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Posts from the ‘Kentucky’ category

VROC Reunion Rally 2015: Getting There – Central City KY to Dyersburg TN

Today is Day 4 of our 13-day vacation.  We are traveling to Eureka Springs, AR to attend the annual Vulcan Riders and Owners Club (VROC) Reunion rally.  Yesterday, we met up with six VROC friends.  We are riding, as a group, to the rally.

We awakened at 5:15 am, after a good night’s sleep. The eight of us had discussed meeting for breakfast at 8:00 am at the Huddle House located next to the Best Western Plus Venture Inn, our hotel accommodation for the night. That didn’t happen. Everyone ate breakfast at the hotel, which made sense as breakfast was included in our room rate.

We left Central City, KY en route Dyersburg, TN at 9:00 am, after fueling up at a Shell gas station located near the hotel.

En route Shell gas station, at 8:36 am

While at the Shell gas station, Jim A. and Jim T. consulted a map of today’s planned ride.

I think Katie looks a little bit concerned that Jim A. is helping plan today’s route.
Jim A.’s VROC nickname is “Wrong Turn” 🙂

At 10:19 am, during a rest stop, Jim A. and Jim T. took another look at the map.
Bradley, Tim and Bob look on.

About an hour later, Jim T. made a wrong turn.
The rest of us did not follow him.
We waited a few minutes for Jim T. to catch up with us.

I smile when I think of the few times today that Jim T. raised his hand in the air, making a circle with his finger.  One such U-turn was made on a 4-lane highway!

A highlight of today’s trip was when we drove through the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.  Located in western Tennessee and Kentucky, the Land Between the Lakes is the largest inland peninsula in the U.S.A. Originally created when the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers were impounded (creating Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley),the Land Between the Lakes features over 170,000 acres of forested and protected public land, and over 300 miles of undeveloped shoreline. We stopped at the Golden Pond Visitor Center.  While Jim T.. Bradley, Tim and Dee and Jim A. and Katie watched a 35-minute show in the Golden Pond Planetarium, Bob and I went for a drive through the Elk & Bison Prairie. We saw several bison and some turkeys. There are elk on the prairie as well, but we didn’t see any. We drove the prairie loop two times. On our second trip, bison were on the road. Bob had to slowly weave the car through the herd.








We made two more scenic stops en route Dyersburg, TN.  From the Golden Pond Visitor Center we drove to Fort Donelson National Battlefield, stopping at the remains of the Great Western Furnace.

Great Western Furnace


Interpretive Signs Regarding the Great Western Furnace


Preparing to leave the Great Western Furnace

We began our tour of Fort Donelson National Battlefield at the visitor center, where we watched the orientation film Fort Donelson: Gateway to the Confederate Heartland.  The film centers around a story line that draws on the lifelong friendship between Union General Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate General Simon B. Buckner.  The film was informative, as well as engaging.  From the visitor center we took a short ride through the battlefield to Fort Donelson.

Bradley at Fort Donelson
He is looking out at Lake Barkley (the historic Cumberland River).

This is what Bradley was looking at.

This is Jim T. and his son, Bradley.
Jim and Bradley have a wonderful father-son relationship.
This will be Bradley’s first trip to the Eureka Springs Reunion Rally, as it is our first.

Be sure to continue to read my blog posts about our Eureka Springs vacation.  Bradley will be the recipient of a BIG surprise, while at the Reunion Rally.

We drove 286 miles today. To the best of my recollection this is the route that we followed today:

We arrived at the Hampton Inn Dyersburg at 6:45 pm. We checked in and went to dinner at Applebee’s, located near the hotel. We had a party of 15 for dinner. We met up with Jason and his girlfriend Traci, Toby, Bill and Carolyn and Butch and Theresa. We now have riders from Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Kentucky.  All 15 of us (8 motorcycles, one car and one truck) will be riding together to the VROC Reunion Rally in Eureka Springs tomorrow.

VROC Reunion Rally 2015: Getting There – Greenfield IN to Central City KY

Today is Day 3 of our 13-day vacation.  We are traveling to Eureka Springs, AR to attend the annual Vulcan Riders and Owners Club (VROC) Reunion rally.

Bob awakened at 4:30 this morning, which is normal for him as this is the time he awakens in the morning to get ready for work. I stayed in bed until 5:45 am. I was showered and dressed by 6:30 am. We ate breakfast at 7:00 am. We each had a cheese omelet, one waffle and a Danish pastry. In addition I had an orange juice and a banana. Bob drank coffee, and I drank hot tea.

It was a chilly morning. It was only 46 degrees in Greenfield IN at 7:30 this morning. I checked the weather in Central City, KY – what will be today’s final destination. The high temperature will be in the low 70s. Bob said he is happy that he has chaps to wear, while riding.

We met up with some VROC friends at the Speedway gas station at Exit 96 on I-70 (one exit west of Greenfield IN) for a 3-day group ride to Eureka Springs, AR .

Bob, Jim T., Bradley T., and Tim and Dee W. at Speedway gas station

We departed the Speedway gas station at 9:45 am, en route Central City, KY via New Salisbury, IN.  We would pick up two more riders in New Salisbury, IN.

En route New Salisbury, IN
There are 4 motorcycles and 5 riders.

We made one fuel stop on the way to New Salisbury, IN.

Fuel stop in Brownstown, IN

We arrived at Jim and Katie A.’s house around 12:45 pm.

Jim and Katie’s house

We were back on the road about 30 minutes later, with Jim and Katie riding with us.  Not quite 3 weeks ago, Jim had a heart attack.  It was wonderful that Jim and Katie could ride with us!

Back on the road again
There are now 5 motorcycles and 7 riders.

We crossed over the Ohio River from Indiana to Kentucky around 1:45 pm.


We stopped for lunch at Subway in Brandenburg, KY.

Brandenburg, KY
Lunch stop at Subway

Before leaving Brandenburg, we made a fuel stop at a gas station near Subway.

We made a rest stop at the Dollar General in Fordsville, KY.

Bradley made good use of the rest stop!

From Fordsville we rode to Central City, KY, arriving there around 5:00 pm Central time.

Today’s route is displayed in the map shown below.

We drove 263 miles today.

We checked into the Best Western Plus Venture Inn.  We have a two queen room. It is spacious and nicely furnished. The bathroom is larger than the ones we have had the past two nights.

We ate dinner at El Bracero, a Mexican restaurant located next door to the hotel.  Bob and I ordered taco salads, with beef.

The taco salad was uniquely shaped,
like an over-sized taco.

Dinner was delicious!


Kentucky Vacation – Day 9 of 10

On the 9th day of our vacation — Sunday, June 14th — we began our ride back home. We left Richmond at 8:00AM.

Our first fuel stop was at a Sunoco station in Dry Ridge, KY. Dry Ridge was only 73 miles from our hotel; however, Bob already had some miles on the motorcycle and didn’t fill up before we left Richmond. Bob decided to top off the oil too.

As we got back on Route 75, I was talking with Bob asking if he wanted to stay on the Interstate or change direction to slower roads. We decided to pull off at the next exit (Crittenden, KY) to see what the GPS would give us for alternate routes. As Bob is coming up the exit, he hears a ticking noise. Bob is not sure if the noise is coming from a lawn mower working the yard at a Marathon Station or from the motorcycle. Bob revved the engine a little and decides the ticking noise is coming from the motorcycle. He looks down and notices oil blowing out the fill hole! Bob expected the oil light to be lit, but it wasn’t. Bob coasted the motorcycle into the Marathon parking lot.

I am happy that we had the car. I stayed with the motorcycle while Bob drove the car back to Dry Ridge to see if he possibly left the oil cap on the ground. The cap wasn’t there. He looked all over the lot and even asked inside if anybody had turned one in. Bob believes the oil cap must have been in there part of the way since it was a 7-mile stretch from Dry Ridge to Crittenden. He thinks he would have run out of oil in less than that distance. Bob doesn’t know whether he got distracted while putting the cap back on or what. It’s a good thing that we decided to pull off so Bob had a chance to hear that ticking noise.

Using a telephone book at the Marathon Station, we located a Kawasaki dealer. Bob telephoned the dealer; they don’t open until 9:00AM Monday. We obtained permission to park the motorcycle at the Marathon Station, possibly overnight. We drove back to Dry Ridge and looked one more time to see if Bob had possibly left the oil cap on the ground. We then drove back up to Crittenden. Bob watched alongside the road hoping that he would beat the odds and find the oil cap lying on the ground. No such luck. We drove back to Dry Ridge and booked a hotel (Hampton Inn) for the night. Did you notice how many miles we drove back and forth between Dry Ridge and Crittenden? We drove 35 miles back and forth!

We ate lunch at Cracker Barrel and were able to check into our hotel room at 1:00PM. Bob posted a message about losing the oil cap on the VROC website. He received many replies, a few with suggestions on how to plug the fill hole. One suggestion was to buy a compression freeze plug, the kind with a bolt and washer to squeeze it to expand to seal the hole, at a hardware store or AutoZone.

At 3:30PM we started our search for a compression plug. We stopped first at Wal-Mart, which was located less than a mile from the hotel. No luck. Then we drove to Lowe’s, about 25 miles north of the hotel. Bob found a compression plug and was convinced that the plug would be a good temporary fix for the missing oil cap. We were less than a mile from the Kawasaki dealer, so we drove by the shop. It looks like a small shop, so we wonder whether or not we’ll be able to purchase a replacement oil cap there on Monday. We drove to the Marathon Station in Crittenden (another 25 miles), where we had left the motorcycle. The Lowe’s plug was too big.

We used the GPS to find a nearby AutoZone .. not so nearby, 25 miles from Crittenden. While driving to Autozone we got caught in a nasty rainstorm. An alarm went off in my car right after I had driven through a deep puddle. The alarm sounded like car doors were ajar, but much louder. I never did find out what cause the alarm to sound. None of my alarm lights were on; the car was running normally. Whatever that alarm was it certainly scared me! We arrived at AutoZone, and Bob purchased two different sizes of the compression plug. We drove back to the Marathon Station in Crittenden (another 25 miles). The GPS took us from Crittenden to AutoZone a different route than it did from AutoZone to Crittenden. We much preferred the route on the way back to Crittenden. The GPS routed us on back roads, rather than highway, on the way back to Crittenden. One of the compression plugs worked!

Bob had to hit the compression plug lightly with a hammer to ensure a snug fit!

Bob rode the motorcycle and I drove the car back to the hotel. Four hours had passed since we began our search for a compression plug, and we added at least another 100 miles on the trip odometer.

While riding back to the hotel, Bob notices that he has little or no back brakes. The back brakes are contaminated with the oil. The plan is to call the Kawasaki dealer at 9:00 Monday morning to see if they have an oil cap AND back brake pads in stock.

Kentucky Vacation – Day 8 of 10

The 8th day of our vacation was on Saturday, June 13th.

I had retired to my room after Friday night’s dinner and raffle. I spent Friday evening watching TV, surfing the Internet, catching up on emails and getting some much needed sleep. Bob, on the other hand, spent the evening mingling with fellow VROCers in the hotel parking lot. I awakened on Saturday at 2:00AM; Bob was still out in the parking lot, chewing the fat. I awakened again around 4:30AM; Bob still had not come in. I was still awake when Bob came in at 5:00AM. We went to bed shortly thereafter. We awakened at 10:15AM. We took showers, got dressed and went to breakfast at Cracker Barrel. We lazed around the hotel rest of the day, with the exception of walking over to Hooter’s for dinner.

Saturday was the last night of the Vulcan Riders and Owners Club (VROC) Wolfman’s Wandering Rally (WWR). We spent the last night of the rally hanging out in the hotel parking lot, visiting with fellow VROCers and telling our old and new friends goodbye. “UteMike” expressed the sentiments of Bob, myself and I’d wager everyone who attended WWR3 when he posted on the VROC web forum “Even bikers get the blues when they have to say goodbye for now to the friends old and new met this weekend“.

“Here to Kingdom Come” was the third WWR. The other two rallies were held in Grand Lake, Colorado (July 26-29, 2007) and Charleston, Oregon (July 17-20, 2008). We hope to attend the next WWR. I wonder where the next WWR will be held and when?

Kentucky Vacation – Day 7 of 10 (Part II)

As I wrote in my previous blog post, on Friday, June 12th, we traveled by motorcycle to Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, Kentucky. Maker’s Mark Distillery is one of eight distilleries featured on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

We arrived at Maker’s Mark Distillery in time for the 12:30PM distillery tour. Our tour began in the visitor’s center. Our tour guide, Aggie, told us briefly the Samuels family story, concentrating on the recent generations of Bill Samuels Sr., who created Maker’s Mark.

Visitor’s Center

Aggie, telling the Samuels family story


Aggie then led us outside, alongside a stonewalled creek that runs throughout the peaceful, landscaped grounds, to one of the buildings where we heard a brief history of the distillery.

Aggie talking about history of the distillery

After presenting a brief history of the distillery, Aggie led us to the distillery house where she explained how Maker’s Mark bourbon is made. From the distillery house we went to the bottling house. The bottling line was in operation. We watched as empty bottles of Maker’s Mark were filled with bourbon and labels were applied to the filled bottles.

From the bottling house we went to one of the rick houses where the whisky is stored in charred oak barrels for aging. Barrels reach maturity only after completing a rotation system in which the newest barrels are placed on the warehouse’s hot upper floors and are rotated to the cooler lower levels after about three years.

Barrels of whisky aging

Our last stop was at the gift shop, where we could sample a little of the product. We sampled both one-day old and aged bourbon. The one-day old bourbon burned my throat; the aged bourbon went down smoothly.

We purchased a souvenir 375 ml bottle of Maker’s Mark;
Bob dipped the bottle in the signature red wax.

Maker’s Mark Whisky

The distillery tour, which lasted about 45 minutes, was great. I enjoyed the tour even though I do not drink. The tour was both fun and informative.

In the evening we enjoyed a catered Kentucky Barbecue dinner at our hotel. The dinner was for Vulcan Riders and Owners Club (VROC) members who were attending the Wandering Wolfman’s Rally (WWR3). Bob had a pulled-pork sandwich and 1/4 chicken with baked beans and potato salad. I had 1/2 rack ribs with potato salad and cole slaw. The portions were large, and the food was excellent.


A raffle was held after dinner. We purchased $20 worth of raffle tickets. Bob put his name on half of the tickets; he put my name on the remaining tickets. My name was called four times! I won four prizes — a buff, a liquor flask, a Kawasaki watch and four Kawasaki shock covers. Bob didn’t win anything. A web cam provided live coverage throughout WWR3. Bob telephoned his brother John to let him know about the live web cam. While Bob was talking with Dorothy (John’s wife), she saw me go up to pick up one of my prizes. In addition to prizes, most of which were donated by Riders of Kawasaki (ROK), this was a 50/50 raffle with the proceeds going to the Maxwell Dickerson Benefit Fund.


Max, who is 8 years old, needs a multi organ transplant.  The winner of the 50/50 raffle donated her winnings ($1,200) to Max.

Kentucky Vacation – Day 7 of 10 (Part I)

As I write this post, we are home from our Kentucky vacation. We returned home today, in the mid-afternoon. We arrived home a day later than expected (the reason why is the material for another post :-)). I am SO FAR BEHIND in blogging about our Kentucky vacation. In the interest of uploading a post sooner rather than later, I decided to divide details of day 7 of our 10-day vacation into two blog posts.

On Friday, June 12th, Bob and I traveled by motorcycle west of Richmond to Loretto, Kentucky. According to the route that we mapped out at Google maps, Loretto was approximately 76 miles from our hotel. We traveled on winding country roads past inviting historic towns, hay fields, fields of corn and other crops, well-maintained horse farms, goats grazing in open pastures, and lots and lots and lots of cows … brown cows, white cows, black cows, brown and white cows, black and white cows. We stopped briefly in a few of those inviting towns while en route Loretto.

The first city in which we stopped was Lancaster, Kentucky. According to the KyHomeTown website, the city’s name “is said to be derived from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, from which many of the founders originally hailed”. Lancaster is the county seat of Gerrard County.

Gerrard County Courthouse in Lancaster, Kentucky

Our next stop was in the city of Danville, Kentucky. Danville is the county seat of Boyle County.

Boyle County Courthouse in Danville, Kentucky

According to Wikipedia, Danville is called the “City of Firsts”. The first courthouse in Kentucky was housed in Danville. Danville had the first U.S. post office west of the Allegheny Mountains. It hosted the first state-supported school for the deaf. In Danville, Ephraim McDowell became the first physician in the world to successfully remove an ovarian tumor. Danville is home to the oldest college administration building and campus west of the Allegheny Mountains. What caught my eye as we rode through Danville was this statue of two figures standing in a circle.

This statue is in Governor’s Square. Bronze plaques honoring every governor of Kentucky surround the statue.  An image similar to the bronze statue of the two figures is depicted on the flag of Kentucky, as shown below.

Kentucky flag obtained here 

Governor’s Square is part of Constitution Square State Historic Site, which is a 3-acre park that houses the courthouse that was the site of ten conventions that eventually produced the Constitution of Kentucky. There are several other buildings of interest as well.

This was the first post office west of the Alleghenies.
(exterior and interior views)

Replica of the original Meeting House
(exterior and interior views)

The Meeting House housed the first Presbyterians in Kentucky.

The Jail
(exterior and interior views)

The Courthouse housed the Supreme Court of Kentucky. The Constitution Conventions that led to Kentucky’s statehood were held in the Courthouse. (exterior and interior views)

Our last stop before arriving in Loretto was in Lebanon, Kentucky. The city of Lebanon is the county seat of Marion County. According to Wikipedia, the city was named for the Biblical Lebanon because of the abundant cedar trees.

Marion County Courthouse in Lebanon, Kentucky

Bob in downtown Lebanon, Kentucky

We left our hotel around 9:30AM. Approximately 3 hours later we finally arrive at our destination — Loretto, Kentucky. What, you might ask, was the purpose of our ride to Loretto. Maker’s Mark Distillery is located in Loretto. The purpose of riding to Maker’s Mark Distillery was to go on a tour of the distillery. I will write about our distillery tour in my next blog post.

Kentucky Vacation – Day 6 of 10

Thursday, June 11th, was the official start day of the “Here to Kingdom Come” rally.  Rally attendees have continued to roll in, a few (to several) at a time. The parking lot is full of motorcycles; the hotel bursting at its seams with motorcyclists.

There is a trail in Kentucky called the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, which features eight distilleries. The distilleries are: Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Heaven Hill, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Tom Moore, Wild Turkey and Woodford Reserve. On Thursday, June 11th, Bob and other Wolfman’s Wandering Rally (WWR3) attendees rode to Versailles, Kentucky, where they went on a tour of the Woodford Reserve Distillery. According to Google Maps, the distillery was located 53.5 miles from our hotel. Bob left the hotel around 10:30AM and returned at 3:00PM.

Bob on motorcycle


Leaving Best Western Holiday Plaza in Richmond, Kentucky enroute Versailles, Kentucky


I did not go on the distillery tour because it looked like there was a good chance I’d get wet while on the ride. Bob said it didn’t rain while they were riding to the distillery. It did rain, hard, on their way back to the hotel. Bob enjoyed the distillery tour. The guided tour, which cost $5.00, explained everything from the history of bourbon to the maturation and bottling process. The tour started out at the main facility where the tour participants sampled bourbon balls and a little product. Then they hopped a bus and drove around the farm seeing everything else e.g., the big drums of mash and the barrels.

While Bob was on the distillery tour, I went shopping at Wal-Mart. I purchased two camping chairs. We stood for hours the previous night while chatting with fellow VROC’ers. The camping chairs will provide for a more pleasant chatting experience.  I wandered about the hotel grounds, too, snapping pictures of rally attendees.

Bob and I ate dinner at a Mexican fast food restaurant called Qdoba Mexican Grill. Bob ordered a burrito; I ordered a taco salad. We shared a basket of tortilla chips and salsa. It was our first time at a Qdoba. For a fast food joint the Mexican grub there wasn’t bad.

After dinner we visited the Eastern Kentucky University campus, which was located only a short distance from our hotel. The purpose of our visit was to find the Daniel Boone statue; we succeeded.

Do you see how shiny Boone’s left toe is? It is traditional for students, on the way to an exam, to rub Boone’s left toe for good luck.

As we did the previous evening, we hung out in the parking lot with other VROC’ers.



Love the purple camo!


Our new camp chairs did provide for a more pleasant chatting experience.

Please click on thumbnail to enlarge.
It was a late night; we didn’t make it to bed until after midnight.
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