Just so everyone is clear from the get go, I did not forget about this blog. Life has been exceedingly busy of late. But we are not here for excuses……were here for a story.
The NO counter will make sense by the end I swear.
The NO Counter: 0
So we pick up where we left off, with our two weary adventurers driving down yet another highway in their little death mobile. (For those of you late to the piece, the Chevy Avio)
We were destined for Shepardsville, a small town in the heart of bourbon country that would be our home for essentially 48 hours. We originally tried to find a place to stay in Bardstown. An even smaller town that was home to about 8 different distilleries, the bourbon museum and all kinds of fancy bourbon related affair.
To get to our destination our journey required us to visit past Fort Knox. Nothing overly exciting except as we drew closer to The fort we realised that not only was this place slightly bigger than the Fort Knox you always see criminals trying to break into in 80’s warner brother cartoons, It was home to (at time of visiting) the Army school of mobile armour and last but not least the home of General Patton’s Museum.
It took all of about 3 seconds for both of us to agree that if we were driving past it, we may as well stop in and see what old general Patton had to offer. As we pulled into the car park not only were we greeted with the first Pontiac G8 I has seen in my journeys but also an array of out of commission tanks and artillery which included a trusty old Sherman tank.
As I started babbling with excitement about seeing a Sherman AND a VE commodore a loud thudding began. Neither of us could figure out where it was coming from until out of no were, from the far side of the base came a pair of Apache Longbow Helicopters. If I was wearing jocks I probably would have wet them as the trifecta was complete. Now in the space of 2 mins I had seen a commodore, a Sherman tanks and an apache longbow. Not a big deal to most but being that they are my favourite car, tank and helicopter in that order I was quite delighted. For a brief moment I stop and pondered if Nicolas cage was flying one and that they were making firebirds 2 but we had to move on into the museum. *For those who haven’t seen Firebirds…do so and prepare for awesome!
We made it inside and into Patton’s were we were greeted with basically everything America has either shot or shot at, been shot at or the likes. It was literally a museum of everything war related. Bravo Mr Patton, quite a nice collection you have their sir.
We had barely made it into a hall depicting a battlefield scene with some highly uneducated Germans and a tank in it, when a large buzzer sounded as we were told the place was closing. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO you Bastards (The NO counter: 1).
We had just enough of a taste to want to see the rest, so we would have to amend our plans and come back tomorrow to see the rest. Before long we were back in the car park laughing at caravans for midgets. We all know how I feel about them, so we jumped in the death mobile n burned off.
Shepardsville was only about 20km or so from where we were and we seemed to have a new burst of energy. We were still chuckling about those crazy Germans and the midget caravan when we passed a sign saying Knobb creek gun range, Hope of the nation’s largest machine gun shoot and military gun show. Instantly I was depressed. Not only did the sign make me realise we were not in time for Americas biggest gun show, but I it also made me realise I had not planned enough time to go to Knobb Creek distillery. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. (The NO counter : 2)
With me sitting shotgun, still cussing about missing out on stuff we pulled into Shepardsville. This place had that feel like Lynchburg that not only was everyone related but we could throw a rock clean over the town. And then we found our Days inn……. wtf? We pulled up to this place so slow if you were walking down the street you would have thought we were either trying to pimp Juzzy our or I was about to do a drive by. This place was a crack den. Literally. There were electrical wires hanging all over the place flapping in the breeze, the pool had no water in it, the Days inn sign was ¾ missing, the balcony has a dirty great big bow in the middle of it suggesting that if you dared lean on it, it would all collapse pulling half the second story with it.
With a look of panic hitting both our faces, I couldn’t help it.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO………. This can’t be the place that the travel agent booked us. (The NO counter : 3). Before any of the local KKK staff members or whatever other incarnate of evil ran this shit hole could come out to greet us we got out of there.
We checked the address on the booking slip again and then ran it through Juzzy’s phone. We spied across the car park that there was another hotel and figured we would give it a shot. Turns out that was the place we had booked instead. The hotel was had booked had moved across the road and the demolition work on the original building hadn’t begun since it was vacated 3 years ago. As I wiped my brow in relief I realised that while we might have a nice shiny new hotel to stay in, due to some unforseen circumstance, there was now a building perfect for homeless crack head and the local triads to hold their finger chopping meetings literally across the road from us. Sadly we were too tired to care and went with our new mantra….could be worse.
We made our way to our room on the ground floor and proceeded to get comfy. I ventured off to spy my new surroundings and not only found that this place had a proper bar at the front of it, but the bar was chock full of all the people mentioned in the previous paragraphs. Oh well, between them and the abundance of somewhat redneck looking construction workers that were sharing our neighbouring rooms, life couldn’t really get much weirder. They had that look of evil to them and I started to panic that one of this mixed bunch would come barrelling into the wrong room and accuse us of sleeping with his one toothed girlfriend Darla and proceed to ass fuck us as punishment.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO the locals were freaky enough to even freak me out (The NO counter : 4)
Retreating into the safety of the room, it become the hour of the feeding. Without further delay we set off to sample the local cuisine. Being in Kentucky and all we nominated KFC and from our best guesses it was a short squirt down the road. Upon taking a wrong turn for about the 90 millionth time during this trip, we stumbled across a well know local institution. It was something that I had always wanted to try and would certainly be the envy of many for actually doing so.
WHITE CASTLE BITCHES!!!!!!!!!
As usual I started with a sample, just to get the hang of the menu. I messed up the drink again and got the large. Stupid me…..the cup was so big it was actually fit a souvenir t-shirt in it (as I found out later, hope you enjoyed your t-shirt kenwizzlington!). The sample turned into a second round, and the second round turned into a few more…….. I’ll let the photos tell the final count; all I can say in the meantime is that it was everything I thought it could be and more. I might have been a little over indulgent and felt a wee little bit crook, but hey, it’s not like I was going to be back any time soon so yeah I made a big fat pig of myself.
We learnt pretty quickly why those greasy little morsels of flavour bombs were called sliders. Because they slide down so easily. Problem was they slide out so damn easily. I swear it only took 5 minutes and those little bastards were stinking up the car like you wouldn’t believe.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I wanted more sliders but didn’t want my car to smell anymore like burger farts (The NO counter: 5)
We got up the next morning and made a bee line straight for Patton’s museum. We got to marvel in the sheer size of some of the most iconic machines of war from all conflicts of history. Sherman’s, Abrahams and even a T-72. We even got to laugh at those crazy Germans again. I learnt many things in my time wandering around the hallowed halls. 1) I would never be a tank driver cause I don’t fit in the damn things 2) Tanks are a hell of a lot bigger than most people would think and 3)If your close enough to read it, it must be a dud.
Before buying the obligatory hat, cap and shot glasses we bailed and made our way over to Makers Mark.
Much like the Jack Daniels joint, Makers Mark was set upon green hilly pastures and quite little rivers running all over the place, the meeting point for the tour was the original homestead of Bill Samuels Snr. Modern, yet still well in touch with its beginnings. The one thing that stood out the most was the signs everywhere that basically encouraged you to take photos, touch things, pick things up, taste things and smell all the different aromas. The only thing I could smell was pee, because I dribbled a bit in sheer excitement.
From tasting the raw brewers stew in the vat rooms to nearly melting as we walked through the actual distilling room I was just in amazement. Were as the JD’s factory was dark and black timber and stooped in history and loyalty to it, The more time we spent at the Makers distillery you couldn’t help but notice how they had tried to stay true to their beginnings yet adjust to more modern times. Although there was a lot of timber around the place, it was all coloured in deep reds and black writing to fall in line with the Makers labelling schemes. The place felt truly alive with energy and everything in the place screamed out for you to touch it or taste it. It was a shame that the only thing we weren’t all9wed to taste was the new blend of bourbon that they were bottling. Makers’ 46 are still yet to be released here in Australia and I await its arrival eagerly. Makers have decided to put their second product on the market, and the 46 signifies the number of recipes they had to go through to find one that they thought would live up to their standards of perfection enough to share.
We were taken to the barrel house were a fellow Ambassador not only got to see his barrel, but got to tap it and bottle it. As their way of saying thanks for being and Ambassador for them, Makers have given me and four others a 250 litre Barrel with our name plaques on it. When it comes of age we will be invited back to tap the barrel, bottle it and hand label our own 50 litres to take home. That’s going to be an expensive exercise for me, but I have another 5 years to save for it so no biggie.
Sadly before too long, we walked through a tiny little door in the barrel house wall and emerged in the most awesome tasting and merchandise room I have ever seen. Before the tour ended completely the staff had one last little treat for us. We were all given 2 shot glasses and as the staff said their farewells and thanks for joining them we were asked to down them. One shot glass was fresh out the barrel Makers standard. The other shot glass contained Makers Julep. A mint flavoured bourbon, that although sounds totally gross, for those of us that lover bourbon, it was the best thing ever. They had chilled it down to the perfect temp and it went down so well that I went back and stole another 2 shots of it.
I went straight to the counter and asked the staff where I could get the julep. Apparently it’s made once a year for the Kentucky derby and is not sold anywhere outside the county so because of that they couldn’t sell me a bottle. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I want minty bourbon goodness! (The NO counter: 6)
I agreed that I would let them think about it while I went and dipped bottle of Makers in the wax solution to seal it. Even though I looked like a complete mental it was a well rad experience. Apparently they must have thought I was awesome at it or some shit as when I went to pay for it they sold me a bottle of the Julep with it. VICTORY IS MINE!
Being that I could have spent the equivalent to the national income of a small country in that shop, we made a pretty hasty exit. We hadn’t even made it across the car park and had seen a sign for the Makers Mark traditional diner. Sold!
We got stuck in for some po-boys and frosty soft drinks before making our way back down the winding roads to Shepardsville, I can’t help but still to this day feel enlightened by visiting the Makers factory. I have such a better understanding of one of my favourites and too much higher level of appreciation for it. I now understand how footy fans feel visiting the MCG or religious zealots going to that cave thing that jeebus got stuck in.
We got back to the hotel and that now somewhat familiar feeling I had back in Canada returned. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I was actually going to miss this strange yet mystical place (The NO counter: 7)
As our time was over It didn’t take much to distract me. Both myself and Juzzlington were overcome with excitement at the concept of our toughest feat yet. For tomorrow we faced a NINE hours stint taking the death wagon to South Carolina via North Carolina and god knows were else.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO 9 hours in that stupid little red piece of shit car!(The NO counter : 8)
For Tomorrow would be a day of Winding straight roads, Walmarts and dearest friends from times gone by.