Leaving Indiana Dunes State Park we said our final goodbyes to Lake Michigan.
Thanks for the memories!
We headed south towards the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). The boys were excited about maybe getting to see, as they would say, “the Indiana race cars”.
We arrived at the IMS not really expecting to experience much more than just seeing the outside of the track. After arriving we quickly realized something was going on at the track. We found out the drivers were practicing for the Brickyard 400.
The boys were a little upset we couldn’t go inside the track but they definitely enjoyed hearing how loud the cars were as they were making laps.
From the racetrack we went straight to our hotel in Cloverdale, Indiana. We took advantage of some down time and made use of the indoor pool. The boys did swimmingly! Okay, I know that was bad. Sorry.
The next day we had planned to spend part of the day in Nashville.
I should probably clarify it was Nashville, Indiana.
We made it less than a mile down the road before we heard a “ding” in the car. I assumed we were low on gas. We looked down at the dashboard only to see that we were overheating. Honestly, I don’t know enough about cars to figure out what was causing it by myself. We pulled into a convenient store to ask someone for advice about good mechanics in the area.
They directed us to a place just down the street. Closed!
We turned to Google maps. I ended up calling NAPA Auto parts and they suggested Jordan’s Car Care as they were going to be the only one’s open today.
The guys at Jordan’s were very accommodating and worked our vehicle in right away. They found out the van was low on coolant but weren’t able to find any leaks. They refilled the coolant and suggested a possible thermostat replacement. Unfortunately replacing the thermostat would take another hour. We decided against replacing the thermostat so we could get back on the road. They encouraged us to check the coolant level frequently during our last few days of the trip.
We headed to Nashville, thankful it wasn’t something major that had caused the van to overheat.
We could have easily spent several hours walking the streets and visiting the shops. We ended up making it about thirty minutes before the 96 degree temperatures forced us back to the van. If we are ever in the area again, we will be making an effort to spend more time there. What a cute little town!
From Nashville we continued south and made our way into Kentucky where we spent the night. We made an impromptu drive through Louisville after we took the wrong exit from the interstate. Louisville was a neat looking city right on the Ohio River.
We’ve been trying to make some mental notes throughout the trip of places we think would be worth a visit down the road.
After we got back on the right road, we headed east and spent the night in Georgetown, Kentucky. Our original plan for the following day was to spend time at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. With the forecast calling for temperatures in the mid 90’s again we decided to switch to an indoor activity.
Shannon did some research and found the Aviation Museum of Kentucky, which is also in Lexington. We all enjoyed the museum. The boys were able to sit in the cockpit of an airplane and in the front seats of a helicopter.
There were several different full size airplanes on display including one from the Blue Angels and another from the U.S. Air Force.
It definitely wasn’t an overwhelming experience but one that we all enjoyed.
We continued our trek east, crossing into West Virginia and spent the night in Charleston. The highlight for the boys was driving so close to the capitol building that was covered in gold!
The next day included about four and a half hours on the road. We planned to spend some time at Hawks Nest State Park. We planned to see some waterfalls. But there was something different about this day.
We planned to go home!
This was the last day of our three week long adventure. The trip had been a blast but we were definitely ready to be home.
A few miles south of Charleston we separated from Interstate 64 and took a scenic drive down highway 60. We found this neat waterfall just off the road.
This road follows the Kanawha River until it turns into the New River. About seven miles from the start of the New River we reached Hawks Nest State Park.
Hawks Nest has wonderful views of the New River Gorge.
We also rode a tram down into the gorge which gave us a different perspective.
After the tram ride we walked down to the Lovers Leap overlook. It was worth the 100 steps down to the bottom!
After finishing up at Hawks Nest we finally got to push “Go Home” in our GPS. We had three hours left on the road. Everyone, except the driver, got naps on the way home. It was a nostalgic drive for me as it was the first time I had driven through the East River Tunnel in close to eight or nine years.
I was tempted to swing in and see what Bluefield looks like these days but decided to push on towards home. For those who don’t know, I earned my bachelors in psychology from Bluefield College.
We ended up making it home without having any more problems from the van. Thanks for following along with us on this crazy journey. We’ll be posting some of our final thoughts from this trip soon!
Now it’s time to plan the next one!!