Sun. July 22, 2012- Ohio to Kentucky:
Our hotel did not have a 13th floor so I was glad to get out of there. It also lacked free breakfast which on any other day would have mildly infuriated me, but thankfully we were driving to Kentucky for breakfast, at a racetrack (I kept joking about asking which horse was on the menu). We drove over the Ohio River on a giant bridge and Brent got another state, bringing his total one closer to mine. We drove through Lexington, nothing but white picket fences as far as the eye could see. Not a lot of horses though, which was a bit odd. The parking lot of the Keeneland Racetrack was a minefield of beetles, the ones I did step on however were already smooshed, it was not pretty. We were at the racetrack for a southern-style breakfast, the internet said the racetrack had a good breakfast. Looking around however, it seemed everyone missed the memo. The place was empty save for maybe two other cars. I started getting a sinking feeling that the restaurant would not even be open, I even started getting mad at the idea of having to continue on no food or coffee. As we got closer I saw a sign in the door stating that they were going to be closed for the week. We almost turned around, but I could smell bacon. We tried the door and found ourselves in a shitty little cafeteria with plastic trays. This place was about as low-key as it gets, the food was dirt cheap (my coffee cost a grand total of 95 cents). Nothing “southern” on the menu caught my eye so I went with my default: pancakes, for a whopping $2 (sarcasm, it was unbelievably cheap). I do not know if this is a southern thing, a penny-pinching thing, or an I-am-a-spoiled-Canadian thing, but maple syrup was nowhere to be found! All they had was butter (gross) or “breakfast syrup” (double gross) that did not even have artificial maple flavour. Being in the south though, I had to try grits despite the fact that 1.) it sounds gross and 2.) it looks gross (it looked like lumpy paste). It was slightly meaty, very lumpy and too salty- and yet somehow it culminated into a delicious bite atop a biscuit. We wandered around the racetrack for a bit, but all the horses were in their stalls eating hay. Not a single horse was out and about for us to gawk at. We went into the seating area by the track, but it was unbearably loud in there. It sounded like flocks of birds in an all-out bird war. Turns out they had speakers in there so birds would not hang out inside the buildings. As we left I saw that they even offer drive-thru betting, for the truly lazy.
Driving along the Kentucky Scenic Bi-way (not the most direct or fastest route) we finally saw some horses. Actually we saw lots of horses, and more white picket fences. On one farm there were about ten full-sized horses crammed together under a tree in a tiny patch of shade (high noon was approaching). We were going to the Kentucky Horse Park but at the last minute we u-turned because the parking lot was not free. This was not a deal-breaker, we simply had to go buy sunscreen first because this place was huge and outdoors and Brent lost the sunscreen somewhere between Detroit and Kentucky. We drove the wrong way on a one-way street trying to leave the park, thankfully no one was entering. We drove further along, through an apparent construction blast zone and on to a CVS. We returned, sunscreened and ready to go. In the parking lot there were quite a few cars with stuff about Breyerfest written on them. When we bought our admissions the woman warned us that there were no tickets left to Breyerfest, we shrugged saying we did not even know what it was. So what is this mysterious Breyerfest? It is when collectors get together. Collectors of small plastic horses. Collectors who pay $95 admission fees. Who knows how much those little horses cost. We spent about half the day making fun of them, it was great, Breyerfest Or Bust as one car said. The Kentucky Horse Park delivered what it advertised, we saw a lot of horses. Small ones, big ones, police ones, race winning ones and newborn horses. There were even some cats bumming around, sleeping in the shade. There was a secondary museum that was included in the price of admission that focused more-so on the show aspect of horses, I just occupied myself with trying to find a painting of a disappointed horse. The best I could get was intrigued. There was a little gift shop and we stopped in thinking it was the museum, at least we got a Choco Taco out of it (waffle taco filled with ice cream and chocolate syrup). It was incredibly messy, and I ended up with once cream all over my face and down my arm.
Our scenic drive continued as we made our way to lunch at J.J McBrewster’s, our first time trying a recommendation from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. I had left my raspberry M&Ms in the car and they melted, but the candy shell stayed in tact, so as I would throw them in my mouth they would pop in little bursts of chocolate. The ones that had split candy shells proved hardest to eat and in the end I had to abandon them, it was too messy. The “scenic” road sign was riddled with bents from bb gun pellets. There were some “scenic” cows wading in a pond, at this point we started calling everything we saw on the scenic drive “scenic”, much to our own giddy amusement. There was a “scenic” white bird of prey with grey spots soaring over head, and a “scenic” hawk swooped down low on the road ahead of us. There was no sign of Ale-8-One at the gas station, but there was Cherry Coke Zero, it figures when I am looking for something else, only then do they have Cherry Coke Zero, yet they hardly ever have what I want. Downtown Lexington was surprisingly big, it even had a few giant office buildings. I also found more proof for my Arby’s-Is-Gross theory: orange cream shake.
We pulled up at J.J. McBrewster’s only to find that it is not even open on Sundays, I blame Guy Fieri. To hold us over while we found alternate dinner plans we got Swedish Fish from the pharmacy. I decided we should eat at Sonic, but Brent did not want to do the drive-through thing so he sent me in to see if there was an area inside to order it for sit-down or take it to go. I opened the door a tad and found myself looking into a kitchen. Sonic does not have indoor seating, we had to look it up later to figure out how it worked (you pull up, browse menu and push button when you are ready to order). The rest of our drive took us along windy back roads through the Kentucky country-side, needless to say we did not pass by any more restaurants. I did see a black and white spotted bull with horns, but no food. There were a ton of motorcyclists, driving along care-free without helmets! When we arrived at the Beaumont Inn the first thing I did was find a list of nearby restaurants, because the Inn does not serve dinner on Sundays. I decided on Cracker Barrel, we had been meaning to try it for a while to see why some random (to me) baseball player was so crazy about it. Besides they claim to serve “southern” food, so it was only fitting to go there. Our only other options were fast food or a fancy steak house. I could not resist the chicken-fried steak, which came piled high with grits. For my sides I went with coleslaw, mashed potatoes and fried apple. However I was given macaroni and cheese instead of mashed potatoes, somehow it was not that gross. We swapped plates halfway through, but Brent didn’t like mine so we swapped back. Only as he was passing the steak back to me, he dropped it in the coleslaw, it was a gross gritty, mess. The fried apple made for a nice dessert. I also learned that I do not like corn muffins. It was confusing because you pay for your meal at the main register so there is no option for tipping. We drove to historic downtown Harrodsburg, but there was not a lot to see save for a few buildings here and there. I was more focused on eating Swedish Fish Sea Creatures, it was odd because they were all different flavours. The purple puffer fish was grape, it was so bad.
Back in the hotel we settled in and watched whatever was on as we anticipated the new episode of Breaking Bad. The soap in the bathroom smelled like Froot Loops. There was a commercial on TV for the world’s stupidest lawyer. His commercial was running on the Nickelodeon channel in prime time. It came on during Spongebob Squarepants. My raspberry M&Ms had re-solidified just in time for Breaking Bad.