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Lexington

Canada’s capital city has this ongoing joke that Spring doesn’t actually exist: it’s an elaborate prank that Mother Nature pulls on us.

Every March, the weather creeps towards the positives and, for one glorious day, we’ll have a day where we can go outside in a sweater or light jacket – a day that doesn’t demand 15 layers of long johns, thermal long-sleeves and every pair of socks you own. Then it all comes crashing down into the negative-twenties and, once again, we hide out in our homes.

I could tell that Vroom Vroom wasn’t pleased with all the salt, sleet and resurfacing ice: her engine sputtered with annoyance and she’d chime with sarcastic beeps when it hit 4°C. I couldn’t blame her. I hate this time of year, too – it’s so unpredictable.

There was one highlight: March was when T., B. and I were planning on going camping at Red River Gorge, an intricate canyon system that features sandstone cliffs, waterfalls and natural bridges, in Kentucky. I was going to stay with them for a week, with three of those days being spent embraced by the wilderness.

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Cincinnati is absolutely stunning to drive through, especially at night.

Vroom Vroom and I left the National Capital Region at around 8:00 a.m. Bundled up in two jackets and a fuzzy blanket, we embraced the -30°C-plus-windchill morning and started the 13-hour trek. Much of this drive was spent cruising through white-outs in New York. Thankfully, everything else was clear. One of the most rewarding moments was driving through Cincinnati, Ohio at night: it was like a cleaner, quieter Toronto. It wasn’t as tall, but it had that same city charm.

I was 1.5 hours from my destination. And I couldn’t be more excited.

After figuring out parking, T. welcomed me to his and B.’s apartment with open arms. Unfortunately, our camping plans were foiled (T. has mono and felt awful), but we’d still be able to hang out, do some mini-adventures and eat glorious food. And, of course, we’d be able to explore the Bourbon Trail.

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I purchased a bottle of Willett Bourbon, which was crafted in Bardstown, KY. The distillery is about an hour from Lexington.

T. took me out to dinner to sample Kentucky’s most prized items: fried chicken and sweet tea. I’ve never had either before and, let me tell you, that was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Though, not eating for the vast majority of the drive and being starving probably aided in that sentiment. But, I digress: it’s awesome. Devour fried chicken and sweet tea. You won’t regret it.

B. met up with us at the apartment after work. It was nearing midnight, but the city was still. After driving for so long, the last thing I wanted to do was sit some more, so we decided to do a light longboarding session across the city. We carved through downtown and took refuge atop a parking garage, relaxed and took in the sights.

Lexington was remarkably quiet for a college town. 

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Amazing graffiti found in Lexington, Kentucky.

The rest of our adventures involved making and devouring glorious food, going for walks and longboarding adventures, ordering in cookies and phở, and filling our bellies with locally-made ice cream and ginger ale. Needless to say, we didn’t go hungry. During our downtime, we played League of Legends and watched Rick and Morty.

Things did get worse for T. at one point.

Early one morning, T. and I packed up an overnight bag and headed to his parents’ place out near Cincinnati, Ohio: he was having a bad reaction to his medication. I camped out in the waiting room while T. and his mom met with the hospital doctors took good care of him. Fortunately, they knew what was wrong and were able to remedy the situation.

T.’s family was really welcoming. His mom was exceptionally kind – something I don’t see too often. She let me set up my tablet in the living room so that I could finish up my last article for the Ottawa Citizen. T.’s father was funny and interesting and just fun to talk to: we found common ground talking about real estate and construction. And one of T.’s brothers convinced me to try this odd breakfast meat substance that had confusing ingredients and oats. I have no idea what it was, but it was really, really good. Haha.

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Cincinnati, Ohio, along the river.

I spent the evening getting slaughtered at table tennis by T.; Vroom Vroom spent her night looking up at the stars.

In the morning, we thanked T.’s family for hosting us and escaped to Cincinnati where we explored a trail along the river and indulged in locally-roasted coffee. We headed back to Lexington afterwards, with T. feeling quite a bit better, thankfully.

The rest of the trip was spent cheering on B. for acquiring and driving his Goldwing back to Lexington from his parents’ place, stuffing our faces with more food and planning our summer road trip. We’re going to be driving across the USA: from sea to shining sea.

Next Stop: Ottawa, ON

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