Bullrun 2009 – Staunton, VA to Nashville, TN – Lunch at Maker’s Mark Distillery (Kentucky)
This time is right about the time that you can’t believe you’ve been on the Bullrun for two full days. It feels like you’ve been doing it for five or six . One’s concept of time is completely gone at this point. The Bullrun schedule has been very precise and remembering what city you left from in the AM starts to get hard on Monday and Tuesday. Bullrun organizers give you a book to put your destination postcards in and it’s not uncommon to have to refer to it to remember the sequence of events that is your crazy schedule.Staunton, VA was and always will be a great Bullrun stop.
This year was a lot of fun. Seeing some some of the pictures that Staunton produced were among the best I’ve ever seen on Bullrun. So much craziness happened after 3AM and I am looking into obtaining some pics that made me laugh so hard (More to come – check back).
We launched from in front of the Stonewall Jackson Hotel at 8AM and our direction was to head to Loretto, KY to the Maker’s Mark Disterllery for lunch. The Staunton Police department was great enough to block off all streets and give us a police escort all the way to the interstate.
Approximately 15 miles south of Staunton, the Virgina Highway Patrol picked up the escort to get us West Virginia as fast as possible. The escort was quick, but Dave Pearsall – driving a modified Maserati Gran Turismo thought it would be OK to pass the escorting car, but apparently it was not OK. Dave and his black Maserati made it to Nashville much later than the main pack.
My Co-driver and I, Neal Goldenberg, are driving a Mercedes-Benz SL500 and when travelled for a stretch with a all Mercedes-Benz – Ferrari pack. I think Gottleib Daimler, Karl Benz and Enzo Ferrari would have been proud. I guess you can throw in Bruce McLaren as well.
When the Virginia troppers moved aside and sent us into West Virginia, Team Wu in the decommissioned California Highway Patrol car – renamed Swin Flu Patrol – with logos and everything, picked up the escort and upped the pace a pit. Team Wu filled in for the Thompson’s who usually run the Bullrun Safety Car in every rally by running at the front with their yellow safety lights. Team Wu did an amazing job as we made excellent time heading towards Kentucky.
Wu’s car causes a lot of hilarious confusion. Wu flew up on Kevin and Christine’s Ferrari and put a really nice scare into them as his car flew past them as Bill, Cindi and Allen laughed.
We got into Kentucky around 2PM and we had to travel through Lexington, KY to our destination. As we got closer to Loretto the roads got more rural and tighter. When we got within 2 miles of Maker’s Mark the roads got so small we thought we had gotten lost and would need to double back 20 miles to course correct.
We continued on despite a strong level of nervousness and saw a yellow Bullrun sign that directed us where we needed to go. We finally saw the checkpoint over a bridge that we thought couldn’t possible support a car. It obviously did but it was back country.
It may seem weird to send a car rally to a place where they make fine whiskey, but Maker’s Mark is a premuim high-end brand and its great to see the source and heritage of the brand that helps distinguish themselves from others. It also doesn’t seem weird when you think NASCAR’s was born in the back country with guys like Junior Johnson running moonshine from town to town and needing enough horsepower under the hood to outrun the law.
The Bullrunners took the tour at a much slower pace than when we toured the Anheuser Busch brewery in St. Louis and all Bullrunners needed to do was take a tour to receive a route card to Kansas City. Bullrunners we paying the tour guides hundreds of dollars to do the hour long tour in under 10 minutes.
Everyone made it back up the hill for the 10 minutes to go. We all loaded up and and was handed a route card for Nashville, TN and the Historic Union Station Hotel. I was happy to drive this leg and we received our route card we sotted in behind Zack and Josh Kerr in the McLaren SLR Roaster. After we realized that we had 40 miles of counry roads ahead of us before we reached a major highway I started guessing how long it would take me to not see theSLR anymore which I thought would be under 5 minutes. I’m happy to report I did over 6 minutes behind Zack and Josh which I think is a bit of achievement when you realize how much horsepower the thing has for a car that is overwhelmingly carbon fiber.
Zack Kerr describes the SLR with a certain bit of pride when he expresses the type of effort one needs to pilot an incredibly powerful car that handles incredibly and has a braking system that offers atremedous amount of confidence at speed. “Zack explained that there’s and aggressiveness to the car that is scary and incredibly impressive in the same breath.
So far on the 2009 Bullrun, Hotels are amazing. We go to all kinds of hotels, but never have we been to one that was converted from a classic 20th Century train station.
Most Bullrunners arrived early enough to rest up before a dinner at the world famous BBQ joint, Jack’s and a kickin’ party at “The Stage” on Broadway and various after parties thoughout the city which included the Flying Saucer Pub next to our hotel.
But before the night was through, a Bullrunner who was fed up with Claus’s winning ways, decided to ‘Caution Tape” his 997. The girls love the CEC Wheels Porsche 997 and could be found climbing over it some of the times.