Friday, July 25, 2014

Countryside Topless Rides (Alvaton, KY)

An ode to Alvaton, Jeeps, and GoPro selfies.

Sad to say the four-year-old had never ridden in the Jeep with the top off. Why? Because the last time I took it off we barely got it back on in one piece. The Rampage frameless top was neat, but it hasn't held up very well. It, too, is four years old and disintegrating, so when the new Bestop replacement showed up it was supposed to be off with the old, on with the new. However, a crucial piece of the new roof was broken and there would be a five day wait.

No worries! The weather was great and there's worse ways to spend a summer week than being topless in Kentucky. So here's five days of playing on our favorite roads and visiting our favorite spots in Alvaton.


Off to drop Bubby at football practice.
Little Man didn't know what to think at first.

He giggled at low speeds.

Did not like highway speeds.

Nothing some sunglasses and a country road can't fix!
Something will have to be done about those particular glasses, but they do the job.

High Five, nobody!

A bunch more high fives to more nobodies.

We did a little off-roading for no particular reason.

Digging the bumpity bump bump.

Quick trip to the campsite for no particular reason.

The Alvaton Store & Garage.

Cajun Turkey w/ Pepper Jack.

I don't really remember the days when this little country store was a proper grocery stop, but they say it was for many years back before the newer four-lane version of Scottsville Rd (231). I've mostly known it as a place to get mowers and boats worked on, but over the past couple years it's turned in to a nice little lunch spot. Like any good country store, there's a crew of regulars that occupy a couple tables on good summer work days. The deli counter is often lined with fresh tomatoes from a nearby garden and you can grab a drink, a candy bar, or fishing tackle while having a fine sandwich made. They sell ice, too, which is nice.


Headed to the creek.

We fixed Little Man's unfortunate sunglasses situation by trading a seahorse motif for Spiderman.
That seahorse business can go back to Momma's minivan.

Duncan Rd.

Drakes Creek.

The Middle Fork of Drakes Creek intersects Duncan Rd between 240 and 622. Known as The Triangle to many, this is a popular little swimming spot. Just downstream and around a bend on the right there used to be a great rope swing that was popular during our school days (I have no idea if it's still down there). Quite a bit farther downstream you'll join the popular Drakes Creek kayak route that begins at Romanza Johnson on Trammel Creek.


Little Man fell in a hole and scared himself pretty good, but didn't want to show it.

The Triangle.

You'll rarely have this place to yourself and the other side did indeed have some campers. When the water is low it's easy to cross the creek here and head up toward the Drake Country Store. But since it seems to be closed again we're going to Boyce. Of course.

FLASHBACK: Crossing the creek on another day, on the way back from the Drake Country Store.

Ciao, Triangle.

Hello, Boyce General Store.
Little Man loves his bubby.
Sometimes that makes it hard for Bubby to eat.

The very first Better Boyce Burger.

Special day. It was an honor to be the first customer to try the new Boyce Burger. Thanks, Brad & Brie!

Gone are the familiar 1/3-pound and 1/2-pound frozen patties that used to distinguish the regular burger from the Boyce burger. Now all Boyce Burgers are 1/3-pound handmade patties using fresh (never frozen) beef from Downing Cattle Co. just up the road in Fountain Run, KY. Perhaps the best improvement to the store so far, I'll call it the Better Boyce Burger.

The first Better Boyce Burger.
Double Bacon Better Boyce Cheeseburger, in fact.

A single Better Boyce Burger is plenty.
I don't know why I did this, but it was awesome!

Ciao, Boyce.
Thanks, again!

Headin' home.

On Tuesdays we go to the farm to pick up our CSA basket. The ride to the farm is fun because there are some hills between here and there that we can jump. I'm not gonna say we actually jump them very often, but they're plenty of fun for 4-year-olds and 40-year-olds alike when just doing the speed limit.

We stayed on the ground.
I promise.

Headin' home, again.
This time with farm food...


First topless morning ride to the babysitter's house.

The animals next door sometimes make the babysitter's house seem like a petting zoo.

After a boring day of actually working, I grabbed Little Man and we met Momma at Split Tree Barbecue right down the road from home. Love this place!

Split Tree Barbecue.
I know there's a funny caption here but I got nothing.

Perhaps I'm biased, but this is what a BBQ joint should look and smell like.

Where's Momma? Where's Momma?

There's Momma!

Chopped Sandwich, Ribs, and Beans from Split Tree.


Speaking of BBQ, a surprise morning call came in from a true BBQ expert this morning. Dr. Wes Berry wrote one of my favorite books -- the KY BBQ book -- and he was on the way over to pick up some extra kayaking supplies. The supplies weren't at my house, but they did provide a good reason to do some more completely unnecessary off-roading through the woods.

Dr. Wes Berry.

It was almost lunch time and Momma wanted to go back to Boyce. Unfortunately Wes didn't have time to join us, but we'll get him out to Boyce one of these days. I'm sure of it...

Time for a topless lunch date!

Best pic on the whole page.
I told her to wear a hat!

Better Boyce Burger Beef.

Brad & Brie have made a lot of changes to the menu at Boyce this week. In addition to the Better Boyce Burger, they are now hand dipping corndogs and using fresh cut potatoes for fries. Love it -- they must be freeing up some freezer space by using fresher food.

Lunch date at Boyce.

Burger (single this time), hand-dipped corn dog, and fresh cut fries.

Map Dot swag sits near the register.
I think there's a Map Dot lunch special that comes with a hat or something.

Headin home.
With a Map Dot hat...

We stayed home for the evening, but that didn't stop Little Man from playing in the Jeep while Bubby was still at football practice. We learned how to work the radio. We learned to appreciate Lithium and the Big Lebowski soundtrack, and not so quietly. Sorry, neighbors.


The week is winding down, but the fun isn't over yet. These days, if a friend gets a new motorcycle and doesn't bring it over to show Luke, then we have a problem. He knows all my biker friends and their bikes, except one. This one did come to visit him earlier in the week, but he was napping. So we'll go visit the bike...

Love this driveway.

My Old Kentucky Home.
The first house I lived in after moving back to The Commonwealth.

The obligatory Corvette or motorcycle picture that has nothing to do with nothing.
Actually, it is relevant this time, since that's what we came to see.

Little Man approved of Lane's BMW F650GS (also seen on this BBQ ride), but he wanted to see it in action. Off road. So, to the campsite it is...

BMW & Jeep at the campsite.
No reason. Just Little Man.

Don't freak out, car seat police.
Golf cart speeds.
Also, he can't work that radio from the back.

For the last trip of the week, we headed out to Reid's Livery & Winery. We've known Rex & Diane for a few years after meeting them at the Community Farmers Market, and it's not unusual to run into them around lunch time at Boyce. Sometimes they're in a truck and sometimes they're on horses.

They board horses, give riding lessons, and make wine in this little corner of Alvaton. They make good wine. Rex seems to win more medals and awards every year. You can buy it at the farmers market or at local liquor stores, but it's better to take a nice country drive to the farm where you can experience a wine tasting and see how it's made. Thanks to a recent change in the local law, they are now open on Sundays, too.

Today we were hoping to get Little Man on a horse and get a bottle of wine.

Sad Rob.
Momma wouldn't let us take the Jeep.
Seatbelt malfunction.

Follow the sign.

If you don't see anybody outside (rare), you can honk.

FLASHBACK: Reid's hosting the Community Farmers Market Third Thursdays night a couple years ago.


FLASHBACK: Carriage ride.

FLASHBACK: I don't know much about horses, but she's pretty.

FLASHBACK: Little Man riding a horse here for the first time.

FLASHBACK: Garage Pot Roast prep.

Today we happened to find Rex picking some elberberries, which was perfect timing since his Healthy Harvest elderberry wine is my favorite for cooking and I didn't even know what an elderberry was. I mostly use it for slow cooker recipes, such as in the Garage Pot Roast recipe above, and also for braising stuff.

Rex Reid.

Now I know.

The tasting room.
I took home a 2013 Healthy Harvest.
Not sure what this nice young couple from Texas left with, but welcome to Kentucky!


We didn't get to ride a horse today, but we did have a nice visit. Diane introduced the boys to some turkeys, bunnies, and horses. It was a fine way to end this week of exploring Alvaton. Stop by sometime!



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