With Bardstown being the nicest area we've seen since Charlottesville, we decided to take the day to explore. We have a relatively light schedule that will bring us to Colorado, so we were comfortable taking the time to look around.
We slept in late enough to catch extra hours, but not late enough to miss McDonald's breakfast. I was looking for a table next to outlets so that we could connect with the outside world when I heard, "Ah, so you went to Fordham Prep?" I was a little confused and looked up at an older man who had only a pen and pad to keep him company. After pausing and realizing I was wearing shorts from my alma mater, I asked if he were familiar with the school; he replied that, "With 3 Jesuit degrees, (he) better be." The man turned out to be a Catholic priest, so he spoke with Chris and me for a bit. Bardstown is the first area with a strong Catholic presence that we've seen, so he gave us a brief history about the town explaining the reasons why it's a hotbed for Catholicism. We've experienced a tremendous amount of support and help from many different religions over the past few weeks, but it's still nice to bump into someone from your own group once in a while.
After finishing up our breakfast and conversation with the priest, we were off for our real reason for taking the day off: a bourbon tour at Barton Distillery. Although I'm not particularly fond of bourbon, it felt like a waste to be in Kentucky and not take at least one distillery tour and a few tastings. The heat and humidity was definitely the most intense that we've experienced so far, so we were happy to be walking around a distillery instead of biking through open farmland. Walking onto the grounds, we immediately noticed a relatively intense sweet and sour smell floating in the air. The tour was very informative, but the most interesting detail we learned was that 96% of all bourbon in the U.S. is produced in Kentucky; I had originally thought that it had to be produced in Kentucky to be called a bourbon, but apparently not. Heading out of the distillery and back to the center of town, we noticed that the distinct fragrance from the distillery extended all over town.
Though Bardstown is bigger than most places we've passed through, we still saw the whole town before lunch time. After killing some more time, we came across a bar that's had patrons that include Daniel Boone, Abe Lincoln, Jesse James, and now Chris and Kevin. There was live music, sports center, beer, and a decent burger: the perfect way to waste time before heading back to the campgrounds.
It's too hot tonight for a rain cover, so I'm currently looking through my transparent tent at the stars above. It's supposed to be a clear night, but the sky keeps flashing these brilliant bright lights every 5-10 seconds. The light seems close enough that we should hear lightning to accompany it, but it doesn't appear to be thunder. I have no idea what the lights are, but I'm enjoying coming up with some ridiculous theories in my head. The sound of the bugs chirping is louder than if I had over the ear headphones blasting nature sounds directly into my ears. I miss the lights and noises of the city, but I can definitely put up with these surroundings for a summer.