28. Apr, 2016


FRIDAY 12-09-08 

We slept fairly well last night courtesy of Wal-Mart. After showering we set the Satnav for the Mohammed Ali Center in Louisville. What a nightmare, I suppose I must have had some romantic picture of what the city would be like, but it was a city comprising of small skyscrapers, the Ohio River, which looked just as wide but cleaner than the Mississippi, back streets of run-down clapboard houses, ugly steel bridges across the river and roads like racetracks. I haven’t experienced such arrogant thoughtless driving since Salt Lake City on the last trip. Drivers simply would not allow me to change lanes, were very aggressive in their driving and without the small additional mirrors giving me a wider view of the traffic we would have side-swiped cars on two occasions. In the end we had to concede defeat. It would be similar to asking a newly arrived American to drive an RV around London, not impossible but not worth the hassle either. No wonder when I had sent an email to the Ali Center requesting details of RV parking nearby they didn’t have an answer, they had probably never heard of anybody mad enough to consider bringing an RV in to town. 

We decided instead to try and find the Kentucky Derby racetrack and programmed the Satnav to take us there, and in following the instructions found ourselves back in town again and this time we’ve got a very helpful driver pulling up next to us telling us that we were no longer in a two lane, one way street, but were parked at the lights on the wrong side of the road, which explained why a driver directly opposite us with a green light couldn’t move – we were blocking his way. That was it, all bets off, we’re off to Lexington

During this trip down I65 The Chef read the information I had produced on Kentucky and announced that in fact the tours around the Kentucky Derby racetrack only take place between 07:00 & 10:00, so we would have arrived too late anyway, and checking the map noticed ‘She’ in the Satnav had sent us straight back across the city because that was the quickest way. If we’d programmed the Satnav with the racetrack before we left Wal-Mart this morning we’d have found it easily. Sometimes people just don’t appreciate how much hard work is involved in being a tourist! 

The journey to Lexington was uneventful, we were lucky enough to pull up at a very nice Rest Area which was also a Welcome Center with very helpful staff. The Chef picked up some leaflets, we signed the Visitors’ Book and in return The Chef was given yet more leaflets by the very helpful staff. I scurried off back to the RV to collect the laptop as we’d been told there was 15 minutes free internet time given to passing visitors. I managed to send off a couple of emails and upload some photographs before my time ran out. 

On arrival at Lexington www.visitlex.com we went to The Thoroughbred Center www.thethoroughbredcenter.com and booked a visit to their establishment for tomorrow at 09:00. From there we went to The Kentucky Horse Park www.kyhorsepark.com  for a look around. The road between the two was just like driving through Stetchworth near Newmarket & the surrounding area back home, except they paint their fences black here, the Newmarket area paint them white, so save your money, don’t fly to Kentucky just drive around Newmarket and Stetchworth

The admission ticket was $15 each which was pricey for what we got (not only is it hard work being a tourist but also expensive). We watched a dressage competition where even the horse and rider in 11th place got a sash and a lap of honour, from there we went to have a look at four racing champions who were presented to us. Prior to the presentation of each we got to watch them in action in their heyday on video screens. The last to be presented was a horse by the name of ‘Cigar’ who was a very successful racehorse in his time earning nearly $10m in winnings. These horses are in ‘mid life’ which I understand is no longer good enough to be a racehorse, but too good to pull a milk float. 

On our way towards the museum and gift shop we passed the horse cemetery, again like Country & Western singers their names meant nothing to us, still they should feel pleased that they were good enough to be buried here with a plaque rather than end up in tins of dog food or tubes of glue. 

At the end of a long and hot day we decided to go to the campground next door called curiously enough The Kentucky Horse Park Campground www.kyhorsepark.com . This is a very nice site indeed; there are a number of families on site, being Friday I guess they’re having a weekend away together. 

Tonight’s alfresco meal was a fry up of bacon, eggs, tomato, half a Wal-Mart turkey sausage (just testing  them) and some Heinz baked beans, and at nearly one pound a tin I couldn’t help feeling we were flaunting ourselves a little. Tonight’s alfresco meal for the local flying insects was our flesh. After a while we got fed up with being eaten and went indoors. 

Tomorrow we will be upping sticks and travelling through the back roads again to the Thoroughbred Center for our 90-minute tour starting at 09:00, after which we’ve decided to return to this campground for a day of chilling out, though we will ask for a pitch away from the families if possible. It’s not that I don’t like kids I love them, I just couldn’t eat a whole one. 

LOCATION TONIGHT: Kentucky Horse Park Campground, 4089 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511 www.kyhorsepark.com (GPS: N38.151049 W84.517053).