North America · 21 Days · 96 Moments · June 2017

Andreya and Craig - Spirit Quest 2017


25 June 2017

Day 21 and a last 809 km brings us home, where my heart is. We saw and tried many new things, so much more than if we had flown somewhere, enjoyed some old favorites, visited an old friend, and shared it all with each other on our legendary 2017 American road trip ๐Ÿ’‘๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ
Are we there yet? ๐Ÿ˜ต

24 June 2017

20 days, 15 states, 10 of which we stayed in, temperatures ranging from 11 to 46 C, and over 9000 km (less than 400 USD in gas, I love this hybrid!!). Tonight we are back in Canada, in the Sault on a Saturday night. I was glad we tried Low and Slow BBQ for dinner, the 3 piece band playing jazz was so nice after a long day. One last leg tomorrow to get home ๐Ÿ˜Š And how the f do you get "Soo" from Sault anyway?!? I understand Sioux sounds like "Soo". Assault, default, vault. Soo. Idiotic. Day 20 - 595 km.
We left Wisconsin with a bag of bacon and onion cheese curds to snack on and continued into Michigan - the last state before crossing the border. We followed the shores of Lake Michigan for a while which would have been nicer without rain dogging us most of the drive today. And of course it's also 10 degrees colder than every other stop on this trip. ๐Ÿ˜ญ

23 June 2017

On this evening, likely our last on this legendary American road trip, we are in Wausau, Wisconsin. Why here? It's a final taste of small town America en route to Canada. While there were no specific "attractions" that brought us here, we found a completely charming, strollable, impeccably clean downtown with central square. The sunset and temperature are lovely. Awesome dinner and fab beer with a ton of locals at the top restaurant in town, Red Eye Brewing, plus a large, comfortable room at the Jefferson Inn. I cannot emulate the Wisconsin accent even a little bit....I tried but my mouth simply doesn't know how to form their vowel sounds! Thanks for being our last stop, Wausau ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Day 19 - 710 km.
And as we cross into Wisconsin, here is the mighty Mississippi again, so many thousands of miles from Tennessee and New Orleans! And not for the first time on this road trip, we come around the corner and the landscape changes dramatically. Gone are the plethora of farmsteads, replaced with low mountains, hills, and dense forest. Plus cranes and cranberry fields :)
Minnesota certainly seems to be an agricultural hub. A bit of the grasslands like in South Dakota but mainly gently rolling green farmlands, dairies, and wind turbines. Those make sense here.... who has seen the wind? We have. Oh, we have.
Welcome to Minnesota - home of Prince! A much cooler start to the day and a lower speed limit than the batshit crazy 80 mph (130 km!) of yesterday.
Sioux Falls seems nice....a very walkable, artsy downtown with sculptures all along the main street. A fabulous buffalo burger (how could I miss eating buffalo here??) and walleye cakes last night at the stylish Paramount cocktail bar, breakfast at the charming Phillips Diner this am. Their accent though....last night I thought the server said "are French fries ok with you?", so I said sure. She looked at me queerly and said more slowly "fries, sweet potato fries, or fruit?". Who the f gets fruit with a burger? No salad option? Veggettebles, what are veggettebles?? At least there was a slice of cucumber with my martini ๐Ÿ˜
Today was the first day we were truly at a loss as to where to head next. There didn't seem to be a clearly good option. Minneapolis? Madison? Milwaukee? Small Town, America? Aim for Chicago or Canada?? Above or below the Great Lakes? We figured we might be trying too hard to make Milwaukee cool - the Bronze Fonz and PBR are not enough to justify an extra day in Wisconsin. Under the Great Lakes takes us through too many enormous cities and their mental interstate traffic. The ferry across Lake Michigan would be cool but for 300 USD?!? FTS. I was hoping not to have to do this. Sigh. The Sault it is. ๐Ÿ˜›

22 June 2017

Having driven like fiends at 80 miles an hour against gusty winds for most of the day, we arrived in Sioux Falls for the evening. Day 18 - 705 km.
I insisted on taking the scenic loop off the interstate through the Badlands of South Dakota and it was so worth it! Just driving along and the Earth opens its gaping maw to reveal scraggy spires and smooth mounds. We also saw a few deer, mountain goats, and prairie dogs. The prairie dogs seem cute but I will never look at them the same way again - they carry the plague!
Ice cold water! Wall Drug. Homemade Pie! Wall Drug. Be Yourself! Wall Drug. Shooting Gallery! Wall Drug. 6 Foot Rabbit! Wall Drug. Camping Supplies! Wall Drug. Ice Cream and Fudge! Wall Drug. Obviously we had to go to Wall Drug. An interconnected full city block sized store of crazy crap.... activities, old photos, boutiques, memorabilia, tourist junk, Western wear, snacks, entertainment booths, wax figures, it just goes on. And surprisingly tasty fresh doughnuts.
We headed to Mt. Rushmore on a gorgeous morning. Impressive to see in person, though somewhat smaller than I imagined. Did you know President Jefferson had the first ice cream recipe in the US? Me neither, but now it makes sense why Americans have such a love of ice cream - so many shops in every freaking town! Then on through the Black Hills National Forest, an incredibly scenic route through the mountains on a narrow road, over raised wooden bridges and through single lane tunnels blasted through the rock. And precisely 1 buffalo.

21 June 2017

Into the quaint town of Hill City, South Dakota, a good launch point for sightseeing in the morning. We took a chance on a local fruit winery, Prairie Berry, which was surprisingly good wine. They also make grape wines, including cold climate hybrid varieties (Marquette, Frontenac). Wines ranged from dry to very sweet and I could only go as far as semi-sweet....the rhubarb wine and currant wine we're standouts, mouthwatering, tart and sweet expertly balanced. Right next door was Miner Brewing, solid beers and a great Belgian Tripel. Of note is that both these places are run by South Dakota's first female brewmeister and winemaker - kudos! Day 17 - 720 km.
The Crazy Horse Monument is well worth a stop. Very impressive what has been accomplished so far and it speaks to the incredible, long-term vision for its completion. The Native Culture educational center is expansive - I was intrigued by the myriad artifacts, belongings, and old photographs.
Into South Dakota! The surroundings morphed into spruce and pine forest, low mountains, small towns.
Into Wyoming! One of the first things we see when we cross the state line is a herd of buffalo on the side of the interstate ๐Ÿ˜ƒ Another dramatic landscape change, this time to gently rolling prairie grasslands. As we went further north, buttes popped up too.
Aiming north today, angling homeward. Veggettebles, what are veggettebles? Froo-it? I don't know these things you speak of.

20 June 2017

Stopped for gas in Del Norte, a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, and were surprised to see Three Barrels Brewing right across the street. Great timing for a late lunch! Stellar beer, the standouts being the peach wheat, double red, and coconut brown lager. Wood oven fired pizzas made and baked before our eyes - so tasty! In the shadow of Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs for the night. You can see the switch back all the way up the side of the mountain to the very peak! Nope nope nope. I would definitely come back to Colorado. It is beautiful here and there is so much to do....Not to Denver but to the smaller places in the mountains - I would love to go to a ranch and spend a few days ATVing, tubing, rafting, hiking, fishing ๐Ÿ˜„ Day 16 - 477 km.
I grew up with the Rockies but I didn't expect to see them on this trip - they are pretty stunning. We've gone over 5 mountain pass summits today, one of which was over 10000 feet ๐Ÿ˜ฑ Pikes Peak, over 14000 feet. Not sure I'm brave enough to drive over it. Colorado is totally beautiful.
We were up super early today for adventure....going ATVing on a private ranch! Craig drove a Polaris Razor like a pro. We saw a whole family of deer up close, a horny toad (which is actually a lizard and not at all a toad), a grouse, a honey badger den, and a ton of wildflowers. We just missed seeing elk, I think they bolted right before we got to the pasture - you could see where they had been sleeping :) The morning was gorgeous and our guide was great. It was just us on the trip so it was even better! Even with a bandana to cover my nose and sunglasses on, I have never had so much dust in my eyes ๐Ÿ˜ฒ Good thing we were able to rinse the grit off back at the springs! It was also the second time I heard about the forthcoming "monsoon season"....um, huh? I guess good timing on our part to miss sketchy spring weather and torrential rain, as well as tornado season and gulf storms, nevermind the hot mess that is Europe right now.

19 June 2017

A short drive again today to arrive in Pagosa Springs. These springs are very sulphury and very hot (the name of the springs means "water with a bad smell"). Craig was brave enough to dunk in the San Juan river to cool off but that was too brisk for me. The coolest of the spring baths, around 100 degrees, did make my muscles feel great though ๐Ÿ˜Ž Day 15 - 243 km.
Colorado!
And just like that, a few kilometers down the road and around a corner, the desert abruptly vanishes. Grass, pastures, and pine forest appear seemingly out of thin air and off in the distance are towering Rocky mountain peaks still with snow. I think we're almost in Colorado ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
The Echo Amphitheatre in Carson National Forest - totally awesome!
Gaining even more elevation. New Mexico has some seriously incredible landscapes. For some idiotic reason, they have virtually no viewpoints or pullout spots though....maybe they take for granted how beautiful it is! These red rocks and bluffs are amazing, each one more so than the last ๐Ÿ˜ The photos do not do the beauty of this place justice. I would love to come back to New Mexico!

18 June 2017

A beautiful New Mexico sunset in Ojo Caliente, followed by a wee cozy fire ๐Ÿ˜
We spent the day trying out all the mineral pools, the waters rich in iron and arsenic. The pools were so hot and it was 30 degrees out....a few minutes max is all you can take. I loved the mud bath though ๐Ÿ˜„ Shade is rare and in high demand. Despite my efforts and spraying myself with sunblock, I still burned ๐Ÿ˜› Our posh suite also included access to a private pool which was was great for shady lounging, less so for taking a dip at 105 degrees. A prickly pear margarita and a fish taco, followed by a stroll under a breathtaking sunset. It doesn't get more perfect than that.
Said our goodbyes early this morning, promising that it won't be so long until the next time. Today marks our turning around point - from this point on we will be heading north and west back towards home! A quick stop in Santa Fe for breakfast at Chocolate Maven....there was a lineup before it even opened and little did we realize it was Father's Day brunch - time has lost meaning ๐Ÿ˜Š A short driving day to the mineral springs spa resort, Ojo Caliente, an oasis in the middle of nowhere and you would never know it's there if you drove past it. We gained a lot of elevation on the short drive, and the vistas here are magnificent! Day 14 - 210 km.

17 June 2017

Marcus and Tiffany took us to Sadie's for dinner - authentic New Mexican comfort food and decent margaritas. I tried sopapillas for the first time and they definitely reminded me of the fry bread we had in Monument Valley. So good with honey!! The sunset was beautiful, everyone was contentedly packed with beans and papitas, and Craig saw a shooting star. So content ๐Ÿ˜‡
Wanting to give or gracious host a bit of personal time, we headed to the Old Town area of Albuquerque. It is a cute artisan-centric walking plaza, complete with a center square and a classic New Mexico style church building. Since I was sweating puddles in the heat of the day, we headed to the conveniently nearby Ponderosa Brewing Company. Samplers with good beer and chips and spicy queso! Remember what I said about American beer?!? We then drove up Central Avenue with lots of trendy looking areas all along. We actually went to the Breaking Bad car wash on Central....it looked nothing like the Breaking Bad car wash ๐Ÿ˜’
I love the Pueblo style of buildings here, the neutral colours, that hardly anyoneโ€‹ has a lawn. Apparently roadrunners pad around the streets of Albuquerque in the morning - Craig actually saw one!
Having fortified ourselves with huevos rancheros and blue corn pignoli pancakes, we headed to the Sandia Peak Tramway. Up we went, a somewhat terrifying and very palm sweaty 15 minute ride up to an elevation of 10000+ feet. I cannot even imagine if it was windy out....I would soil myself, seriously. The image that came to mind was James Bond fighting Jaws. What a view! We hiked a little bit around the top and were able to see both sides of the mountain. Coming back down on the tram was no less uncomfortable, especially since the car was packed to capacity ๐Ÿ˜จ

16 June 2017

Arrived in Albuquerque under a nice sunset. Welcomed by an old friend and hopefully a new one ๐Ÿ˜Š Days 12 & 13 - 625 km.
And just like that, we go over the horizon and there are hills. Down into the little valley there's even greenery! It looks remarkably like Keremeos ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Through the town of Lincoln, part of the Billy the Kid Trail, with a number of buildings still intact from the old west days.
Of course we had to stop :) The entire time I was in there, the X files theme was running through my head ๐Ÿ‘ฝ
A nice afternoon stop at Cottonwood Winery andโ€‹ Brewery just outside Artesia, NM. Again, my skepticism at their wines is unwarranted - a Gewurz that smells and tastes like it should, a dry, lightened up Zin, and a fruit-forward Chardonnay (now chilling nicely in the cooler). Really good apple cider. The shit part is that they can no longer sell their own beer because they don't make enough of it. Wtf New Mexico?! Yes there should be an upper production limit to be called a microbrewery but having a lower limit is asinine. If they can't meet demand, they expand, increase production and grow their small business - what am I missing??
We headed to Carlsbad Caverns and took the route in through the natural cave entrance. The caverns are stunning, beautiful. It's hard to describe how vast they are or how small you feel inside them. We didn't see any bats, even in the Bat Cave ๐Ÿ˜ƒ, though when you came to an area without any people or noise and listened carefully you could hear them chirp.
Huevos Rancheros - my favorite breakfast!

15 June 2017

The most surprising part, of both the hotel and Carlsbad, is the phenomenal quality of local/NM wine. The Trinity Hotel owners are also winemakers and tastings are free late afternoon. Staff were very generous and let us sample more than usual and I couldn't have been happier about it. The whites are quite good (their off-dry Chenin Blanc is ripe with stone fruit and beeswax), but the reds. Wow. I have had A LOT of wine and I am thoroughly impressed. They are growing classic Italian varieties, California standards, and a few other gems. The Tempranillo would pass for solid Spanish any day (I drink a lot of Spanish so I feel confident saying this), their Malbec is pleasant and lacking the common bracing acidity that gives me heartburn, an easy drinking Montepulciano. And the Nini - a dog's breakfast of Italian varieties coalescing into a stunning wine. For 20 USD, astounding.
Carlsbad, New Mexico - apparently sustained entirely by fracking/oil/nat gas workers. I suddenly feel compelled to buy a giant ridiculous Chevy with tinted windows and rip down the street burning fuel like an asshat. As tiny as the town is, there was still a microbrewery (hit and miss beers - the sour was good though). We are staying at the Trinity Hotel, a renovated bank now a boutique hotel from the 1890s designated as a national historic site: https://www.eda.gov/rlf/success-stories/trinity-hotel.htm. Day 11: 690 km and it is still nearly 40 degrees out.
New Mexico! We've travelled nearly 5000 km, crossed two times zones, and its 42 degrees - what is that in Fahrenheit, 120?? ๐Ÿ˜ฑ
This part of Texas is as flat as a piece of paper, the road just runs to the horizon and disappearsโ€‹, then starts again. It's like I'm in a Wiley E. Coyote cartoon. And so f'ing hot. Turbines to the left of me, pumpjacks to the right, here I am, drivin' Texas with him. And why isn't gas cheaper here? I think that was a dead armadillo.....
Ants in Memphis. A sizeable June bug (at least I hope that's what it was) in Fort Worth. No bed bugs though! It's almost 30 degrees out already and it's only 9 in the morning.๐Ÿ˜“ Apparently they have "avocado salsa" in Texas....you mean guacamole?!

14 June 2017

So much flat. Some cows. "Competition Style" Texas bbq from Pit Stop BBQ on the side of the freeway, whatever that means. All orders come with sides of pickles, onions, and jalapenos.....weird but welcome. They had smoked bologna - MIND BLOWN. Day 10: 907 km and still 33 degrees ๐Ÿ˜ต
Texas and 34 degrees.
Time to make for Albuquerque. Via Texas ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

13 June 2017

The lightning and storm having passed, we headed up to the rooftop pool for a refreshing dip. As if by magic, jazz starts playing....not from out of speakers but from the street corner right below the pool. It echoes off the wall of the hotel for nearly an hour and sounds amazing, the sunset is pink, Craig is finally able to smoke that cigar. It doesn't get more perfect than that.
Those thunderstorms though. So hot and the sky just opens up. There is so much water so fast that the storm covers literally dance and overflow with the pressure. The rain does wash away most of the stickiness and stank of the streets which is good. People scurry into any doorway, store, or alcove to wait it out but you can be waiting a while. A bit of retail therapy to bide the time then :)
Time for a walk. It is so hot and so humid. Clear skies. My hair is ridiculously curly. Off we go on the streetcar down St. Charles to the Garden District. Huge overhanging trees line both sides of the street with roots so big they have broken all the sidewalks and heaved them up a foot or more. A short detour into Lafayette No. 1 and a smile as we pass Commander's Palace....ah, memories of $1 martinis and turtle soup. Carry on all the way to Tchoupitoulas into the blazing sun and I'm sweating like a whore in church on a Sunday. With that humidity it must be at least 35 out. NOLA Brewing is a welcome respite. Cool inside, and the ice water and beer sampler are just what the doctor ordered! Dr. Dirty that is ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
Chicory cafe au lait and a muffaletta from Central Grocery and Deli - breakfast of champions!

12 June 2017

Bourbon Street is not exactly where you go for good music. If you want to drink horrifying "cocktails" and people watch, absolutely. If you want to hear great jazz and blues with a cold beer in your hand, you go to Frenchmen Street. Even on a Monday evening, there's music everywhere, including teenagers playing on the street corner ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’ž
The weather finally cleared up and we headed to Preservation Hall. I have always wanted to go and didn't when I was here before. I was surprised at the tiny space and loved the music so, so much (yeah trombone!!). What a perfect experience.
Happy hour at Domenica - what a steal!
30 degrees and thunderstorms today in NOLA....after we had grits (made better with hot sauce obviously), andouille sausage omelette, and beignets for breakfast at Cafe Beignet, there was no way to avoid being soaked to the skin, umbrella or not. I looked like a wet cat - and you can guess how many people laughed when they saw me - but my heart smiled.
In New Orleans again. I've felt the pull of this city for a while. Unlike in other cities, when there are lots of people, I don't mind. Even when there are bad smells, whatever. Music comes out of every doorway. All the buildings, hotel hallways, and streets are irregular. My heart is happy here.

11 June 2017

Acme Oyster House for my 40th birthday dinner. Chargrilled oysters, a soft shell crab po'boy, and a Hurricane. Craig, that was the most perfect place to go and those two seats at the end of the bar are truly ours ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’•
I drove over the Lake Pontchartrain causeway on my birthday...amazing!!! And also terrifying with the intermittent cloudbursts that reduced visibility drastically while everyone else was driving over 100 km per hour. Days 7 - 9: 641 km.
Now in Louisiana, we drove south on a fantastic secondary highway (with literally no one on it!) from Memphis down to Abita Springs, location of Abita Brewing, the largest brewery in the state and due north of NOLA. Loved their Gose (refreshingly tart lime and cardamom) and crawfish cake - nom!
Into Mississippi. The more we drove, both on the interstate and secondaryโ€‹ routes, the more it was obvious that Mississippi is the ? State. What's in Mississippi? Literally no idea, nothing as far as I can tell. In and out, no skin off my back ๐Ÿ˜•
On the road again and it's already 29 degrees, welcome heat after such a cold, rainy spring in Ottawa. Day 7 of this adventure finds us heading to one of my favorite places on my 40th birthday. We were already so close that we had to shift the plan and end up in Albuquerque a few days later. But isn't that what road trips are meant to be? Go where wind and want take you? Crossing into Mississippi....

10 June 2017

The weirdest thing about Memphis is that you often can't tell if a business/building is still in use. Are there bars over the windows just because or is it a rough area? Is it open in the evening or never? Impossible to tell. Is an area of town sketchy or just abandoned? We drove through parts of town that were literally on the wrong side of the tracks and crossed into clearly gentrified territory. Memphis, I think I'm good. Day 5 & 6 - 410 km.
Saturday night on Beale Street....lots of people but not like in Nashville, and not like in Vegas or New Orleans either. I sipped a quickly warming PBR at one of the few outdoor patio venues and sang along to covers of The Temptations. Apparently if you come closer to 10 pm there's actually a $10 cover to enter the area (seriously? ๐Ÿ˜’) so good thing we got in before that. I hate to say it, but there were a LOT of "women of ill repute" on Beale.
We gave Arcade Restaurant, in operation for almost 100 years, a shot for dinner. Classic diner fare, tasty cheeseburger, reasonable prices ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿบ
Sun Studio. How could you come to the home of the blues and not make a stop in this tiny legendary building? Short informative tour and humbling to stand in the room where many greats (whether I'm a fan or not, I respect what they accomplished) recorded songs you still tap your foot to when you hear it on the radio.
Biding a little time, we hit High Cotton Brewing which was noteworthy for one reason only....having one of the nastiest double IPAs ever. Have you ever seen Craig not finish a beer, much less a sampler size beer? Me neither. But a picture is worth a thousand words.
It was time for a bit of walking to move the liquor pockets around so we made our way to the Mud Island River Park. The park has an interesting feature: a 1/30th scale model of the mighty Mississippi. It was impressive - the scale river was very long, had flowing water all along out to it's final "delta", and showed cities along the river with interesting facts. The park itself has seen better days, a bit outdated and in need of revitalization.
On a mission to find a local pint, we headed to Ghost River Brewing. I love that you can do samplers - between us both we can try quite a few! Really good beers, especially their Belgian ๐Ÿป Contrary to the photographic evidence, Craig was not already drunk. He just kept blinking right when I took the pic!
We stayed a second day in Memphis to experienceโ€‹ a bit more of the city. Got up a bit later and headed over to Graceland - not even a bit of a fan of Elvis but it's the thing to do. Arrived to find a 2 hour wait and steep prices considering you are viewing a dead man's belongings (how much does he earn now compared to when he was living?!?). Um, no thanks ๐Ÿ˜› Let's find a local comic shop instead! 901 Comics had a great back issue collection :)

9 June 2017

After finishing our fabulous cocktails at the Peabody, we headed over to Beale Street of course. I understand the appeal of the short strip (a handful of blocks at most is all that's left of this once huge area) though it seems to me that it's a poor cousin of the French Quarter in New Orleans. Regardless of the early hour, there was live music on every block. It made me nostalgic for New Orleans. Good thing we're going to New Orleans.
We finished our meaty dinner in plenty if time to head to the Peabody Hotel. We grabbed two of the last seats in the lounge area with a decent view of the red carpet. The Peabody Ducks red carpet. Settled in with two fine cocktails, we boggled at how many grown adults were gathered in the main floor and mezzanine to watch a handful of ducks get ushered out of the marble hotel fountain by the duckmaster at precisely 5 pm. It was hilarious!
Welcomed into Memphis by glorious 30 degree weather. Headed to Charles Vergos' Rendezvous, a near 70 year old joint in a basement, for BBQ. It was pretty good but it just confirmed that Craig is an awesome cook....his ribs taste pretty much the same, and our house dry rub, Rub It Out, is basically Charles Vergos' dry rub with more sugar.
On to Memphis. Leaving Nashville we serendipitouslyโ€‹ took a route through Belle Meade, one of the most affluent neighborhoods in America. Each property was more extravagant than the last....who lives here?? Clear blue sky, 27 degrees. The land has flattened out, the rolling green meadows and low hills of Kentucky gone. The short bushy trees have changed to tall ones amid grasslands and wild flowers.
My body is screaming for vegetables.

8 June 2017

After fleeing as quickly as possible from downtown Nashville, which was extremely slowly in gridlocked traffic, we found a hot chicken oasis at Hattie B's.... fantastic fried chicken and local brews (Watermelon Gose!). Day 4 - 378 km.
Sometimes life just throws you a curve ball that you couldn't have anticipated. We were heading to the Johnny Cash Museum (it was ok). Yes, we anticipated heavy traffic close to Nashville and in the downtown, especially given the Predators shot at the Stanley Cup and the game on tonight. Ok. Also a regular Thursday business day. Ok. What we did not know was that it was also the CMAs and an associated street/music festival. Sweet Jesus. So. So. Many. People. Bad smells. Drunks. Extremely loud country music. I despise country music. Police everywhere. Shuttle buses. We lasted an hour, including time spent in the museum and across the street buying some famous Goo Goo clusters. Very not ok.
We visited the George Dickel Distillery and I was pleasantly surprised - our tour guide was great and the staff were so friendly, the site was beautiful, it is much smaller production than I thought, and they are using the same yeast strain that was used when the original distillery was founded in the late 1800's.... Awesome! The whiskey was pretty good too, and don't forget that Tennessee whiskey is not the same as bourbon ๐Ÿ˜‹
Beautiful blue sky welcomed us to Tennessee! Shortly thereafter, we were greeted by the sight of a lovely green farm property....with two horses getting it on right by the road.

7 June 2017

I love that no matter where you are in the US, you can find a microbrewery. At least one, often many, sometimes with food, frequently with really good beer. People that mock American beer haven't been to America. Thank you for great service, steak pizza and artwork, White Squirrel Brewing in Bowling Green - Muhammad Squirrely, Squirrely Sanders, Squirrel with a Pearl Earring, Hunter S. Squirrel....Day 3 - 565 km.
Now that's something you don't see every day - back half of a coach bus engulfed in flames ๐Ÿ˜ฑ
Got to Willett Distillery just in time for the last tour of the day ๐Ÿ™Œ Not a huge fan of their bourbon but I'm glad I got to try it there instead of blind purchasing. And inside of rickhouses is truly the best smell on Earth. Loved their Bourbon Family poster!
No trip to Kentucky is complete without visiting Maker's Mark. It's such a beautiful property. And this time I got to dip my own bottle ๐Ÿ’ƒ Followed that up with craft cocktails and a bite....peaceful.
Crossed the Kentucky line under blue sky....I love Kentucky. Smooth, rolling roads, hawks soaring above so much green ๐Ÿ˜
Another power plant, John Amos near Nitro, yes Nitro, WV, 3 huge towers this time and coal-powered. It would be incredibly creepy to look out your front window and see those pluming. I cannot imagine the health problems of those handling the coal or breathing in those emissions. Google reviews are hilarious though ๐Ÿ˜‚

6 June 2017

Blacksheep Burritos and Brews in Charleston - solid beer and great tacos!
Started the day in Pennsylvania, went through Ohio, and arrived in Charleston, West Virginia. Day 2 - 575 km.
The Christmas Story House!! Pretty cool, lots of attention to detail in the house itself, nice movie props in the little museum, and of course THE LAMP. And we parked in the Bumpus' yard ๐Ÿ˜„
Quick bite and a beer sampler at Noble Beast Brewing in Cleveland after the Hall of Fame - pleasant, safe beers with a good cider :) Then a short drive to....
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! So much in there you could spend all day looking at the collection.
It always strikes me how much pride Americans have in their homes. Tiny towns, big homes, small homes, all over - of course you see the stars and stripes waving, but nearly everyone has a well kept lawn, flower baskets hanging out front, even if the house could use fixing up.
Ohio! I've never been here before. Ohio, home of....WKRP?? I have no idea what Ohio is famous for.
A second grey day starting with a quick stop at Lake Erie on our way to Cleveland. And then two giant cooling towers loomed out if the trees.

5 June 2017

A long day of driving through New York and into Pennsylvania rewarded with really great beer, and friendly local bartender conversation, at Lavery Brewing Company in Erie. Day 1 - 690 km.
Who knew that the Lake Erie region of Pennsylvania had such a thriving wine industry?? Vines everywhere!
50 km into Andreya and Craig's Spirit Quest 2017.... So much adventure to come!