Michigan Trip

April 2010

Part Three


* * * Part One * * * Part Two * * * Part Three * * *






Day five of the Michigan Trip was just as eventful as the previous four 

days. The first stop on our itinerary was the KFC headquarters in Louisville, 

which had a museum filled with Kentucky Fried Chicken memorabilia and some 

of founder Colonel Sanders' belongings. When we entered the building and into 

the small room that houses the museum, we were stunned to be face to face 

with the most life-like wax figure either of us had ever seen. This sculpture 

looked exactly like the famous colonel. We were even more shocked when we 

progressed farther into the room, because, apparently equipped with a motion 

detector, the figure started talking! It was actually an animatronic robot. My 

father and I found this hysterical for some reason, and continued to laugh while 

we perused through the different exhibits. One of the standouts of the collection 

was an original Norman Rockwell painting of the colonel, which hangs on a wall 

just outside the entrance to the museum room. I've only eaten at KFC once in 

my life and wasn't super excited about going to the museum, but I ended up 

having an enjoyable time and I'm glad we went.


After, we headed over to Cave Hill Cemetery, where Colonel Sanders 

himself is buried. We went to several other graves while there, including the 

burial sites of Pete Browning (for whom the first Louisville Slugger was created) 

and Patty Hill (the co-author of the Happy Birthday song). We had a lot of 

trouble pinpointing Ms. Hill's final resting place, but an employee named Ricky 

Karcher helped us with that before we drove ourselves crazy. Then, the two of 

us made our way to Colonel Sanders' very cool grave, which we have been told 

is the most popular tourist attraction in Kentucky. Apparently, cemetery 

employees eventually became tired of being asked where the fast food pioneer 

is buried, and now a line painted down the middle of a long and winding 

cemetery road leads visitors to his grave. The next stop was in Frankfort, which 

is the state capital of the "Bluegrass State". After I had my photograph taken at 

the state house itself, we went to Frankfort Cemetery, which is just a few miles 

away. It is there that famed explorer and pioneer Daniel Boone is likely buried, 

near the edge of a cliff that looks out toward the state house. I say likely 

because Missourians maintain that they have him for eternity, and that the 

wrong body was exhumed and moved to Frankfort in 1845. Anyway, I think that 

he is there on that cliff in Kentucky.


A few yards away is Richard Johnson, an eccentric vice president noted 

for being the assumed killer of Tecumseh, a famous Native American leader. 

The two of us snapped the photos we needed there and then drove to the city of 

Lexington to visit some more burial sites. Even before we entered Lexington 

Cemetery, I could see the immensely tall monument that holds the remains of 

Henry Clay. Clay is often called "Kentucky's favorite son", and the sheer height 

of his tomb was able to convey that message. In fact, it was somewhat difficult 

to capture the entire grave in a photograph, especially with scores of trees in the 

way. We could not get into the tomb because it was locked, but we were able to 

get decent photos of the politician's sarcophagus through the metal gate. One 

of Clay's neighbor's in the cemetery is VP John Breckinridge, who served 

during James Buchanan's sole term. Having accomplished everything we 

wanted to do in that particular cemetery, we headed for the gate. But we would 

not be leaving just yet. It was locked.


That's right. We were locked in yet again. And it wasn't even close to being 

dark yet. It was about 4:00 PM! There was a telephone number on a sign at the 

entrance, but it was not legible, so my father called the police station. Someone 

there said that if we took every right turn in the cemetery, we would reach the 

maintenance building and that someone there would let us out. That would 

have worked, had any of the maintenance crew been there. There was a house 

at the rear of the cemetery though, and when my father knocked on the door, a 

man answered. We asked him if he was the caretaker and if he had a key to let 

us out. He replied that he was not the caretaker and that his wife, who was not 

home had the key. So this man lives in a cemetery, is not the caretaker, and is 

trapped inside when his wife leaves the house. Odd. All the same, he said that 

there should be a security car driving around, and that we should be able to find 

it so the guard could let us out. We found the guard back at the entrance 

actually letting out some other visitors who were locked in. Jumping on the 

bandwagon, we decided we didn't want to spend the night in the cemetery and 

departed.


Around sunset, we got to Dayton, Ohio, where I wanted to go in order to 

see the graves of the Wright brothers. The gate was locked, but we had no 

trouble jumping the short stone wall to get inside. A women who was there 

walking her dog told us where Wilbur and Orville were interred, and we set off 

for that spot after thanking her. A few yards later, my father spotted a sign 

pointing to the grave of Erma Bombeck, a famous author and humorist who I 

had never heard of. My father said that we should go back and see her grave, 

but the Wright Brothers were our main priority, so we strode as quickly as we 

could to their burial sites. With the sunlight dwindling, we took the photos we 

wanted and went back to find Erma Bombeck. Despite the sign pointing to it, we 

couldn't see her grave, only this giant boulder. We spent about twenty minutes 

scouring the cemetery until we deduced that the boulder was her grave. When 

we finished up, we piled into the car and went to Columbus to go to the state 

capitol. It was 10:00 when we reached Columbus and the photos we took were 

terrible, but they will have to do for now. About four hours later, we found an 

Econo Lodge in Washington, Pennsylvania after a long and agonizing search 

for a place to stay. The Econo Lodge did not look friendly at all, starting with its 

sign, which was actually one of those signs where you can rearrange the letters 

yourself. The window of our room was unlocked, setting us up for burglary, and 

the door had several knife marks along its edge, telling us that someone had 

tried to break in before, or had maybe even succeeded. After barricading the 

door, locking the window, and jamming another window with no lock in the 

bathroom, we went to bed hoping we we would live to tell the tale of the Econo 

Lodge.


On day six, we drove to many historical sites in Pennsylvania, including the 

state capitol and the grave of several signers of the Declaration of 

Independence and the Constitution, such as Philip Livingston and James Smith. Livingston gave us some trouble, as did Spiro Agnew in Maryland, but 

we did eventually find them both. Also that day, we visited the burial sites of Johnny Unitas and Thomas Mifflin, yet another Constitution signer. My 

father's friend Andy, who I mentioned on the page about our Virginia Trip, was 

hospitable enough to let us stay at his home after a long day of grave hunting. 

On the final day of our journey, we traveled to the New Jersey State House, the 

graves of patriots David Brearley, George Clymer, John Hart, and Abraham Clark. Last on our itinerary was the grave of Garret Hobart in Paterson. My 

father and I rushed as fast as we could to the cemetery where he was interred 

so long ago, but arrived just as it was closing. A grumpy employee was shooing 

out a family from Colorado who had come to visit some deceased relative, and 

none of them were happy. We tried fruitlessly to persuade her to stay at the 

entrance while we swiftly ran to the grave and took our photos, but she refused. 

Then, when all else failed, my father came up with something crazy.


"What if," he proposed to the employee, "you locked us in the cemetery?" 

That way, we would be able to see the grave and she would be able to leave. 

What?! Get locked in a cemetery voluntarily? It was completely crazy, but it 

worked. Leaving our rental car by the curb, we set off on foot to find the vice 

president's mausoleum, the location of which the employee had no clue. We ran and ran down various rows until I finally found Hobart's tomb and waved down my father. We took several pictures and set our minds on finding a way out, something that would not be easy. Half of the grounds were surrounded by an eight foot wall, and completely surrounded by barbwire. After walking the perimeter, however, we did find a spot where the barbwire sagged, conveniently near a tree. Within moments, we were both on the other side, having overcome being locked in another cemetery. Our mission accomplished, we set our sights on home, only stopping briefly at one of our favorite hamburger joints, Louis' Lunch in New Haven.


Now having read all about this expedition, I hope you leave this page 

knowing the following moral: if you are ever tired and find yourself driving by the 

Econo Lodge in Washington, Pennsylvania, keep on cruising...

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