…and then I came down out of the mountains onto the plains, following the path blazed by Daniel Boone, through the Cumberland Gap. And three states. I had no idea where I was, how I got there, and I’m still not sure what time zone I’m in. But let’s back up a little bit.
I could have stayed in Asheville for a week. It’s a beautiful, scenic town nestled against the Blue Ridge Mountains. Which are also the Smokey Mountains from the Tennessee side. Which are also all of the Appalachian Mountains. I had heard about the Blue Ridge Parkway so headed north. My uncle, from North Carolina, warned me and he was right: you can spend a long time on the parkway and not get very far. It took me most of the morning to travel about 30 miles. It’s a beautiful road that actually winds its way down from Roanoke, VA into Georgia. It’s amazing in the summer time, I was told, but spectacular in the fall with the changing of the color of the trees.
I left the parkway in a little town called Little Switzerland. There was this amazing bookshop. I could have spent a day in there alone. But it was time to head to Kentucky. Somehow or another, I started in North Carolina, went to Virginia, then to Tennessee, then back to Virginia, then back to Tennessee and finally into Kentucky. A rainstorm hit and smoke could be seen rising up off the mountains.
I got into an argument with Siri. SHE wanted me to take the quickest route. I didn’t. Unfortunately (i.e. typically), this conversation took place with Pappa Bear on the phone.
“You are the only person I know,” Mike said, “that doesn’t want to take the quickest route.”
There is a reason. You know what you’ll get on the quickest route: big highways, trucks, and whizzing through without seeing anything. When you take alternate routes, it’s like rolling the dice. There is always the chance of not seeing anything. But there is also the chance of seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary. Like in Kentucky.
My first stop was Fort Boonesborough State Park, southeast of Lexington. My next stop was my hotel in Georgetown, just north of Lexington. Siri wanted me to take the quickest route, back the way I came and up the highway, a 35 minute drive. The longer way was an hour drive circling around. It was just ordinary Kentucky I was told by the hotel clerk. Just lots and lots of horses and lots and lots of horse farms. It was an amazing drive through neighborhoods. It was just like the neighborhoods in Philly, but each plot was the size of a city block enclosed with fences. I’m going to see if I can film some of it tomorrow.
North on 627. Northwest on 1958 to 64. Then came the fun part: North on 859 (Haley Road), left on Briar Hill Road, right on Houston Antioch Road, left on 68, then right on Iron Works Pike to Mt Horeb Pike to Lemons Mill Road then to McLelland Circle.
My timing, as always, is impeccable. The Horse Park is closed Monday and Tuesday so I’m going to see about some horse farms and then over to Louisville to see Churchill Downs on my way to Nashville. Only one state this time.