Thursday we had decided to do some Bourbon trail riding. After a lunch of gourmet grilled cheese, we headed off to the Woodford Reserve distillery. Of the distilleries I've been to, Woodford is probably the most scenic. You drive through some rolling hills of picturesque horse farms to find the distillery down in the hollar (that's southern for "down in the small valley by the creek or the hollow"). Unlike some of the bigger distilleries, Woodford doesn't look like a small oil refinery. We waited for our tour group to be called and headed off down to the operation. Woodford has upgraded since the last time I was there and now gives everyone a headset to hear the guide, which is nice since in the past it's been hard to hear over the noise. As usual the air is scented with the sweet aroma fermentation and the Angel's taking their share. After the sampling, it was back to Louisville to obtain some souvenirs for Yinyer. O'shea's offered official Derby glasses dipped in red wax from Maker's Mark, while Flanigan's offered Stella Artois chalices etched with the 139th Kentucky Derby logo. All that was required was a purchase of the appropriate beverage. Joining us was Kelle, and between the three of us we loaded Yinyer up with glassware aplenty.
Friday we headed to Oaks. My $50 suit accented with pink shirt and bow tie fit in nicely. The Oaks day at Churchill can be more fun than Derby day. There's all the pageantry and half the crowd. We had also decided to spend the money for club level seats that included all you could eat food and drink. I expected the standard track fare of hot dogs or chicken fingers. I was mistaken. It was a full catered spread of brats, BBQ pulled pork, and Buffalo chicken with sides and desserts. The drinks were served in real glasses (while supplies lasted) and we obtained some more glassware for Yinyer. The two fillies I bet paid off and I was up for the day, though I was unable to pull down the superfecta. It was a beautiful day at the track.
Upon departing, I returned home and walked across the street to attempt to win Derby tickets. TUrns out they weren't winning, but the manager gave me her tickets since she couldn't make it. Score, free grandstand seats. Saturday found us heading again to the track, again in my stylish $50 suit with purple accents. This time, we parked much closer (and it was the best money spent all weekend I think) in some ones yard. It was a cold, rainy day and promised to stay that way. Yinyer picked up some ponchos for us, which were used all day until the rain stopped (just in time for the Derby). We were tempted to split early, but hung in there to experience the most exciting 2 minutes in sports live and in person. Afterwards, back home for dry clothes and dinner and evening cocktails. In a fluke, I won money on the Derby. I had bet the the #6 horse across the board. Turns out the lady working the booth heard the 16 horse. And number 16, Orb, won the race. Woohoo!!!
|Turn 4 of the 139th Kentucky Derby|
While I've been to Honolulu several times over the years, I've never made it to any of the other islands. I realize after a visit to Maui this has been a great oversight. Honolulu, and Oahu, is very developed and very crowded. Maui is not as developed and much less crowded. I, at one point, had a whole beach almost to myself. I like that. No high rise hotels in sight, just sand, surf, and an extinct volcano. So, I endured the two days there before heading over to Honolulu to endure another day there. It was very trying times. I did manage to almost kill myself on Maui.
I spent the first day driving around, initially up to the north side of the island to Paia, a small village with some quaintless and good coffee. The I thought I'd take a quick drive up to Haleakala, the dormant volcano on the eastern side of the island. Well, I thought it was a quick drive. turns out the 32 miles of winding roads actually takes about an hour and a half. And then theres the fun of driving through the clouds. Not fog, actual clouds. But once you punch through, it's beautiful clear skies and cool temps. I wish I had brought appropriate shoes, as the trails didn't look particularly inviting for flip flop clad hikers. But it was still an experience to stand above the clouds looking down into the crater. And props to the over achievers who bike UP the mountain. Thanx for making me feel real lazy.
Arrived in HNL early in the morning, just after sunrise, and was whisked away to the crew hotel. Located by Ala Moana park, the hotel has a great view of the homeless population of Honolulu setting up camp. Apparently they're not allowed to sleep there overnight, so they show up during day light hours and sleep there then. I guess if you have to be homeless that Hawaii is one of the better places.
After grabbing a nap, i took a walk to find lunch at Duke's on Waikiki Beach. I love Duke's and go there every time I'm on the island. The staff is friendly and patrons are all happy. I mean, it is Hawaii after all, you have to really work at being miserable. I spent the afternoon meandering with no real plan, other than send a couple post cards and obtain a new iPhone cover (mine had disintegrated over the last couple days). I spent a fair amount of time traversing Waikiki Beach from Duke's to Margaritaville to The Beach Bar. Finally catching the sunset (yup, love them) before ending the day with a self cooked steak dinner at The Shore Bird.
Again, early to bed to ensure being awake for the early shuttle to the airport and back to the mainland. I left out all the flying around parts to keep the non airline types from being overly bored. There was actually a good bit of knowledge obtained, more so than most my recent rides. So it wasn't all beaches and Hawaiian Iced Teas.
I returned to Louisville to find a cool rain falling. I was actually looking forward to being home for a bit and just crashing with nothing much to do. The new apartment is still fairly clean, now that most the empty boxes have been sent to recycling, so there's no real bad feeling about about just lounging thinking I have so much to do. Though, now that my phone just alerted me of the frost advisory (it's freakin May already!!! seriously!) I'm wishing I was back in the tropics, the sunsets are much nicer.