(Continued from Part 3)
Now full of pizza and wings, we set off to find our way out of Butchertown. Along the way, we were followed (and passed) by a beautifully kept Wanderlodge. These are the ‘official’ company made RVs built out of school bus bodies (from 1968-2009).
As the Wanderlodge headed off on it’s own adventure, we made our way back onto the highway and over to the Bulliet Distillery. The distillery is the only one in a rather industrial area just outside the city (map here) limits of Louisville as it was secured before the area was developed because of the availability of good water (and also to avoid paying taxes). As it was, there were plenty of trucks and parking lots for heavy vehicles along the way.
The distillery was originally the the Stitzel-Weller Distilling Company which was founded in 1935 with the combination of the distributor W. L. Weller & Sons, and the A. Ph. Stitzel Distillery. Known for their ‘Old Fitzgerald’, ‘W.L. Weller’, ‘Pappy Van Winkle’, and other brands through 1972, when the distillery closed though the storage buildings continued to age barrels (at the height of it’s operations, the storage buildings could house 800,000 cases worth of bourbon).
Bulleit was started (again) in 1987, and used some of the facilities at the Sitzel-Weller plant (though production other that R&D was moved before our tour – be on the lookout for a chocolate rye to be coming out in a few years!).
One of the cool things on the tour was seeing one of the few remaining historic cooperage buildings still with gear in it. It had the facilities to empty a leaking barrel, remove the ends and bands, and allow the staves to be splayed, replaced, or leaks packed with rushes (rushes impart no odd flavors, it turns out).
The highlight of the tour was the tasting. We tasted not only the regular Bulliet, but the 10 year-old, the single barrel uncut, the Rye Whiskey, and
some of the historic blend that’s being made with some of the orphan barrels that were left over when Bulliet took the space over.
But alas, it was over all too soon. Though we did still have a drive ahead of us, and one of the things that I never seem to be able to do is get to a campground while it’s still light. So, off we set for Metropolis.
And wound up in a traffic jam. There were two accidents within a mile of each other and the multiple lanes of traffic were just crawling.
Finally we were in the clear and moved easily down I-65, until we hit the interchange with the Western Kentucky Parkway, which becomes I-69 near Morton’s gap. The interchange had a 15-20 minute stop-and-go traffic jam because of the merging with the Elizabethtown exits, but before we could get to that we had to climb the hill.
But once we got onto the Parkway, the engine was nice and cool, and we sailed along. The Parkway runs nearly straight west, but with lots of hills, though none big enough to slow us down to shift into fourth.
Finally, we hit the end of I-69 where it intersects with I-24, which we took toward Paducah. We got glimpses of the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, but it was starting to get toward evening and I had high hopes of getting to Fort Massac before dark. (I seem to have a hard time ending up at our campsite before dark for some reason.)
But there was still some light as we got through Paducah and headed back across the Ohio River again and into Illinois.
Our exit was just past the bridge, and then it was only a couple of miles to our site. Finally, we were at our location for the eclipse, safe, sound, and kind of tired!
(Continued in Part 5)