It’s a hit!

We enjoyed a leisurely morning today, with Louisville becoming more visible on the horizon as we approached it.

We docked during lunch and took a quick walk to see the Gracehoper sculpture along the Riverwalk (Google Maps called it “Gracehopper”) before departing for our afternoon excursions.

Diane went to the Frazier Kentucky History Museum and came back to the ship with a tea towel with bourbon drink recipes; I went to the Louisville Slugger Museum and Tour and came home empty-handed (they gave me a mini-bat, but it’s not acceptable in carry-on luggage, so I settled for a photo).

The Slugger Museum wasn’t terribly interesting; they did have actual bats used by players like Babe Ruth, Roger Maris, and Mickey Mantle, but there wasn’t much to look at.

The factory tour, on the other hand, was fascinating. They started with a video showing the forest in Pennsylvania they use for all of the wood that goes into bats and how they process it to produce billets, which they ship to Louisville to turn into bats. They showed us billets and bats for current Major League players (one from each team) and let us hold them.

They use CNC lathes to make the bats for professional players, and less exacting tools to make the bats they sell at retail.

Each player has their own specifications for their bats: weight, length, wood, and some finishing details. It’s a big deal!

After the tour, we had half-an-hour before our bus was ready to take us back to the ship; I decided to walk back instead so I could see a little more of Louisville. I liked the way they preserved the fa├žade of a couple of buildings that they removed to make a participatory sports park.

George Rogers Clark was very important to Louisville, and they commemorate him with a waterfront statue.

By the time I got back to the ship, I was drenched (it was in the 90s and I was only able to stay in the shade for the first few blocks of the walk); I welcomed the air-conditioning.

We had a pilot house tour this afternoon; the Captain was entertaining and informative. And then it was time for dinner.

The entertainment tonight is a jug band, Juggernaut; it should be interesting. The ship stays in Louisville tonight; tomorrow, we’ll get to tour Churchill Downs.