When I woke up I realized that it was my first day in over a decade where I no longer live in North Carolina.
This was obviously not a surprise, but nonetheless it felt profound. And significant.
A whole lot of life lies ahead of me, and none of it will take place in North Carolina.
I don’t remember much about Kentucky. Not that it isn’t memorable, I am sure it is, but because I was very focused on finding something specific as we drove through.
Bourbon. Kentucky bourbon.
I don’t think we were anywhere near the Bourbon Trail, we were going to be in Kentucky for only 90 miles, cutting a tiny chip out of one corner of the state as we made our way through to Illinois.
All 90 of those miles were spent examining billboards and road signs for any sign of a distillery, but to no avail. With only two miles showing on the highway mile markers and desperation rising, we ended up settling for just a plain-old liquor store on the hopes that it might stock something special that is only distributed within it’s home state. I had one specific brand in mind that I can’t always find.
The store did have a nice variety of different bourbons, including the one I was seeking. Score! One bottle immediately procured. I asked for a recommendation for a second bottle. Naturally, the sales person went straight to the most expensive bottle on the shelf, Jeffersons Ocean, with the rather gimmicky story of being aged at sea. Instead of filling a barrel and stashing it in a barrel house for several years, they put the barrels on a ship and send them around the world. Constant movement supposedly ages the liquor more quickly, and more variably as no two ships get the exact same weather.
“I am a sucker”, I thought as I drove away, “I could just have bought another bottle of the Colonel Taylor”. Or actually, I could have bought two more bottles. The Ocean was expensive.
I do lots of things on impulse. Sometimes they work out, other times not so much. I’m saving the Ocean for a special occasion. I wonder if it will live up to it.
The three-cat caterwauling of the previous day continued again today, poor Yvonne bearing the brunt of it of course, as I remain just as unobservant and unworthy of cat car driving as I had been Saturday.
But as bad as they were during the drive, that is how good they were at night. We’d pull into our hotel, smuggle the cats in* using two large cat carriers, and set them free. They’d pour out like water racing out of a spillway and start smelling everything, all at once, as fast as they can.
* No hotel in America apparently allows three cats. Two are okay, but never three. I am only reporting this, I cannot explain it. So – as far as every hotel we visited knows – we only had two cats.
It takes awhile to thoroughly smell everything in a hotel room, but hey, someone’s got to do it, right? They seemed in great cheer, very happy to have a variety of things to climb/explore/smell, quite the trio of feline road warriors.
They also slept decently through the night, something that doesn’t happen reliably even at home.
All that yowling must have worn them out.
Southern Illinois was interesting mostly for what it wasn’t. It wasn’t urban, this part of Illinois is extremely rural. And it wasn’t sparsely populated.
There were homes and people everywhere. All in farm fields, or surrounded by farm fields, or at the very least near farm fields. This is agriculture at its most populated.
The part of North Carolina where I’ve lived the last 13 years is agricultural too, and very very rural. But the country we are passing feels so much more densely populated. Houses everywhere.
Today was our longest driving day, more than 100 miles longer than the previous day.
Our hotel was right next to a riverboat casino on the Missouri. Once it was very nice, probably top shelf, but now is just beginning to show its age. Big room though.
We ordered Italian delivery from the hotel’s recommended Italian restaurant. Oh my god was that awful. The worst food we would encounter for the entire trip. And I say that knowing that on the next day, I would have a box of Hot Tamales for lunch.
The dinner was that bad.
I shudder as I write this, just at the memory of the awfulness.
🙂 😀 🙂