Fishing & Boating in the Northwoods

Kentucky – More Than Just Caves

As an introduction, allow me to enter just a bit of background about Kentucky. The state name seems to have either Iroquois or Shawnee origin, perhaps meaning “meadow”. Numerous phonetic spellings from that heritage, like geda’geh, kenhtà:ke, këhta’keh or even Ken-tah-ten, make it somewhat easier to see where the spelling of Kentucky came from.

But if anyone were ever to ask: “What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘Kentucky’ mentioned”, what would you say? Mammoth Cave? Well, perhaps. After all, the signs for it seem to be on every barn and billboard south of Central Illinois or Indiana.

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So Much More Than Caves

However, there is so much more than just caves associated with the Bluegrass State. There is a very long list of activities and attractions available in nine different areas of the state. These are selected for geographical and other similarities, and one could easily include such diverse interests as horses (Kentucky Derby Festival, Louisville), Daniel Boone, the Civil War and even bourbon… at the very least.

The full list includes numerous state parks, several hundred festivals and events, countless caves, lakes, and plenty of locations that are brimming with a rich cultural heritage. All of this in a state blessed with colorful and interesting history, showcasing the Unbridled Spirit of the Commonwealth of Kentucky!

I had decided that I wanted to take some time to discover a bit more about the state that I had driven through many times. Although I never bothered to stop in for more than a fresh tank of gas on my way farther south, I realized discovery could be a very difficult task.

Promising myself that this time would be different, I soon realized that there is a really interesting connection between two of Kentucky’s most incredible and valuable resources: water and thoroughbreds. More on that later. For now, the plan had been set.

Homewood Suites Champaign
Homewood Suites Champaign, Illinois

An Extra Day Might Be a Good Idea

It was evident early on that I may have bitten off more than I could chew in terms of the number of things that I had chosen to do, but I didn’t mind. It is only about six hours from my house to Louisville, so I figured that a return trip could be easily accomplished if necessary.

We decided that it might be wiser to take an extra day on this trip, and not take the route around Chicago and Lake Michigan. Two Reasons: (1) construction on Interstate 294 had not yet been completed, and (2) we would lose an hour due to a time change. Therefore, our first night was spent at a relatively new and really nice Homewood Suites in Champaign, Illinois. This would enable us to get an early start the next morning from a point closer to our destination. Although we probably drove an extra 80-90 miles by first going west to pick up Route 39 south, it was well worth the extra time. The traffic on was virtually non-existent.

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R. Karl

Angler, Author & Epicure

Fishing since the age of eight.  Seriously writing since the age of 16. Chef and foodie from the age of 22 years… and counting. So much to learn and so little time. I have enjoyed every minute of it all.  Whether on the water (where I like it best), in the kitchen, or at the keyboard, churning out content, I feel like I have found my place.  I am sharing it with you in the hope that some of what I love to do will rub off on you. I hope to see you On the Lake!

R. Karl