Friday, September 30, 2011


Thursday, September 29 – Just what a guy needs.....another hobby. While we were camped in Louisville, the neighbor - Bob Clipfell, and Paul got acquainted. Paul was admiring a road runner whirligig Bob had made and before you knew it Bob was teaching Paul how to make these windspinners.

Bob holding two of his roadrunners.

Paul hard at work.

Paul's first stacked spinner turned out pretty good.He's going to make several more of these before he tackles a road runner. Now we have to start collecting aluminum cans....LOL

We drove to Knoxville, TN, this morning. It was a beautiful day for a drive. The roads were in excellent shape with moderate traffic.

We are staying at Raccoon Valley RV Park. It is an Escapees park. It is located just NW of Knoxville in Heiskell, TN. We are going to spend a week just relaxing…we will see how long that lasts.
Site #56

2 site

No, you don't have triple vision. What are the chances of three 05 Tiffin Phaetons, with the same paint scheme, parking in the same park in the same section? We are the middle one.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see ya'll back real soon. Have a great day.


Tuesday, September 27 – We finished the Bourbon Trail Distillery Tours today by visiting three more distilleries: Wild Turkey, Four Roses, and Woodford Reserve. We can now mail our passport books in and get a free t-shirt.

We arrived a bit early for our first tour of the day, so Marsha made the best of it.
Wild Turkey just opened a new distillery and is only in the 4th month of production in the new facility. The new 134,000 square foot facility expansion makes them not only one of the biggest whiskey distilleries in Kentucky, but in all of North America. It is capable of producing up to 11 million proof gallons of liquid annually, up from the 5 million proof gallons of the previous distillery which was first put into operation back in 186. It is a highly automated and impressive facility.

The old…

The new…

We had a great tour guide and again were able to see the distilling process from beginning to end.


Our guide showed us the label machine and how they fill each barrel.



This is the only distillery that let us look in on their sensory room. Really interesting4-sesory-room

Wild Turkey bottles off site.

We got to choice which two samples out of all the different Bourbons. Of course, Paul choice the two top shelf Bourbons….GOOOOOOD! They actually make an American Honey Liqueur. Marsha had one shot of it and off she went to make her purchase.


We thought this was the 2nd best distillery tour behind Maker's Mark.

When we arrived at Four Roses, we had a long wait until the next tour. We had them stamp our Passport and then off we went. We did read that they are the only distillery using single-story rack warehouses to minimize the temperature variances, which provide even maturation during the aging process.


Our sixth and final stop on was Woodford Distillery. Woodford Reserve Distillery was the only tour that charged a fee.....$5. Paul asked why this was and the response was a corporate decision.....hmmmm?

Woodford is the oldest and smallest distillery in Kentucky, and traces its origins to 1797. This National Landmark crafts only Woodford Reserve, the Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby.


While we waited for our tour to begin, we browsed around the museum and gift shop.


This is the only distillery that makes their own barrels.


The distilling room features three genuine copper pot stills that triple distill the mash.



Bottling area.

We ended with yet ANOTHER taste of bourbon. We agree that this is the strongest tasting bourbon. Paul thought that chocolates were the best he tasted.


It was also a very nice tour offering a glimpse of the distilling process from beginning to end.

Our mission is complete.


We feel that six tours is a little too much. After four tours we pretty much had the process down pat. The guide at Wild Turkey summed it up fairly well. He described Bourbon making as a simple process. Smash some corn. Add yeast and water. Let it ferment for several days,. Distill it. Age it in oak barrels for several years. Enjoy!

We are off to Knoxville, TN tomorrow. We are going to spend a week at Raccoon Valley RV Park. It is an Escapees park.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see ya'll back real soon. Have a great day!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Monday, September 26  - Our third stop was Maker's Mark Distillery. This distillery, in its storybook setting outside the charming town of Loretto, is the nation's oldest working distillery on its original site and has been designated a National Historic Landmark. This is the only distillery that opened its factory doors to a beginning to end tour of the distilling process.


Notice the cool design in the shutters on the buildings.

Here is a picture of what is to be believed as America's oldest remaining "retail whisky store." This is called a Quart House. This is where the distillery used to sell bourbon to the surrounding neighbors around 1889. It could be considered the first "drive through." People would pull up their wagon next to the house, get their barrel filled up, pay a quarter and be on their way.


We started our tour inside the original home. When the house was build in 1911, it served as a boarding house for distillery workers and visiting businessmen. In 1934, when Prohibition ended and the Beams began rebuilding, the house was renovated and moved to keep a watchful eye on operations.


It was interesting to find out how the Maker's Mark's trademark wax sealed bottle came about. Well here is the story…



Wax was on everything…LOL

This distillery is much smaller than the two previous distilleries we toured. We began our tour in the area where the wheat, corn, and barley are ground and mixed. Mountain spring water is then added along with yeast and the fermenting process begins. The fermentation is a three step process. We were encouraged to dip our fingers into the vats to taste the changes taking place in the process.

Stage 1…lots of mash on top. The yeast is starting to work.

Stage 2…look at those bubbles. The call this beer.

Stage 3…we could smell the CO2   big time and feel the heat!

This is the stage that we tasted the mash…SOUR!!!

We again visited the rick houses where the finished Bourbon is aged for an average of 6-8 years. They determine when the Bourbon is ready to bottle by taste rather than simply age, as the other distilleries do.


Maker's Mark Bourbon is different from their second brand, Maker's Mark 46, in that additional charred oak staves are added into the barrel at the end of the aging process for an additional 46 days for additional flavor and color.


A real treat of this tour was to see the bottling process. They do everything by hand, including dipping every bottle in their signature red wax. They bottle about 30 bottles per minute with the final process before boxing is the hand dipping of the neck of the bottle in red wax. This is their trademark and a unique process to Maker's Mark.

Sterilizing the bottles and then filling them up for our enjoyment.Makers Mark

These gals hand dip 23 bottles each a minute. Because of the repetitive nature of all the jobs on the assembly line, they all rotate every 30 minutes.

Boxing it up.

We again enjoyed the tasting room where we not only sampled the traditional two different Bourbons but also tasted “white dog” the clear bourbon liquid before it is aged in the oak barrels. It is the charred oak barrels that gives the Bourbon is caramel color and distinctive flavor. We were also served a piece of Bourbon chocolate, a tasty treat to end our day of touring.


BACK AT THE CAMPGROUND:  At the end of each day, Grandpa drives around the campground in one of several ways. This is the way we like the best. He just has the biggest time.


Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see ya'll back real soon. Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Monday, September 26 – We set off today to do the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.


Kentucky Bourbon is America's only native spirit. To be called a bourbon the spirit must contain at least 51% corn, be aged in NEW charred oak barrels, be distilled to no more than 160 proof, and be placed in the barrel at no more than 125 proof. It must be made in the United States, but not necessarily Kentucky. Did you know that 95% of all bourbon is made in this small area, about a 75 mile area around Louisville?

Why Kentucky? Kentucky spring water, purified as it flows over limestone rock formations, is perfect for Bourbon distilling because it is free of minerals that affect taste. This iron-free limestone water is part of what makes Kentucky Bourbon world-renowned. The other reason why it is so good…the weather, especially the amount of humidity.

There is so much bourbon coming out of Kentucky right now, that the number of barrels storing the stuff--4.7 million to be exact--surpasses the states population of 4.3 million people.

There are six distilleries that make-up the Trail. If you visit all six and get your passbook stamped at each stop, you earn a free Bourbon Trail T-Shirt. Since you get several tastes at each stop, each tour takes anywhere from 60-90 minutes, and the distilleries are spread out miles apart, it is recommended to try not to make all six stops in one afternoon.


We started out at the closest distillery to Louisville and our campground, the Jim Beam Distillery…Come as a Friend, Leave as Family.

The statue of master distiller, Booker Noe, with his dog Dot.1-outside

Just 20 miles south of Louisville, Jim Beam is the #1 selling Bourbon in the world and the largest bourbon distillery in the world. The distillery employs more than 300 people. We first toured the historic T. Jeremiah Beam home.


The smallest working still in the world is located here. It is solid bronze and was handmade in 1959 for the World's Fair. It's licensed and registered with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and is just like the three story still the family uses to make Jim Beam bourbon.


The real thing.


The Beams would keep bourbon on site, and people would bring their own containers to buy it. The container was weighed after it was filled to determine the cost (50¢ per quart, 75¢ per quart for aged bourbon).

One of the interesting tidbits we learned on this first tour is the “black tree event.” During the aging process, while aging in the oak barrels, about 3-4% of the bourbon evaporates off into the air. This vapor then settles on surrounding building, bushes, and trees where a mold forms turning black.


It doesn't harm the trees or buildings but it gave away the distillery location to federal agents during Prohibition. This black mold is easily observed on the rick houses (the warehouses where the bourbon is aged) and the surrounding trees.


We walked through one rick houses. More than 60,000 barrels of bourbon are aged in the 27 rick houses on the distillery grounds. Approximately 90 million bottles of spirits are bottled here annually and shipped to more than 200 countries worldwide. Jim Beam rotates their barrels, and uses barrels from different zones to create certain brands.



Another interesting side note: The portion of Bourbon that evaporates off is known as “the Angel's Share.” Cute!

There was a truck just pulling out for a delivery.

Of course, there is the Bourbon tasting at the conclusion of the tour.



We didn't sample the ordinary stuff; they gave us top shelf brands. We got to try a Knob Creek single barrel (which was super smooth) and Basil Hayden Small Batch (which was also fantastic)



Very interesting at 9:30 in the morning....LOL.

Our second stop on the tour was Evan Williams Bourbon, Heaven Hill Distillery.


Located in historic Bardstown, KY, is America's largest independent family-owned and operated producer of Bourbon. Heaven Hill has grown to be the second largest holder of bourbon Whiskey in the work with approximately 19% of the world's inventory of aging American Whiskey. We were welcomed at the modern Bourbon Heritage Center where we began our tour.

The Bourbon Heritage Center is a museum-like visitor center detailing bourbon and how it is made.


There were displays that allowed you to smell moonshine, bourbon that had been aged for 7 years, and bourbon that had been aged for 12 years. Pretty cool.


We walked through a working rick house, where we observed 1000's of oak filled aging Bourbon worth millions of dollars. It's amazing to see the money tied up in these rick houses for anywhere from 2 – 10 years or more while aging. Some Bourbon is even aged for more than 20 years. We saw a barrel date 1971, the year the rick house was built. Now that's going to be some expensive Bourbon when it is bottled.

Catch the Serial No. It is equal to the number of barrels made since Heaven Hill began. 5-6-millionth

More tasting….you bet! They have a unique barrel-shaped tasting room.They were already for us.


Again….no bottom-shelf bourbon for this tasting.



We thoroughly enjoyed both of these tours. We HIGHLY recommend them to all.

We actually visited a third distillery, but we will keep that for Part 2.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see ya'll back real soon. Have a great day!