whiskey & mud

I ran through Jim Beam’s gift shop oh-so-quickly, shopping for a special Knob Creek for myself and whatever they have that’s unique to the distillery for Liz. I ended up torn between Knob Creek single barrel rye and their twice-barreled rye (I’m partial to their rye, to begin with); the twice-barreled I worried would be too oaky, but the single barrel is a frightening 115 proof. I went with the overpoofed one (I can always add water). As for Liz’s distillery exclusive, it turns out that Kentucky state law does not allow distillery exclusives; but they have one that is available for distribution but not ordered by any distributors (is this a gentleman’s agreement to establish an exclusive? or does it suck?). It was only in 375ml bottles, so I got one for Liz and one for me. If I were a smarter blogger, I would have photographed these bottles for you. Hmm.

The beat-the-heat plan for Hops was to be at the gift shop doors when they opened at 9am. I left Hops in the van with all windows open and a fan going, and I was back with him in 15 minutes. Then we had a nice, leisurely walk around the grounds together. I didn’t get a tour, but I got to see some touristy stuff, like statues and a mock-up of a very small-scale old still operation, in one room. I would have liked the chance to step inside a rickhouse, but oh well. I guess they’re just stacked barrels anyway, right?

We headed on towards the Natural Bridge area in the Red River Gorge, and tried to stay in the shade. Even when it’s feels-like-97, he wants to be in my lap. Dear dog.

Unfortunately there are two ways to access the Natural Bridge itself: a hiking trail, and a skylift. Both prohibit dogs. So I have only seen the Natural Bridge the way you see it now: in pictures off the internet.

image source

Instead we did a dog-permitted hike to see Henson Arch and Whittleton Arch. It was the sweatiest, muddiest time of our lives, whew. But beautiful, yes.

Send cooling thoughts our way, friends.

warming up in KY

Well, I had thought to visit some bourbon distilleries, but ran into a few challenges. First, Bulleit turns out to be closed on Tuesdays. But then it turns out I don’t want to visit Bulleit anyway, because the family has disowned and the company has fired their daughter for being gay (for f*ck’s sake). Thanks, Liz, for cluing me in so I can not buy that whiskey again.

Then I thought we’d visit Jim Beam, where they also make Knob Creek which I love, but it was far too hot for dogs in vans. So we just kind of scouted the grounds, thinking maybe in the morning.

and lovely grounds they are

Then we explored a little bit of Bernheim Arboretum, taking advantage of the coolness of trees and streams until the sun backed off.

Lovely, lovely.

Indiana to Kentucky, again

I found the best campsite in Hoosier National Forest: Buzzard Roost, up above the Ohio River, right on the state line. Hops and I hiked down to the riverbank – this is a very steep and rocky trail, requiring the use of hands and feet to scramble, and it was muddy, so although a pretty short walk, it was an exciting one. Hops is afraid of waterfalls. It was beautiful.

I saw lots of fireflies, wild turkeys, and box turtles. I think I helped five box turtles across the road just on the way in & out of the campsite.

On our way out, we stopped in the Harrison-Crawford State Forest for another hike (see frog above).

We stopped at a brewery for lunch, where thank goodness they had a sidewalk table in the shade for us, because whew, it is hot again.

I thought I’d visit another significant tree, but oops, the Constitution Elm in Corydon, Indiana is now the Constitution Elm Stump.

“on this spot, beneath the shade of the elm, the Constitution of Indiana was framed in June 1816. this tree lived until 1925, attaining a height of 50 feet, a trunk diameter of five feet and a spread of 132 feet. this monument was erected in 1936”

And then we made the proper crossing of the Ohio River into Kentucky, the twenty-second state of this journey and, I think, the last (new) state of this chapter of our trip.

Indiana/Kentucky, a friend and a show

Whew, the states are just flying by… from Illinois into Indiana, where I stayed a few days with a friend, and together we ran down into Kentucky to see Hamilton at the Kentucky Center for the Arts in Louisville. Whaaat!! I have been looking forward to this show for many months – like, from back before I moved into this van. As well as looking forward to seeing this friend again!

We had a good visit, catching up on all the things that we don’t find time to talk or chat online about in our regular lives. I got to meet some lovely children. And oh, the show… will be reviewed eventually at my book blog, and I’ll repost here when that happens. (It will be a while.) In a nutshell, it was pretty much everything I hoped it would be. It was well worth it to know the soundtrack in advance, and that soundtrack was enriched during the live performance. I am the luckiest woman.

Upon leaving dear Jacinda, I made a stop in Bloomington to see the track where the Little 500 bike race (of Breaking Away fame) takes place. (The quarry that figures in the movie has since been filled in.)

Little 500 track

And on down the road…