Beer run, mental health run, call it what you like, today was a good day to ride. I had no idea where I was going until my friend Matt said he was out of Maker’s Mark and if it were him, that’s where he would go. Well, since I only live about 40 miles away from the distillery and it just happens to be down some very nice country roads, Maker’s Mark it is! It amazes me that most of these distilleries are pretty much in the middle of nowhere.
I’ve been there a few times before and it is a great place. They have good beer and a seafood restaurant attached. The times I’ve been there I’ve been able to enjoy soft shell crab sandwiches and Lobster Rolls…yummy!
But I never made it there. I chose the 690 Duke as my ride today, having spent most of yesterday on the Super Duke. I don’t know what to say about the 690 that I have not already said. Every time I ride it I am reminded of just how awesome it is. I have always said that if I had to have one bike for the rest of my life then I would choose a BMW R1200GS because I believe is the ultimate all-rounder. It can travel, it’s sporty and it is rugged. However, if I were to choose my all time favorite bike…the one that always makes me smile and reminds me why I like to ride, hands down it is the 690 Duke. The bike is all that and then some.One of the smartest things I ever did was to listen when my friend Ed told me to give one a try. It is brilliant!
I pointed the 690 south to the town of Bardstown, KY. Bardstown is known mainly for two things: it has repeatedly been voted as the Most Beautiful Small Town in American and it is also known as the Bourbon Capital of the World. Just outside of town, as you begin to make your way south toward Loretto and Maker’s Mark, you run into Heaven Hills, home of Elijah Craig and many other wonderful bourbons.
Just past Heaven Hills is Willett, another local distillery. The road to Maker’s Mark is a nice, lazy country ride. The closer you get, the narrower the roads. And then, in the middle of nowhere…Maker’s Mark! It is a beautiful place and makes a nice ride…one that has a rewarding payoff! Although if you wnt to try some of this special bourbon, you better bring your checkbook!
After I left Maker’s I let the GPS guide me down some meandering roads I’ve never encountered before, all the while leading me toward West 6th in Lexington. Highway 68 makes for a great ride coming into Lexington from the south, including a twisty descent and incline at the Kentucky River. As I headed down 68, I saw signs warning me that the bridge was closed from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm on April 14th. Hmm, that’s today! But we all know that those signs don’t mean anything, right? I mean it probably isn’t really closed and if it is, there is surely a way around it. Well, guess what? It meant what it said! And if there was a way around it, I sure couldn’t find it. So, I had to backtrack. I was within 30 miles of the brewery and had to retreat.
What made my return even more concerning was my gas gauge. Actually, the 690 doesn’t have a gas gauge, but the trip meter was telling me I better find gas soon…and I was backtracking basically in the middle of nowhere. I hit the “find gas now!” button on the GPS and hoped for the best. It found about 8 within 3 miles of me. Yeah! Oh, wait…they are all on the other side of the river! So back I went, hoping that I could make it back to the nearest town.
I passed the Shaker Village on the way. Shakers? Do they believe in the gasoline engine? I sure hope so because I may be knocking on their door in a minute. Then the GPS told me there was a station only 5 miles away: “Just take this tiny, narrow one lane road leading into the rolling hills. Trust me.” The farther I went, the less I believed there would be a station at the end of my rainbow. But indeed there was. It was one of those leftover from 1955 kind of stations, pump with a crank handle. I was beginning to wonder how my Duke would run on rust and water when I saw a sign for a nearby town, only 4 miles away. Thank goodness!
I headed down the road and rolled into the station with nearly an entire gallon left…I must have really been plodding along today. Since I wasn’t going to make the brewery, I plugged in my home address and allowed the GPS to lead me. And did it ever. I traveled some of the best roads I have been on since moving here. Only problem is, I don’t know what any of them are. I tried to mentally map them as I passed across the countryside so I can find them again. You hear a lot of people out West talk about Canyon Carving. In Kentucky it is “ridge running.” These roads wound their way across ridge tops for miles. They were enjoyably dangerous; dangerous because it was hard to determine the severity of each corner. All in all, a great ride.
Somewhere along the way I passed through this little town whose name I cannot recall. One side of the street had wooden sidewalks like some old western movie set. Across the street was this quaint little Catholic Church. Now, today’s auditorium churches don’t do much for me, but there is something about a rustic little country church that speaks to my soul…and I’m not even Catholic.
From there is was a nice ride home, somewhere around 200 miles all in all. But this was supposed to be a brewery ride and I hadn’t been to one yet. So, my wife and I headed down the street to our favorite local Brewery, 3rd Turn for Food Truck Friday. I had a couple nice local beers and enjoyed one of the best food trucks in the area, the Asian-inspired Fresh out of the Box. We had fish tacos, crab rangoon, beef and spicy pork…and it was awesome! So, today’s brewery ride was 200…and 2 miles!