Sunday, August 21, 2011


Louisville, KY

I went a little out of my way to get to Louisville. Lexington would have been more on my way, but there didn't seem to be as many couchsurfers there, so I decided to make it up to Louisville instead. It was also partly influenced by the fact that I had been thinking about making a quick trip back to Rockford, and I would have stopped in Louisville on the way back from that trip - so Louisville had been on the schedule from that plan, and I just decided to go with it.

That turned out to be an awesome decision, as this weekend was one of the cooler couch-surfing experiences I've had.

After getting into town and meeting up with the couchsurfer, Stephanie, we headed over to her friend Brian's place for a grillout. The occasion was that Brian was grilling some fish that he had caught while he was up in Wisconsin recently - so we had fresh, grilled fish, an amazing lentil dish that one of the other guys made, some salads, baked beans, and a few other things (including homemade guacamole). It was an amazing meal. Afterwards we sat around and talked for a while, and I ended up sampling a Belgian Tripel made by Brian, as well as some of his cinnamon-apple moonshine. Later, we both did a shot of Bulleit Rye Whiskey, because he said I had to try it since I was in Kentucky.

After the party started to die down, a few of us (Brian, his girlfriend, Stephanie and I) decided to go out to the bars and meet up with one of their friends. We went to a place called The Holy Grale, which had been converted from a church into a bar with some extremely good beers. Lots of Belgian and German beers, high ABV, very strong flavors. We ended up sitting upstairs in the small chapel room, which had apparently just opened that night, and served different beers than the downstairs bar.

After having a few there (and losing one member of the group to fatigue), Brian and Stephanie and I all headed to another bar called The Back Door, to play some pool. While we were playing, a couple came over and sat nearby, and we asked them if they wanted to play. They ended up being relatively entertaining, though not necessarily in a good way. Besides both being extremely drunk, they obviously had some relationship issues, which they dealt with very poorly. It made the game move slowly, because he would make fun of her for every shot she missed, and she would jab back at him about anything she could.

In one of the more random experiences of this trip, I bought some home-made beef jerky in the bar from a guy in overalls with a huge beard, holding a picnic basket full of ziploc bags with his beef jerky in it. He offered mild or spicy, so I went with the spicy - and it was amazing. Definitely the best tasting beef jerky I've ever had, though I can't say I eat all that much jerky.

We ended up closing out the bar - at the end of the night, Stephanie got one last beer, and Brian and I did a shot of Basil Hayden Bourbon (primarily because the bartender had a shirt on advertising it). Then they started to kick us out, so we passed the beer around until we had finished it, and went to call a cab.

As it turned out, a cab pulled up right as we got there, but it had been called by someone else. Fortunately, he was on his own and didn't mind us tagging along, so we all hopped in the back. The cab ride ended up being pretty fun, as the driver (Big Mike) was entertaining to talk to, as was the guy in the front seat. After dropping off people on the way, Stephanie and I got back to her apartment at around 4:30 and got some sleep.

I woke up around 9:30 or 10 feeling tired, but not horrible. I ended up killing time until about 1pm when Stephanie finally got up - she had apparently gotten hit pretty hard by what she drank the night before, and was pretty hungover. After a shower and some recovery time, we headed to Lynn's Paradise Cafe, which has been featured on the Food Network multiple times. It was an absolutely amazing restaurant, and it was almost impossible to narrow down what I wanted to one thing. In the end, I got the french toast that had been featured on Throwdown with Bobby Flay - and loved it. It was covered in chocolate, strawberries, and a bourbon sauce, so I definitely got my calorie intake for the day.

The decoration in Lynn's was interesting too - very eclectic. Reminded me of when I went to Succotash in Kansas City with my first couchsurfer. And there was a store in the front of the restaurant which we browsed for a while after eating which had interesting books, toys, hats, and other cool stuff. It was things like Pick Your Nose cups and books like How to Tell if Your Boyfriend is the Antichrist.

After lunch, I asked Stephanie if it was alright if I stayed an extra day. I was still pretty tired out from a few hard days of riding (not to mention staying up until 4:30am), and really didn't feel like doing another 300 miles and then camping out. She said sure, so we bummed around for the afternoon - Stephanie took a nap while I sat around on the computer and set up couchsurfing for the next few nights, talked to friends about staying at their places, and planned out routes (and started this post). Then around 5:30 we headed out to the movie theater to catch "Fright Night" with Penny, a friend of Stephanie's. Wow... the movie was bad. Like, really bad. But still pretty funny, so it was enjoyable.

We grabbed some dinner at McAllisters (mmmm baked potato), and then went over to Penny's place and sat around talking about music, bands we like, and various stories until heading back and getting some sleep. Today I've done next to nothing, though I had better get on the road quick if I'm going to catch any of the good motorcycle roads in Kentucky and West Virginia.

If I'm ever back in Louisville I'm going to try to make it to the places I went this weekend. I would highly recommend any of them - The Back Door, Lynn's, even Big Mike the cabbie is worth checking out if you're in Louisville and need a cab. This weekend was a blast, and it's experiences like this that make me so glad that I'm couchsurfing.

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