March Madness – Day Four of Ten

March 23, 2009

March 12, 2009 – Louisville to Louisville to Bowling Green to Nashville, TN

You’d think that if you started your day AT your destination you would be in pretty good shape for getting all your daily projects done. Not in our case. On the one day that we started nearly on top of our first interview, we got some great content but also saw some wheels come off the iRoadTrip journey.

Starting at Louisville Slugger, we got some of the most poignant sound bytes and video we’d get the entire trip. We saw bats being made by machine and by hand. We talked with the people in charge of the Bionic Glove line and found out why your hands feel so good when you wear these things. We swung bats wearing these gloves and we found out that Louisville Slugger became a bat company after being a butter-churn manufacturer.

Louisville Slugger Butter

From Slugger we dashed over to Maker’s Mark Bourbon. We got stenched up during our tour of the plant. When I say stenched up, I mean it. Our tour began at the water-reclamation area of Maker’s Mark’s facility.

Inside were new technologies that make it possible for the company to reduce fuel use and increase output. These also allow them to be more environmentally aware and responsible by returning a lot of this water to nature.

But it smells like crap. Really, crap.

When we walked in the door we were slammed by the odor of a thousand cow fields. And the smell was pervasive. Even after washing some of my clothes later in the week, the smell persisted. But I digress.

More items of the tour included a view of the vats being filled…

…and a tasting of their Bourbon.

After this visit we piled back into the car and then zipped over to the Zappo’s factory. The day was getting longer, but so very cool.

Zappo’s was great. Good audio and amazing sites. But similar to the Rock and Roll Hall, there were no cameras allowed inside.

Here’s what we found out from Isaac at Zappo’s….

The warehouse is massive.
They do a full inventory of MILLIONS of items once a month.
They have robots from Kiva moving product around.
They have a creative studio onsite for creating Web images.
Employees get free food ALL THE TIME.
There is security at the door that’s stronger than airlines.
They are right next door to a great Zappo’s Outlet.

We all loved our visit, most of us bought stuff at the outlet, and then the snow fun began in southern Kentucky. Yes, Kentucky.

The snow came and the roads were sketchy and we were all worried. We made it as far as Bowling Green before stopping for BBQ. Then, after a nice little ride, we made it to Nashville and stayed there for the night.

We had hoped to be four or eight hours closer to Austin at that point. Stay tuned to see what happened on Day Five.