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Louisville 2003 - Laddie & Karen's trip
2003-05-17
Our Trip to Louisville, KY - May 15th to 19th, 2003 Karen & I left Mandeville around 11 on Thursday morning on the 15th. I made a quick trip across the Lake early in the morning to pickup the rear speaker box cover prototype that Kal repainted for me (had to get it back from Chris - guy making the mold to make production piece). Got it installed and than loaded the Yellow Kat in the trailer and tied her down... We traveled up through Birmingham and on into Nashville on Thursday. Traveled 540 miles in about nine hours. We spent the night at a HI Express just north of Nashville in Goodtlesville (sounds like something out an Andy Griffith Mayberry episode). Now we're off to Bowling Green, KY in the morning for a tour of the Corvette plant before continuing up to Louisville... On Friday morning, we stopped in Bowling Green to tour the Corvette Plant. There was quite a few people there for the 9:00 tour (including a school busload of kids on a field trip). In addition to the Corvette line, we saw the new Cadillac XLR line. There were several XLRs on the line being used for training at this time. Full production is suppose to start in the fall. No cameras allowed in the plant but, I did get a picture of an XLR on the outside... If you plan to stop at the plant, the public tours are at 9:00 AM & 1:00 PM. So, unless you're there for a special event or museum delivery plan accordingly... We actually arrived a little after nine and they said they were all booked up for the morning tours. So, we talked our way into the morning groups... We stopped by the museum store and than back on the road to Louisville... They build 18 Corvettes per hour (35,000+ per year). This is a very low number as compared to regular production line. The Corvette line is continually moving just at a slower pace. Just a little trivia - the 18 Vettes per hour compares to 1&1/2 Prowlers built per hour and 1 Viper built per hour... We arrived at the Marriott in Louisville around 3:00 unloaded the Prowler and went off to a gas station to top off the tank... Shortly after our arrival, the other Prowlers started arriving and we hung around the registration table greeting everyone as they arrived and getting ready for the weekend. A large group of us went to Dillon's steakhouse for dinner. And, I also took delivery of the special Prowler Express package. Just like All State "it's in good hands"... It rained most of Friday night and on Saturday morning the rain had stopped but, the skies still looked like we would see more rain during the day. Rain or no rain, we headed out for the Maker's Mark distillery and a tour with our tops up... I learned that they sell there used whisky barrels to The McElhenny family in Louisiana (makers of Tabasco). Now, I'll have to use a little more Tabasco. This is the oldest distillery in the US. Several owners got to dip their own bottles in the wax. These bottles are still dipped by hand today. After the tour most off us put our tops down (the Sun was trying to break through the clouds) and Katavaned over to Bardstown for lunch at the Ole Tavern on the square. After lunch we jumped back into the Kats (just a few with Tops down) and headed for Louisville Slugger museum. The museum was quite interesting. The average tenure of the workers there is 29 years. On the tour of the manufacturing we stopped and watched one of the workers working on this years Hall of Fame Special Edition Bats. Only 1,000 are built and each numbered. The one he showed me was #371 of 1,000. The bats are mahogany in color with the lettering in Gold. This years two inductees Gary Carter and Eddie Murray along with the date of induction (July 27, 2003) was written on the bats. He was applying the special numbered label to each bat. From the Slugger museum, we headed to Huber wine vineyard for a tour and some wine tasting... We learned that the assistant wine maker stomps all the peaches with waders on for the peach wine (sounded like a Lucille Ball scene)... Only winery in Indiana licensed to produce all alcohol levels of wine and Brandy... Marty made a toast to Mel & Jane Beyes celebrating their 40th anniversary. This was the same place Marty proposed to Rebecca nine years ago. After the tour and wine tasting (my favorite was the Blackberry wine), we headed to the John Huber Family Farm for dinner served family style... No one left hungry... Back to the hotel and around the bar just reminiscing after a long day.. A very good day... On Sunday morning, before our group breakfast, the Smokies Team met to review and finalize our Prowlin' The Smokies itinerary and plans. This is going to be an exciting week of fun August 25th to 29th in Gatlingburg / Pigeon Forge area with 100+ Kats Prowlin' around the Smokies and touring areas in TN and NC. Karen and I passed on the tour of the Churchill Downs Museum and began the trip back to Mandeville... I had to replace flat tire on my trailer with spare. The lil 35lb aluminum jack from Harbor Freight really came in handy and made the job so easy. We traveled around 420 miles and spent the night in Tuscaloosa, AL. Got to eat at my favorite Wings place (Wings') in Tuscaloosa. . On Monday we traveled another 305 miles and arrived back in Mandeville early afternoon. The special Prowler Express Delivery package is still intact and resting here in Louisiana. Thanks to Marty & Rebecca Usher for hosting and planning the Louisville 2003 get together. It was a very good trip and Karen and I enjoyed the tour and meeting everyone... See yall at the Smokies....

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  Prowler Fashion Show - Gary Archer, Bob Longstreth (RPL), Marty Usher, Rich Ware (Beware). 
 
 
  Howdy from the gang & getting ready for the tour of Maker's Mark 
 
 
  Our tour guide at Maker's Mark giving us some of the history 
 
 
  Piece of cake - not- actually wax and Ken G. ready to add to melting pot of wax... 
 
 
  Ready to dip and make his own mark... 
 
 
  Ken G. after dipping his bottle into melted wax 
 
 
  Bill & Sandy Berry 
 
 
  Bill Berry - Rick Buehler in the background with his apron getting ready 
 
 
  Mel & Jane Beyes. Mel getting ready to wax his bottle. Mel & Jane celebrated their 40th Anniversary on this trip. 
 
 
  Jerry Naumann getting ready for his turn to wax his bottle... 
 
 
  The Old Talbot Tavern - our lunch stop 
 
 
  We had two choices for lunch - Kentucky Brown or BBQ... I had the KB and it was good... 
 
 
  more of the lunch crowd... 
 
 
  Just entering the Louisville Slugger plant 
 
 
  All the Kats and one snake parked at the Huber winery & vineyard getting ready for the tour and wine tasting... 
 
 
  Learning about the wine making process... Our tour guide Jason is asst. wine maker and told us how he mashes the peaches with waders before putting the peaches through the press... 
 
 
  Steve's hardtop... 
 
 
  John Huber Family Restaurant. No one left hungry... 
 
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