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Monday, April 25, 2016

Bourbon, BBQ, Barf, and the NCAA Sweet Sixteen

It was a rough road trip, quite possibly the toughest vacation we've ever had.

Up until this point, our toughest vacation moments include:

  1. The potential Pinky Severing of 2015
  2. The missed-our-connecting-flight and arrive in shut-down-rural-airport with no transportation
  3. The vacation the youngest almost drowned 
  4. The time I lost all my cash at the start of a two week European vacation and had to mooch off of my boyfriend and his relatives
  5. The treehouse weekend with no hot water
  6. Lost in that Spanish airport looking for a rental car
After examining our top toughest vacation challenges, I believe we have a new top position: the Kentucky Experience. 

We never planned to go to Kentucky, in fact it is probably one of the least likely states for us to ever visit. I assumed we'd be in Arkansas before Kentucky, because I want to visit that national park with all the diamonds laying around. And South Dakota has Mount Rushmore.

It was Easter break, and anyway I wasn't looking forward to seven straight days at home with the kids. I suggested we head to the Omni Bedford Resorts in lovely Bedford, PA.

But when Maryland (Go Terps!) made it to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2003, my husband said Lousivlle, Terps, NCAA and I said "Yay!" 

The drive there was uneventful except for a serious lack of good food along the way. We had a firm plan to stop at a huge liquor store on the way back. Louisville seemed so welcoming with our hotel being within walking distance of a delicious Brazilian restaurant - with bourbon flights! - and a fudgery. Those were halcyon days. 

Our second day also started well with a visit to the distillery where they make Bulleit and bourbon before noon.

Our guide Sylvia gave us great tips for places to visit. Our biggest problem so far was a grouchy kid who quickly flipped 180 degrees back to happy after inhaling two bison tacos. A little rain meant no waterfront playground, but all in all we were still cheerful. Then things went downhill. 

Downtown Louisville, almost back to our hotel. Rushing to avoid a bathroom accident in someone's pants - not mine - I open the van door and the wind catches it, swinging it wide open into traffic. A Cadillac rams into the door, wrenching it past the normal open angle. My husband screams because he thinks my arm has been hit.

I take kids into bathroom, he deals with other driver. 

We go to the pool. The pool is cold. Ugh.

My husband discovers several carbonated beverages I brought exploded in the hotel fridge.

We get dinner at Hard Rock Cafe and head to the MD game.

They lose.

Kids cry. I learn to hate Kansas fans. (Did you know the jayhawk isn't even a real bird?!? They should call it the jay-mock!!!)

Next day we head out to a recommended place for breakfast and our oldest barely eats. I get more bourbon at breakfast. But my oldest kept falling asleep on benches and sprawling on the floor as we dragged him around the Churchill Downs and the Kentucky derby museum and drove him through the cemetery to see Col. Sanders' grave.

His illness finally culminated with him vomiting on the bathroom floor of a really delicious BBQ place called Feast. (I highly recommend dining there but not visiting the men's room.) Needless to say he did not try the smoked tofu. 

Back at the hotel, everyone went to bed early and I went to the fitness room to run and deal with my frustration. I wasn't frustrated with my kids, I was frustrated with myself on how I had handled these stressors. 

Things improved. The kids showed us a silver lining and decided to refocus their interest on Villanova and insisted that they didn't want to sell the tickets, even though my husband and I did. They wanted to see the Elite 8 game.

"When will we get this chance again?" they said.

They were right.

Wildcats devour birds, even fake ones. And it felt so good to watch. 

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