Days 11 & 12: Frankfort, KY -> Louisville, KY (65 mi)
Day 11: 8:26 am – Set off towards Louisville today, a short and welcome 55 mile trek west of Frankfort. A bit hungover, I packed quickly and hurried to catch the free continental breakfast before it ended. I met and talked with some traveling bikers there; they were headed to St. Louis and when I filled them in on the nature of my trip, were scratching their heads as to why anyone in their right mind would pedal cross country. I laughed and told them “I haven’t had a right mind in weeks” as I stuffed two everything bagels down my throat.
I had actually scheduled a Warmshowers host a couple days in advance for shelter in Louisville (Look at me I’m growing!), and his name was Tanner. He and his buddy Storm greeted me when I arrived, both about my age, and we quickly hit it off. Tanner lived with his roommate Dan, who owned the house, which was an old church that was foreclosed on years ago, and has a very unique layout as a result.
Unfortunately I lost all the pictures I had of this place (put cases on your phones, folks).
I had scheduled a tour of the Bulleit Bourbon distillery that afternoon, so we made plans to meet up after and drink some beers. My kinda lads. The Bulleit facility was awesome, but I’d have to say I preferred the Town Branch bourbon a bit more. Still delicious though, and who can complain about four fine shots of bourbon for less than $12??
When I got back, Tanner and Storm offered to give me a little bike-around tour of their favorite spots in town. We hopped on our steeds, Storm blaring some Flaming Lips out of the speaker he had duct-taped to his handlebar stem, and set out down a dirt trail towards the riverfront.
The sun was scorching and the temperature hovered around 100, but the trail wound beneath an oak tree canopy along the river, and we reached the waterfront after about ten minutes. The Ohio River separates Kentucky from Indiana, and not long ago an old railroad crossing was converted to a pedestrian bridge that offered spectacular views of the river and the city-scape.
I followed Tanner and Storm over the high, spiraling bridge into Indiana, where a live music event was taking place that featured a cover band slinging 80’s rock hits. “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” buzzed through the summer evening humidity as we rolled past the stage and down the Ohio River Greenway. We pulled off to a secluded knoll along the river where we set our bikes down and passed a frisbee around a bit before settling on a rock formation overlooking the river. We talked for awhile about life, capitalism, solo traveling, education over some Yuengling’s, which had apparently just arrived in Kentucky.
Later that night we hit one of Dan’s favorite bars in downtown Louisville, Proof On Main. Located in the prestigious 21c Museum on Main St, bar patrons were free to explore the three floors of contemporary art while they drank. Dan ordered us all around of his go-to, a “beermosa”. It’s exactly what it sounds like, and pretty darn good. PBR and OJ – who knew?
Dan left after our 2nd round, as he had an early shift the next morning at the hospital. Tanner, Storm and I were feeling lively, so we set off towards one of their favorite drinking holes, Kaiju. About a 20 minute walk, I was fretting not getting in with my photocopy ID. 50/50 shot, I figured.
I lost. Turned away at the door, we decided to try another that Storm and Tanner felt more confident I’d be able to get into. Holy Grale, it was called, and right next to their favorite pizza spot if I again got snubbed.
To the pizza place we went! Huge pies, but a crazy long wait. Spinelli’s was pretty famous around here, I guess. We all left in a food coma desperate to get home and pass out.
Day 12: 10:22 am - The next day, my first rest day, was pretty uneventful. I decided to take an extra rest as I was ahead of schedule getting to St. Louis, and still pretty tired. Tanner and Storm had some work to do in the morning, so I went to a McQuixote’s, a coffee shop set in a bookstore near the church and had breakfast there. I decided to visit the Muhammad Ali museum later that morning, which I highly recommend to anyone visiting Louisville. Cassius Clay was born in Louisville, and led a pretty wild life, from famed boxer to ignominious draft dodger to cultural icon and social activist.
I checked out a bike shop that afternoon for a new pair of bike shorts and advice on how to position my saddle to remedy some back pain I’d been having. When I got back to the church, Tanner and Storm were there and getting ready to cook dinner, Tanner whipped us up some fantastic black-bean curry that we devoured alongside some more Yuengling’s in front of a bonfire in the back yard. Soon the glow of the flames and lightning bugs were all that lit up the yard, and we all retired pretty early after a busy couple of days.