May 25, 2012

The road beneath my wheels.....

Kentucky has some of the most dangerous roads I’ve ever been on…there you are twisting around bends at a suggested 20mph when you see something off to the side that you have to look at, like an old car or a broken down barn, or the sunset…and boom you’re onto the next corner scrambling with the reigns to slow the beast down before you both perish into backwoods hick country. 

 The interstate sucks though and so I’d rather deal with a million dead man curves over a mach 2 trip through America. So Highway 90 out of Glasgow worked for me. I just zoned out…driving, smiling, watching, stopping every now and then for a picture and stretch. The thing is the further south I go the more dense this landscape becomes and it makes it feel like you have been driving for a long time because you’ve seen SO much stuff!! Back home when I think about driving I think about 3-4 hrs with stretches of triple digit kilometres between towns. So this is very different territory and it moves fast!! 
All in a days work...recommend only to those who love the road

 I picked out on the map called Pine Knot. I did eventually make it to Pine Knot but not after taking a crazy round about, all the way about, a little bit further about type of path. I drove all over the place trying to find the Cumberland Falls campsite. I found the falls, but the campground, I’m sure well marked, eluded me. So I headed towards Pine Knot thinking that if all else fails I will just sleep on the roadside. Just a note…I had decided to drive without map assistance when I woke up. That got me thoroughly lost…especially driving without a plan. So make no mistake…I missed a great deal of the “Park” but I was having such a damn good time driving…and you can’t do everything ;) 

 I met a fabulous couple in Monticello who I spent some time talking with. The woman was from Morroco and her husband was from France. They had been living in Monticello for about 12 yrs and said that it was just starting to become a really neat little community with a large young population. It seemed like a neat place to me and I drove around a bit to check out the sights. 

 I think that Monitcello is an example of a lot of what is happening in the US. There is no real “recovery” that I can see in any of the towns that I have been in. Certainly some are nicer than others, some have large factories close by, others are logging oriented or mining but outside of Minot I haven’t seen any major construction growth. Now mind you Minot was wiped out by a flood of epic proportions this last year so there is a lot of money in the “rebuild/recover + insurance” business out there but the oil growth is very similar to Calgary's and you can see the explosive potential the city has. Down south here…not so much. 

 But it was amazing and as I scanned the horizon I said to myself…stay on the 90 and you will find a place to sleep for the night. Well the 90 ended up at General Burnside State Park and I have to say I was totally disappointed….it was just..crappy. So without dwelling on it I followed the sign that said “Daniel boone national forest”…and again the drive just over took me. I actually can’t find the exact road that I took so the picture is just generalization…1009? It was tight as hell and speckled with confederate flags and old barns, tormented from years of neglect and weather. There are also a serious amount of churches. If I believed everything I read I’d tell you that Jesus is risen…no wait he’s on his way…nope he’s officially here…oh wait, he’s coming soon....hmm…looks like he’s a busy guy. Maybe he visits by zip code, or first come first serve…not sure. Either or, there is no wonder there is a divide among his flock. However...if Toledo is the start of the religiously oriented belt in america...middle of nowhere Kentucky is the buckle.
 So onward down the road brought me to Cumberland Falls State Park. On hindsight my map shows me that there is a campsite here but I, being map free on this day, did not see any signs for one so after my visit with the falls  headed south…south seems like a good way to go. 

 Well south led me to Pine Knot…which is where I actually picked up my map since I was starting to think about bunking down. I knew there must be some campsites around and to this point I was really surprised I hadn’t seen any posting for state sites (magic words...I HADN'T..meaning there was probably plenty of signage and direction I just missed it while going 50mph through backalley sized roads) . So I spied a site called Blue Heron and started towards it. However….I found myself missing it completely and after finding myself back in Monticello thanks to the 92…I just decided that I was ready to really move south…and drove to Pickett State Park, TN as a random campsite choice. 

 I arrived late…really late but…it was one of the best pay campsites I’ve ever been to. If Mammoth was the first I paid for since starting my trip...Pickett was the first worth every penny. It was private, quite, lots of trails, nice little lake, ferry service (called the green river ferry)…all in all I was so impressed that I stayed 3 nights (didn’t pay for the first one because it was so late the state park guy said to not worry about it)…and loved every minute of it!!!

 I was now officially in the south…I knew it the first gas station I pull into after leaving Pickett.  The attendant accent was so strong it just made me smile. I really do love the southern twang. When I was younger and a waiter I would get asked quite often where I was from because people thought they detected an accent…I’m scared that by the time I’m done I will have adopted the accent!!!

 So as I head towards the south I sort of wonder...which direction should I take??! and turn south...


Cumberland Falls State Park


 Pickett State Park - nicest campground so far

Camp Howard

funky little dam

pan fried (not quite hot enough oil to begin with...but hey you try pan frying over a fire:) ) pork chops, inspired by a delicious cook from the motor city!! Miss you!!

I had bacon...and hot dogs...and a craving for both...yum!

I wish I had some onions...but with some spicy mustard that hit the spot!!

meatballs (with an onion I must have rolled off my counter while driving. Wish I had of found it the day before to go with my dogs!!

while waiting for my water to boil I absorb the park...lovely stuff this Tennessee nature

I was digging the airstream, and his DONT TREAD ON ME flag (the first thing he put up)

I'm not chopping broccoli over felt good to break out the maul again

The meatball stage


I really didn't think I would eat it all...
Random Kentucky/Tennessee

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