Drifting in and out of Kentucky

Drifting in and out of Kentucky.


For the past week we’ve been drifting in and out of Kentucky. Not wanting to stray far from the Ohio River, we skipped back and forth across it from Kentucky into Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Kentucky is now in the rear view mirror as we follow the Ohio River north through West Virginia.

We first crossed the river at Cairo IL. At Metropolis we crossed back into KY. That stretch of Illinois from Cairo to Metropolis along the river is NOT booming. Most “downtown” areas are abandoned and in decay. I did run into a fellow in Cairo who is buying some of the old downtown buildings for next to nothing. He is speculating that a port is being built in there and Cairo will flourish once again. In their heyday, many of the buildings were quite grand.

Metropolis isn’t in much better shape economically. In 1972 they latched onto the Superman relationship and have incorporated him into the downtown with statues and museums and street names. The only going concern I could see was Harrah’s Casino. Oh, they have a uranium processing plant. Over 40 employees have died from cancer caused by radiation and the U.S. Government has paid out more than $15 million to workers who were exposed from 1959 to 1976. In 2012 the plant operator pled guilty to releasing radioactive mud throughout the town. Yikes!

After seeing the decay in riverfront Illinois, we hopped back across to Kentucky where we camped at Axtel campground on Rough River Lake for a couple days. It was an excellent campground with nice sites, beautiful view of the lake and a beach. The dog and I swam right from our campsite.

Two days later we enjoyed the highlight of our time in Kentucky. After many years I was able to enjoy time with a dear friend and his lovely wife. Laura and Vic Miller. I met Vic at his museum …. er …. I mean bicycle shop, Vic’s Classic Bikes in Louisville at around 1600. It was a treat to watch him in action. A fellow had brought in an old bicycle. One he had owned since new and rode daily. It was somewhat of a classic and he and Vic were practically finishing each other’s sentences since both of them knew quite a bit about that particular model.

I’ll simply say this: if you are within driving distance (or, he will ship) and you want value in a quality, serviceable classic bicycle, go see Vic!! He is a wealth of knowledge, his workmanship is meticulous and his prices are fair!

Closing time came and I followed him to his home in the suburbs (I guess. Remember, I live in the mountains far from hustle and bustle). They made a space for me to park MOBI in the driveway. Heck, I even plugged in. We enjoyed beverages of choice and dinner out on the patio which overlooks a most deliberate and natural setting. They have labored tremendously to build fish ponds and gardens and habitat in their back yard and it is delightful. We sat out there way past bedtime talking. It was great fun. The following morning after a hardy breakfast we parted ways. It was a great visit.

The next stop was across the river again. This time in Indiana. Rising Sun Indiana to be precise. This is yet another small river town that has seen the economy peak and ebb. However, the downtown has enjoyed a revival complete with new business and restoration of classic buildings. I asphalt camped at a near by Casino. I unloaded the motorbike and explored a bit and enjoyed talking with several natives. I didn’t find any really catching photo opportunities though.

With no pressing reason to stay, I once again headed up river the next morning. I think I hopped back and forth across the river several times this day. To be honest, I’ve lost count of just how many times I’ve crossed the Ohio River on this trip.

We landed on Lake Vesuvius at Iron Ridge Campground in Ohio. I set up camp, unloaded the motorbike and did a little scouting. I found a spot high above the lake that would give me a good photograph in the morning. Back at camp I enjoyed cocktails, a cigar (unfortunately I left my good Ybor City cigars at home) and then cooked dinner. Just so you know, we still eat fairly well on the road. I enjoyed Cuban mojo pork with 5 cheese pasta. Ummm that was the last of my Cuban roast pork. The next to come out of the freezer will be chicken and yellow rice that I cooked and froze just a couple days before embarking on this RoadTour. When that’s finished I’ll have to figure out my meals as I travel. Hey, Maine has lobster, right???

The morning photo shoot at Lake Vesuvius never happened. It rained all day. Oh, I grabbed the gear and took off and was immediately met with rain. Oh well. Back to camp and catch up on some reading.

In the morning I again hopped across the river to Kentucky and skirted its shores well into West Virginia.


We enjoyed Kentucky. We’ll most likely be back one day.

Lynchburg lemonade

 

We’re camping in the municipal park on the town square

Yesterday I investigated several shops on the square. This morning dog and I enjoyed coffee and fetch outside while purple martins scooped up their breakfast.

Rain is in the forecast but I may grab some rain gear and walk over to the distillery for a tour.

The 2017 RoadTour is off and running.

Heading to WInthrop to set up for the Art…

Winthrop Arts Festival is upon us.

I will be heading over to Winthrop to set up this afternoon. I hope to see many of you over the weekend. Please stop by and say hi.

Cheers

Paul.

Home again

Our Snowbird Run 2017 has ended and we are back home safe and sound.  The trip morphed into an Oyster and Beer Odyssey.  I made up for lost time and sampled (more like gorged on) oysters all along the Gulf Coast.  It was a good trip.

Now I have to roll up my sleeves and put my exhibit together for the up coming Winthrop Arts Festival in Tampa on March 25th and 26th.

Dog and I hope to see you there.

Cheers.

Gulf Islands National Seashore

We are camping at Fort Pickens campground enjoying sun, beach and exploring a fort that spanned 3 wars.

A month on the road

It’s been a month since we began our Snowbird Run 2017 and Dog and I have enjoyed every day.

First stop was visiting good friends in Georgia. It was driveway camping at its finest.

Next was driveway camping at Ichetucknee Springs at one of my closest friend’s homes.

Qcala was next with more driveway camping at a friend’s place.

From ocala it was Astor FL on the Saint John’s River at the bottom of Lake George. Driveway camping again but at a total stranger’s place. I was lucky that some Blairsville friend’s were camping in the area and they arranged for me to park at a vacant house owned by generous folks across the street. Thank You! Taco Thursday at the VFW was a fun, laid back dinner with friends.

From Astor it was north east to Saint Augustine where the recent addition of a Yamaha trail bike proved to be a good decision. I was able to ride through town and enjoy the sights.

After Astor I headed to Tampa Bay, stoping at Circle B Bar Reserve in Polk County at sunrise. Here is a photograph from there:

When I arrived in the Tampa area I resumed my driveway camping at good friends in Mango for a couple days. Then it was down to the old neighborhood on the Alafia River with an executive camping spot at a neighbor and good friend’s home. Their’s is a stilt home with full accommodations down stairs and room for me to park right next to it. And, Dog really enjoyed hanging out in the old neighborhood and visiting with friends. So did I.

Well, we’re off today to begin the return trip home via Apalachicola, Santa Rosa Island, Biloxi and Laurel Mississippi.

Cheers!

Streaking the Milky Way. 

Once in a while I don’t have to travel very far to snap a photograph.

For this one, I walked out of my kitchen, coffee in hand and stepped onto my back deck. I’m fortunate that we do not have a lot of light pollution here in the north Georgia mountains.

11mm, ISO 5000, f/2.8, 20 seconds. Nikon D740 and Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8
I find it interesting that the Nikon D750 recorded those colors in the trail of the meteorite. Perhaps it was due to the high ISO noise reduction or maybe the long exposure noise reduction. Both of which which I had turned on. Or maybe it was the combination of both? I will have to do some research.

In the desert you can remember your name


(Dewey Bunnel)

On the first part of the journey

I was looking at all the life

There were plants and birds and rocks and things

There was sand and hills and rings

The first thing I met was a fly with a buzz

And the sky with no clouds

The heat was hot and the ground was dry

But the air was full of sound

 

I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name

It felt good to be out of the rain

In the desert you can remember your name

‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain

After two days in the desert sun

My skin began to turn red

After three days in the desert fun

I was looking at a river bed

And the story it told of a river that flowed

Made me sad to think it was dead

You see I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name

It felt good to be out of the rain

In the desert you can remember your name

‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain

 

After nine days I let the horse run free

‘Cause the desert had turned to sea

There were plants and birds and rocks and things

There was sand and hills and rings

The ocean is a desert with its life underground

And a perfect disguise above

Under the cities lies a heart made of ground

But the humans will give no love

Heyleigh’s favorite park


While the highlight of her trip was swimming in the Snake River at Idaho Falls, her favorite park is Yellowstone. How do I know, you ask?

She has never been up on furniture. Except in the RV where she sits in the passenger seat so she can see out the windows. 

Generally she sits there awhile and then curls up on the seat and dozes off. If an interesting smell drifts in through the window she’ll sit up and check things out. Or if the road changes or if I slow down as if to stop she will sit up and see what’s up. Most of the time though, she curls up and snoozes. 

But, in Yellowstone she did not lie down and snooze. She sat up the entire time we drove around, checking everything out. I think Yellowstone presented her with interesting smells. Much more interesting than anywhere else we’ve been. 

Cheers!

Imagine the view

I can only imagine the view they have while floating above the Northern Utah Mountains.