Woke up a little before 0700h to the sounds of a major airport. A minute or so later the rain started, and I realized what was going on. Quick check of the forecast called for “isolated” thunderstorms, so I decided to wait it out. Around 0930h, I gave up on that idea and packed the bike for the day before walking up the hill for a shower. The rain let up while I was getting dressed, but it was still pretty cold so I put my rain gear on anyway.
Finally on the road, decide to hit two of the more northern distilleries on my list, Buffalo Trace and Woodford Reserve. As I turned out of camp, the storm hit with a vengeance. After about 10 minutes of some of the worst conditions I’ve ever ridden in, I considered turning back, but decided I wouldn’t be any safer in a tent if I was going to be hit by lighting or a tree.
I arrived at Buffalo Trace and was directed to their motorcycle parking area just at a lull in the storm, with perfect timing to stow all of my gear (plug: PacSafe StuffSafe 80 fit my tankbag, pants, jacket, and helmet, no problem. highly recommended, though putting already wet stuff into a waterproof stuff sack is not without issues), and get inside for the tour that was about to start. The tour was interesting, but nothing spectacular. Our tour guide Becky was amusing and entertaining, which made up some for not really seeing any of the process. Got to try a new-to-me Bourbon, Eagle Rare, and was intrigued by some of their experiments but didn’t get to try them. Sadly, their gift shop only had White Dog, Buffalo Trace, and Rain (vodka) so I left without buying a bottle, but did pick up some Bourbon Brittle which I’m enjoying while I write this. Grabbed a quick lunch in their café, then back on the bike and over to Woodford Reserve. Happily, it had stopped raining by this point.
Woodford Reserve is a site on the official Bourbon Trail, so they gave me a “passport” to have stamped at each distillery to get a free shirt. I was planning on going to all of them anyway, so why not? Paid for the tour ($5! The others are free!), and spent a few minutes looking at their displays while waiting for it to start. Surprisingly, the tour was worth the money. Started off with a short video presentation, then over to the brewhouse where they had three batches visibly fermenting and a fourth cooking, about to go into the only empty fermenter (people actively working). A good discussion of the process, all pretty familiar from my homebrew adventures. Next, the stills. Two of the three were operating, the third had just been emptied, so we got to see what little there is to see of an operating copper pot still, and to see the inside of the empty one. At the far side of this room one if their workers was barrelling the product of that empty still, which was neat to watch. From there we walked over to one of the barrel warehouses, and then to the bottling building where one of their workers was opening those barrels deemed ready for bottling, also very cool to see. The bottling line wasn’t running, but I can’t imagine it works all that much differently from any other. Back up to the visitor center for sampling, though with only the one product made here it was good, but nothing new. Wandered through the gift shop, then back to camp.
Stopped on the way for a new headlight bulb, some laundry soap, and food for dinner. Splurged and bought a couple bacon-wrapped filets, and charcoal to cook them on, in hope of dinner before dark.
Back at camp, hang up my wet gear, light the charcoal, and throw a load of laundry in. Spent a couple minutes enjoying the beautiful sky, which my camera completely fails to capture. Started writing this post. Coals ready, assembled my grill and started cooking my steaks. At the flip, they’re cooking beautifully.
Of course, my life being what it is, this is where everything goes horribly wrong. I go into my tent to grab some Bourbon, turn back and my steaks are gone. The velociraptor trick they tried last night didn’t work, so tonight the damned raccoons literally walked over hot coals to steal my dinner. Furious, I walk back over to the laundry and toss my stuff from the washer into the dryer, forgetting I’d put my insoles in the wash since I’d been in wet boots all day and they were getting a little ripe. Boiled some water and ate the second of my three emergency rations. Cleaned up camp, chasing raccoons away every few minutes (I think it became a game for them), then retrieved my laundry and found my twisted, melted insoles. At least the gel didn’t escape and ruin all my clothes.
It is past midnight now, and the plan is to got the four distilleries south and west of here tomorrow, so I’m going to finish my drink and sack out.
Casualties: dinner, insoles, light-my-fire spoon/fork/knife (snapped eating yesterday’s dinner. Not recommended.)
Tomorrow, Jim Beam, Heaven Hill, Maker’s Mark, and Barton 1792 (time permitting).
Oh, fuck me, not more thunder.