. 

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The ticket price did include a 10 minute horse drawn trolley ride around the park with some narrated history.  It just took us to all the barns I had already been to.  I wanted to see some of the horses out in the pastures. etc., so it wasn’t that great of a ride.

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The park has a twice daily Horses of the World Show, showcasing both common and rare horses from around the globe. The horses are ridden in authentic costume.  So I caught the last show of the afternoon.  It was very interesting, colorful, and the young riders really did seem to enjoy dressing up to ride the horses. 

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These cute young ladies were a horse drill team.  They were very good and performed lots of maneuvers. 

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After leaving through the front gate, there is a free museum to the side of the parking lot.  It is mostly showed tribute to some of the more famous race horses.  Of course, in the interactive area, I couldn’t help “horsing around “!  How do you like the tribute the museum gave me for my horse trotting competition skills!?  I’ll keep it a secret as to how I got the picture!

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Beautiful Lake Walk and Pretty Deer

9/24. Thurs.  A nip in the air this morning at 57 degrees.  Per John Denver’s song: ‘When the sun comes up, I’ve got cakes on the griddle….’.  Mornings like this there is nothing like a steaming hot cup of hot chocolate, and Doug made a batch of pancakes.  Life is good!  Then on our way to hike the pretty little lake at the entrance to the park, this lovely young lady posed just for me!  I took the picture that close right from my window side of the truck.  What a treat and lucky photo shot! 

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It was another gorgeous day as we hiked the easy 1.1 mile trail all the way around the lake.  It was so quiet and peaceful.  The trail follows along the water’s edge and then through a thick rhododendron grove.  We both remarked how pretty the path would be in the spring with all the  blooms. 

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The trail then returns to the water’s edge and back to the park office and parking area.  Well, you know it is Fall when you see all the Geese and hear their honking in the sky above.  This group seems to be having a last summer cookout!  They headed out just as I walked by and made for a pretty scene on the lake.  It was just such a pleasant walk.

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We needed gas, so headed to Beckley, just up the interstate.  Here we are on the road again, in the pretty mountains, and we wind up at Wal-Mart!  Simply got to get that city mentality out of the brain!  The town even had a Hobby Lobby!  Yes, I went!  I am so bad!  Just call me the “crafty lady”!  But I was glad to get back to the quiet and serenity of our cozy site in the woods.  I took a nice walk several times around the campground.  I looked for more deer this evening, but none were nearby. 

Little Beaver State Park, Beckley, West Virginia

Sept. 21. Wed.  Ah..It is Fall.  We are in the mountains.  We are camped in the woods.  Already saw deer.  You know I am HAPPY!!  We left Richmond Virginia this morning at 8:30 AM and headed West.  We had a nice short visit with my son at his new built house.  It was great to see the grandkids one more time before heading to our winter destination.  I tried taking pictures with my Smartphone but it was too dark.  We camped at the Defense Supply Base just as we did in May and  again in June when picking up the kids to take them camping.  Of course, I had to go play with the Elk as posted in a May blog.  The herd was right next to the fence at the feeding troughs.  It gave me a good chance to get really close for some good shots.  I still can’t believe there is an Elk herd in downtown Richmond, VA! 

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It was a beautiful day for our drive along the Skyline drive and West through a portion of interstate that is quiet, serene, not very populated, and just goes up and down through the mountains.  The day was still a little warm but such a reprieve from our summer long heat and humidity.  
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We area camped for two days at Little Beaver State Park near Berkley, WV.  The road to the park was winding and through the trees to this really pretty place.  We are tucked back under the trees in this small campground along with very few other folks at this time of year.  The leaves are just beginning turn to the beauty of Fall color.  
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I have already seen 4 dear this afternoon in the campground.  I had dropped off my camera but a newcomer came by and sent them into the woods anyway.  But all was not lost!  After dinner, at dusk, I walked a short way through the woods behind our site to the open field behind as and there were 8 deer out feeding.  So I had a good time taking lots of pictures.  Guess I’ll get up early tomorrow and see what I can find!
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