When in Kentucky…

I was born and raised in Bloomington, Indiana. Lived there for most of my 53 years. The minute I turned 16 I began to travel the roads of Indiana on my motorcycle. As the years went on, my circle of exploration grew larger and larger. Eventually, riding in Indiana wasn’t enough; I needed to expand across the river. I began taking longer rides, heading into Ohio and Kentucky. I thought the Kentucky countryside was beautiful and began to make regular rides “down south.” As time went on and I became more of a traveler, riding more capable machines, my reach extended well beyond the neighboring states. Yet, Kentucky has remained a state I love to ride in.

Before moving here in 2012, my knowledge of the state was limited to hills, horses and good roads. Oh, and jokes! Growing up as a “Hoosier,” I remember hearing a lot of “Kentucky jokes.” I imagine those living in Kentucky were telling the same jokes, only with the Hoosier being the fool. The most memorable joke was one I heard as an elementary school child. It involved a Hoosier fishing on one side of the river and a Kentuckian on the other. Without writing out the whole joke, the punch line had the Hoosier offering to turn on his flashlight to allow the Kentuckian to cross the river on the beam. The Kentuckian responds by telling the Hoosier he is no fool, “You will shut the light off when I get halfway across.”

One of my other interesting Kentucky experiences happened when I was on a long day ride somewhere in the eastern part of the state. I was riding pretty much in the middle of nowhere when I popped into a very small town. I use the word town liberally; it was mostly a gas station and a few houses. While I was filling up the tank, these two young girls walked by me pulling a wagon. They were both wearing a dress…and neither one had on shoes. The wagon was filled with pop bottles that they were returning to the store for change. Now, Bloomington is far removed from Chicago or New York, but we stopped turning in empty bottles for change a long time ago. And anyone walking into a store without shoes would be asked to leave. I was beginning to think I had entered into a time warp!

I crossed the river permanently about 18 months ago. I have since discovered some interesting things about the great state of Kentucky. I mentioned in the past that apparently Louisville is the pork capital of the world. I have never seen so much pork, served so many ways, on so many items. I also discovered bourbon.

Now, those of you who know me very well, know a few things about me. You know I like my coffee black. You also know I’m not much of a drinker. In fact, I went for about 20 years without touching a drop. I have not overindulged since about 1982. I got interested in craft beer a few years ago while delving in the roasting business. The unique styles and flavor profiles, similar to the coffee industry, intrigued me and I have been experimenting ever since. However, I have a strong aversion to hard liquor. I just don’t touch the stuff. Then I discovered I lived right in the middle of the Bourbon Trail and several major distilleries. So far I have visited two of them while out exploring my new home. I’m sure we will visit them all eventually. However, when it comes to drinking bourbon, it has been limited to sipping small samples offered at the distillery tours. Well, until I discovered this:photo (9)Buffalo Trace Bourbon Creme. A friend told me how good it was in a cup of coffee and I couldn’t resist giving it a try. I have to say it was delicious! I guess that means I’m now officially a Kentuckian. One of my daughters, who moved with us, is still holding on to her Hoosier pride, but I’ve given in. When in Kentucky…bring on the bacon and the Bourbon Creme!

Later,

Shep

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