I left Seattle July 24th and just returned to our front door Sept. 1. Over 6000 miles later in the Toyota FJ I am finally home. To my own bed, to my dog Kozmo and especially to my new nephew Jimmy I still had not met. He was born as I was driving through S. Dakota somewhere on the 26th of July just after I had left. A quick recap, I drove out on my own to Camp Perry for Nationals through Aug 11th. Charles flew out to meet me and we toured around the Midwest visiting sponsors and family and then shot the Brownell’s Rockcastle match and spent a week on the way home visiting Charles’ family members, touring bourbon distilleries, gun shops and museums. Although the trip sounds amazing it was also a bit more than we should have attempted. I thought this would have been a big hoorah and statement to some changes going on in our lives. Such as career changes, no job, where to move to, family stuff and other “life” stuff. Perhaps the timing of it was not the best. It was stressful knowing, or perhaps not knowing what was waiting for us when we got home. But chin up and power forward. This will be the next adventure.
In my last post I left off with my Camp Perry experience. We then had about 8 days to kill before we went down to Park City, KY for the Rockcastle match we had decided to do since we were out here. We started with a tour of the Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH. From the Wright Brothers to the Space Shuttle this was absolutely fascinating. I was able to be up close to the Saber my dad flew after the Korean War. (See gallery of photos below) I had no idea how much cache this jet had. I wish I could have had done this tour with my dad. He would have loved it. We then hit the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile museum in Indiana. It was an amazing showroom of 1930’s gorgeous cars. Next we drove to Albion, IN to visit an Aunt and Uncle of Charles’. They had a beautiful home on huge acreage of a corn and soy bean farm. Their kids and grandkids lived on the property next door. I had so much admiration of their close family, the home schooling and strong faith. The culture and pace is so different in the Midwest from the NW where I have grown up. This was evident throughout our entire tour. I received a text from Joe the owner of Devil Dog Arms while on the road and he asked us to tour his facility on our way home through IL. Since we had too much time on our hands we decided to drive back up to Lk. Zurich and visit him right then. After hours on a Friday evening Joe and his colleague Dave waited for us and showed us the manufacturing process of their great rifles. I will have a detailed article about this soon. I already love shooting his rifles. But seeing the production of their products makes me trust the quality of their rifles more than ever. Along the way back down through IN and KY we stopped at a variety of popular gun stores and ranges.
As much as I have a love/hate relationship with FB, it can be a great way to get information. I posted that I needed suggestions of great gun stores in the areas we were traveling and received some useful responses. Two in particular were Vandalia Range and Armory in Vandalia, OH and Elmore’s Firearms and Accessories in Greenwood, IN. Vandalia’s had an underground 100 yard range with electronic targets and one of the largest selections of pistols I have ever seen. Well until we got to the Knobcreek range in KY., the home of the famous full-auto match. That place was huge. The store was the size of a warehouse. And we found some powder in stock. Woo hoo! One of my bucket list items is to make it to their full-auto match. Elmore’s Firearms in IN. was run by father and son Russ and Jason Elmore. They can meet all of your politically incorrect shooting needs. This is not your Elmer Fudd hunting supply shop. They were all set up for the uber tactical experience. Check out their shop. After the Rockcastle match on the way home in CO we stopped at Mile High Shooting Accessories, the Neiman Marcus of the gun store world. I will have a detailed blog post of this tour as well. If you are a Precision rifle competitor or sniper want-to-be then this is your store. Miles of wall and shelf space dedicated to Accuracy International products, FN, Nightforce and Schmidt & Bender and more high-end accessories. Owner Dianne gave us a back room tour. It was so awesome. They were getting ready for a big LE show and had several rifle set ups that left me drooling. Going back a few days while in Kentucky, we had to tour what they are known for, horses and bourbon.
We splurged and spent two nights in downtown Louisville. We stayed at The Gant which had an awesome Bourbon bar and another smaller bar with the live gold fish counter bar. We toured a couple of distilleries of the Bourbon Trail. First was the Woodford Reserve distillery. That area is also home to all of the picturesque thoroughbred ranches. Talk about stunning. Perfectly manicured rolling green hills and white fences were seen for miles. What I thought originally were mansions were actually horse stables in the distance. This area has the distillery and horses because of the water. Apparently the lime stone underground creates amazing water qualities of calcium and such. It makes for great horses and bourbon. Works for me! We then took a back stage tour of Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. Although it was in off season there were still hundreds of horses there with trainers and staff. That place has so much history. They never shut down for racing even during World Wars I and II. We made it to Maker’s Mark and I was able to seal my own bottle of bourbon with the red wax. You buy a bottle in their store without the seal and they let you dunk it in a pot of red melted wax. Well worth the trip.
I forgot to mention that before we hit Louisville we spent a day and half cemetery hunting. Charles wanted to locate the grave of his grandfather which was somewhere in Gunlock, IN. This was truly the middle of nowhere and apparently the 20th poorest county in the US. The US has over 3000 counties if that helps paint a picture. After knocking on a bunch of doors and realizing everyone is related to everyone we found the grave. We had to knock on this guy’s door to park in his drive and he led us up a long hill behind his house to the family cemetery. It was extremely overgrown but we did find the head stone. Everyone in the community was super helpful and friendly in our pursuit. It was a great experience, minus the two day downpour and humidity. We tried to take a tour of Fort Knox since we were driving through but we forgot we had a car full of firearms. We had to make a sudden U-turn before we hit the front gate of the base. That would have gone over well I am sure. I would have posted on FB for a fan to come bail us out of jail.
We finally made it home last Sunday of Labor Day weekend. If I can help it I hope to not step foot in the FJ for a while. I also hope to not eat out at a restaurant anytime soon. Good thing we live downtown. I can walk everywhere for what I need.
My tally of interesting tidbits of the trip;
Over 6000 miles driven. 4 gallons of windshield washer (we killed every bug in the Midwest). 2 suicidal birds in the windshield. A dozen windshield chips. Midwest humidity sucks. Many bourbon tastings. Home owners in KY are crazy about their lawns. Over 1000 rounds were shot in competitions. Midwest food and drink prices are cheap! 4 live radio interviews. Over 25# of powder purchased. “Several” bottles of bourbon purchased. Grave hunting. Bullets and brass purchased. Over 100 meals in restaurants/fast food joints. Turned away from Fort Knox. Blocked in traffic by a PT boat(Yes on land) First Waffle House experience. First White Castle experience. One very creepy hotel experience. Did I mention bourbon?