Woke up to a beautiful, if already quite warm, day. Quickly got ready, packed up the bike, and hit the road for Jim Beam. The tour guide was extremely personable and entertaining, and I got to try two new Bourbons, Knob Creek Single Barrel and Devil’s Cut. I may have gone ahead and bought a bottle or two to share at the RCR.
After Jim Beam, it was over to Heaven Hill, for the “Deluxe” tour. They have at least four different tour options, this just happened to be the one just about to start when I arrived. The tour was a little heavy on promoting their “other” spirits, but still entertaining. The tasting was, by far, the most structured, giving a lot of insight into the differences between the Bourbons sampled. After convincing myself I really didn’t need a $350 bottle of Bourbon that I didn’t really have space for anyway, I considered my options.
Both tours ran longer than I expected, so I only had time for one more today. The Barton 1792 Distillery was only minutes away, and their website claims the tour offered a first hand look at the entire process, but they aren’t on the official Bourbon Trail. The Maker’s Mark Distillery was about 40 minutes away over fun roads, and I’d get there in time to have some lunch before taking the tour. Maker’s Mark is on the official Bourbon Trail, so ultimately I let the marketing departments make the choice for me.
Arrived at Maker’s Mark, had a tasty, if over priced, burger, then rode over to the tour start with a little over a half an hour before the last tour was scheduled to start. As I was locking up my gear, a group of 14 couples on Harleys pulled up and went inside. I think that many bikers in the lobby was just too much for them, because they started the 1530 tour at 1458. The tour guide was hilarious, though I’m not sure she was necessarily trying to be.
Done with tours for the day, I pulled up a weather report. With a greater than 50% chance of thunderstorms overnight and into the morning, I decided to break camp while all of my stuff was dry, pack up the bike and spend the night in a hotel. Nice ride back to camp, managed (barely) to fit everything on the bike, then rode off in the direction of the distilleries I plan to visit tomorrow in search of a hotel. After a very close call with a couple of dogs, followed by another close call with a deer two corners later, I decided it was time to stop for dinner.
Punched up food options on the GPS, which routed me over Rice Rd., which was fun right up until the unexpected water crossing. About 20 feet from the far side I hit something invisible in the water with my front tire, sliding the back end out on the snot-slick rocks. With a sudden surety my trip was ruined, I threw my weight to the high side of the bike and poured on the throttle in a desperate attempt to get out of the water before crashing. Somehow made it to the far side, now sliding in the other direction, and was saved by the road camber. Back on dry land, I spent the next several minutes thinking “this road better go through”.
Fortunately, it did, and I came upon the location of the first food option the GPS had presented, which sadly does not exist on this plane. The next two options I picked were also not there in the real world, so when I saw a Walmart I pulled in to do some searches on my phone. Located a suitable hotel about 10 miles up the highway, rode up, dropped my stuff in the room, and went back out in search of dinner. By this point it was past 2130, so options were limited. Found another Sonic, quick and cheap wins again. Had a nice chat with a local couple there on their mid-90s Katana, who broke out laughing as soon as I said “Rice Rd”, then gave me some road suggestions for tomorrow.
Tomorrow, Four Roses, Wild Turkey, then on to the RCR.