Monday, September 19, 2016

Western Adventure - Indian Country IX

Monday September 19, 2016
This trip will be about 4 weeks long as we head to the mountains and buttes of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico.  We hope to see Aspens in their golden glory, enjoy the red rock area, and explore some Indian territory. It is hard to believe this is our 9th trip to this area - we love it!

 We zipped through our early morning checklist and pulled out of the driveway at 8:00 AM.  It was cloudy and rainy – we had the first rain storm in over a month last night.  Fog hung in the valleys as we headed west towards Rogersville.  The sun began peaking out of the clouds as we continued down 11W and turned north up 25 towards Cumberland Gap.  Crossing Clinch Mountain we were back in the fog so no great views of the lakes and mountains to the south today.

11 W to Rogersville

Clinch Mountain

Interesting as we approached the tunnel through the mountain at Cumberland Gap – huge STOP TUNNEL CLOSED sign.  Never seen that before.  Traffic came through from north and then was stopped. A pilot car took two haz-mat tankers through and then when they had passed out on the north  - traffic was again free to go in both directions.  So when they have a haz-mat load passing they stop all the other traffic.  Great safety feature.

Cumberland Gap Tunnel

Little traffic today, we continued on to Corbin where we stopped in a truck stop and drove out white instead of gray!  Our trip is to Colorado Springs – hopefully in 3 ½ days.  We had divided the drive by mileage and our first day destination was Paducah KY.  We thought this was new territory for us – turns out for Ben it was a journey back in time.   At London KY we turned west and would drive 300 miles across the state of KY to Paducah.  We had about 20 miles of 3 lane road until we hit the Cumberland Parkway in Somerset where we had a low traffic 4 lane limited access highway that would take us to Bowling Green.  The terrain was rolling hills and low mountains – very remote but excellent road.  One thing missing on this road were rest stops.

In Glasgow KY we left the road and drove into the town.  It was larger than we expected but places to stop to eat lunch did not materialize.  We pulled into a nice shady parking spot on the courthouse square and we enjoyed our picnic lunch.  Interesting signs – for a small town in rural KY – seems they were ahead of their time!

Between Glasgow and Bowling Green was the road north about 20 miles to Mammoth Cave National Park – for another time. 

Continuing west past Bowling Green we took the William Natcher Parkway north to meet the Western Kentucky Parkway.  This Kentucky road system is impressive. Most of these limited access highways said Future ## Interstate – but it will be many years before they turn them into a part of that system.  As we turned west again there was a Rest Area – Visitor Center.  Seems this is Muhlenburg County – we are back in Coal Country!  Ben got a “Friends of Coal” sticker that he had been wanting!  We also discovered we were near Central City where he stayed off and on for several months back in the 70’s when his company was working on the Paradise Nuclear Plant.  That brought back lots of tales of his activities then.   The rivers all through KY are also vital landmarks in the Path Grant of pre-revolutionary war times in the development of the frontier so I got a history review from Ben.

And as we approached Paducah we passed to the north of the Land Between the Lakes – so we had a geography lesson about the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers that form the two lakes.  We did not have time to stop – this is very interesting country and probably deserves a short trip just to explore.
Cumberland River

Tennessee River

Nice relaxing day.  We arrived in Paducah, rested a bit in our hotel, and had a quick dinner across the street at a Texas Roadhouse.  Maybe tomorrow we will start one of our books – today we did not need anything to pass the time. 

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