Thursday, April 18, 2013

Southern Sojourn

It's been a rough week in the news.  All I can do is focus on not taking my loved ones for granted.

It's weird to fly north to visit the South, but I did.  First to Kentucky to visit my college roommate Summer in Lexington. I had no idea what to expect when I arrived, but Lexington is a great town.  The first night out we parked across from the house where Thomas Hunt Morgan - famous fruit fly geneticist - was born.  It was meant to be.

Kentucky is known for bourbon and thoroughbred horses, so Summer and I set out to experience both.  We started with a tour of the Four Roses distillery.

All of the bourbon Four Roses makes comes from these four story vats.  The water in the bourbon comes from a local stream that also cools everything.

In the summertime, there isn't enough water and what is there doesn't stay cool, so they shut down.  The whole place smells like yeast and bourbon so we were ready for the samples at the end.  We couldn't stay for long, though, because it was time to see the horses!

The famous horse races generally involve two to four year olds and those that do well spend the rest of their lives being flown all over the world for breeding.  (Evidently thoroughbreds must be conceived the old-fashion way.)  When they are done breeding, the lucky ones end up at the Old Friends Farm outside of Lexington.

We went on a tour and I took about 200 photos of horses and learned all sorts of new fun facts.  For example, did you know that the reason the best horses come from Kentucky is the calcium carbonate in the water that makes their bones strong but light.  So they say anyway. Also, horses are identified by mouth tattoos.

The farm's owner is a former movie critic who took this on as his second career and keeps as his pet this miniature horse who likes to sit on the couch and watch horses race on TV.  His name is Little Silver Charm and you can be his friend on Facebook.

After two days with Summer, I drove through the Cumberland Mountains while listening to bluegrass on the radio and enjoying the gorgeous day. I soon arrived in Knoxville for the AAPA meeting and a chance to catch up with some of my favorite people!

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