Day 2: November 4, 2007
Then There Was One
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IN-145 Following the hotel tour, Mike & crew headed home and the rest of us spent the night in West Baden Springs. Our rooms were just down the road at Lane's Motel where all three rooms cost about half the price of one at the West Baden Springs Hotel.

Firm planning for Sunday had not preceded the trip but there was some loose talk about lunching at a well known BBQ joint in Owensboro, Kentucky. That was pretty much the plan at sun down Saturday but was slightly changed by sun up Sunday. We would all head south but Kent & Mary Sue would turn right at I-64 and head home.

Holiday World, Santa Claus, IN Holiday World, Santa Claus, IN Just south of the expressway, the remaining two-car caravan turned west onto IN-62. At IN-162, we headed south toward Santa Claus. The most visible thing in town the Holiday World amusement park but it has closed for the season.

Santa Claus, IN Santa Claus, IN Santa Claus, IN We verified that Santa Claus does not have an actual downtown but we did find a municipal building and a post office. Both have large Santa statues in front of them but that's just the norm around here. A museum sits next to the post office.

Santa Claus Museum, Santa Claus, IN Santa Claus Museum, Santa Claus, IN Santa Claus Museum, Santa Claus, IN The Santa Claus Museum was the surprise find of the day and Joey is its star. Joey believes in Santa Claus - the town - and he knows a whole lot about it, too. We entered the museum with low expectations. I assumed we would wander around a few tacky Christmas displays and be out in a minute or two. Wrong! We were treated to a tour that not only described the items displayed but explained how they fit into the history of the town and told of the flesh and blood people connected to them. At one point, Joey even had us "singing" Frosty the Snowman while he worked the piano. Letters find their way here with addresses like "Santa Claus, North Pole" and every one is answered. Yes, form letters are used, but each one gets a personalized postscript. Joey's personal target is fifty a day when he's at the museum. I can only hope that other museum workers come close to Joey's knowledge and enthusiasm. This guy made me believe in Santa Claus - the town.

Santa Claus, IN Santa Claus, IN This twenty-two foot Santa was dedicated on Christmas Day in 1935 and was originally claimed to be solid granite. (Joey can tell you about that, too.) It is actually concrete and is showing its 70-plus years of weathering. It is the model on which that statue at the municipal building is based and, dispute a bit of crumbling, is still pretty cool.

Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn, Owensboro, KY Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn, Owensboro, KY The unplanned museum visit consumed the time the Bremers had allowed for lunch so, with a dinner commitment back in Indianapolis, they decided to skip Owensboro. But I wasn't about to get this close only to turn back. I pressed on and was rewarded by the impressive buffet at the Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn. As should be expected, the famous restaurant was busy but is big enough that I got right in. Tasty!

International Bluegrass Music Museum, Owensboro, KY International Bluegrass Music Museum, Owensboro, KY International Bluegrass Music Museum, Owensboro, KY International Bluegrass Music Museum, Owensboro, KY I had a vague memory that the Blue Grass Hall of Fame, or something similar, was in or near Owensboro but I failed to do my homework. I should have done an internet check at Lane's before disconnecting but didn't. Garmin showed nothing. I would have accepted it as a faulty memory except Pat's road atlas (printed on actual paper!) showed some blue grass attraction there. My waitress at Moonlite knew of nothing. She thought there might be something in Rosine, Bill Monroe's birthplace, but wasn't sure. Fortunately, I found an International Bluegrass Music Museum brochure near the restaurant's entrance.

The museum is in downtown Owensboro about a block from the river. There are many good displays and lots of music samples. They also have a number of short movies, many of them interviews, available for viewing. In the "Hall of Honor", I was surprised to find Cincinnatian Syd Nathan has a plaque. Syd founded King Records in the Queen City and is better known (to me) for his work with folks like Hank Ballard, James Brown, and Lonnie Mack. That's what got him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. Working with the likes of the Stanley Brothers and Reno & Smiley got him into the Blue Grass Hall of Honor in 2006.

William H. Natcher Bridge, Owensboro, KY I entered Owensboro on the 1940 Glover H. Cary Bridge but started my express run home on the newer William H. Natcher Bridge.

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