Saturday, July 2, 2011

Kentucky: The Beautiful State

I didn't think I liked riding in Kentucky. The few times I'd been in Kentucky, I took routes that were not conducive to memorable riding. A few months ago, a friend took me through some of his personal favorite ride spots and I realized once again, I was biased and incorrect with some of my assumptions regarding Kentucky. So a couple of weeks ago, I took another route into Kentucky and I found some tremendous motorcycle roads with views and unique towns and people, and of course I discovered some remarkable items to photograph.

In this shot, I'm on a mountain 2 lane road: looking down into the valley I just left. If you look carefully you will see the road as it twists it's way up the hillside to the location I stopped at.

In this next photograph is the little general store of JD Maggard. JD started the store in 1914, it's been in the same family all this time. I met the current owner and you can see him in this photo (left side bottom.) Wonderful man. He told me that his store was used in the movie: "Coal Miner's Daughter". It's the store where she goes in and asks for fried bologna. What a classic store with worn wood floors, a huge ice refrigerator, shelves and shelves of groceries, and some antique oddities for your eyes to discover. You will find this store on US-119 in Oven Fork, Kentucky.

As I'm riding south along US-119, I see this sign.

Anything called "Kingdom Come" has to be a place to go check out. This is some of what I found at Kingdom Come State Park!

There are many overlooks and hiking trails at this state park. Man, I have so many ideas and places to hike when the money and time presents it's self! This view came from the Bullock Overlook.

A bit farther away is this one lane "primitive" road. I saw this sign and you guys know me. I had to ride the road! FAN_FRICKEN_TASTIC!

If you choose to ride this road, be aware: you are in a rural area where the locals use this road as a "short-cut". That being said, there will be cars and pickup trucks coming at fast rates of speed from the opposite direction, careening around curves that will take you out in a heartbeat if you're not paying close attention! Heart in mouth action will find you here! This road is bathed in shadows from the surrounding forest and is a welcome break from the heat of the day. I enjoyed the road.

I came upon a town on KY-160 in Harlan County that had this four sided memorial to immigrant coal miners and the people who support them (wives and family members). This side Says "Many a time, she sewed 20 dollar bills into the hem of a pair of overalls for a miner to mail overseas"

This side says "I met a woman in church who could speak many languages. She helped me write letters home to my father in Lithuania"

This side indicates: "She wrote my mother in Serbia when my brother died." When I got work as a stone mason"

"She wrote my wife in Italy, telling her to come to Harlan County"
"She wrote my grandfather in Hungry, to tell him we started a band"

I saw this warehouse and barn like structure standing side by side in the same little town. I thought it was quite photogenic though I can't state precisely why.

I spotted the Kentucky Coal Museum in Benham, KY. I was short on cash, or I would have gone inside the Museum for photos and an education. It's only six bucks to enter, but I'm just so damn broke lately. I'm just happy to have gas to ride!

In Lynch KY, (right next door to Benham on KY-160) sits this deserted building. It is so very interesting in a photographic way. It belonged to the coal company back in the hey day of mining, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was for. I know it had something to do with storing water, but for what reason eludes me.

Katty corner across the street from the water plant was the Portal 31 display. I didn't spend much time there, in fact none at all. I did stop, but there were about 7 bikers from 2 separate groups there. I didn't feel like getting into conversations with anyone, so I moved on to what I felt was a better photo op anyway. You know how it is: people milling around displays only means I will end up waiting for them to get out of the way so I can get photos, and I will still wind up with their darn legs in the shot. Sucks, so I don't put myself through this. Check out this deserted fire house:

I came across a view of a large strip mine. I would like to have a flotilla of lenses to use while on my travels. I'm poor as a church mouse, so what I have is what I have. This is the best I can do.

It's time to head home. But I found this last building before I turned the wheel southbound for good.

I sure hope y'all enjoyed traveling with me to Kentucky. It sure did me good to be there.