Mon. July 23, 2012- Kentucky to Indiana:
Brent woke me up because we only had half an hour left until they stopped serving breakfast and he specifically chosen this Inn because of the breakfast that they offer, apparently they have amazing ham. In a panicked rush I madly hurried to get ready, filled with hopes of ham. Those hopes were dashed; there was no sign of ham on the menu. The breakfast was set up so that it was a hot menu, but it was a buffet, you could eat as much of it as you wanted. There were no pancakes either, the closest thing to them was corn-cakes, and I was not in the mood for that. I settled on oatmeal, not anticipating that I was going to be served all of their oatmeal. It was easily three servings. And not very good, it was kind of mushy and gooey and it had the consistency of glue. I barely got through half of it. I had ordered breakfast sausages on the side, thinking it was the closest thing to ham, but they were flattened like patties. On the drive I concluded that there were no ghosts in the Beaumont Inn, despite how old it was and Harrodsburg being one of the first settlements in Kentucky.
Our first stop of the day was the Woodford Reserve Bourbon Distillery, one of the few real bourbon distilleries. In fact there are only six of them in Kentucky as I learned in a Bourbon Trail pamphlet while we waited around for our tour to start. I also found a handy-dandy bourbon passport where you could collect stamps at each of the distilleries. It was settled. We were going to collect all the stamps. We did not have much else to do that day anyways. But as per tours, one was more than enough. The Woodford tour took an hour and we got to see everything. Woodford was one of the nicer distilleries; it had old copper stills, and oak barrels. We even got to see the yeast fermenting and bubbling. The smell reminded me of cake, a nice yeast cake. It actually made me hungry somehow. At Woodford I found some bourbon flavoured coffee and could not pass it up (it is delicious). At the end of the tour we were given a sample of the bourbon in a shot glass we got to keep as well as a bourn filled chocolate. I much preferred the chocolate; it did not make my throat burn. The best part of the tour was the used barrels rolling along a track to be shipped off elsewhere. The most awkward part was watching employees bottling the bourbon, they were just working.
Next was Wild Turkey bourbon, they had a barrel turned into a turkey outside, while inside they had Wild Turkey Christmas ornaments. I found out that Wild Turkey Honey is not just what they call girls who drink Wild Turkey; it is in fact a version of bourbon they make. Wild Turkey was also the only bourbon I had previously tried from the entire list. Wild Turkey was more industrial, with lots of big ugly buildings. Wild Roses was pretty much the same thing, except they turned a barrel into a swing. We stopped at A&W for lunch, and learned a harsh lesson. A&W is not the same in the States as it is Canada, not even close. The burgers we got were these measly little things and only a handful of fries on the side. They also serve their own version of McFlurries and I caved, I had to, they had a cookie dough one. We accidentally drove by Heaven Hill distillery while trying to get to Maker’s Mark, but it turned out we’d driven by the distillery and not the heritage centre. We stopped in for stamps and a quick walk around the mini-museum. They offered a super fancy tasting wherein you sit in fancy leather chairs and have a bartender, but I was too full to think about it. I instead tried various bourbon sauces, including chocolate. Maker’s Mark was one of the more scenic distilleries, it had a Whisky Creek. At this point we were pressed for time. We had 20 minutes to get to Jim Beam before closing but the GPS said it would be an hour. Five out of six is not too bad. And on the plus side I got to keep my bourbon passport. Had we gotten all six stamps we could have mailed it in for a free t-shirt, like those bikers whom we kept running into along the trail will probably do.
The GPS decided to take us down a tiny one lane road, circling around back behind Maker’s Mark. It was mildly unnerving going along this one lane dirt road when a giant truck would come down the other way and we would have to veer to the side to let it pass. In Louisville we saw the KFC Yum! Centre. Continuing our tradition there was yet another sign welcoming us to a state: Indiana! Then I saw it, the mother of all signs, a Christmas Store in Santa Claus, Indiana. And a theme park in Santa Claus, Indiana, called Holiday World. I was cheering about a sign for an Amish Buffet which led into cheering about some deer grazing by the side of the highway. But that was not enough to get Brent to want to go, Project: Get-Brent-To-Go-To-Amish-Buffet failed epically. It failed even more epically when I realized the next day that it was across the street, I did not need Brent to drive me.
The hotel was giving away free cookies in the lobby, which went great with my book, which I know had time to read, partly because half the TV channels were dead. We were in Indiana, yet again in the middle of nowhere in a hotel just off a highway that smelled of farms. The only food source was a McDonald’s next door. We went on our usual vending machine hunt, only all we found was a big empty space where it used to be. It was a truly awful sight. Thankfully the other floors had machines. My strawberry-lemonade from McDonalds’s was not enough to keep me awake. There was nothing on TV and nothing outside to do so I turned in early.