Inaugural Tobacco and Bourbon Tour – April 21-22, 2018

Saturday, April 21 – We will meet at the Golden Pond Visitor Center at 9am for a meet and greet.  There isn’t a lot of room to park here, so please try to park away from the Visitor Center doors if possible.  A buddy inspection of the bikes will start at 9:30am – we’ll draw names.  I’m pretty confident that our bikes will be in top shape, so this is a great opportunity to meet other riders and their bikes.  I will have some repair/adjustment tools, chain lube, floor pump, and some spare tubes and patches.  Hopefully no major repairs will be needed before (or after, for that matter) the ride.  The plan is to head out around 10am.

I’ve mapped a route that is all paved. We can’t safely ride across the 68/80 bridge over Lake Barkley as the bike/walk lane isn’t finished. The new bridge over Kentucky Lake has a dedicated bike/walk lane so I updated the route to use that bridge. This route starts and ends at the Golden Pond Visitor Center, is about 54 miles with 2300 feet of climbing along the way. About halfway, we are in Grand Rivers, where there are a couple of places for drinks and snacks.  You can see them from the Trace.

We are planning a cookout after today’s ride.  LBL does not allow alcohol, and the Barkley Lodge pavilion is reserved.  We’ll just have it at my house.  It’s easier that way as I can just leave everything is the fridge/freezer at home and not have to haul it to the Lodge.

RideWithGPS route

Cue Sheet

If folks are up for it, on the way through Aurora we could stop at the LBL Moonshine distillery to sample some ‘shine. Might have to rename this to the Moonshine and Tobacco Tour, though.

LBL Moonshine Distillery

Sunday, April 22 – We will meet at the North Visitor center at 9am.  The buddy inspection will start by 9:30am. There are nice singletrack routes in LBL (Land Between the Lakes) too, for those of you that enjoy that kind of riding.  Several trails branch off the Canal Loop Trail, some more challenging than others.  Fire roads split off all along the Trace, so there are plenty to choose from.  Unlike yesterday, there isn’t a planned route – just use the maps and have a good ride.  We’ll plan to meet back at the North Visitor center somewhere around 2pm.

LBL Hike and Bike Trails

LBL Maps – scroll down to the Trail Maps section.

I didn’t know there were 500 miles of trails and 200 miles of roads in LBL. It is great to have this area so close to home.  Not all of the trails are available for bicycling, so check the website while you scout a potential route.

The average high temperature in April is 66 degrees, so good riding temps, but plan on 10-15 degrees plus or minus from that.

Here are some options for lodging and some suggestions for restaurants in the area.

Kenlake State Resort Park Reservations

Lake Barkley Lodge reservations

Both are reasonably priced and are just a few minutes from our starting place.  Kenlake and Lake Barkley both have restaurants too.

Murray has good restaurants, and Paducah to the north has excellent dining choices. One of our personal favorites is Mellow Mushroom in Paducah. Great pizza, and my wife loves the bruschetta.  EDIT:  We ate at the Mellow Mushroom on Monday, February 12th, after looking at houses, and she had the calzone.  The verdict was “thumbs up”.

For breakfast, we’ve been to Hungry Bear Pancake and BBQ House in Murray, and Martha’s Restaurant also. In Paducah, Gold Rush Cafe is one of the best, and Etcetera Coffeehouse is superb. Red’s Donut Shop is not to be missed either for that matter.

Lowertown in Paducah, especially along Jefferson street, has some beautiful homes built in the early 1900s. We’re actually planning to move to Paducah as soon as our Lake Barkley home sells. Etcetera Coffeehouse is in Lowertown, as is Gold Rush Cafe.

If you need bike parts while you’re here, you can head up to Bike World in Paducah, on Joe Clifton road.  They’ll be happy to help you out.

Contact me if you have any questions, I’ll do my best to help.

Some sponsors have graciously agreed to help out.  I have no right to expect anything and I’m immensely grateful for their support.

Chain-L – the best chain lube available




Road ID – a great accessory


PRIZES – Yes, we have prizes too.  They won’t take you out of the amateur ranks, if you’re concerned about that – but they are good ones that will definitely see some use.

Prize #1 – for the rider traveling the farthest to attend the ride.

Prize #2 – for the oldest participating rider.

Prize #3 – for the youngest participating rider.

Prize #4 and 5 – for the first rider to cross the sprint points (there are two) on Saturday’s ride.

Prize #6 – for the best C&V bike, as voted on by the participating riders.

Prize #7 – for the Lantern Rouge on Saturday’s ride.

These two prizes are at FBinNY’s request (the Chain-L guy):

Special #1 – The bike with the most lived in look, meaning the bike that looks like the owner is a rider, not a bike freak.  You lose points for obsessive maintenance, but also for outright neglect.  The ideal is a bike that shows it’s age, and has the battle scars of a long and happy life.

Special #2 – Oldest good bike still in service. This is about buying and riding a good bike, rather than a new bike every year or two.  I offer this because my bikes average over 20 years and 20k+ miles, with the “new” bike dating from 2001, so that’s the kind of thing I want to prize.

Watch your speed while driving in LBL, it’s federal land, so speeding tickets are expensive.

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