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  1. #1

    Default Spur of the moment 3-4 day trip

    So, I am trying an experiment. My wife needs some "alone time" and so I decided (tonight) to take my five-year old daughter on a 3-4 day roadtrip loop out of St. Louis, starting tomorrow morning. My wife thought it sounded like a great idea to her.

    It will be my first trip alone with my daughter. Hoping for some father-daughter bonding and some fun. Still have no idea where we are going. My plan is to start reading weather forecasts and do some research around packing tonight and let inspiration strike.

    Let's see how it goes.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    How about Mammoth Cave in Kentucky? Or...up to Chicago to see the Museum of Science and Industry and the Museum of Natural History?

    Sounds like you have a heart....


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Try These

    I think your daughter would enjoy a trip north out of St. Louis and up the Mississippi. Easily doable in a few days would be a ferry ride (the Golden Eagle), Hannibal and all the Twaniana, Nauvoo and its living history exhibits, a scavenger hunt for geodes outside Keokuk, the Little Dixie Scenic Byway, and any number of wildlife refuges along the river itself.


  4. #4


    Buck: Wonderful idea. We did a trip very similar to that a couple of years ago. Weather isn't looking good up that way the next few days though...

    Donna: Mammoth Cave is also a great idea. We did that trip as well a few years back, but she was less than a year old. She is a bit claustrophobic, but she said she'd be okay with a cave as long as it didn't have any bears.

    Thank you both. My current thought is to head South (based on weather). I don't think exactly where we go is going to make too much difference to her - sort of like the distinction between the journey and the destination.

    After a little thought and a glance at the weather, my current inclination is to head to Kentucky as my daughter is obsessed with horses. I am thinking of trying to make it to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

    So, we will probably head there and explore the area around Lexington for a couple of days.

    Thanks again!


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Jon, if you are checking in (I assume you have already left) the Kentucky Horse Park would be a wonderful place to spend some time! Make sure you head over there in the evening for the Southern Lights Festival!

  6. #6


    glc: My daughter and I ran into a family from Florida in the hotel pool this evening (my daughter *loves* to swim, so an indoor pool was absolutely required for us). They made exactly the same recommendation. I am thinking we should do that tomorrow night.

    I just found out the KY Horse Park is only open Wed-Sun in Winter, so the plan is to hit Old Friends Equine tomorrow morning. Then off to Frankfort and Ruth Ann Candies and the Buffalo Trace Distillery followed by Southern Lights in the evening. Of course, that can all be rearranged as we see fit.

    Today was fun. It was a meandering drive to Lexington. We followed 64 until Evansville, then hopped across the Ohio at Evansville. Stopped at the Moonlite Bar-B-Q in Owensboro for lunch. Quite the experience. Call me a homer, but I think Pappy's is a good site better. Still lad we went. Then, just wound our way up through the drizzle while my daughter dozed in the back seat. The drive is gorgeous - especially from about Elizabethtown on.

    Dinner was at a regional fast food chain, Raising Cane's. I must say that the raves about their Chicken Fingers are richly deserved.

    Anyway, off to bed. I need my energy for the rest of the trip.


  7. #7

    Default Day 2: Race Horses, Bourbon, and Southern Lights

    I think I should try spontaneity more often. We went by Old Friends this morning - it was a gorgeous morning and my daughter and i were the only people there. I had called early in the morning and they seemed thrilled to give us a tour. When we arrived, the two ladies in the office were very nice and their dog was very friendly - it helped to bring my daughter out of her shell a little. The gentleman who was giving the tour came and we helped him prepare some carrots. We got to talking with him and got the impression that often days went by in the winter without people coming by. He led us out to the old racehorses, whose value plunged when they could no longer race or breed. He told us their stories - which had been rescued from being sent to slaughterhouses and one that had been saved from being sent to a stallion fighting operation in Korea. It helped that it was just the three of us - we got to see the old horses personalities, some gentle, most more feisty. Beautiful operation. I highly recommend a stop by and a few dollars in the donation jar. They're good people. He also gave me some recommendations for later in the day. See below.

    After that I dragged her to the Woodford Reserve Distillery. I have a special fondness for factory tours in general and food-related ones in particular. This one had a nominal charge ($5 for 18+) but was worth it. The location and setting is gorgeous, off a little back road - very scenic and not the easiest thing to find without a GPS. Unlike Old Friends, this was a good-sized crowd. We got walked through the operation - very small scale but fascinating as always and the building where the barrels were aged smelled wonderful. Sample of bourbon, bourbon balls and shot glass were appreciated.

    It was getting to a late lunch time at this point and I wanted to head toward Wallace Station - mostly because the drive there was supposed ot be nice. After missing a turn and ending up nearly in Frankfort, I found the restaurant - drive was as advertised. Food was much better than I was expecting (sandwiches, burgers, etc. but quite good - skipped the bakery because we were stuffed).

    Old Frankfort Pike was, just as our guide at Old Friends had said, a gorgeous drive. He particularly recommended a there-and-back down Pisgah Pike, but by that time my daughter was tired and had had enough - save this for next time. It was back to the hotel for some swimming and preparation for Southern Lights.

    After a quick dinner at the Parkette (old-style dive-n/diner with wonderful onion rings, good patty melts, okay fries, mediocre chicken strips, and a malfunctioning shake machine) we headed up to Southern Lights. Our Old Friends guide told us that for him it wa sa "once-in-a-lifetime" thing in that it is something you have to do once, but after that, never again. I think he was right on with this one. The spectacle of the lights is overwhelming in a particularly American way. I was particularly amused by the light fixture of a dueling Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader beside a scene from the Empire Strikes Back of the rebel fighters tying up the legs of the Imperial Walkers. The lines are long and slow as they wind through the park. We didn't have anywhere we really needed to be, so we just sat back and watched as we went. (Hint: you really, really do not want to do this with a manual transmission!)

    The setup at the Visitor Center includes a petting zoo, horse and camel rides, crafts, stalls selling funnel cakes, etc., and the Big Man himself. Not too frenetic and a pleasant place to be on a nice December night, all things considered. But the little one was getting really tired and a bit crabby at this point, so we didn't stay long.

    Long story short: There are some regions that resonate with each of us across the country. This region around Lexington (although excluding most of Lexington itself) does with me. Get off the freeway and wander some of the backroads and get a little lost and you will find some gorgeous places. I will be back again. And I will do another solo road trip with my daughter - probably some time in the Spring. We'll see then.

    Tomorrow: Kentucky Horse Park and then ?? (probably somewhere in So. Indiana) then back home on Day Four.

  8. #8

    Default Day 3: Over the (Ohio) river and through the woods, to Nashville, IN

    Well, ?? turned out to be a morning at the Kentucky Horse Park followed by a scenic drive to Nashville, IN. The weather broke just in time for us to walk around. Many of the horses were off premises, but my daughter fell in love with two of the white horses and I got her photo with both of them. We only spent a little while, but the admission price was very low for the off-season. She enjoyed it, so it was good.

    We then hopped down I-64 to Frankfort and followed US-421 all the way across the Ohio to Madison, IN (very pretty ride). Stopped for lunch at Hinkels. Very fun little place and my darling daughter actually ate something (chili) besides chicken fingers. It's a pretty town and I would definitely stop there again. Would have stopped at Mundt's Candies, but they were closed.

    Followed IN-7 to Columbus, IN. This was another gorgeous drive (aside from the suburban strip-mall sprawl around North Vernon). Stopped for ice cream at Zaharakos. The store is gorgeous and they make a mean, very malt-y chocolate malt. The part of town near there was gorgeous decorated for Christmas. We then schlepped the rest of the way to Nashville, IN on IN-46 - yet another gorgeous drive and I am glad the sky was not yet darkening.

    Tomorrow: Home, but not quite sure the route yet. Also, plan to poke a bit around Brown County before taking off.

    I am very glad we did this. Actually, I think this is a great time of year for a roadtrip through smaller towns all dolled up for Christmas. They are pretty and inviting and not all that crowded. The only trick seems to be hitting the weather right...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default One of my fondest road trip memories

    Quote Originally Posted by jcorb2d View Post
    Actually, I think this is a great time of year for a roadtrip through smaller towns all dolled up for Christmas.
    A few years ago, I drove from Montreal to Douglas, Wyoming during Christmas week. I still remember seeing those farmhouses decked out in holiday splendor during the long, cold nights as I drove west. It's a very special time to be on the road. Thanks for sharing your trip with us!


  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Brown County has a lovely state park there ... or, at least it was lovely a number of years back!


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