Carolina: Cruising Past 70: OLA:Riding Kentucky's Unbridled Spirit Part 3

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

OLA:Riding Kentucky's Unbridled Spirit Part 3

the Thrilla in Manila!

Famous Kentuckians!
Kentucky’s Unbridled Spirit is kept very much alive by famous Kentuckians such as Muhammad Ali, Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Collins Foster, Duncan Hines, and as covered in the last post, Colonel Sanders.

Muhammad Ali center in downtown Louisville
Everyone must remember the thundering applause that always greeted the man as he walked into the ring introduced as ‘Muhammad Ali…from Louisville, Kentucky’!  Ali is probably the greatest fighter that ever lived, a three-time world heavyweight champion in 15 years, interrupted only by his conviction for draft evasion. Although now I am proud to say Manny Pacquiao, a Filipino, is also making a lot of buzz.  I had goose pumps watching the film Thrilla in Manila (which I watched live at the time it was held!), the third in the Frazier-Ali duel, at the Muhammad Ali Center right in the middle of Louisville. Many thought he should have retired after that fight. The Center features his core values on respect, confidence, conviction, dedication, charity, and spirituality. What inspiration!

Lincoln's Memorial in Hodgenville, Kentucky
We were also surprised to find out that Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the US who led the nation on the brink of dissolution by the American Civil War and signed the Emancipation Proclamation that effectively abolished slavery, was actually born in Hodgenville, Kentucky south of Louisville. His wife, Mary Todd was from Kentucky, too.   His family moved to Springfield, Illinois when he was a young boy.   Lincoln is ranked the best president the US ever had in almost all surveys. The memorial, erected at his birthplace with 59 steps representing the 59 years of his life, bears only one thing inside…the simple one-room log cabin where this great man was born. 

My Ol' Kentucky Home
Stephen Collins Foster is known as the "father of American music". He was the pre-eminent songwriter in the United States of the 19th century. Songs like Oh! Susanna, Swanee River, and Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair remain popular even after 150 years. Another composition, My Old Kentucky Home, became the Kentucky state song. It was allegedly written after Foster’s stay at the 19th century mansion still standing at the State Park that bears the same name as the song title.

Duncan Hines Marker
Lesser known internationally is Duncan Hines of Bowling Green, Kentucky. He became well-known to many American travelers because he authored and popularized the first restaurant and lodge rating system in the country. He also invented cake mixes and the Duncan Hines cake mix is still popular today.  Last week, we already talked about another Kentucky hero, Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky!
This spirit has its roots in the state’s history. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth (also Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts).  Constitutionally, there is absolutely no difference between a commonwealth and a state. Traditionally, however, the three states, hotbeds of the American Revolution, proudly stuck to the moniker that means ‘a nation or body governed by the people, not some king or tyrant’. (England was called a commonwealth during the time Cromwell and Parliament ruled instead of a king.)  Kentucky kept the name when it was carved out of Virginia in 1792.
Spa Tables at the Resort!
Loads of Fun!
But, after all the seriousness of these musings, I should also write about the loads of fun we had from our own Kentucky home, the Diamond Caverns Golf and RV Resort. First of all, we had 5 spa tables and a complete exercise room! Too bad the hot tub and sauna were out of order! One Saturday we went with some camping friends Margaret and Walt and Agnes and Cecil to the ‘My Old Kentucky Barn Karaoke’ off a dirt road in Park City, Kentucky. It was packed with cowboys and cowgirls and I sang Eric Clapton’s Wonderful Tonight and Buck Owens’ Act Naturally with much gusto! That was a good night.

My Ol' Barn Karaoke in Park City, Kentucky

M'A getting TLC
Remember our flat tire? We discovered that the headquarters of Camping World is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky!  They referred us to S&R Tire Center which became our home for three nights as they took care of our tire problems! But we also found a great breast cancer awareness sculpture there!

breast cancer awareness...Bustin' Out!

red penguins at the performing arts center in Louisville
We also found this funky performing arts center in Louisville, Kentucky that is adorned with red penguins! On the sidewalk in front of the building is a car body propped up by tens of feet! I was trying to look for miniature tea sets for some of my friends at the dozens of antique stores that dotted the scenic byways. So during our last weekend when 300 miles of these byways was converted into the Annual Roller-Coaster Yard Sale, I was ecstatic!

We were sad to leave Kentucky, really, but winter can no longer be postponed! As a matter of fact, fall has already brought temps down in the 40’s Fahrenheit, quite cold for my small tropical body. So our trek to Florida must continue…through Tennessee then Georgia!


  1. Love the poster at the top of your post! Ali actually revived boxing with his poetic predictions and flamboyant style, he garnered lots of attention and his fighting successes, particularly in his youth, lived up to his style.

    Liked the rest of the post as well, but felt that Ali/Cassius Clay is definitely one of a kind.

  2. Thanks...I saw the Thrilla in Manila in 1975 and therefore was excited to find his Center in Louisville!


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