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Thanks for the awesome trip report. I'll be going to Knoebel's and Bush Gardens for the first time in a few weeks and your ride suggestions and food photos will really help me with my ride and food decisions!

 

Take Care, Gatekeeper

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Busch Gardens Continued: Food and Wine Festival.

 

Our second day at Busch Garden's Williamsburg started with Cracker Barrel and arriving to the park a little after opening. It was a Friday so we were expecting some crowds. Too our delight, the crowds were light again. Besides waiting 10 minutes to pay for parking, we really didn't wait much the rest of the day and that is a beautiful thing.

 

This was my second time at Busch's Food and Wine Festival, the last one I attended was in 2015 and as always it is am awesome event. The Churrasco at the Brazil booth was glorious and so was the Spanakopita at the Mediterranean booth. However the Virginia booth took the day with their Bacon Cheddar Hush Puppies and Bacon, Maple Pecan candy bars. Other than those two Nick and I hit up Korea, Japan and Cuba amongst others. We ended up stopping at the Craft Beerhaus again and Lagunita's had a guest speaker there and they handed out free samples which is always a plus. I also partook in the 40 cent beer special. It was kinda lame though since they were 7 oz's and you couldn't buy two at once! It was Rolling Rock but I didn't mind, it is a solid beer.

 

As for the rides we hit up Verboten which is always a great time, it really is a worthy replacement for the Big Bad Wolf. Since it was about 100 degrees we took a spin on Roman Rapids and Pompeii which both soaked us. I don't remember Roman Rapid's getting you that drenched. Have they added anything too it the past few years? Battle for Eire was fine, I just really hope this isn't the future of rides. We also took some time during the day to cool down by riding the skyway and the train. Anyhow, it was a great trip to Busch as per usual and I'm already looking forward to my next trip back. I'm away the rest of this week so the King's Dominion portion will be up sometime next week. Stay tuned.

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There is a wolf back there somewhere.

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We decided to go on Invadr before the family crowd "invaded" it (Pun intended)

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Views of Invadr are also at a premium on the train.

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Okay guys it is open now, I swear.

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When we landed from the skyway it was a short distance from Italy and Pompeii. The Spanakopita was also conveniently located over here as well.

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I'm a fan of Pompeii I must admit.

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You could tell by 10:30 am it was going to be a hot one.

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After some nice airtime on Invadr it was time for the first booth of the day. Churrasco...Sign me up!

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Such a massive coaster.

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Right after the train it was time for the skyway. Fantastic views of Alpie on this, it is such a photogenic ride.

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Good Morning Apollo's Chariot

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Since Caribou station was next door Nick and I figured why not. The train provides great views of the park including the Old Drachen Fire area.

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Here is the Korea stand. This is ribs with a sesame coleslaw. It hit the spot after Roman Rapids and a couple of rides on Apollo's Chariot.

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Day 2, bring it on.

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First up was the new hotness. It was fine, definitely a step up from Europe in the Air. I miss Darkcastle.

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Pompeii was actually experiencing downtime as soon as we got on the queue so we double dipped booths and hit up Japan. Here is some sake and Gyoza.

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We started the coaster riding for the day with a lap on the half Lion, half Eagle.

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The massive Vertical loop.

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There is a train now as well as a piece of my fingertip.

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Maple, Bacon and Pecan Candy Bars. If you don't believe in a higher power after this you will.

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The the theming for Verbolten.

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Ended the day with salted caramel gelato, the Italian I am couldn't resist.

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Virginia was after the wolves. No coincidence the best booth of the day was from the hometown.

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The show hasn't changed in years. It could use some new flare. Perhaps train them to talk? If you drink a enough beers they already do that too.

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Nick and I wanted to catch the Wolves at 5 pm so we headed over there a little early so we could try the Hawaiian booth. This was a Pinehople beer from Evolution Brewery along a spam, pineapple slider with sriracha and citrus coleslaw. Definitely a must try.

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We looped back around the park once we were done eating from Virginia so we could at least burn a few calories.

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This is what glory looks like people.

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This was a delicious Pils from Hardywood Park. This craft beerhaus was one of the best things they've ever done.

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Lagunita's samples!

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Roman Rapids has soaked me every time I've ridden it.

 

I agree with you about the Churrasco. The South Korean rib was great, too.

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I don't usually drink, but the craft beer room in Festhaus was an oasis our two days there. A comfortable, air conditioned room with leather lounge chairs and ice cold suds; what could be a better way to beat the Virginia swelter?

 

The food and wine festival was great. Not quite on par with Epcot, but delicious nonetheless. My personal favourites were the Ropa Vieja from Cuba, and the pineapple mac & cheese from Hawaii.

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Saturday, we woke up early and hightailed out of Williamsburg up the road to Doswell, Virginia to arrive around opening at King's Dominion. I looked forward to my visit here since the last time I was at King's was the year that Dominator arrived. Knowing that it was a Saturday and keeping that fact in mind, Nick and I had pre-purchased the "plus" version of the parks flash pass. Upon entering the gates we obtained the wristbands and were on our way.

 

Intimidator 305 3x: First stop of the day...I was stoked to be riding my first giga coaster and I can say whole heartedly that it did not disappoint. It was truly a crazy experience. Our first ride was in the front row and it blew me away. By far the most intense ride I have ever ridden. After the first spin we wanted more and hopped on in the back row. I grayed out hard on the first turn...Absolutely magical. I still rank it behind Lightening Rod, Skyrush and El Toro because although more intense than those rides, Im not able to fit as many rides in due to the intensity.

 

Flight of Fear 1x: Really fun ride, air conditioning was a major plus , getting us out of the Virginia heat for a few minutes.

 

Anaconda 1x: The main thing to remember about Anaconda is that LochNess Monster is a short drive down the road.

 

Avalanche 1x: More fun than I remember it being. Flash Pass made riding this thing possible. Thank you flash pass gods.

 

Twisted Timbers 3x: This is a really, really, really, really good ride. It does not let up from start to finish, airtime all around and great theming. King's Dominion really nailed it with the theming, it was a pleasant surprise. The train's look awesome, the green train being one of my favorites on any rollercoaster. We were able to sneak one night ride in and it was batshit crazy. Get down there and ride it.

 

Grizzly 2x: I really like Grizzly. It is by no means going to blow you away. It doesn't have the steepest drop or is the fastest, but in the back row there are some really nice moments of air. I'm also a fan of it being secluded in the woods. Our second ride was at night so it was even better that time around.

 

Shenandoah Lumber Company 1x: Nice setting in the woods, besides that it was your standard log flume.

 

Dominator 2x: Dominator gets the edge over Bizarro as my favorite Floorless coaster. It doesn't kill you with inversions, has great speed and even some good air off the MCBR. All around a very solid coaster.

 

Rebel Yell 2x: Its okay, kind of just blah to me. The racing aspect makes it more fun than the ride actually is though.

 

Backlot Stunt Coaster 1x: Another coaster I'm a fan off. Same idea as Grizzly..Just a overall fun ride.

 

It was another great day of riding. Due to the extreme heat we actually left the park around 2, hit up Sheetz, checked into the hotel grabbed some AC and went back to the park around 6. Before leaving though I came across a little craft beer that sold "King's Brew Lager" from Center of the Universe Brewery. It was a tasty little beer and the cans are really awesome. More updates coming soon!

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Dominator's gigantic first loop with some of my finger tips (always good for one of those a report).

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The insane overbooked first turn.

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Shenandoah was really nice, not as nice as the national park, but you get it.

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Dominator does actually Dominate the entrance of the park. No false advertisement here.

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This is all you're going to get from Grizzly, sorry people.

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The Mini Cooper Experience.

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I'm a sucker for an Arrow coaster..Good, bad or anything in-between .

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First up, Face Melter 305. It is about this point on the ride where you start to have visions of Jesus.

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This is the "Save me Jebus" point.

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What type of messed up Apple Orchard is this?

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The trains are really awesome.

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More beer because there is never enough. Look at those cans. Great job Center of the Universe!

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One more shot of this monster.

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King's Dominion has one of my favorite entrance plaza's.

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(Flames emoji)

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Theming!!!!

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This coaster just doesn't give an impressive ride, it looks impressive. Hats off to King's Dominion.

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I don't know this ride. I know Rebel Yell however.

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Artsy (Also always good for one of those a report).

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But Jesus can't save you now. You belong to Dale Earnhardt.

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I’ll end this report with the so-so turkey leg I waited way too long for.

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Turkey leg looks like it's a shellacked piece of carved wood!

 

Great various coaster shots! I don't remember seeing the Twisted Timbers

entryway before. Wow, they really worked the title there, lol.

Great use of the letter "M" by the way.

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I really enjoyed our day at Kings Dominion. Although kind of a let down after two days of Busch, I still had a blast. With the collection they have, especially their 1-2 punch of Intimidator and Twisted Timbers, I can't wait to get back.

 

I-305 is a goddamed beast. Like Justin, I also greyed out when we rode it in the back. So much fun, but it's sheer intensity is a mild deterrent. Still an amazing, top 10 ride, however.

 

Speaking of top 10 rides; Twisted Timbers. Wow! Easily my favorite RMC, though I've only ridden three. That run of airtime hills after the turn around off the first drop is one of my favorite sequences on any coaster. I was squealing on that run.

 

Thus ends the portion of this thread where I was along for the trip. Enjoy the rest, everyone.

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Great KD update, I'm so stoked for I305, Dominator, and TT. The flume and supporting cast of coasters/ride looks a notch above 'standard' and thanks for helping me decide which beer I'll have! Keep it up!

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Okay so as those of you who have read my trip reports before, I like to mix in the history of the area's I visit or some of the other attractions in the area. On the way back to New York City on Sunday we decided to stop at the house Stonewall Jackson died in as well as Fredricksburg Battlefield. Both of these sites are run by the United States Park Service and they do a wonderful job at preserving the history that had taken place in these spots.

 

Disclaimer: I'm posting this because I know some people on here have an interest in the historical aspect of it. The American Civil War was this countries' darkest hour and I think we can all appreciate the men on both sides who gave their lives fighting in it. So please, refrain from any political input about the subject and enjoy the photos of some of this countries' most incredible moments. If you can't handle it, skip this section of the trip report.

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When you climb down Prospect Hill and travel a little deeper into the woods you see more moments from the battle.

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At the top of Prospect Hill you get to walk the footsteps of General Lee as he watched the battle. These are two parrot cannons at the top.

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Next up was the Innis House. This is the same house that was here during the battle. The Innis family refused to leave their home during the battle and stayed throughout its entirety.

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This was a chair located inside the Chatum Manor. It has been here for a VERY long time. George Washington, James Monroe, James Madison, Robert E, Lee and Abraham Lincoln all when they visited the manor.

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The grounds are still beautifully maintained.

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This was where Stonewall's brigade's trench was located.

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At the end of the battlefield trail you come to Chatum Manor which was a plantation at the time.

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After the stop at the house we traveled farther down the road into Fredericksburg. There you can follow a trail that follows that days events. This here is The Sunken Road, where 7,500 Union soldiers gave their lives charging the walls in which the Confederates were entrenched.

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They still do grow grapes and corn here.

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This was a manor beyond the Sunken Road. It looked beautiful but no visitors can visit the grounds right now.

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This is a statue dedicated to a Rebel soldier who rushed across no-mans-land with water to aid dehydrated and dying Union soldiers.

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So I'm a little disappointed that the photo I have of the actual room and bed he died in his too large to upload. Im working on it so i'll keep you guys updated if I ever get it to work. This however is the room his doctors worked in to make Jackson's medicine.

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He is the marking that proves it.

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Inside the house you can see where bullet holes and shrapnel hit. Why you would want to stay there at the time may be hard to comprehend but back then people would never leave their land and homes.

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We arrived at this little house between Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg mid Sunday morning. This little inconspicuous building was the house Stonewall Jackson died at after being shot by his own men accidentally after their victory at Chancellorsville.

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The final stop was a Union cannon that was pointed across the Rappahannock River at Confederate lines. I hope you all enjoyed this portion of the trip! Next up will be Kentucky Kingdom along with some other spots in Louisville.

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Wow, very cool! We had our first taste of Civil War history on our winter Florida trip, I'd never been to this area of the country and although I read a lot about history, there's something about actually being at these sites that make things feel more immediate and real. I can't imagine how terrifying it would have been to stay in that house during the battle, but I can see why people did it, if they left they would lose everything.

 

You can resize images online here: http://resizeimage.net/ I've used it a couple of times when I'm on my tablet instead of a computer with Lightroom or Photoshop and it's simple. Or, if you are using any photo manipulation program, they all have options to save smaller versions (just don't save over the original, make a copy with a different name).

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Wow, very cool! We had our first taste of Civil War history on our winter Florida trip, I'd never been to this area of the country and although I read a lot about history, there's something about actually being at these sites that make things feel more immediate and real. I can't imagine how terrifying it would have been to stay in that house during the battle, but I can see why people did it, if they left they would lose everything.

 

You can resize images online here: http://resizeimage.net/ I've used it a couple of times when I'm on my tablet instead of a computer with Lightroom or Photoshop and it's simple. Or, if you are using any photo manipulation program, they all have options to save smaller versions (just don't save over the original, make a copy with a different name).

 

Yes I have to agree that when you are actually there standing where it happened, it has a very powerful and solemn feeling.

Thank you for the website to resize photos. I will give it a try.

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Visiting the battlefield was a humbling experience, to say the least. Although the phrase is thrown around to describe a lot of things, the Fredericksburg battlefield, especially at the Sunken Road is truly Hallowed Ground.

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Great report! The only time I've ridden Roman Rapids I got soaked. I remember being mostly dry until the waterfalls at the end soaked me to the bone.

 

I only rode once and call it water roulette. Somehow I stayed dry-ish but these 2 girls on the other side I pitied because it was kind of a cold day. Maybe the odds are worse than I thought. Still better than WWC.

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Before I get to the Kentucky Kingdom portion of the trip, I'd like to share some of the other experiences I had when I was down in Louisville. Let me start by saying that Louisville is a terrific town. It is fun, clean, overall pretty safe and very nice looking. The cuisine and nightlife are very lively to boot.

 

I headed to Kentucky Kingdom on Saturday but on the Thursday I took a tour of Louisville Slugger and Friday I hit the famous Kentucky Bourbon trail. If you're a baseball fan like myself Louisville Slugger is definitely something you need to hit during your lifetime. I don't have any pictures of the factory floor because it is a working factory and they want to keep the process within the walls. It is pretty incredible to walk through the building and see who they're making bats for that day because they have it posted above the factory floor! Each bat is different and no two players have the same bat...Pretty incredible. That being said I do have pictures of the museum. A tour is about an hour and costs 15 dollars which is a great deal. You learn a lot about the different trees they use to make the bats, the history of the company and a bunch of other awesome baseball tidbits.

 

Friday was the real reason why I headed down to Louisville in the first place. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail is a guided tour of the many different Bourbon distilleries that can be found in the state. Tickets are 150, the tour lasts about six hours with Bourbon tasting and a full lunch at a local restaurant included. Now, it is impossible to hit all the distilleries in one day so each day it runs includes different places. This Friday included Jim Bean, Barton 1792 (Who just had a warehouse collapsed and lost 9,000 barrels), Lux Row and my personal favorite Maker's Mark. If you're a Bourbon person just like if you're a baseball person, Louisville is a must go!.

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Our next stop was Barton 1792. We did a quick tasting here and the staff was very accommodating, they let us ask as many questions as we wanted about the warehouse collapse.

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This is a photo of a Kentucky Hot Brown I had. It is turkey, bacon, cheese and tomato served in a skillet!

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They cool off and store their barrels in a cave.

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One of Babe Ruth's bats from his 60 home run season.

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We stopped at a family owned restaurant Kurtz for lunch. Its been open since 1937 and has some of the best Mint Juleps in town.

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Inside they have some of the best memorabilia outside the Hall of Fame such as Honus Wagner's uniform and bat.

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This is what the inside of a Bourbon "Rickhouse" looks like to those interested.

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Maker's Mark is absolutely gorgeous. It gives a true "Kentucky Hills" southern vibe.

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Our first stop after lunch was Lux Row. They broke ground on this distillery in 2016 and just opened the doors this year. It is a very pristine facility. Good luck to the guys over there!

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Jim Bean is the largest Bourbon distillery in the world.

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Lastly we have Joltin Joe DiMaggio's bat from his 56 game hit streak.

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That night I hit the Eagle for some of the best authentic Kentucky Fried Chicken in town.

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There is Jim right now...Welcoming us.

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The next day started bright and early as we made a 45 min journey to the first stop on the trail....Jim Bean!

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Maker's Mark also has a restaurant that serves Bourbon Slushies....So whose really winning? It tasted like a Bourbon and Ginger. I could have drank 100.

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First stop, the 120 foot tall baseball bat outside Louisville Slugger.

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The final stop of the tour was my favorite because it is my favorite Bourbon.

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It is the oldest operating distillery in Kentucky. These are two of the original copper stills that keep chugging along today.

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In the museum you can read up a quick history of the Louisville Slugger baseball bat.

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And at the end of the tour you can bet your bottom dollar they let us taste some...Paired with chocolate of course. To those who don't know the two are a match made in heaven.

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The next portion of this trip will be that of Kentucky Kingdom and a quick look at Louisville Slugger Stadium, home of the Louisville bats.

 

I had a fun few hours at Kentucky Kingdom. I will say though, I was very surprised at how small this park actually is. I arrived at opening and ran through the park around 3 1/2 hours. I understand this place is just getting back on its feet, the ride selection although small is really good. Im still shocked at the size of the place, I wasn't expecting big but I definitely wasn't expecting this tiny. Besides that it is your typical generic amusement park. Standard food, some less then spectacular landscaping but at the same time pretty clean. If you have a few hours to kill in Louisville definitely stop by to ride Storm Chaser and Lightening Run if nothing else.

 

Lightening Run 2x: I was very excited for this coaster, I had heard so much about and I was finally going to get a chance to ride it. My first ride was in the front row and second in the back. It is a very, very, very SOLID ride. It really has no flaws but for some reason I was expecting more, thats where it left me a little disappointed. The first drop is awesome and it has a fantastic layout, but I as expecting more airtime. I'm not knocking it and I think park's should look to add more of these. Great job Morgan.

 

Thunder Run 1x: Really good first drop, the rest I found underwhelming. It does however get bonus points for not being rough at all.

 

T3 2x: Lets not kid ourselves here folks, new trains/restraints did not save this ride. It stinks, flat out. I rode it twice to make sure I was just being a hater but the second ride confirmed two things. SLC's have great layouts but the execution just isn't there 98% of the time.

 

Storm Chaser 4x: This ride is truly special. Having ride Twisted Timbers the week before, it was really really hard to determine which was the superior coaster. I would say these two are 1A and 1B to each other as they offer a similar experience, especially with the first drop. Front, back, wherever you ride it, Storm Chaser delivers.

 

Around 2 o'clock I left the park headed back to the hotel and showered in preparation for the Louisville Bat's game. It was Bourbon night (surprise) so Jim Bean was handing out flights of Bourbon and the team changed their name to the "mashers" to honor some Bourbon Mash. The stadium is a beautiful little complex with cheap beer and great food. Against the Grain Brewery is attached to the stadium so it is a great place to stop in before the game and have a few and a bite to eat.

 

This will end the Louisville portion of the trip and I have to say it is a wonderful city and I hope to go back one day!

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Okay so every local I spoke too told me I had to get this and I waited 25 minutes for one. It is a fried Bologna and cheese sandwich. As a non-bologna person I have to say it was really good! The cheese was melted and the white bread was toasted. Another must try if you find yourself here. Enjoy everyone!

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It should be P3 for Pain to the Third Power.

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First up, the much anticipated Lightening Run.

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It does have an interesting layout though. Enough to keep you engaged.

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This was about as "meh" as it comes for me.

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I stopped for a lackluster cinnamon pretzel.....I scoffed it down anyway I was starving.

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This over bank really is a thing of beauty.

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This final stretch of the ride hauls.

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From start to finish, it is perfection.

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Lift Hill porn for you lift hill weirdos.

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It was really nice looking inside as well.

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Beautiful stadium and a beautiful night for a game.

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Did I mention the Bourbon Flights :)

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The ballpark had a real nice old time look to it.

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The dry rub wing's were on the money.

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Against the Grain Brewery, they had some really good stuff! I love stuff!

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Kentucky Kingdom's little entrance plaza.

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The star of the show and boy did it live up to it.

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It was great but as a snobby ride person I still expected more (Humbug).

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God help me.

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Kentucky Kingdom looks really nice and certainly doesn't seem small from the pictures.

 

But honestly, the selling point of this update is the fried bologna sandwich. Looks like bliss.

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I'm from Kentucky and have probably been to all of these Distillery's individually but have never taken an "official" bourbon trail tour but I've heard great things about them so it's cool to see some people from outside the area enjoy them. I don't really know much about the tours but looks like since yours was based out of Louisville you hit Beam, Barton and Makers, but I think the tours based out of Lexington hit Town branch, Four Roses, Wild Turkey, and Woodford Reserve and some of those more on the east-central side of the region.

 

And I agree, Louisville is kind of a cool city that's really changed a lot for the better over the years. Seems like every time I'm back there I'm more impressed with it.

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Jesus look at that concourse...

 

We thought of hitting that ballpark but I think it was a 1:00 game that day and it was sort of tough to work around. That looks really amazing for a minor league park though, great photos.

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