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We camped at Tim’s Ford last night, maybe a mile off the TAT. Our site had a trail that led to the lake for a nice cool swim after a day of riding. The forest was a welcome relief after a dreary motel the night before. We built a fire and grilled some steaks.

Up early we found ourselves close to the Jack Daniels Distillery. A detour to the whiskyland seemed like a good way to spend the morning. We pulled into a lot full of Harleys and giant cruisers and delighted at how out of place our light and sleek dirt bikes looked.

Our guide was a good old boy with tight jeans, cowboy boots and a frayed and bowed baseball cap. He explained that this wouldn’t be a sterilized “tour” through displays rather he would take us right into the operations to see, smell, taste and experience whisky making first hand. We started at the ricks of Tennessee maple stacked high, soaked in unfiltered moonshine and torched. The bonfire makes the coals that filter the whisky. We saw the little spring that provides the water. The composition of that water is crucial to good whisky. We learned you need to make beer to make whisky and smelled the mash. At the end we were thirsting for a tumbler but it wasn’t to be. Oddly Lynchburg is in a dry county and you can’t buy it or even taste it at the distillery. That night we bought our first bottle of whisky which started an appreciation that will undoubtedly one day lead us to the gutter.

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