Louisville, KY Weeklong Trip

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5

Day 1

Good Evening Camp Courageous,

The travel group is on the road again! This time to Louisville, KY! We started off our trip this morning at 7am at Camp where we met Katie Stephan from Dubuque and Bartek Waclawik from Madison, WI. We then had check-ins in Marion, where we picked up Staci Howell; then we were off to Coralville to meet Scott Suchomel, Michael Cannon, Hayley Musser, and Sara Rugg. We also had a surprise visiter! Former counselor Mallory Pettengill, surprised us at the McDonalds. It was great to see her. Our final pick-up was in Walcott at the I-80 Truck stop. We checked in Doug Case, Lisa Boenitz, Chad Driscoll, and Randy Farmer. All the travelers were very excited about the trip and ready to explore Louisville.

We had a good drive. Very sunny, but a little windy. We had lunch at Culver’s, which was very delicious. We continued our drive and made good time to Louisville. We ate dinner at Old Chicago once we got to Louisville and then made our way to the Hotel.




It was a great day and all the travelers are super excited to be here. They are now resting and waiting for the fun to continue tomorrow morning!

Have a great Monday!

Day 2

Good Evening Camp Courageous,

The travel group began our day touring Louisville. We had two main attractions that we toured, The American Printing House for the Blind and the Kentucky Derby Museum/ChurchHill Downs. It was such a beautiful day in Louisville. The sun was shinning and the travelers were excited to get out and explore this great city.
Our first stop was The American Printing House for the Blind (APH). When we arrived, we were greeted by two lovely ladies, who were excited to show us all that APH had to offer. They first showed us the history of APH. This facility is the sole producer of items made for individuals that are blind and visually impaired. APH has two parts, a factory that makes all the materials and the museum/hall of fame. The factory makes a number of items that have Braille on it. From calculators to cell phone accessories that help individuals who have a visual impairment or blind be able to function through society, especially to keep up with technology. The video showed us a lot of the other fun things they made, and we had a chance to try some of the items out why we toured the facility. I recommend Googling this place to learn about all that they do, it’s pretty cool. Also, if you are in the area, I highly recommend the tour. One of the best parts, it’s FREE!
The tour guides split us up into two groups. The first group started in the factory and the second started in the museum. My group and Dani Carter’s group hung out at the museum first. We heard about the history of Braille, it originally began in France. We walked around learning about the use of Braille and the different ways it is used. We even had a chance to write our names in Braille. We used a tool that looked like a typewriter. Traveler Staci Howell loved creating her name on this devise. When we were done exploring the museum, we made our way to the first floor to explore some of the artifacts that APH makes. Traveler Sara Rugg had a chance to learn the Alphabet in Braille and solve some math problems. Way to go Sara. It was then time to explore the factory. We saw many machines that helped make most of the items we saw and machines that make books. We then made our way to the basement of factory where we had a chance to witness a recording studio. In this studio there were two ladies, one was reading a book and the other one was following along trying to pick out the hard words. They do book recordings so those who are blind could have audiobooks. It’s a very specific process.
After the visit, we took a group picture and then did a little shopping. The staff at APH were awesome and they were very accommodating to our group. It was a great morning tour. After our tour we made our way to lunch, in downtown Louisville at the Troll Under the Bridge restaurant. It was a sit down restaurant and the food was very good. Before we knew it, we were on our way to our second attraction, the Kentucky Derby Museum/ChurchHill Downs.
The travelers were pumped about visiting ChurchHill Downs! They all knowing about Horse racing and were ready to put down waggers! But don’t you worry, there weren’t any races today. We began our tour of ChurchHill Downs. We learned about the fun of the Derby, where the horses line up and even had a chance to get close to the track and the winner circle. Traveler Randy Farmer thought this was the coolest thing. Our tour guide really enjoyed being in our group. She actually was from Keokuk, IA. Rickelle Nelson, then took us to go see a retired horse and a mini horse that is keeping him company. We took some pictures and talked with his trainer. Once we were done hanging out with the horses, we made our way to a pretty cool movie experience. The entire theater has surrounded by screens and it played such an awesome film about the Kentucky Derby and who won it, which was Always Dreaming. After the cool film, we had the opportunity to explore he museum and see all the hands on activities. For example, one of the activities was running with Muhammad Ali, recording a race call, and we had a chance to race each other on some stallions. It was awesome! Traveler Doug Case beat us, as we were crossing the finish line.

The Kentucky Derby Museum is awesome! Lots’ of fun things to see and do. The travelers even had the opportunity to shop! You know how they love shopping! After the museum, we made our way to Waterfront Park, where we had a picnic dinner and walked the Big 4 Bridge. Traveler Chad Dricoll, is afraid of heights, but he wanted to conquer his fear, so he walked up the bridge and hung out with us at the top, while we took many pictures. The sunset was beautiful. After our fun walk, we made our way back to the bus and headed
towards the hotel.
It was such a fun day and all the travelers had a great time. They are all are now resting away and getting ready for another fun day!

Day 3

Good Evening Camp Courageous,

The travel group was at it again today, traveling to new places. This time we visited the Muhammad Ali Center and Windy Meadows Farm.






The Muhammad Ali Center was the first attraction this morning. If you know who Muhammad Ali is or you don’t know who he is, come to his center and you will know who he was in a matter of two hours. The center was outstanding. There were so much literature and videos about Muhammad Ali’s life. He was a very inspirational man, that changed a lot of peoples views in this country in the heart of the Civil War. The Travelers really enjoyed the entertainment this center provided, it really kept all of my travelers entertained. Out of many of the hands on items, Traveler Randy Farmer, really enjoyed the recording booth, where he had a chance to tell his inspirational story and share it with the center. Travelers Doug Case and Michael Cannon really enjoyed hitting the punching bag and speed bag. It was great having so much to do, we could have easily spent more than two hours at this museum. But we ran out of time and needed to make our way to La Grange, KY.


La Grange is only about 20 minutes from Louisville, it was so worth the drive. We had lunch at DQ and then made our way to Windy Meadows Farm. This Farm houses a ton of retired and rescued horses. Ellie is the owner of the horse farm and was excited to show us around. Travelers Sara Rugg, Stacy Howell and many of the other travelers loved seeing all the horses. The farm even had a ton of dogs. The travelers sure love dogs! Ellie took us on a tour of her farm and showed us all the different breeds that she had. Her team still does some horse shows and they have a last minute emergency squad. Where they rescue horses if they were abandon or neglected. She said there is usually one per year. We had a great tour of the grounds, with lots of information of how much work it takes to care for horses and making sure they get all they need. After the tour, Ellie answered our final questions and sent us off.



After our tour we made our way to downtown La Grange, where we had a chance to do a little shopping. We first stopped at the Visitors Center, used the restrooms, talked for a few minutes and made our way shopping. A fun tid bit about this little town there are train tracks going right through Main St. They have roughly 30 trains that go through the town, and if you wanted to be eye to eye with the conductor, anybody can head up to a platform, to see the train at a different angle. It was great to see two of the trains that went through this town.

Once we were down shopping and after meeting some great people. We made our way to Big R’s and Shannon BBQ Restaurant. After dinner, we then made our way to the hotel, so we could get some rest for tomorrow. it was a great day in sunny Kentucky and we are so happy that we got to experience the Ali Center and Windy Meadows Farm. Stay tuned to all the fun we are going to have tomorrow, while we explore more of Louisville.


Day 4

Good Evening Camp Courageous,

The travel group had a great fourth day in Louisville Kentucky. We had a number of things we did today, we took a walking tour in downtown Louisville, we had a dinner and show experience, and we came out to Churchill Downs to join in on the fun of the races.

Our first stop of the day was a walking tour of the city! We made our way downtown to the Visitor Center where we met our tour guide, Patty. Patty took us on an 1 /2 hour tour of the city. Along the way she told us some fun facts about Louisville. Did you know that Louisville is the 14th largest city in the country? The city merged with the county so that’s why it’s so big. Patty also pointed the way to “Bourbon Row”. Louisville has been home to quite a few distilleries! There were 50 different distilleries by 1950! Patty also told us that 95% of the bourbon exports comes from Louisville!

Patty also pointed out the different types of architecture. In the 1970s there was an architect that had the motto “less is more” so he designed buildings made out of only steel and glass. In the 1980s another architect had the opposite motto, so right next door to the simple buildings are buildings with lots of different features.

Next up we made our way down to the riverfront. The Ohio River runs through Louisville. This river is pretty wide so when it floods watch out! The city is actually built of a flood plate so a lot of the water will run under the city first. The worst flood in Louisville happened in 1937. Patty told us that if you were all the way down at the finish line of the race track that the water would have been up to your knees!!

Patty also quizzed us on some history facts and Traveler, Staci Howell knew a lot of the answers! The Travelers really enjoyed the beautiful weather and exploring more of the city. After the tour, we made our way back to the visitor center to shop!!

Our Second activity we did today was heading into Indiana to watch a show and have lunch at the Derby theater. When we arrived we had food waiting for us at our spots and our drinks ready for us, so we could have a delicious meal. An hour later the show started and we watched the performance Empty Nest. This show was a comedy about two parents enjoying their time with the kids long gone outside of the house, finally! But they weren’t alone for very long, soon the kids started to return and ended up coming back. It was a great performance and there was a lot of funny jokes and moments that really made us laugh. Traveler Scott laughed the entire time along with the rest of the travelers. If you ever hear about this performance called, Empty Nest, I suggest going out and watching this show, it will be worth our time.

Before we knew it; it was time for our last adventure of the day. So after the show we made our way to Churchhill Downs! Before we did that the staff surprised the travelers with fun dress up hats. Since the tradition is if you come to Churchill Downs and go to a race, you have to wear nice hats. When we arrived we took pictures of us with their great hats and then made our way to millionaire row, where we felt like millionaires! We had two tables surrounded by a buffet, TVs everywhere, and lots of people getting ready to watch the races, the horse races that is! We had a delicious meal and some delicious cookies and brownies. And the horse races started at 5 PM on the dot with the trumpet blowing. This was done when there is seven minutes until race time. Before each race the trumpet is sounded so the horses and Jockeys could get ready. We cheered on our favorite horse on each race. Sometimes our horses won and sometimes they didn’t but it was exciting to experience this live! The travelers really did have a great time experiencing this sport. Traveler Katy Stephan had such a great time her and traveler Randy farmer were loud and proud cheering on their favorite horse. Traveler Michael Cannon enjoyed looking at all the horses and picking out his favorite horse. The favorite horses included, Zander Zone, who won 1st in the 3 round, Hollywood Star won in the 4th round and the last race Sister Blues won 1st. Traveler Stacey Howell won 3 times! She gave those horses some great luck!


Check out the couple videos that were posted on Facebook and the many pictures! Before we knew it the races were over and we were pumped up after seeing and cheering for all of these famous horses.

Headed back to the hotel now resting for our last day in Louisville Kentucky. Thank goodness you all are safe from the storms.


Day 5

Good Evening Camp Courageous,

The travel group had such a fantastic last day! There were two main activities that we did. We visited the Louisville Slugger Museum and The Mega Caverns. It was such a fun day.

We first started off at the Slugger Museum. It is such a fun place to visit. When we got their we made our way to there new Lego exhibit. This exhibit had the replaces, built by legos, of a number of baseball stadiums. The Miller Field (brewers), Cincinnati Reds, and of course yours truly the World Series Champs, the Chicago Cubs Wrigley Field. These stadiums were awesome! If you remember our blog from the Brewers game, we mentioned about the retractable roof, well in this exhibit they created the stadium where the roof actually opens and closes! It is pretty cool. After the exhibit, we sat and watched a 20 minute video about the slugger museum and the great baseball players that used them, including Derek Jeter.

Once we were done watching the film, we began our tour the factory. Did you know that 40,000 of Northern White ash and maple trees are used to supply the slugger baseball bats. Over 1.8 million wooden bats leave the factory including the free mini bats we get after the tour. THAT IS A LOT OF TREES!! But it was a good tour. We learned a lot about how they make the bats and how they form the bats. We couldn’t take any pictures or video, but it was great watching some of the bats being made.






Before we knew it, it was time to head to the museum. This museum has a lot of history about the players who used slugger bats and the history of when they started. The travelers even had a chance to hold up some famous players bats and take pictures from the dugout. It was a fun experience. After we visited the museum, we shopped and then made our way to lunch at Arby’s.

After lunch, we made our way to The Mega Caverns. Here we had a chance to take a tram tour of the Caverns. It was 58 degrees and it felt awesome! Since the temperature outside was 90 degrees. Our bus was escorted into the Caverns and had a chance to park inside the Cavern. This place was HUGE!! One of the biggest in the nation. It use to be a Limestone Mine, the first dig started in 1939. Now it serves as the Largest Organic Recycling facility in KY. They have 18 businesses working out of the Cavern. There are storage companies (vehicles and storage containers), one company pumps out 50,000 gallons of water a day from it’s aquifer, and the last business is worm poop! That’s right Mr. U, worm poop is sold for $40 a pound!

We found out all this information on our tram tour. We started the tour around 2pm and it was a good 1 and half tour. The jeep pulled the two trailers that held all the people and took us around the caverns giving us the history of the Caverns. They showed us the different formations of the Caverns, and had different signs of where we were in the Cavern and what was above us; for example, the Highway was in one location and the Zoo was in another. This place was huge and we didn’t even visit all the places. Some places are closed off to the public and the employees. This Cavern is home to a climbing activity, a zip-line, and biking. They even had a gift shop. The tram ride was pretty cool and we learned so much about the history of the Caverns. Did you know that this Cavern was being prepared for the Missile Crises in the 1960s, they were getting beds ready, for people to live up to five years, if something would have happened. The tram guide took us through this as well. Over all it was a great tour. One favorite story we learned about was the “Legend of Falling Rock.” It is a fantastic story, and the only way I am going to share it with you, is to visit the Travel Blog and read the story. It is posted at the bottom of the blog.

After our visit, we made our way to our last sit down dinner for the week. At Cardinal Cafe. It was delicious. We then made it back to our hotel early, so we could get some rest. Tomorrow we head back to Iowa. We have drop offs in Walcott, Coralville, Marion, and at Camp Courageous. A HUGE THANK YOU to all the travelers, you all are responsible for these trips, so thank you for attending. A special thank you to Dani Carter and Stacey Patterson. It was great having you on the trip, volunteering your week to be with our travelers.

Tonight we also had two special guests show up to say hi! Former counselors Kegan and Rachel Kegley. It was great to see these two and catch up! Thanks for coming by!

I hope everyone has a great Friday and a wonderful weekend!


The Travel Team