(Shepherdsville, KY) Hi 82 Lo 59 - (Jim here) Since we're pretty close to one of the most famous military installations in the world, we thought we'd drive over and check it out. To say Fort Knox is close to us is true, but deceiving. The base covers thousands of acres, and the northeastern corner of it is actually just a few miles away. However, to get to the main gate we had to drive about 30 miles. Everyone knows Fort Knox as the home of the U.S. gold supply, but it's also a major U.S. Army training base. And it's also home of the Patton Museum. General George S. Patton is one of my military heroes, and I was looking forward to learning more about him and seeing some of his personal artifacts.
As we approached the main gate, on our left, behind several perimeter fences, was the U.S. Gold Depository. Inside and under that well-guarded facility are billions of dollars worth of bold bullion!
Seeing it took me back to my early teen years when I saw the movie "Goldfinger" and became a James Bond fan for life. The plot of the movie was about the Bond villain, Auric Goldfinger, planning to steal the gold from Fort Knox. It's still one of my favorite movies (and in my opinion, the best Bond movie of all of them). Among the photos I took as we were speeding by, I happened to notice this one after I downloaded them. Note the words on the sign...
Oops! :) Actually, I'm lucky I'm not locked up right now. We drove around looking for an unobstructed view of the building. We pulled off the road at an area where some highway dividers were lying up against the fence. With traffic whizzing by I got out of the car and ran over to the fence, climbed on top of one of the dividers, and snapped a few shots over the top of the fence and between the strands of barbed wire. Yeah, I did... Believe me, I was relieved when I got back in the car and we drove away without hearing sirens. I turned my best shot into the header photo at the top of this blog.
After driving around Fort Knox for awhile, we stopped at the PX for lunch, and got a few grocery items at the commissary. We then drove across base to the General George Patton Museum.
It's housed in an attractive building.
Actually the museum is undergoing a multi-year renovation. They have big plans to increase the size and include many for exhibits. It should be complete sometime in 2013. Most of the current building contains exhibits on Army leadership, and a history of the Recruiting Service and the ROTC. The Patton exhibits were contained in only one room.
What the exhibit lacked in size and quantity, it made up for in quality. There were many uniforms and personal effects, and a good timeline of Patton's career.
The 1939 Cadillac that Patton was riding in when it was involved in a three-vehicle accident just months after the end of WWII. Patton suffered a broken neck and was paralyzed from the next down. He died 12 days later from an embolism.
The display that gave me my biggest "ooooh" was this case that contained his helmet, leather belt, and ivory-handled Colt .45 revolver.
Here's another view.
That is COOL! These three items comprised the image that he conveyed to the world, as you can see in this oil painting of him that was hanging on the wall.
It was a very enjoyable visit. Thanks to everyone in the RV-Dreams chat room who recommended the museum to Dee.
As we were walking back to our car we saw this sight above us.
Go Air Force! Where would the Army be without the U.S. Air Force to get them to the fight? (Being an Air Force vet I had to get that in.) :)
Right next to the museum is this old WWII era barracks. Apparently they're planning to renovate it, and it will probably be part of the new, larger Patton Museum in the future. For all you vets "of a certain age" like myself, this building probably brings back some memories. :)
We decided to check out the base RV park, which is about four or five miles outside the gate. It's a nice little park that's part of the Camp Carlson Recreation Area.
We stopped in at the office to ask some questions about it. They don't take reservations, and it's full almost every day during the summer. Sites come open most weekday mornings, but they fill up fast as the day goes on. Once you get in, you can stay for up to 120 days. We sure wouldn't try to arrive there without a back-up plan for an alternate park.
On the way home we stopped at a couple of local wineries. Dee is a wine lover and her supply has been getting low, so she enjoyed doing some sampling, and bought a couple of bottles.
Forest Edge Winery
Wight Mayer Vineyard and Winery
Just as there's a Kentucky Bourbon Trail, there's also a Kentucky Wine Trail. If you visit eight of the listed wineries in the state you get a t-shirt. We may not get to eight, but the county we're in, Bullitt County (cool name!), has four wineries, and if we visit all four we each get a long-stem wine glass.
That was a pretty full day! Dee cooked me a delicious salmon pasta dinner, and we're now in relax mode for the evening. Life is good!