On vacation - Keep on truckin'

May 15, 2007|by ZACH TUSSING

My spring break started out horrible. I got the stomach flu the day before my family left to go to Louisville, Ky., for the Mid-America Trucking Show.

But things got better.

Louisville's show is the largest truck show in the world. Since my dad works for Mack Trucks/Volvo Powertrain in Hagerstown, we sometimes go to this event. While my dad spends hours and hours with engines and trucks, my sister Hannah and I go around the show and collect freebies from vendor booths.

This year was the same. We got to Louisville and went to the Mid-America Trucking Show, which has trucks, trailers, engines and truck accessories from many different companies. There was even a booth that had a talking robot. Pretty neat!

People come from all over the world to attend this event.

Of the freebies my sister and I collected, my favorites included a cool mouse pad, water bottles and light-up bouncy balls.


But after many hours, we had the annual sick-and-tired-of-looking-at-trucks headache. We didn't even have the energy to walk to our car (which seemed like miles away), so we decided to take the so-called trolley. Actually it was more like a farm tractor pulling a flatbed with benches. It was not pleasant. It didn't help that the big trucker sitting next to me obviously forgot his deodorant. Enough said.

The next day, my mother, sister and I toured downtown Louisville. Dad went back to the truck show. Our method of transportation this day was a real trolley. It only cost 25 cents and we could ride to all the major attractions in town.

Our first stop was the Louisville Slugger bat-making factory. We got to tour the real "working" factory. There was lots of sawdust in the air (and up my nose). We got to see Major League Baseball bats being made. We also got to hold bats that had been made and were going to be sent to famous players. Our guide told us the names of the players they were going to be given to but we couldn't hear what he was saying due to the factory noise. I'm not a huge baseball fan, but the tour was still pretty neat.

Then we went to the Glassworks building, which is a collection of several different kinds of artistic glassmakers. I got to make my own glass egg. We saw a man "lampworking" - this is when you take glass rods and shape them using flames. The man was making a flying pig. This looked like a hot and dangerous job. We also got to see two men "blow" a glass vase. The hot glass was on the end of a large metal rod. One man rolled the rod and shaped the vase with a tool while the other man blew into the opposite end of the rod. The second guy had the worst job. He looked dazed after blowing so hard.

My mom then dragged my sister and I to a building I call "three floors of death and boredom." It was one of the largest fabric stores in the Midwest. It was three stories tall and boasted of having more than 10,000 buttons. I do not recommend this place.

The next day, my dad and I went to the skatepark in Louisville. This extreme skatepark was actually built for the X-Games several years ago. It's one of the biggest, most awesome skateparks I have ever been to. It's made up of pools with half-pipes and quarter-pipes inside them. But the coolest is the full-pipe that allows skaters to go beyond vertical!

While, our trip could have been more fun had we not had the stomach flu, we still had a great time in Kentucky. I can definitely recommend visiting all of these places if you get the chance to go to Louisville. But do yourself a favor, and skip the fabric store.

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