The flight to Chicago was delayed about an hour. United has, apparently, stopped sending delay notifications, but they were updating the board at DCA. I had a bit of a wait for the hotel shuttle. Every time I am waiting for a hotel shuttle at ORD, I think I should really stay at the Hilton, which is right across from the airport shuttle center. But this was free and that trumps a 15 minute wait. Once I got to the hotel and checked in, I left my bags in the room and walked over to the Rivers Casino next door to the hotel to get something for dinner. On the way back, I figured I would play the slots a little. There was one with a Cheshire Cat theme, which I thought would be lucky for me. And it was. I hit a bonus that brought up three arrays with three reels on each wild, resulting in a very nice win. I know to quit when I’m ahead and I had an early flight, so I was quite pleased with the Chicago layover.
The morning flight to Louisville was fine. I picked up the rental car and headed east. The drive was easy, but the weather was pretty crappy, alternating between drizzles and outright downpours. I had no problem finding the Four Points by Sheraton which was to be party central. The hotel was just adequate, with all of the usual annoyances of low end hotels (poor lighting, soundproofing and wifi functionality). The weather was improving and I went off to meet up with part of the group at Country Boy Brewing, where I tried their Alpha Experiment Mosaic IPA, which was nice enough. The real point was the conversation about points and miles and other travel things.
It was no longer raining and the Lexington Legends (Kansas City Royals Low- A affiliate) were playing a double header against the West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh affiliate). The first game was actually the continuation of one that had been rained out the night before, so started with the third inning, while the second was a 7 inning game. One of the great things about minor league baseball is being able to walk up and pay 12 bucks for a seat along the first base line with no real planning. The only catch was that it was bloody cold out. Someday I will learn my lesson and not go to baseball games in April. The Legends pulled out a win in the ninth inning of the first game, while lost the second. I was reminded that quality of fielding is really the biggest difference between the majors and minors. I haven’t seen that many erros since the days of Marvelous Marv Throneberry. By the way, there were three British guys (in town for a conference) sitting behind me and it was fun listening to them discussing their first baseball game.
Saturday morning started with going to Keeneland to look at the morning workouts. I should mention that there are two basic approaches to choosing horses to bet on. My parents used to go to the races where Dad tried to be all scientific and Mom chose horses based on their names. So, for example, a frequent traveler might be well-advised to place a bet on Room Service. After looking at horses for a while, we walked over to the Race Track Kitchen for a cheap but unexciting breakfast. The next item on the agenda was touring a mare farm. This was the point at which my all too fallible sense of direction (ang google maps) failed and, after 45 minutes or so of frustration, I gave up. I later realized a particular issue with directions in that part of Kentucky. Namely, everybody gives directions using street names, but all of the signs have route numbers only. One is, apparently, supposed to magically divine the correlation between the two. (Admittedly, they do that here in Virginia also, with the added twist of planting trees in front of all helpful signs, making them unreadable.)
Anyway, I decided I could use the time instead to fulfill another obsession and drove over to Frankfort to do the capital volksmarch. It was a pleasant enough walk, though I wished I had had more time to read the various historic signs. I was rushed because I wanted to meet up with the group to tour Woodford Reserve Distillery. We had lunch there and then toured the distillery. While the tour was interesting, the tasting did not convert me into a bourbon drinker. The chocolates that accompanied the whiskey were excellent, however.
At that point, the thing I needed most was a nap, so I drove back to the hotel and attempted to satisfy that need. The evening featured the main party, held at the home of the main organizer’s parents. This was a lovely lakeside property and we enjoyed appetizers and drinks out in the backyard. I want to particularly note the homebrew bourbon barrel ales we sampled. The pale ale, in particular, may be the tastiest beer I’ve had in my life. Throw in lively conversation (and Bourbon Trail t-shirts) and life was good. We went on to dinner at City Barbecue, which was good, though I have northeastern tastes when it comes to side dishes (i.e. mac and cheese is not a vegetable and cole slaw should not be sweet).
I skipped the after party because I am old and boring. Sunday brought a pleasant brunch at Stella’s, where the best item was bourbon French toast. Most of the group was going back to Keeneland, but I had to drive back to Louisville to return the car and fly home. Other than a half hour or so delay, the trip home was fine. All in all, it was a fun weekend and I’d certainly consider going to this event again, schedule permitting.