oceantheorem: (be careful pretending)
So, I have lots of things I want to say, but I'll separate them. First up, a recap of my 30th birthday and celebratory trip to Kentucky!

It turns out Kentucky is an AWESOME place to vacation. Who knew?

My mom and my 9-year-old sister flew to Kentucky with me the Wednesday before my birthday. We arrived in Louisville around dinnertime, picked up our rental car, checked into our hotel (flights and hotel paid for with points - no dollar cost at all!), and went for dinner downtown.

(Mom + tiny sibling)

We found a nice-looking place that had no available tables, but let us order food at the bar. We got crab cakes (amazing), hush puppies (meh), shrimp and cheesy grits (practically a spiritual experience), and key lime pie for dessert. They also had Bell's Oberon beer, which is a very well known microbrew from Michigan that comes out just as the weather starts to turn bearable each year, so to me it tastes like spring and the return of sunshine, and hope, and obviously I got one (Bell's doesn't ship to California).

On the way back to the car we passed this bike rack with two dragon heads and OBVIOUSLY had to take a billion pictures.

We drove back to the hotel, passing Churchill Downs on the way, and I snapped a picture, mostly because my mom was really excited.

We swam a little in the very very cold hotel pool, then went to bed. Thursday we woke up and drove to the Kentucky Horse Park, just north of Lexington. The drive over was very pleasant - Kentucky is vehemently green. Trees everywhere. I think it beats Pennsylvania for Prettiest State To Drive Around. We stopped on the way when we saw a sign for "historic tours" of Rebecca Ruth Candy, and though neither of us had heard of Rebecca Ruth Candy, my mom was quite familiar with the also-advertized bourbon balls, and a stop for chocolate always sounds like a good idea to me.

The most exciting thing about Rebecca Ruth Candy, though, turned out to be the parking lot cats.

(10/10, would visit Catucky again)

Finally we got to the Horse Park, checked into our campsite (actually a very very large field we were told we could "just pick a spot" in), and got to see some Thoroughbreds!

...and I've literally had this tab open on my laptop for over a week now, and have only gotten through the beginning of day 2 of our 6-day trip, so I'm going to stop here, post this, and probably never finish the recap.

So here's the quick version: The Kentucky Horse Park was awesome. We spent two days there. Elena was bored out of her mind, but my mom and I loved it. We saw retired Derby winners, big draft horses, and about a dozen examples of rare breeds of horse from around the world (got to pet some of those!). We then spent two days at Mammoth Cave, which was incredible and very educational, and we got to go on an Introduction to Caving tour that let us crawl over and under and through rocks, which Elena loved. Otherwise she was fairly poorly behaved and had problems listening to instructions, but on the crawling tour she was great. On our very last day we drove back to Louisville and actually visited Churchill Downs, including their museum, and went on a walking tour of the track. We got lunch there and ordered mint juleps (yum!!!) and something disgusting called Benedictine (note that if you forget what this is called, searching Google for "Kentucky green spread food" will get the answer for you on the first hit).

Overall the trip was lovely, and I had some wonderful conversations with my mom, which I may or may not go into in a later update. Elena is... difficult for me to relate to? Is that a diplomatic way of saying things? I have a really hard time with her. I feel very guilty about this but I don't think it's alterable.

I was really glad to come home to Chris.
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