We were just about to leave when Gunnar handed me his gun and told me I might need to use it on him. Gunnar was diagnosed with diabetes when he was a teenager. The gun was his glucose gun and I would need to shoot him with it if he were to go unconscious from a diabetic reaction. Fortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to use it during our trip.
With that out of the way we were off. We had planned that our first day would be our longest day of driving. And it was. We ended up arriving in Louisville around 8pm. After checking into our hotel, we walked to a restaurant taproom for dinner.
I have an app on my phone that shows me where there are taprooms, so Gunnar put me in charge of finding beer. My choice for Louisville was Bluegrass Brewing Company. I drank a Bourbon Barrel Stout and enjoyed it. I’ve had many bourbon barrel beers. Many are either overpowered by bourbon taste or the bourbon taste isn’t too noticeable. This beer had a good balance with the bourbon taste. It was there but didn’t overpower the beer. I was thinking of getting a growler, but the beer was on tap as a nitro, so it was not available for a growler. Which ended up being ok as their growlers were clear glass. (Clear glass allows UV rays into the beer which can cause a skunky flavor. That’s why most beer bottles are brown; they don’t allow UV light to get through to the beer.)
In the morning we were looking out our hotel window and saw the top of a baseball bat sticking above the top of a nearby building. That was the Louisville Slugger museum. The factory where they make Louisville Slugger bats is right in Louisville and they have a fun museum attached. There were bats from many great players on display. They also had bats from different players that you could hold. They made you were gloves to hold them and you can’t swing them. But, it was still cool.
After the museum we hit the road heading toward Elizabethton, Tennessee for our first baseball game. The unexpected part of the drive was that we ended up in Virginia for a short time. The drive was very scenic as our route took us through Daniel Boone National Forest and the Cumberland Gap ending near the Great Smokey Mountains. It was difficult to find the stadium in Elizabethton, partially because it looks like a high school stadium. But we found it in time for the game.
For the first time I took advantage of a senior discount. General admission tickets were $5 with a dollar off for ages 55 and up. Seating was a grandstand on the first base side. Unfortunately, the dugout takes up a large part of the grandstand and blocks the view from many of the seats. We sat a few rows up from the back of the dugout. The view was fantastic with the mountains in the background and the moon rising.
The game started well for Elizabethton. They were playing the Greenville Reds. Andrew Cabezas had a no hitter going into the fifth inning. Yunior Severino hit a home run in the third to give Elizabethton the lead 1-0. In the fifth inning the Greenville catcher Robert Boselli got a hit. He hit a fly down the line in right field and the right fielder dove for it to try to preserve the no-hitter. But he missed it and hurt his leg. By the time the center fielder got to the ball it was too late. Elizabethton was held hitless for the last five innings while Greenville came alive for six runs in the last two innings. Final score was 7-1 for the visitors.
We spoke with some people in the stands. They were in from Minnesota and had paid for a package where they were able to throw out the first pitch and meet some of the players. They also received a bobble head that was left over from a promotion. They gave it to me. So, now I have a bobble head of the commissioner of the Appalachian baseball league.
I also got a baseball. After a foul ball the first baseman, Chris Williams, tossed the ball to the dugout. He threw it to high and the ball went over the dugout into the stands. Or maybe he was throwing it to me, since I had on a Twins cap from 1987. Gunnar retrieved the ball and gave it to me.
After the game we drove back to our hotel in nearby Johnson City. But first we stopped at a tap room I had found, Yee-Haw Brewing is in an old railroad station in town. I had a flight of three beers. Velvet Charmer, a strong scotch ale; Big Hoppa, a double IPA; and Munich Dunkel. I really enjoyed both Velvet Charmer and Big Hoppa. Although they were both pretty heavy. Sipping beers, not for chugging.
Moving on the next day was to bring us to wrecked cars and a masquerading tap room.
Tim Kane's memories, musings and updates.