By: Kristi Emmons
In part one of Ride to the Races: VIR, I was inspired to hop on my motorbike and take the journey from Chicago to Virginia for some MotoAmerica race action. After some setbacks, albeit a day late, I was finally on the road, on what would be a full day and a half ride. After stopping for lunch to visit dear moto friend, B.T., I was off again for the long stretch, all the way to Lexington Kentucky, where I would stay for the night.
After B.T. showing me the road that would get me to Kentucky, he waved me off, and I was on the road on my own, once again. The rest of the stretch through Indiana would be much like it was when I entered the state: a large, well-kept, multi-lane interstate, which quite frankly, was a wee-bit boring.
The bonus to Indiana, however, was that all of the gas stations I stopped at along the way in Indiana had PPE, like gloves and hand sanitizer. This was the first week that mask requirements were dropped in many places, including with MotoAmerica. Knowing me, however, I’m leery about germs and grime since pre-pandemic.
Having been to visit the hometown of motorcycle legends; the Hayden family, I was left with a good impression of the state of Kentucky. I purposely took one of multiple routes to Kentucky, that would pass me through Louisville, in particular. However, once on the road, I was quickly beginning to learn my touring style: as much as I enjoyed seeing the sites while on the moto, I wasn’t much of one to stop at points of interest. I was gung-ho on getting to my destination, especially with my setback from having to make some motorcycle repairs before starting the trip.
As much as I wanted to stop and see Louisville, I crossed over the bridge into Kentucky from Indiana and kept going. By this time, the sun was starting to fade. One exciting thing I noticed though, was that I was on the Bourbon Trail! This was a stretch of highway between Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky which had many famous bourbon distilleries along the way; I was officially in Bourbon Country.
As the sun finally set over the horizon, temperatures cooled, and by this time, I was showering in insects! You think it’s hard to see in the rain? Try having a visor covered in bugs!
The cool thing about my trip though, is that much of it was on the fly. As I was making pit stops along the way, it wasn’t until then that I was solidifying my route and stops more and more. I tried pushing as far as I could get, before turning in for the night.
I finally settled on a hotel just outside of Lexington. This hotel would be at the absolute perfect crossroads, as I would be getting off of a somewhat uninteresting interstate as far as riding goes, and making my way into the twisty roads of the Appalachian mountains.
By the time I checked into the hotel, it was around 10:30. Far from fancy, the hotel being an economy option, I was just ready for my head to hit the pillow after a day of riding. I’d say the biggest challenge of the riding was all of the luggage that I was toting. Between that and my track boots pinching my toes, these things had worn me out quickly, and I needed frequent stops for gas, hydrating, and stretching my legs.
I placed my bug covered gear down in the hotel room, and got ready for bed. Being a brand that is very useful for motorcycles, I had a bottle of Seafoam Bugs-B-Gone, that worked perfectly to clean my helmet the next morning.