After a short morning of work, we said our goodbyes to the Habitat crew, shared a few laughs and a few tears. Before leaving Richmond, we drove to Frisch’s Big Boy, where Lisa works, and we stopped for breakfast and to say goodbye to her.
After the nice brunch, we headed on up to Frankfurt to do a tour of the oldest Kentucky distillery- Woodford Reserve. This had beautiful grounds, which was a great way to see what Kentucky is most known for. Just not that far up the road from Woodford was a Rebecca Ruth candy shop where a lot of us satisfied our sweet tooth with some homemade chocolate and candy. After eating lunch in Frankfort, we headed out back onto the road to go toward Mammoth Caves. On our way to Mammoth Caves, we made some interstate friends while passing a van full of college students. They thought that our van was so cool that they took a picture of it (probably because they thought Jason was the guy from The Hangover). We arrived in Cave City to stay for the night so we could get on the early tour of Mammoth Caves. Due to the time change issues (we were back in Central), we were scheduled to wake up at 7:30 am, but the phones went haywire and went off at 6:30 am. There were not a lot of happy faces in the guys’ room, words were said, and phones were thrown (Thanks, Storm). At 9:30, we went on a tour of the Frozen Niagra section of Mammoth Caves (the longest caves in the world). The tour took about 45 minutes, and it was filled with narrow spaces and open spaces (as you could imagine) and afterwards, Jason was determined to become a Junior Ranger, but his dreams were delayed since he didn’t have a pen.
When the caves were done, we drove to Nashville, TN for a nice afternoon lunch and scenic walkabout. We heard a lot of live bands and learned about some country music history, but we wish that we would have been able to stay later into the night to see and learn more about Nashville. By 4 pm, we set out for the long journey back to Fayette. Since we were red-eyeing it, we went through a couple of drivers that night, but we knew we were home when we hit the bad weather and the classic Iowa winds at 4 am.
All in all, it was a great trip, everyone got along great (except for the heat issue), and we encourage everyone to join Daryl and H4H in the years to come!
Thanks for following!
Jason and Kayla
Hey everyone! Sorry for the long delay in between posts, but we didn’t have the Internet at the lodge we stayed at during the trip, so we had to roadtrip to McDonald’s to do the blog, and things ended up getting so hectic that we ran out of time before we knew it! On Tuesday, the weather was beautiful out, so we were fortunate enough to be able to work outside helping to tear down a house. The lot the house was on was donated to H4H, and they had already started gutting the house. All we had to do that day was go through and salvage what usuable materials we could (mostly wood and bricks) so that they could send these to their ReStore (a thrift store-esque place where all of the profits go to H4H). So even though people were busy carrying planks, swinging sledgehammers, and pounding bricks together all day, we were fortunate enough to end the day with only one badly smashed thumb (which happened to be Kayla’s) and the typical scrapes, cuts, and bruises on random body parts. We also discovered throughout the course of the day that it is very entertaining to grab the backs of people’s legs and yell, “Snake!” (especially to Storm) but that it is not so funny when someone does it back to you.
When we finished working for the day, we finally found our way to Richmond’s Civil War battlefields (which we missed the day before) and spent an hour or so touring the fields before heading back to the lodge for a dinner of chicken and veggies.
On Wednesday, the weather was pretty rainy, so we worked in the tobacco warehouse again building more walls for the house. However, Wednesday’s workday was pretty awesome because about halfway through our workday, Lisa (the woman whose house we were helping to build) came to visit us while we worked. Having Lisa there made working on this project that much more real and special, and it was touching to see how much Lisa appreciated the work that we, and everyone else, was doing to help her.
After working a full day on Wednesday, a local Richmond church invited us for a soup supper in honor of Ash Wednesday, where we all went and enjoyed white chili before heading back to the lodge for some rest.
After sleeping in the extra two hours, we went to eat breakfast that Wendy, our H4H contact, had prepared for us. It was delicious and nutritious, tasted just like chicken—but with ham and eggs. We were given a little walkthrough of H4H, its history in Madison and Clark counties, and we learned that they’ve built around 100 homes in the last twenty years—a pretty impressive accomplishment in the Habby-world. After we met the people that we would be working with and given a short safety lesson, we drove to the warehouse where we would begin our work. Yes—working in a warehouse—an old tobacco factory, to be exact—because of the inclement weather. After breaking the door while loading in the lumber, the puns started coming out of everyone’s mouths. The themes of the puns were wood, nails, and hammering (you can use your imagination). It was a very productive day because we completed almost all of the framework for the exterior walls of the house. In other words, we all nailed for five hours (it’s a pun, get it?). The two Habby people we worked with were very impressed with our work, and they started running out of things for us to do.
After we finished working for the day, we thought we were going to go to Richmond’s historic Civil War battlefields. However, after missing our exit right away, we ended up 20 miles north in Lexington. Not wanting to waste the trip, we went to the University of Kentucky’s stadium for the traditional tourist picture. We then took some Lexington back-roads and passed by hundreds of acres of horse farms, mansions, and wineries before driving back to Richmond. (Is a winemaker a winer?) When we got back to Richmond, we were fortunate enough to be able to meet the homeowner whose house we are working on as well as other potential homeowners. We ended the night with a lodge-cooked meal of steak and chicken fajitas and some much needed sleep.
Jason & Kayla
It was Another Early morning for the wild and crazy bunch of cocks. We left at 6 am for the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee. We stopped at the Cracker Barrel in Knoxville around 8 for breakfast, and we found out that Tennessee waitresses also thought that it was too early. After breakfast, we were back on the road again. After Knoxville, we drove through Weirdsville, USA (aka- Pigeon Forge, TN, but really a fun town), where we saw such places as Sexy Stuff (with one f), Wonderworks, and Dixie Stampede. Every theme ride and putt-putt course you could imagine was in this town. It was a Las Vegas for the young.
40 minutes and 1500 t-shirt stores later, we finally arrived at the Great Smoky National Park. We went to the information to plan out our day’s events at the park. We decided to hike Elkmont, one of the shorter trails (1.7 miles one way), to a roaring, but small, waterfall. Only dressed in our iconic sweatpants and sweatshirts, we were still chased by the bad weather as it began to snow about halfway up our hike. By the time we got back from the waterfall, we were soaking wet and covered in snow. After that, we drove a little farther into the mountains; however, the whole clan’s visibility was impaired due to fog on our windows, courtesy of our breathing after our exhaustive walk in the snow. Since we couldn’t really see much of the mountains, we turned around and headed back out of the park onto a different road weaving us up to North Carolina’s Newfound Gap (5046 feet). When we finally gained visibility and were able to see the snow covered peaks, Jason peed his pants with excitement lol. After reaching the top of the gap, it felt like we were in Iowa again with the snow and cold winds.
Nascaring our way back to Richmond, we thought, in our “cultured” minds, that it would be a good idea to stop in Corbin, KY for the original KFC….we were Kentucky-Fried.
With our bellys full of the Colonel and his spices, we made our way back to Richmond. However, there was still enough downtime left to watch movies and bum around in McDonalds for their free wifi before going to bed, excited about the idea of getting to sleep in until 8 am.
Jason & Kayla
After a combined eight hours of sleep between everyone the night before, the group gathered at 5 am on Saturday at Garbee to get loaded up and trucking for the eleven hour drive to Kentucky. It was a happy day for the mullet-clan (yes, we did buy mullet wigs for this trip) as we left Iowa for Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, and then finally Kentucky. Going into this trip, we knew there were going to be differences between people, but we were shocked at how quickly those differences surfaced. “Can you please turn the heat on?” followed by someone else yelling, ”Turn the dang heat off!” not even ten minutes later was a common occurence before we even got out of Iowa. Other than that, the drive between Iowa and Kentucky was uneventful except for all of the shedding wigs leaving mullet hair in random places. We pulled into the Habitat for Humanity (H4H) lodge in Richmond around 6 pm (which would be 5 pm in Iowa), and the director for H4H met us at the lodge and showed us around what will be our home for the next week. After throwing our bags into our bedrooms and looking around the lodge, we jumped back into the van and headed for Berea, a little college town about 15 minutes outside of Richmond. Before we left, we asked the H4H director for a good place to eat in Berea, and she said directed us to Boone Tavern, a four star restrauant. We called Boone Tavern to make sure the menu was in our price range (which is around $10 a person), and they said that they have menu items for that price. So, clad in our sweatpants and sweatshirts, we drove to Boone Tavern. Soon after walking in, we realized that we were probably not dressed well enough to even wash their dishes let alone eat there, but we asked to see a menu anyway. The lady that we spoke with on the phone before arriving wasn’t lying when she said that there were $10 menu items, but she left out the fact that those items were just the appetizers while the main course dishes ran around $30. Knowing that was way out of our price range, we walked down the street to Papaleno’s, a little Italian/pizza restaurant, where our sweatpants and sweatshirts were just right. After eating some pizzas, we trekked back through the rain to our van and drove back to the lodge. Even though everyone was dog-tired, we stayed awake until 1 am watching The Terminator and Multiplicity tapes that were left in the lodge. When those were done, we all passed out in our bunks, resting up for the next day.
Hey, everyone! My name is Kayla, and I’m currently a junior double-majoring in psychology and human services with a minor in sociology, but I have absolutely no clue what I want to do with my life after graduation. I grew up as the youngest of eight kids on a dairy farm in the town of Alma, Wisconsin (which is different than the city of Alma), which is an itty-bitty town of about 300 people built between bluffs and the Mississippi River.
Now that I’m at UIU, I’ve become involved in a lot of different activities, such as being an International Ambassador, a psychology tutor, a Summer Resident Assistant, and a Summer Orientation Assistant, just to name a few. However, one of the things that I’m most looking forward to is being able to go with nine other students and staff to Richmond, Kentucky over Spring Break to work with Habitat for Humanity. I’ve done a couple of service trips in the past to San Antonio and New Orleans, but I’ve never been to the “mountain-y” area of the US or worked with Habitat for Humanity, so I’m excited for the opportunity to be able to share some of my Kentucky-Fried adventures with you
I think that our kentucky trip will be great for ourselves and for the family we are helping. I will be taking photos of our trip, so keep following us on our blog for updates.