2018 Trip 4: Arizona: May 21

Sierra Vista, Monday May 21

The San Pedro River

What a day! We found both water and greenery in the deserts of southern Arizona. Our waitress last night bemoaned the absence of greenery; one of the items she missed from Minnesota. Today we walked along water, although not plentiful, and among green trees.

Our first wet/green area was at the San Pedro House, a trailhead in the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. This area runs 40 miles along the San Pedro River. Formed in 1988, the conservation area is designed to overcome the negative impacts of overgrazing and mining and to allow the desert riparian ecosystem to regenerate. San Pedro House is run by volunteers and runs tours, greets visitors and sells related items. It provides a convenient trailhead for hikers.

The trail we took starts across grassland which probably serves as a flood plain during the wet season. This is not wet season, in fact the volunteer mentioned how Arizona is in a drought, the winter snows were low, and summer rains are forecast to be lower than normal. The rest of the year may be tough water-wise.

The trail at San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area

As we approached the river, we could observe a small stream in the middle of the channel. It was flowing slowly but between the river and the water table it supports, substantial trees and shrubbery were prevalent. The width of the green area could not have been more than a thousand feet but the cool, fragrant air was a noticeable improvement. We heard more birds than we saw but evidently this area is a major wintering area for some birds and part of the migratory flight path for others. We made the two mile walk at a pleasant pace, enjoying the atmosphere and change of scenery.

Murray Springs Clovis Site area

Our second stop was also within the San Pedro Riparian area. The Murray Springs Clovis site was discovered in 1966 and is named for two features: the stone spear points found here in 1966 that are dated back to the people who lived in the late Ice Age (the Clovis people) and the nearest natural feature to the area where the spear points were found (Murray Springs). This was a short hike and primarily in grasslands. The wash associated with Murray Springs was dry and the shrubbery here was fairly skimpy. They have installed signage to explain the people, the area, and the artifacts found here. The archaeological dig back in the late 1960s also found mammoth teeth.

After lunch we visited our third site. Ramsey Canyon Preserve is owned by the Nature Conservancy. It is 280 acres located in the Huachuca Mountains. Ramsey Creek flows through it on its way to join the San Pedro River. The Huachuca Mountains are to the west of Sierra Vista and will be our next mountain range to cross as we continue our trek from east to west across southern Arizona.

Ramsey Creek in Ramsey Canyon Preserve

The preserve has a visitor center and gift shop and charges a small fee to visit. We made this short one mile hike a slow and relaxing walk. While uphill, the path is fairly smooth with numerous benches. The creek is always visible but the flow was shallow and did not normally make any sound to accompany our walk. Even without the sound of water, the walk was cool, shady, and the sounds of birds were ever present.

Ramsey Canyon Preserve

The canyon, as its name suggests, offers frequent views of steep mountain walls. The contrast between the green shady walk and the steep mountains with blue sky above made for numerous scenic images. We sat frequently, enjoying the atmosphere. At one location a group of ten deer were quietly grazing. At another, three wild turkeys were present.

Huachuca Mountains from Ramsey Canyon Preserve

This location is big for birders and hummingbirds are frequent here. The Nature Conservancy has added feeders to particularly attract hummingbirds for visitors to easily see and photograph at several spots close to the visitor center. We could have extended the hike to climb to Ramsey Overlook but today was just a day to relax and enjoy.

I have so far failed to mention one other stop. Actually our first stop of the day was the Environmental Opeations Center. This was promoted as a place where the wastewater treatment facility is environmentally discharging its waste and providing for a green oasis for birds to gather. Well, we remembered somethig like this in Florida where the treated water flowed into a marshland. The bird viewing there was spectacular. This one was not. Here instead of treated wastewater, the area has treated sludge land applied, allowed to dry and build up, then covered and grasses planted. There were some birds and there was some greenery and it was environmentally sound. However Chris did not enjoy the smell of the sludge and it really was nothing dramatic to view.

We wrapped up the day early, dinner being at a local restaurant where service groups meet. Food was good, staff pleasant but understaffed.

Ed and Chris. May 22

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2018 Trip 4: Arizona: May 20

Sierra Vista, Arizona Sunday May 20

Entering into the Queen Mine Tour

Sunday, normal weather for Arizona. Sunny and warm. Only question seems to be if the day will be windy. The forecast says sunny with highs in the 80s and 90s for the rest of week for southern Arizona. We checked out of the Holiday Inn Express in Willcox; on the positive side the rooms were fine, the milk at breakfast was cold and they had great, warm cinnamon buns. On the negative side, our room was overlooked for cleaning Saturday and the hot food at breakfast was bland.

The next two nights we will be staying in Sierra Vista, AZ. From Willcox, we drove west on I-10, stopping again at the Texas Canyon rest stop for pictures from the other side of the road. We went to church in Sierra Vista and then drove to Tombstone. Most Americans think of Tombstone and connect it with the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Tidbit: O.K.stood for Old Kindersley. Kindersley was the previous owner and people referred to the corral as Old Kindersley’s corral eventually shortening it to O.K.

I am not going to make a drawn out discussion of the gunfight, suffice it to say that it put Tombstone on the map and later movies and books have made it a permanent fixture in American lore. We went to Tombstone more to understand the history of the old West and this town. Like many places in Arizona, mining played a boom and bust cycle here. The old courthouse in Tombstone is now a state historic park and has displays of that early time. It was our first stop.

Historic Tombstone Courthouse State Park

Tombstone is named due to its first successful prospector who was told he would not find rocks with minerals in the area, only his own tombstone since the Apache Indians were still fighting the U.S. Army. In 1877 he discovered silver and gold ores and named his claim Tombstone and the city was founded in 1879 with that name. By 1882 the town had between ten and fifteen thousand residents. In 1883 and 1884, silver production boomed and the price declined. Combined with operational difficulties at the mines with too much water seeping into the underground mines despite huge pumps, the mines went bust.

A few years later the price was back up and silver mining increased. Then the Panic of 1893 caused another bust. One more boom period occurred before the silver mining closed completely due to the water issues and the low price of silver. Silver mining does not occur in Tombstone any more. The population decreased, the county government was moved to another town, and Tombstone sank towards oblivion. Movies and TV kept the Tombstone name alive and today Tombstone is primarily a tourist city with a population of 1,300.

Downtown Tombstone

Since we were in Tombstone, we did shell out to watch a documentary and visit the site of the O.K. Corral Gunfight. There are frequent re-creations and characters dressed in period costume roam the streets. Stage coach rides, walking tours, T-shirts, trinkets, etc. are omnipresent. Lunch was at a small family restaurant where we had some good burgers.

After Tombstone, we continued the history tour by driving to Bisbee, a former mining town. Bisbee began as a copper, gold, and silver mining town in 1880. Its production of these minerals was vast but not without hassle. Around the First World War, the Phelps-Dodge company and the local government twice deported hundreds of miners who were viewed as a threat to start mining unions in the area. Mining and the town’s population went through boom and bust cycles. Open pit mining began during WWI, underground mining continued also. By the 1970s, the higher grade ores had been mined and all mining ceased until a few years ago when it resumed on a small-scale basis.

The Lavender Pit-named for the man who began open pit mining in Bisbee

The Queen Mine Tour takes one underground to view the mining tunnels of a mine closed since the mid-1970s. The tour was part of an effort to help the economy stabilize after mining ceased. Today the tour and a cutesy, art scene keeps Bisbee alive although it does still lose population at each census. The town looks like a mine town. While environmental efforts are at work to reclaim mined out areas, there is a hundred year history of mining to overcome. The Lavender Pit is a huge hole in the ground and it with surrounding scalloped mountainsides are the major impression one has when leaving Bisbee.

The mine tour was worthwhile, though. It lasts 75 minutes. You ride on an authentic mine car into the mine on a horizontal tunnel. For this tour, besides a hard hat and vest, you have a light to get to play along the sides and roof of the mineshaft. The tour guide covers the mining process from its earliest days until the 1970s. There are over 1200 miles of tunnels carved into mountainsides of Bisbee. Through a period of consolidation, Phelps Dodge acquired ownership of the vast majority. In 2007, Phelps Dodge was bought out by Freeport-McMoRan, a vast mineral mining and development company, located in Phoenix.

We drove back to Sierra Vista and checked in at the Hampton Inn. Dinner was at Outback where our waitress had recently moved to Sierra Vista from Hastings MN to be near her aging mother. We shared numerous stories and left stuffed.

Ed and Chris. Sierra Vista May 21.

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2018 Trip 4: Arizona: May 19

Willcox AZ Saturday May 19

Organ Pipe Formation at Chiricahua National Monument

Up and out early today. When climbing in hot weather, one wants an early start. So we were away from the hotel by 8 AM and at the trailhead by 8:45 AM.

Fort Bowie Trailhead parking lot. Dirt road leads to it, we thought it was interesting to see the congested area sign and no one else in the parking lot when we arrived

Fort Bowie National Historic Site has an unusual feature. One must hike 1.5 miles from the parking lot up to the fort at Apache Pass in the Chiricahuan Mountains. Actually I liked the requirement. The hiker not only observes the change from grasslands to thickets of small trees and brush, but can visualize being on one of the early stage coaches on the Butterfield Line and seeing Indians on horseback on the ridges above. Of course, that visualization is more due to TV westerns than reality, but still it resonates.

As related at the Amerind museum Friday, the Apaches had seven different but related tribes. The Chiricahuas were one of the seven and lived in southern Arizona and New Mexico. Apache Pass was part of their normal territory. If you have the time, the trail to Fort Bowie provides several opportunities to learn more about the Chiricahua and about westward expansion by settlers eager to cross Chiricahua territory to reach California and other western locations.

The spring at Apache Pass, another reason the area was so important

You may recall the names Cochise and Geronimo. Both were Chiricahua Apache. Cochise came to leadership before the Civil War and in many ways preferred accommodation to fighting. Unfortunately, circumstances did not always assist. In 1861 a raiding party of unknown Apaches stole cattle and the stepson of a local rancher. Cochise and the military met to discuss this at Apache Pass. Cochise was accused of being the guilty party. Cochise denied it but offered to help find the boy. The U.S. military did not believe him. Cochise, insulted, escaped and for the next eleven years the U.S. military and the Chiricahua were at war.

The cemetery along the trail to Fort Bowie

At another spot, you come upon a cemetery. Here the soldiers buried their dead. But you also find graves of Indians, including one of Little Robe, a two year old son of Geronimo. Little Robe was one of 15 Chiricahua captured by the U.S. in Mexico in 1885 and brought back to Fort Bowie as captives. The soldiers grew attached to the two year old boy but he died soon after, probably of dysentery. He is buried here. Apache custom was to bury their dead in small caves or crevices and to conceal the location. Cochise, for instance, was buried in a location not found to this day.

Fort Bowie close up

Upon reaching Fort Bowie, you can observe the value of the pass in crossing the mountains on either side of you. As usual, the ranger on duty was informative and helpful, after visiting over 200 NPS sites, I don’t think we have met even 5 rangers who were less than great. We also met a couple from Doylestown PA who have been retired for 13 years and we swapped various travel suggestions.

The fort itself is not reconstructed as were several forts we have visited. Various buildings have partial walls showing and you can walk the area and visualize what the site would have looked like in the latter half of the 1800s. Fort Bowie had a short life. A first fort was built in crude style and lasted less than six years. A larger, better fort was built in 1868 and these are the main ruins you can view. From 1862 to 1868, Fort Bowie was active in the campaigns against the Chiricahua. Geronimo surrendered in 1886. He and the whole tribe were exiled, the reservation abolished, and Geronimo ended up in Florida. We had previously visited Fort Pickens in Florida and the Castillo de San Marcos in St.Augustine where he and his family were separately housed for a number of years.

One other sad note. We lived in Carlisle PA for over 20 years. Particularly in the early years there, one read of the Carlisle Indian School (now home to the U.S. Army War College) and how the U.S. trained Native Americans in work skills and reading. It was only in the latter years and as we have traveled that one learns that the Indian children sent to Carlisle were forcibly removed from their families and forbidden to learn or practice their native religion or culture. Fort Bowie displays stated that the Chiricahua children were primarily sent to Carlisle and how many of them died there.

View of Fort Bowie from above on the return hike, the visitor center is at the lower left

Our hike back took a different path to create a loop. We began the hike by climbing up above the Fort and looking down at it. The view was stupendous. All in all, a rewarding three hour journey.

Hiking back from Fort Bowie

A side note. The NPS sites we are visiting participate in a program they call “I Hike for Health”. Each park sets its rules, generally you must hike three to five miles in order to win an award. Our hike to and from the trailhead to Fort Bowie qualifies so we received a Fort Bowie NHS I hike for health pin. Hooray for us.

Yesterday’s blog informed you that Chiricahua National Monument, one of our planned stops, was closed due to a forest fire. The ranger at Fort Bowie informed us that it was opened today and we decided to make that our afternoon stop instead of the copper mine in Morenci. It took us less than 40 minutes to make the drive to Chiricahua NM.

Some of the hoodoos at Chiricahua National Monument

Chiricahua was made a national monument in 1924 to preserve and to protect unique rock formations. Turkey Creek Volcano, long inactive, was south of Chiricahua and its explosive eruptions gave rise to the rock formations here, including hoodoos. Hoodoos are columns of weathered rocks. For those of you who have been to Bryce National Park, you recognize hoodoos. Chiricahua NM is also an area where different geological forces met and four ecological systems resulted.

One unique feature is called “sky islands”, a term common in this part of Arizona. Sky islands refers to mountain ranges isolated from each other by intervening grasslands or deserts. The valleys act as a barrier to the movement of forest and mountain species of animals and fauna.

Along Bonita Canyon Drive in Chiricahua National Monument

I will admit upfront that after the morning hike at Fort Bowie I was in no mood, or condition, to do another hike (five miles at Chiricahua) to earn a second I Hike for Health pin. Instead we drove the 8 mile Bonita Canyon road and stopped at lookouts. In 1976, most of Chiricahua NM was designated a national wilderness and Bonita Canyon road is the only road open to vehicles. Our original plan when we left St. Paul had been to arrive here early today and spend most of the day hiking after having spent Friday at Fort Bowie. The fire and revised schedule meant no hikes but we still enjoyed the spectacular rock formations.

The source of our dust clouds

On our various drives the last two days, we kept seeing small dust clouds; a column, almost tornado looking, that appeared in the distance. I thought these were localized wind patterns creating an eddy stirring up the dust. We never seemed to get close enough to be able to take a good picture. Finally, one dust cloud was close enough to shoot—then we saw that the cloud was caused by cattle ambling along and stirring up the dirt on the ground.

The day wrapped up having an early dinner at a truck stop in Willcox. Dining options are not huge, the two or three local restaurants being in the area of the wine festival and everything else was a national burger/taco/pizza chain. But the food was quite good and helped to restore my flagging energy. Of course, we had dessert at Apple Annies again.

We thought we would end up this post with some flower pictures. Arizona is in drought conditions but some flowers are finding their way to bloom. Enjoy.

Flowers near Fort Bowie and Chiricahua

Ed and Chris. Willcox AZ May 20

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2018 Trip 4: Arizona

Willcox, Arizona, Friday May 18

View from the I-10 Texas Canyon Rest Stop

Chris and I are in Arizona for 17 days. The first half of the trip will be along the southern border areas from Willcox in the east to Ajo in the west. There are five National Park Service units here we wish to visit, plus wildlife refuges, mine tours, etc. We hit our first roadblock Thursday just before we left Saint Paul. Chiricahua National Monument has a small forest fire blazing and the park is closed. It may open as soon as Monday, but we will probably be heading west by then. We will just have to combine it with a trip to southern New Mexico which is still on our list.

This stretch of southern Arizona was added to the U.S. by the Gadsden Purchase in 1853-54. I believe most Americans think that the Louisiana Purchase added all of the land west of the Mississippi River to the U.S. But no, the Louisiana Purchase approximately only added land between the Mississippi RIver and a line drawn diagonally northwestward starting at New Orleans and ending near Glacier National Park, close to the current Idaho-Wyoming border. Washington and Oregon were in dispute but generally considered under British control. Alaska was in Russian hands, and everything else (California, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, parts of Colorado) was part of Mexico. No wonder Mexico may look at the U.S. and get indignant that they should pay for a wall. Didn’t we get enough land and mineral rights from them to pay for a wall?

While not wanting to make this a major history lesson, let me just briefly cover the Gadsden Purchase. Completed in 1854, the purchase allowed the U.S. to buy enough southern land to construct another transcontinental railroad without going through mountains (Rocky, Sierra Nevada, etc.). Mexico needed cash and thought it was better to sell the land and get paid than to have the U.S. take it away. The U.S. bought about 30,000 square miles, about the same size as 8-9 Yellowstone National Parks. The land goes from the Mexican border to a point between Tucson and Phoenix Arizona. Our first week will be within this area.

A late flight out Thursday night got us to our Phoenix hotel by 1 AM Friday morning. We were up and out by 8:30 and on the road to Willcox . Our first stop was an Interstate Highway Rest Stop. The Texas Canyon rest stop on I-10 is roughly 25 miles west of Wilcox and well-known for its intriguing rock formations. It was an easy introduction to desert geology. Our second stop was another simple, easy one. Annie’s Pies. Apple Annie’s Orchard is in Wilcox and while apples are nowhere near ready for harvesting, Apple Annies has a market, lunch counter, and pie shop right next to our hotel in Willcox . A shared wrap and an apple crumb pie slice and an apple-raspberry pie slice continued the pleasant feelings.

Downtown Willcox Arizona

We are in Willcox because it has one decent hotel close to Fort Bowie National Historic Site and Chiricahua National Monument. Willcox itself has two small museums dedicated to old-time western singers, Rex Allen Senior and Marty Robbins; not exactly major household names today but still worth a visit.

Our plan had been to go to Fort Bowie Friday afternoon and Chiricahua on Saturday. With Chiricahua out of the way, we are switching Fort Bowie to Saturday. Friday afternoon after Apple Annie, we stopped at the two small museums in downtown Willcox. Willcox, population 3,700, was a major cattle-raising area and when the Southern Pacific Railroad went through the town, Willcox also became a major shipping point for beef.

Nowadays it appears to be struggling, numerous store fronts were empty. But this weekend will be busy. Unbeknownst to us when booking our hotel, there is a wine festival this weekend. This area has 15 vineyards and wineries and the Wines of Willcox Taste and Tour is this weekend.

The Rex Allen Museum in Willcox AZ

The two museums were not busy, At the Rex Allen Museum, the tour guide gave us a five minute orientation to Rex Allen, the “Last of the Silver Screen Cowboys”, part of group that included Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. As the museums states, “take time to return to those days of yesteryear when our heroes were the clean cut, God-fearing Americans of the Wild West, who wore white Stetson hats, loved their faithful horses, and had loyal sidekicks who shared their adventures. Koko was Rex’s faithful horse and received equal billing in the movies. Koko is buried across the street from the museum in the Willcox Railroad Park, next to a life size statute of Rex Allen. Allen’s ashes were scattered around the park.

Chirs and Ed in front of a painting of Rex Allen and his horse Koko

Rex appeared in ten years of comic books, did voices for Disney movies, had a TV show for one year, and advertised products like Ford tractors and Purina. His singing career started locally at age 14 and sang on the radio station WLS for the “National Barn Dance”-which we learned about during our last tour of Kentucky and Tennessee in March and April. All of this was news to us. Rex was born near Willcox and always considered this town his home.

The next museum was for Marty Robbins (1925-1982). Robbins was a successful country singer and songwriter. His museum was in Glendale AZ but moved here about ten years ago. I assume it was not overly popular there and Willcox promised a better option for it. It did not take long to go through the museum. Both were pleasant and basic but a quick visit was sufficient.

There was still time left in the day for touring so we moved up a visit to the Amerind Museum, located not far from the I-10 Texas Canyon rest stop. The Amerind (no pictures allowed inside) focuses on the culture and history of American Indians and their ancestors. In its words it: “houses a spectacular collection of prehistoric objects from archaeological excavations in the Americas as well as more recent items from Native cultures since the time of contact with the first Europeans.”

The museum was established in 1937 by William and Rose Hayden Fulton. His money came from the Waterbury CT foundry, hers from a copper mine here in Arizona. Their trips out here generated a deep interest in the Southwest, its history and people. The Foundation has sponsored numerous archaeological excursions in the U.S. and Mexico. The displays include an art museum displaying art that Rose collected. The museum’s second building displays artifacts and historical information about the peoples of the southwest. Once again, it was pleasant, but pottery and baskets can get old after a while. The historical information was more interesting to me; my challenge is to remember it a week later.

Driving back to Willcox

We drove back to Willcox on back roads, driving through Pearce, an almost ghost town (population 15) and Dos Cabezas, an area with a scattering of homes where there used to be a town and a mine. Dinner was at an unremarkable bar-b q restaurant in Willcox.

Ed and Chris. Willcox Arizona. May 19

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2018 Trip 3: KY and TN: April 24

St. Paul, MN. April 24

Bottom: Leaving Louisville in the rain. Top: Driving in Iowa in the later afternoon

Home safe and sound. Our plan had been to take two days of easy driving from Louisville but as we reached Peoria IL and lunch, we decided to revert to forgotten practices. We drove for 14 hours and came straight home. In the last two years or so, we have limited our driving to about 500 miles a day at the max. Pella Iowa was a potential stop on Wednesday to see if their tulips were blooming yet but with this weather, the bloom map was just green for plants but no blossoms. So we canceled our Tuesday lodging, picked up some Coke and Fritos, and made it home around 9 PM.

Driving in Iowa, wide shoulders, farm machinery in center on roadway shoulder

Rainy weather in Indiana changed to sunny weather in Illinois. Once past Indianapolis, the land is flat and agricultural, with a few cities tossed in here and there. A few weeks ago, a person had challenged us on our assertion of the wide shoulders on roads in the Midwest. As you can see from the picture, wide shoulders are the norm. The size of agricultural machinery used on these large farms necessitates a wider road and shoulder to avoid accidents.

As we reached the far northern sections of Iowa and southern Minnesota, we could see snatches of snow piles along roads where they were shaded from the sun. Otherwise the unusual, major snowfall from ten days ago is gone. The rivers were running high and lakes are still half covered with ice. Farmers were busy in their fields, working late.

Approaching the Twin Cities from the Rochester area

As we approached the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, the evening sunset provided a pleasant welcome home. Three weeks and then off again.

By our home in St. Paul: Ice still on lake, beaver lodge and nest for Canada Geese on water

Ed and Chris. April 25

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2018 Trip 3: April 22-23: KY and TN

Louisville, KY. April 23

Louisville Slugger Museum

From the grave of the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro to the grave of heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, we are wrapping up our time in Louisville KY before beginning the journey back to St. Paul, MN.

Sunday the 22nd was pleasant, in the 60s and partly sunny. The day’s activities began with a tour of Churchill Downs, the home for the Kentucky Derby horse race since 1875. The 144th Run for the Roses will be held on May 8 this year. We went on a 30 minute tour with a guide who explained the history of the track and the race. While Keeneland is more attractive, Churchill Downs is older, more storied, and holds more people. It is estimated 150,000 to 170,000 people will be at the track on May 8, most in the infield where viewing is poor but partying is great. Celebrities and wealthy individuals will be in the box seats.

Churchill Downs with Barbaro

Churchill Downs was begun by a grandson of William Clark of the famous Lewis and Clark team of explorers that surveyed the new Louisiana Purchase of President Jefferson. Clark had been to Europe and wanted to recreate three races and tracks he visited there. The name Churchill comes from his two uncles who leased him the first 80 acres necessary for the track. The grounds now cover 147 acres. It took decades for the track to become profitable with profits from pari-mutual betting being the primary factor. A quirk in Kentucky law that prohibited gambling allowed the use of the machines.

After the tour, we spent time in the Kentucky Derby museum reading about the various horses that won the Derby. Jockeys, the composition of the track, trainers, and owners are also covered. Barbaro, the 2006 winner was thought to be headed for Triple Crown winner status, but broke his leg in the second race of the three race Triple Crown and was later euthanized. His owners wanted him buried where fans would not have to pay to see him and so his grave and statue are outside the main gate to Churchill Downs.

The Derby Cafe was closed for a private event so we ate a late lunch at Check’s diner, a local bar close to our Airbnb lodging. After lunch, we settled in before making a late afternoon church service.

Louisville Slugger Museum

Today was rainy, lucky for us we did Churchill Downs yesterday. Our first task though was to get a 6,000 mile preventive maintenance service on the Subaru. Afterwards the Louisville Slugger museum and factory tour in downtown Louisville called to us. In case you are not a sports fan, and I know at least one of you is not, the Louisville Slugger is the brand name of the wood bats used by professional baseball players.

Still a family owned business, started as the Hillerich and Bradsby company, makers of furniture and butter churns, Louisville Slugger branded bats had been the bat of choice for major leaguers for decades. An upstart, Marucci, which makes hand crafted bats compared to the precision tool made Louisville brand, has been coming on strong lately. In any event, Louisville Slugger has a history with baseball stars since those first days in the 1880s when a young Bud Hillerich made a custom bat for a local Louisville Eclipse baseball star, Pete Browning.

The Bat Vault where each players specific bat type is recorded

The wood baseball bats are still made at the downtown Louisville factory. The tour guide mentioned how the emerald ash borer is wrecking havoc with white ash trees, one of three main trees used for making bats. Maple and birch are also used, maple actually being the predominant trees. The forests of southern New York and northern Pennsylvania are the sources of the trees. Each player can choose from five colors allowed by Major League Baseball and from numerous weights, shapes, and lengths. His final selections are kept on file and new bats are shipped as requested. His team pays for the cost of the bats.

Artwork with vapors at 21c Museum Hotel

Lunch was down the street from the museum at Proof, a restaurant attached to a hotel called 21c Museum Hotel. The owners made five old tobacco and liquor warehouses into a modern hotel and showcase the artwork of 21st century up and coming artists. The art was different. The food was very tasty although overpriced.

Ohio River on a dreary Monday in April

This section of Louisville is only two blocks from the Ohio River. There is a riverwalk and downtown park but the sections we saw were not that attractive. Numerous cities are trying to re-do their riverfront areas but it is a challenge with floods, freeways and railroad tracks frequently competing for space.

At Muhammad Ali’s grave site

Cave Hill Cemetery is the final resting place for many prominent Louisville residents. The cemetery was laid out in the garden cemetery style that allowed the Victorian era residents to ostentatiously show the world their wealth and standing. We stopped by two sites, that of Muhammad Ali (heavyweight boxing champ and activist) and Colonel Harland Sanders (KFC founder). There is a Muhammad Ali museum in Louisville but it is closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Tomorrow we begin our two-day drive home. But in three weeks time, we head out to Arizona for a two-week trip.

Ed and Chris. April 23

Epilogue: Snippets on life in America from Chris
Day 39 : For hundreds of years, people have crossed oceans with very little to flee poverty and come to America. Many people from Maine eventually moved to the mill area of Massachusetts. The Dust Bowl migration saw people flee the Midwest for California. African-Americans came north for work. Why people in south eastern Kentucky do not move for work is a puzzlement to me; they continue to live in extreme poverty.

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2018 Trip 3: KY and TN: April 21: Caves and Crafts, Booze and Bluegrass (Music and Horses)

Lexington, KY. April 21

Kentucky Capitol Building in Frankfort KY

Our morning started with bright sunrise and crisp air as we watched the horses being walked in the pastures of our horse farm Airbnb. We puttered around for a bit before driving over to Frankfort, KY. Frankfort is the state capital, a town of 27,000, an hour’s drive west of Lexington, and the county seat. However, since Kentucky has 120 counties,(only exceeded by Georgia and Texas) practically any town of significance in Kentucky must be a county seat. As a state capital, it is the fifth smallest.

Interior view of KY Capitol

We were here to see the Kentucky Capitol building, continuing our pattern of visiting capitols whenever possible. The building was sort of open, one could go in and walk the corridors and the rotunda but the chambers and offices were closed (it was Saturday). The building is large and impressive, located on a hill looking down towards the other state buildings across the Kentucky River. The use of granite and marble is effective in presenting an air of majesty and permanence. It is more open and bright than the Tennessee state capitol.

Artwork decorating the top of the rotunda columns depicting major elements of KY history, such as mining, music, horse racing, etc

Only five major statues were apparent(Lincoln, Clay, Barclay, Davis, and Ephraim McDowell-a pioneer in frontier surgery.) There are two murals, one at each of the East and West wings depicting significant events in Daniel Boone’s time in Kentucky. The four corner columns in the Rotunda have small murals at top of the columns. Portraits of Justices lined many walls. This was the first state capitol in which we noticed a chapel in the building, although it too was locked today. In all it was impressive and open, although not beautiful in the sense of dramatic artwork like Missouri or Kansas.

Outside, the capitol has a well-known floral clock and trees in bloom. The flower beds were still empty though. As I took a few exterior photos, I talked to a guy who had just finished an eight mile run. We talked retirement and although he was in his early 60s, his wife is 11 years younger which is complicating his, and her, retirement years. He did recommend a local spot for lunch, the Cliffside, a small diner “where all of the locals go”.

The Cliffside in Frankfort KY

The Cliffside was busy, the six booths were taken but there were four of 12 counter stools available. Our server was the grandson of the owner, and his sister and mom and aunt work there. His niece and her two kids stopped by also. Chris ordered the Hot Brown, a Kentucky specialty we had been reading about. (Ham and turkey on toast points with melted cheese topping with bacon and a tomato.)

I ordered the meat loaf special and when the food came, we dug in. I was surprised my meatloaf came as a sandwich. Well, it was not my meal, I got someone else’s order, the Cliffside burger. The mistake was the talk of the small group of us for the rest of the meal. The Cliffside tasted great; and the guy to Chris’s left, whose Cliffside I got, was content to wait for his. Another customer came in and sat between Chris and the other guy and by the end of our meal, he had given Chris the recommendation for where we should have dinner back in Lexington tonight. The Ramsey restaurant has four locations, one near our lodging. Turns out we both had their veggie plate, four vegetables picked from 23 options.

Continuing the food theme, we made a stop at Rebecca Ruth Chocolate. It seemed a typical tourist chocolate shop, we stopped in and bought a few mint juleps. Rebecca Ruth claims to be the first to invent bourbon balls back in 1936. Turns out the business goes back to 1919, started by two young subsitute school marms. They quit to protest the low wages and went together into making candy, combining their first names into the business name (Ruth Hanley and Rebecca Gooch). The hundred year history has many hard knocks that they overcame, such as the Depression, one husband’s death, fire, bank loan refusals because there was no man to make decisions for the business, etc. The business is owned today by Ruth’s grandson.

A little time to kill before our planned last stop of the day led us to the Capital City Museum. There is a state history museum in Frankfort but we did not believe we had sufficient time to view it. The Capital City Museum covered the history of Frankfort on two floors of an old building, and it was free. Chris thought it was well laid out and enjoyed it, I was so-so.

Bottom: One of the many warehouses on the grounds of Buffalo Trace Distillery. Top: Just one aisle of one floor of the warehouse pictured.

Our final stop of the day was the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Here the tour was free and so were the samples; better than Jack Daniels down in Tennessee. The distillery goes back 200 years and is the oldest continuously operating distillery in America. Lest you wonder about its claim to be continuously operating due to Prohibition, the distillery received one of the few permits to make “medicinal” whiskey during Prohibition. One could only obtain medicinal whiskey from a pharmacy with a doctor’s prescription. Most of their bourbon is hand bottled and they claim to have more distillery awards in the last ten years than any other distillery in the world.

We did not see the bourbon being made but got into the warehouse and bottling facility. One could get high just sniffing the aromas in the warehouse. Our guide explained the aging process in virgin oak casks, and how much whiskey is lost by evaporation, especially for the bourbons aged ten years or more. Most of the 20 liquors distilled here I had not heard of except for Ancient Age. Other brands included Sazerac Rye 18 years old, George T. Stagg, Eagle Rare 17 years old, William Larue Weller, Blanton’s Single Barrel, and Rock Hill Farms. They even make experimental bourbons, the Master Distiller varies the recipe and aging to produce new optional liquors. Chris and I tried small sips of two options, neither one was able to make me become a drinker.

Kentucky Hot Brown on top, veggie plates at Ramseys bottom

Our two routes to and from Frankfort were through horse country. Horse farms and horses were continuously present. We stopped at our lodging to start this blog before returning to Ramsey’s for dinner. The Cliffside lunch had been filling and there was no rush to have dinner.

Ed and Chris. April 22. Just a few days left on this journey

Epilogue: Snippets on life in America from Chris
Day 37: We visited another state capitol building today. It was a beautiful in Frankfort, KY. I have no doubt that many hard-working people enter the building to do the right thing for a particular group. Everyone one of us can have a voice in our government. It saddens me that the largest political party in America is not Republican or Democrat but the non-voter.

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2018 Trip 3: KY and TN: April 20: Caves and Crafts, Booze and Bluegrass (Music and Horses)

Lexington KY April 20

The ninth race at Keeneland on April 20

Thursday was six hours of equine knowledge but it must be only considered an appetizer since Friday’s ten hours was a sumptuous entrée. The great weather Friday was the dessert. Sunny all day, a little cool in the morning but the 60 degree temperature in the afternoon was perfect.

Our morning was a three and a half hour tour of Keeneland race track and horse farms in the Lexington country side. Our tour was with Horse Farm Tours, there are lots of different tour companies, and Ernie Flynn was our guide. Ernie is a former jockey and trainer who was able to add invaluable insights, although his soft voice made you stick close to him when out of the van to hear him.

I will admit we messed up a bit. Of course we arrived early (7:50 AM) to the pick-up point, an Embassy Suites a half hour away. Of course we checked in with the hotel to make sure we were at the right spot and where to wait. But then, for some unknown and unusual reason, we became passive. We waited for the tour people to come in to the hotel and call our names. By the time we realized it was getting late, our van had already left. Luckily, a friendly competitor gave us a ride in his van to Keeneland where we joined Ernie. Most tours start at Keeneland in order to watch the early morning work-outs before going off on their own list of farms to visit.

Keeneland morning top; Keeneland afternoon bottom

Keeneland dates back to 1936 and was built starting as a private track by Jack Keene but the depression ended his dream and a group of local racing people got together and purchased Keene’s property and completed the track. Today it is a closely held for-profit company that seems to distribute its profits in renovations and donations to the local community. No dividends are issued. Keeneland is one of the top tracks in the country, holding a 17 day meet in the spring and a 15 day meet in the fall. It is a beautiful facility, constructed of stone, and immaculately groomed.

Keeneland holds horse auctions that bring in top yearlings from around the country. We did not tour the auction facility but went down to the track and watched the early morning workouts. Trainers are free to bring their horses down anytime between 5:30 and 10:30, no appointments, no scheduling. Ernie indicated most horses work-out about once every five days. There are normally 1700-1800 horses housed here during the racing season; many horses stay here year round to train. The early morning workout time was quiet; a few people, mainly on tours, watched the horses and walked through the building. There is a secondary training track and more stables located on the back side of the main track which we drove through once we left Keeneland.

Just some of the trophies won by Calumet Farms-from display at KY Horse Park

Next we spend time driving the back roads and being introduced, from the road, to some of the most famous and exclusive farms in the area. Calumet Farms, once the most celebrated stable in the country, was founded by the maker of Calumet Baking Powder. Most of the other exclusive farms are owned by Middle East sheikhs or wealthy entrepreneurs. Ernie related stories of many farms and the horses which are now, or were, stabled there.

Part of Calumet Farm

Other details came out during the ride, such as the use of rounded corners on the fencing so horses don’t get hurt when running and so that older horses can not pen a younger horse in a corner to establish dominance over it. Wood fences are used, plastic materials had been tried but rejected. Most fencing is two deep; prevents horses from trying to jump them and protects from errant cars going off the road, breaking a fence, and allowing horses to escape. Some of the farms have extensive stone fences on the road side; expensive to build but beautiful to look at.

Breeding “Shed” at Hill n Dale Farm

We pulled in to Hill n Dale Farm to look from a close distance spot. Seattle Slew, an undefeated Triple Crown winner, is buried there, standing up. The farm has a stallion, Curlin, which we saw out in the paddock, whose breeding fee is $150,000 and brought in over $20,000,000 in fees last year. Thoroughbreds are not artificially inseminated, only the real thing. (The state does collect 6% sales tax on the breeding fees, I asked.) The breeding facility looks like a home of a multi-millionaire. At Gainesway Farm, their campion stallion’s (Tapit) fee is $300,000 and he was bred 160 times last year.

Seattle Slew grave

We made stops at two other farms to see horses up close and personal. This is the season when foals are born, we saw foals ranging from several weeks to two days old. At one farm, we visited the “recuperation” (my word) barn where horses who had surgery were recovering.

Young foal enjoying the sun and attention

At McPeek Racing and Magdalena Farms, we met and talked with the owner, Kenny McPeek. He introduced us to a Brazilian jockey who is here for a race Saturday. This jockey has won 13,000 races. McPeek’s farm goes back to just after the Revolutionary War when a soldier was given land in payment for his service. He selected this land and brought his wife with him. Magdalena was his daughter-in-law and was the matriarch of the farm for decades. She and many descendants are buried on the farm and McPeek keeps the name Magdalena as the name of the farm.

When we were dropped off back at Embassy Suites, the traffic to Keeneland was heavy and we chose to have a good lunch at the hotel rather than concession food at the track. We arrived at Keeneland, missing the first two of ten races. There was still plenty of time and races left to enjoy our seats in the cheap seats in the sun. The temperature may have only been 60 or so but the sun was hot.

The races were an eye-opener for us. It was a social event, with women in dresses and hats, men in ties and suits. I even saw a few seer-sucker suits which fit in here very nicely. Couples on dates, office parties, and gatherings of friends were more numerous than race aficionados or tourists like us. There were very few children. I guess it makes sense; the races only happen twice a year, it involves lots of money, and the races only occupy a few minutes allowing great opportunities to mingle, gamble, chat, and drink. We made six two dollar bets on horses to show and won a total of $15.60. Did not cover our $5 entrance fees but a reasonable showing. Chris made all of the choices so she gets the credit.

Our bench seat in the sun was also occupied a young couple, she was obviously pregnant. Turns out she was a development officer for Berea College so she and Chris shared notes. Chris found out Berea admits about 85% of their students from Kentucky and they must be poverty level. 10% are from abroad and 5% from the rest of the country. If a student graduates and does well financially, their children can not attend because the children will not be from a family with poverty level income. Legacy student admissions are not a big deal at Berea. The husband is a firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service stationed at Daniel Boone National Forest located in the Cumberland Falls State Park area. He has attended the fire fighters school in Missoula Montana that we toured several years ago.

The couple informed us that today’s crowd was much larger than they were accustomed to. The comparison between the few people at the morning workouts and the afternoon races was stark. We stayed until the end, being one of the last people to leave. Dinner was picked up a Kroger grocery store. The roast beef wrap was large enough for both of us and combined with a personal size triple berry pie and two side salads, we had a pleasant dinner back at the farm.

Ed and Chris. April 21

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2018 Trip 3: KY and TN: April 18-19: Caves and Crafts, Booze and Bluegrass (Music and Horses)

Lexington, KY. April 19

Early morning view from our lodging, Lexington KY

This morning (Thursday) arrived cold, windy and overcast. The view from our Airbnb lodging in Lexington helped shake the cold temps as we looked out onto the grounds of a stable and horse farm. We are lodging in a room over the garage of the owners of the working stable. Chris liked the view of a white horse out grazing.

Wednesday we left Pine Mountain State Resort Park. The lodging and food were decent, we would stay there again. The park lodge displays many prints of Ray Harms, an artist credited with developing the limited edition art print process to sell artwork. His work features wildlife and botanicals. While not born in Kentucky, much of his work was created here.

Did I mention Kentucky and Tennessee state parks do not charge admission? I believe I forgot to mention that. The fee-free policy is appreciated.

Our drive north to Lexington included two stops, Renfro Valley and Berea. Once we were past them, we were out of the Cumberland Plateau and the land was more green and flowering. Renfro Valley is home to a bluegrass entertainment theater and to the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The museum opened in 2002 partially utilizing a renovated riding stable owned by the founder of Renfro Valley, John Lair. Lair founded and ran a radio station for decades that focused on uniquely Kentucky artists and bluegrass music, called the Renfro Valley Barn Dance.

The museum is not limited to country and bluegrass but has all genres included. Some of the artists had absolutely no name recognition for me, they were local through and through. But the original inductees in 2002 included such artists as Tom T Hall, Rosemary Clooney, Merle Travis, Loretta Lynn, the Everly Brothers, and Bill Monroe among others.

Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, Renfro Valley KY

The museum traces the development of Kentucky music, starting with the tunes carried over from England and Scotland, often passed on by women singing to children. Instruments like the fiddle and bingo added music; then camp meetings and Bible revivals added their dimensions. Other influences included minstrel shows, riverboat entertainment, and protest songs-frequently about coal mines. The remote locations of many Kentucky communities meant songs and singing were a major social feature of the community.

The museum was well done and did not require a lengthy stay. I would have enjoyed more opportunities to hear specific songs played rather than just displays with narration.

Fifteen miles further up Interstate 75 is the town of Berea, home to Berea College and to the Kentucky Artisan Center. We hoped to find a few mementos at the Artisan Center. The center has for sale works of juried art by Kentucky artists in every field imaginable. Photography, pottery, paintings, sculpture, wood working, food, clothing, candles, glass work, brooms, etc. were all on display. The prices were beyond what we wanted to spend, although not outlandish. I considered the time spent more as visiting a very diversified museum or art gallery.

We went into downtown Berea where the College is located. Berea was established in 1855 and was the first Southern college to be co-educational and racially integrated. It offers its education to students tuition-free, all students have to work for the college for at least ten hours per week. Berea was also in the news recently when Sen. Mitch McConnell of KY exempted Berea from a new federal tax on large endowments of institutions of higher learning.

Historic Boone Tavern, Berea KY

The campus was pleasant but not our main focus. Instead we headed for the historic Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant run by Berea College. The Tavern was an idea of the wife of the Berea College President who in 1909 felt she had to entertain too many official visitors to the college. The Tavern was constructed by students in the college wood-working department utilizing bricks from their own brickyard. The food was excellent.

Man o’War statue and grave, Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY

Today we spent six hours at the Kentucky Horse Park, a 1200 acre complex that includes two museums, event facilities for horse-jumping, dressage, etc., barns for several Kentucky champion horses, sculptures of famous horses, etc. Besides the museums, we attended an outdoor presentation of six horses representative of different horse breeds and an outdoor presentation of three famous, champion horses. I mention the outdoors to remind you again that the day was windy, cold, and overcast. The temperatures may have helped to hold the attendance down and prompted us to sandwich the outdoor presentations with the indoor museum viewing.

Part of the Parade of Breeds, Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington KY

The International Museum of the Horse was outstanding. It traced the development of the horse back to species that originated in North America, migrated over the land bridge to Asia and then to Europe and Africa while dying out here. Re-introduced by the Spanish explorers and settlers, America has become one of the foremost breeding countries in the world. Arabians receive special attention but the development of various breeds is well-covered as are the changes in how horses were used over the last three centuries.

The second museum is the Showplace for Saddlebreds. It was satisfactory; it might have received a more positive response but a major portion of the museum is under renovation.

Our lodging in Lexington KY

Ed and Chris. April 19

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2018 Trip 3: April 17: KY and TN

Pineville, KY. April 16

Tuesday morning view from the dining room at Pine Mountain State Resort Park

Although it was not planned, we had an interesting driving adventure today. Our plan was to visit coal country, east of Pineville KY. And that is how the day began. We headed out on US 119 towards the three cities of Cumberland, Benham,and Lynch. The road was in good shape, with truck lanes on mountain slopes. The rock cliffs along the road were a clear indication of the rock geology of the area. We passed under two coal belt lines that transfer coal from the mountains on the south side of the road to rail lines on the north side. Trucks carrying coal and equipment working in the yard were visible. The two coal belt lines go to mines owned by one family and is the longest running operation in Harlan County.

Coal Mining operations along US Hwy 119 in Harlan County Kentucky

The Portal 31 exhibition mine in Lynch drew us first. We had hoped for some exhibits in addition to the underground mine tour, but only the tour is offered. We have been underground for several mine tours so we passed on that. Just a mile or two up the road was Benham, home to the Kentucky Coal Museum.

The Kentucky Coal Museum is a four-story building that was previously used as the commissary for the International Harvester Company which ran coal mines in this area. Benham, like Lynch, was a company town. Benham started as a farming community but International Harvester purchased the area in the early 1900s and began mining coal. Several rich coal seams are in the mountains on either side of the town, located in the valley between the two mountains.

Benham was built and operated completely by International Harvester’s subsidiary, Wisconsin Steel. IH needed lots of steel for its manufacturing of agricultural equipment and this area provided it. The mines operated until 1980 but even by the 1960s, land and buildings were being sold to locals and eventually their own town incorporated. Benham operated like any company town, outwardly sweet as the company provided for all but with racial tension and lack of individual control. Today it survives but is part of Harlan County, one of the poorer counties in Kentucky.

The museum seems to be locally funded with numerous pictures and artifacts relating to life in a company coal town. Mining equipment, model home layouts, school pictures, trophies won by locals, etc. Miners who died in coal accidents receive prominent display space. A small section of the museum has a few items from Loretta Lynn, born about 90 miles north of Benham. We spent about 45 minutes here.

Now began our driving adventure. We had identified Kingdom Come State Park as a nearby park with vistas of the mountains and valleys of the region. As we drove to Benham, signs from US 119 had given advance notice that the park was coming near. But we had also seen from the park’s website a google map, which gave no address and no specific driving directions. Google Maps would not recognize the park from the park website that said: “Get Directions”. We looked at Google Maps and identified for ourselves two roads that seemed to lead to the visitors center.

Road option one came out of the town of Cumberland, where we were parked. We drove the few blocks to the road leading to the park, went up the hill, and found the road both blocked off and the road pavement ripped out on the other side of the barricade. Nothing on Google about this; nothing on the park web site.

Road option number two. KY 160 went up the west side of the park and led to another road that led to the visitor center. So we went up KY 160 and turned on the road, Kentucky Highway 1679. Now, we have driven on lots of gravel roads, lots of twisty roads, lots of roads with steep drop-offs, lots of narrow roads, etc. But even I stopped a few hundred feet into the road and backed down to Hwy 160. 1679 was rough, narrow, with steep drop-offs, and no visible means of allowing an oncoming car to pass by. It was miles to the park. It was a good decision, although while backing down I was doubting it. We later discovered 1679, although a state highway, is considered a primitive road, best used by 4 wheeling ATVs or high clearance 4 x 4 vehicles. We approached this 39 mile road from four entrances (more on that later) and only one of the four mentioned the primitive road feature.

Now what? Google was no use. We called the park and the manager said to take US 119 to Whitesburg where signs would direct us. We didn’t. We were well past US 119 and we decided to continue following Hwy 160. At Hwy 931 we would go south and finish the rectangle surrounding the park. This would give us a chance to see more of Kentucky. No hurry, plenty of time, it was only 12:30 or so.

The rectangle was close to being completed as we neared Whitesburg. The drive had taken close to an hour and I was in need of some food. We stopped at a McDonald’s and as we drove in, we saw a sign, Kingdom Come State Park 14 miles. As we left McD’s, we followed the sign. Well, it lead us to the other end of Hwy 1679, 39 miles from where I had backed the car down. One look was enough to tell us this end of the road was not much better and we decided to write off Kingdom Come. (By the way, the park is named after a 1903 best-selling novel written by a Kentucky author, “The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come”.) Hwy 1679 is also called Little Shepherd Trail.

Kentucky Highway 1679

As we resumed our drive west on US 119 to Pineville, we came across more, and larger, signs directing us to Kingdom Come State Park. We are suckers, we gave it one more try to find the park, and this time it was successful. The park manager chatted with us about the directions and the park. She enlightened us about Hwy 1679, the Little Shepherd Trail. Within the park boundaries, maybe the middle one-third of the 39 mile road, the Hwy is paved, and while not wide, two cars can ease by each other. Once you leave the park boundaries, the road reverts to its primitive status, so much so that adventure drivers come from a distance just to challenge the road. We went on several short hikes to various overlooks but the vistas, while pleasant, were similar to what we have seen already. We left Kingdom Come, never to return.

“Log” arch in Kingdom Come State Park in KY

View of KY Hwy 160 from overlook in Kingdom Come State Park, Kentucky

Kentucky Highways 160 and 931 were generally suitable roads; except for two things. First, I have never previously seen a road sign (that I recall) that read: “Break in Pavement”. On 160 I saw four. The first one probably indicated a location where some rock had fallen close to the shoulder of the road. (The signs are well ahead of the actual situation.) The second one was seen about a 1/4 mile and around a curve in front of a four-foot washout that extended into half of the oncoming driving lane. It did have an orange traffic cone stuck in the middle of the hole. The other two marked similar dangerous pavement subsidence that would have halted your car in its tracks. Now, I ask you: Why go to the bother of putting up a sign and not just fixing the dangerous road condition????

“Break in Pavement” ahead on Hwy 160 in KY

The second complaint really refers to multiple locations around south central Kentucky. First noticed on our way to Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, I was not going to comment on it. But now I have seen it in numerous locations. “It” is the quantity of trash lining the shoulders of roads, not usually interstates or major commercial roads but the back roads. It is not just items that show up after snow melts but constant piles scattered along the ditches of roads everywhere. Not that it follows, but we also constantly passed small, rural churches. Would it not be nice if they honored God by beautifying his work and organize trash pick-up around their churches as a start?

I have pontificated enough. I won’t bore you with other complaints, at least not in this blog.

PS. We did make it to Pineville to determine if one can see Chained Rock from the town. With the aid of binoculars and the zoom feature on our camera, one can just make out the chain “holding” the rock so it does not fall on the city.

Ed and Chris. April 18

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