Our Goose goes on a trip to Kentucky with his son Alex - June 2011
Ah Kentucky, the land of beautiful horses and fast women! Sounds like the perfect place for a HOG rally! 2 Sandies, one ride, one trailer, one cage, and a blood lust for bourbon headed up to Louisville, KY for the 2011 Kentucky State HOG Rally.
Prologue: Chris and Maryann purchased an extremely nice motorcycle trailer and I’m not sure they have actually gotten to use it yet, but the rest of the club has gotten plenty of use out of it. Special thanks to them for providing an extremely light and very stable trailer! So, I picked the trailer up Monday night after the meeting, not from Backhoe and Maryann’s of course, but from Bingo Bob and Sandie John. I go to hook up the lights and only have left turn signal and running lights. A little fiddling and tinkering later, I now have left turn signal, running lights and brakes. Close enough to get back to the house. The next night, after chasing wires on my 4runner for an hour, I end up jumping the right turn signal across the control box and now have a right turn signal on the trailer! Who cares if the signal stops blinking when I put on the brakes… Close enough to get me to KY! So off we go!
And now for the rest of the story… First day we registered, checked out the vendors, and head out on the Bourbon trail. Riding almost to Lexington, we exit the highway and enter horse country. Amazing Sandie loving roads! Small two lane roads going between horse pastures, rolling hills, swooping turns, beautiful canopied sections, and hand built stone fences. It was absolutely beautiful. And then we found our first destination, the Woodford Distillery. The tour was very nice, when we entered the barrel house I thought it smelled like heaven. Alex just thought it smelled. From a Dad’s perspective, I’m okay with that. Then onto next two, Wild Turkey and Four Roses. We just did a quick hop and pop to get our Bourbon Trail passports stamped and then headed back to the house for some family time with my Dad and daughters.
Day Two or Mister Toads Wild Ride: We had signed up for the guided ride to the Makers Mark distillery and showed at our designated time. They were taking groups of 50 to the distillery for the tour and the chance to get a Makers bottle with the hallowed black and orange wax, signed by the president of Makers. I already think this trip is going to be interesting, getting 50 strangers to ride together, but I had no idea… When the road captain briefed us, we were told to ride staggered (okay), and that if there was a blank space to move up (WTF!), don’t criss cross (WTF!). So off we go, and sure enough, a blank space developed to my left and as briefed the person, behind to my left passed me in the same lane. Now I’m feeling uncomfortable. All the passing settles down and now were “stable” going down the highway. Were going 80 mph and all of a sudden I see the rider in front of me bounce out of her seat. In the 1.5 seconds that I now have before I hit the same hole she did, I can’t trust the right side (because someone might be passing) and I have a car on the left. All I can think is “This is going to suck!” and bam we hit. I feel myself lift at least a foot out of the seat and stop because my arms are at full extension and then I feel Alex going a little higher (panic). Then slam, back into the seat and feel Alex IS still behind me (phew!) We exit the highway a few miles later and are now on small two lane roads. Our guides fancied themselves motor cops and were blocking intersections to keep the group together. Sounds good right? Remember the two lane road part? They would be passing the group in the oncoming traffic lane and if a car or blind curve appeared, they would just merge into the group and ride side by side until an opening appeared. I had planned on ditching the group on the way back to go my own route already, but by now I was seeing this as a necessity.
The Makers distillery was really good. Again, the smell of heaven for me, but just plain smell for Alex. One part that I was completely amazed by was at the huge fermenters. We were actually encouraged to dip our fingers into the mash and taste it! Very cool :-) And of course the tour ended at the gift shop. But this gift shop was a little cooler than the others. I actually got to dip my purchased bottles into the red wax myself! And yes, I did feel a little like a proud papa!
So off we headed (WITHOUT the group!) and had a lot of fun swooping through the turns having a great time into Bardstown, KY to grab a bite to eat on our way to the next distillery. When I saw the name of the restaurant, I knew we had to stop. Mammies Kitchen! And we were not disappointed! Alex was of course satisfied with a hotdog and fries, but I wanted something more traditional, the Kentucky Hot Brown! Talk about YUM! And a Sandie price to boot, only cost $12 for the both of us to eat! Quick stop at Heaven Hill distillery and off to the Jim Beam Distillery. Six total stamps, our passports full, and our Bourbon trail is complete! By the way, in case you had ever wondered where the world’s smallest functioning distillery is… It’s in the Beam house! Makes up to one gallon of moonshine per week, but they only fire it up once a year. Unfortunately… not for sale :-(
Final day of the Rally: We joined in the parade of flags, this time with real Motor Cops, not “wanabe’s” and were escorted past Churchill downs, through the University of Louisville campus, to downtown Louisville. Fun ride and then we bolted and went back to the house. Short rally day, but I was more interested in spending time with the “Fam”. My oldest daughter (Phoebe) works weekends during the summer at the renaissance fair in Eminence, KY and that’s where we were headed. Other daughter (Elizabeth), Alex, Grandpa, and I headed out to join her at the fair. Lots of fun and yummy Haggis to eat! Later that evening I removed and replaced the lighting harness on the 4runner and a few hours later, Whamo! The lights on the truck and trailer work perfectly!
Over all excellent trip!
Hugs and Kisses,
Special Factoid: To be true bourbon… It must be:
Made in the United States.
Made with at least 51% corn. (Makers uses 75%)
Made with new barrels. (Old bourbon barrels are shipped away to make scotch, dark tequila etc.)
Be at least 80 proof (40% alcohol).