LEXINGTON, Ky. -- So the team's long gone by now, but optimists that we are, our flight back's not until Sunday.
So, what do you do when you have a couple of days to kill in Central Kentucky? One word: bourbon.
The Woodford Reserve distillery about half an hour outside of Lexington was our destination this afternoon as we left our hotel around noon. Three hours later, we showed up just in time to for the last tour of the day. To say the trip there was an adventure, would be one heck of an understatement.
Before we left Lexington, we had to grab food. Hirsch grew up on Long Island and had never experienced Waffle House. Thus, for lunch, we hit up the South's favorite greasy spoon. After making a full circle around downtown Lexington in Shafer's rental, we found the restaurant all of a mile from the hotel we left at least twenty minutes earlier. Waffle House was exactly what you would expect. Behind the counter the cooks were cleaning the floor with a hose spraying water throughout the restaurant. At the counter, a potential Waffle House line cook filled out an application while donning a cap which noted, "I Love Jesus."
When our waitress heard we were in town to watch Penn she lamented the Quakers defeat informing us she had Penn in her bracket because in her words, "they sometimes win in the tournament." When we informed her the Quakes had just run their losing streak in the first round to eight she said she just had to go with the underdog. Anyway, Waffle House was exactly what you would expect. The food was greasy, the service friendly, and most importantly, the tea very sweet (fulfilling my self-proclaimed goal of finding my beloved sweet tea in Kentucky). Our waitress kept the tea coming throughout lunch and on the way out even gave me a cup for the road.
With lunch out of the way our sights were set on bourbon. The road to the distillery took us through the town of Versailles, Kentucky. You (and I) probably pronounced the town's name the same way you'd pronounce the Sun King's palace. Apparently we're wrong. For some reason the proud residents of Versailles pronounce it ver-SAILS. When I first heard the name during a traffic report, I burst out laughing. Anyway, Shafer and Hirsch decided to trust the GPS on Jeff's cell phone instead of following the road signs marking the direction of the distillery. Great decision.
Instead of turning down the road to the distillery, we took a road that would soon shrink to one lane. Quickly the scene turned into something out of Deliverance. Over the course of a couple miles the road's scenery changed from smaller houses to decrepit and abandoned distilleries along the Kentucky River. These buildings were literally falling apart. Then came trailer homes, a small brush fire, and two vultures feasting on roadkill. Not quite chamber of commerce material.
After that experience, the road that actually led to the distillery was like a slice of heaven. Wide green pastures, horses, a creek, and thankfully the Woodford Reserve distillery, our original destination. Honestly, after all that, the distillery was pretty forgettable. We walked around a bunch of machines and then they gave us shots of bourbon.
Basketball games watched: 35 Including Big 5 member Villanova's loss to Lexington's finest. We also listened to the Nevada-Creighton OT thriller and UNLV-Georgia Tech games on the radio during our excursion.
Quotes of the day:
"I'm gonna whoop you like your mom whooped you." -- Our waitress at Waffle House to the cook spraying the kitchen floor clean.
"You sure you want it medium rare? It'll still be mooing." -- That same waitress commenting on my hamburger order.
"I can't believe that was a decision made by two responsible adults." -- Shafer, on my existence.
Stats of the day:
10: Number of glasses of sweet tea drank by yours truly over the course of lunch and dinner at Joe Bologna, an Italian joint recommended by Kentucky native Brennan Votel.
6: Dead animals seen while driving to and from the bourbon distillery, including one unspecified animal which two buzzards were gnawing in the middle of a one-laned road.
4: Number of wrong turns Shafer made on the way to Waffle House, the distillery, and back. And that's using a very generous definition of "wrong turns".