A dream day – Kentucky Back Roads driving and then Tommyfest in E-town

Tommy Emmanuel and Michael Kelsey - photo courtesy of Marc Manning
Tommy Emmanuel, c.g.p. and Michael Kelsey         courtesy of Marc Manning

Today (Feb. 15, 2013) was one of those delightful days when I got to enjoy most of my passions…mainly travel, photography and music.  Ultimately, the main reason for the trip was to go to Elizabethtown to see Tommy Emmanuel and Michael Kelsey.  But, I took the long way to do it.  Following is a map with the stops I made.

View Gravel Switch to E-Town in a larger map

Perryville Mural
Perryville Mural

I drove from Lexington thru Danville and then into Perryville.  I made a quick drive through the old Merchant’s Row area of Perryville.

Merchant's Row Plaque
Merchant’s Row Plaque
Severed Head Trading Post
Severed Head Trading Post

After Perryville it was on to the small village of Gravel Switch, KY.  grew up around a gravel quarry on a spur line of the L&N railroad around 1870.  There is not much there now but a small Amish school, a Post Office, a bank and a few houses.

Gravel Switch, KY
Gravel Switch, KY
Gravel Switch Community Center
Gravel Switch Community Center
Amish Buggies in Gravel Switch
Amish Buggies in Gravel Switch

Not far from Gravel Switch is perhaps the most famous place in the area…Penn’s Store.

Penn's Store Sign
Penn’s Store Sign

According to its website, “Penn’s Store is the oldest country store in America being run continuously by the same family. It has been in the Penn family since 1850.” There is a nice writeup about it here.

Penn's Store Road
Penn’s Store Road

The drive from Gravel Switch to Penns Store Road is a bit complicated, but, once I figured it out, it was easy… After passing through Gravel Switch, follow Hwy 243 until you get to a fork in the road where 243 goes left and Hwy 337 goes strait to Bradfordsville. Follow Hwy 243 past the Forkland Community sign and continue until you go over a big bridge at the point where Forkland Rd. continues to the left and Hwy 243 goes right.  Immediately after the bridge you will see the signs above.  Penn’s Store is straight ahead.

Penn's Store
Penn’s Store
Penn's Store dogs
Penn’s Store dogs
The Greeter
The Greeter
The Greeter Part 2
The Greeter Part 2

When I arrived I was met by some very friendly white Labradors.  They greeted me with total friendliness.  Unfortunately, those were the only greeters as the store is currently closed for repairs from a big flood a couple of years ago.  They hope to reopen in mid-April 2013.

Penn's Privy
Penn’s Privy

Perhaps one of the more famous stories is the dedication of the Penn’s Privy outhouse.  The outhouse was built in 1992 and is made of poplar and has a tin roof.  It is a “one-holer.” The dedication was held with several musical friends lending their talents to the days festivities. The shows were headlined by Chet Atkins and Billy Edd Wheeler (who wrote the Grammy awarded Johnny Cash song “Jackson”). Billy Edd also wrote the song “Ode to the Little Brown Shack Out Back”.  The Chet Atkins connection is pretty unique since the evening show with Tommy Emmanuel will have some dedicatory pieces for Chet.  Read the amazing story of Chet and Tommy here.  In Nashville in 1999, Tommy was honored by his mentor, Chet Atkins with the title of “Certified Guitar Player” for his contribution to fingerstyle guitar, a rare distinction shared by only four other people in the world (Jerry Reed, Steve Wariner, John Knowles and Paul Yandell).  More about that later.

Patches Mini Mart
Patches Mini Mart

I soon left the little knob in the woods and headed back up to Hwy 337 to venture towards Bradfordsville, another quiet little town of a little over 300.  Needing a pit stop, I stopped at Patches Mini Mart…an old style country gas station and Mom and Pop type of cafe.  As I found out when I went in, “Patches” is the nickname for owner Patsy Morgeson, who is the chief cook and bottle washer too.  She was a charmer and let me take some photos inside.  I was hungry and though on a mainly vegan regimen, I broke down to have her speciality – fried bologna sandwich with egg and cheese.  Yes, the total antithesis of vegan…  But it was really really good.

Patche's Cafe
Patche’s Cafe
Patche's Mini Mart
Patche’s Mini Mart
Patche's cooks up her speciality
Patche’s cooks up her specialty
My sinful Fried Bologna sammich

I was reminded of Antsy McClain’s song “Mom and Pop Don’t Work Here No More,” as I spoke to Patches.  Located only 9 miles from Lebanon, KY, she is seeing many of her clientele go there to the fast food joints and big box store.  She told me that she is not sure how much longer she will be able to stay in business. I hope Patches and the hundreds of others like here across this country can stay in business so that they can live the dream.

Patche's Mini Mart
Patche’s Mini Mart

I soon found myself back in the car headed toward Lebanon as many of Patche’s customers now do.  But, Lebanon, the geographic center of Kentucky, would have only have one stop on the road for me…the National Cemetery…in the dead center of Kentucky!!

Sumoflam visits the National Cemetery
Sumoflam visits the National Cemetery

Lebanon National Cemetery, is the final resting place for more than 800 Union Civil War veterans, many of whom are buried as unknown soldiers.  Like its sister cemetery Camp Nelson in nearby Nicholasville, KY, the site is comprised of nicely laid out rows of white marble grave markers of both the unknown soldiers as well as many other veterans.  In fact, as I was taking this photo, a procession was on its way into the grounds for another veteran burial.

Lebanon National Cemetery
Lebanon National Cemetery
Lebanon National Cemetery
Lebanon National Cemetery

From Lebanon I made my way to Raywick (per recommendation of Patche’s and her assistant at the Mini Mart). This small village was first settled in 1778 by Henry Prather and James and John Ray.  In 1811, Lloyd Ray married a Nancy Wickliffe, thus the name Raywick.  Raywick is also home to a large Catholic Church.

Raywick Historic Plaque
Raywick Historic Plaque
Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church
Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church

Heading west from Raywick I meandered towards Hwy 527, also known as Scott Ridge Rd.  Saw this sign on the way out of town…notice it says “Your Leaving”…  LOL

Bubba's Pizza Sign
Bubba’s Pizza Sign – Raywick, KY

The drive up Scott Ridge is very scenic as it takes you high up on a hill overlooking the valley below.  At the crest of the hill is a cement lookout, which lets you see over 100 square miles of the scenic Rolling Fork River valley below.  Using my iPhone Panaorama feature, I captured the following photo of the view below:

View from Scott Ridge overlook
Panorama View from Scott Ridge Lookout

Here are a couple more from my Nikon:

View from Scott Ridge
Closeup of farmland view from Scott Ridge Lookout
View from Scott Ridge
Nearly 100 sq. mile view from Scott Ridge Lookout

I proceeded south on 527 to Maple Road and turned right.  I followed this windy path of a road to Social Band Road (what a name…)

Social Band Road
Social Band Road

I continued north to Atilla Rd and then West to KY 210 (Campbellsville Rd.). I went north on that road to Hwy 1192 (Bailey Rd) and followed it all the way to Mt. Sherman Ward Rd.   This road winded southward eventually passing Buck Rub Lane and Fatboy Blvd. You gotta love the names of some of these roads.

Buck Rub Lane
Buck Rub Lane
Fatboy Blvd.
Fatboy Blvd.

Further down the road I came across this little white house with a sign “God’s House” on it.  I am assuming it is a church, but I wondered if God’s house is really this small….

God's Church
God’s House

This eventually led to Hwy 61, which took me into Mt. Sherman.  Like many of the other small towns, there is a Post Office and a couple of other buildings.  I got a kick out of the Outer Limits Youth Center…I conjured up images of the old TV show “The Outer Limits.” (catch a video of the Intro to the show from the 1960s)

Mt. Sherman Post Office
Mt. Sherman Post Office
Outer Limits Youth Center
Outer Limits Youth Center

I continued west on Hwy 1906 towards Magnolia.  Very rural scenery continued.  I love old barns and reminders that I am in Amish country.

Barn with Amish Buggy Sign
Barn with Amish Buggy Sign
Old Barn in a field
Old Barn in a field
Magnolia, KY

I followed KY 1079 west and then proceeded north up Munfordville Rd. to Hwy 1517 (Oak Hill Road).  At that corner I came across an old log cabin, shown below.  This is one of those delights you run across while traveling the less beaten paths.

Old Log Cabin
Old Log Cabin

I headed north up Oak Hill Rd until I got to Talley Oak Hill Rd, where I tool a left and then the next right was my second goal location of the trip (first was Penn’s Store).  Here I came across Wonderland Rd. The name drew some interest for me…but there really isn’t much of a wonderland on this road.

Sumoflam at Wonderland Rd.
Sumoflam at Wonderland Rd.
Trailer on Wonderland Rd.
Trailer on Wonderland Rd.

The trailer above had smoke coming out of the smoke stack, no apparent electricity and only a bike parked in front.  Makes me wonder who is really living in wonderland….

Wonderland Road
Wonderland Road

Wonderland Road ended up at Sonora Road, where I took a left and that brought me to US 31W.  I headed south towards Bonnieville and then into Munfordville.

Bonnieville City Hall
Bonnieville City Hall – Quilt Blocks
Big Bubba Bucks Catfish
Big Bubba Bucks Catfish
Big Bubba Bucks Bustin BBQ
Big Bubba Bucks Belly Bustin BBQ Bliss

Before getting into downtown Munfordville I drove by a Barbecue place called Big Bubba Bucks Belly Bustin BBQ Bliss.  I have always loved the names of local BBQ joints (and I have also enjoyed stopping at them to eat).  Unfortunately, I was running out of time so I wasn’t able to stop. Catfish, fried pickles, sweet tater fries, collard greens and BBQ.  Hmmm…

Kentucky Stonehenge Sign
Kentucky Stonehenge Sign

My third planned stop on this trip was Kentucky Stonehenge., a small replica of the fabled Stonehenge from England.  Actually, it really isn’t quite a replica, but is fun and worth the stop.  Located just off of Interstate 65 at exit 65, go just a bit south on US-31 towards Munfordville.  Turn right on Maple St (where you should see the sign above) and then left on Lynn Ave.  You will see it in the back yard of a house on the right.  The owners have even created a parking area for visitors.

Sumoflam at Kentucky Stonehenge
Sumoflam at Kentucky Stonehenge
Kentucky Stonehenge
Kentucky Stonehenge
Stone Cannons
Stone Cannons
Kentucky Stonehenge pillars
Kentucky Stonehenge pillars

From Stonehenge it was off to the REAL reason for the trip.  Northward to the PAC in Elizabethtown for Tommyfest 11 where the storied and double Grammy nominated Tommy Emmanuel, c.g.p. would be performing with 2004 Guitarmageddon Winner Michael Kelsey.  This program is produced by my good friend Eddie Mattingly and his Trinity Music Productions as part of his Acoustic Guitar Master’s Series.

Sumoflam and Tommy Emmanuel, c.g.b.
Sumoflam and Tommy Emmanuel, c.g.b.
Sumoflam and Michael Kelsey
Sumoflam and Michael Kelsey
Sumoflam and GUITARIST EXTRAORDINAIRE Edgar Cruz
Sumoflam and GUITARIST EXTRAORDINAIRE Edgar Cruz

Over the years I have become close friends with many of these performers thru Eddie and Antsy McClain.  I was thrilled to also see Edgar Cruz, an amazing Flamenco guitarist from Oklahoma City who came out to the show.  I also visited with Bardstown, Kentucky fingerstyle guitarist Pat Kirtley. All of these guitarists are the best in the business, but also are amazing entertainers.  All have performed at the John Hardin Performing Arts Center due to Eddie Mattingly’s great efforts.  Their posters adorn the wall of the PAC Green Room:

PAC Green Room Poster Wall
PAC Green Room Poster Wall

Needless to say, the show was not only magical, it was breathtaking.  Both Michael, who opened the show and then Tommy, played sets that astounded the crowd and kept us totally entertained and amazed at the same time.  It is by far the best musical show I have ever been to.  And I have been to some pretty amazing ones over the years!!  The photography from the show was by my good friend and photographer Marc Manning.  One of the best horse photographers in Kentucky, he is also a premiere concert  and landscape photographer.

Tommy Emmanual and Michael Kelsey
Tommy Emmanuel, c.g.p., and Michael Kelsey courtesy of Marc Manning

This day began with me Enjoying the Ride, but ended with me on an absolute high from the music, the friends and the road trip.  It was an unforgettable day!!

Though I can’t add video from last night’s show, you may want to check out some of the videos on YouTube and on their sites.

Tommy Emmanuel: Locomotivation from NAMM Summer 2009

Tommy Emmanuel, c.g.p. Website

Michael Kelsey: From Guitar Center Guitarmageddon 2011

Michael Kelsey Website

Check out my Michael Kelsey photos from a show in Frankfort, KY in 2010 here

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I’ve Been Everywhere – Part IV: Just a few more fun signs

The last couple of weeks I have focused on town name signs. On my last post I left off at Earth, Texas.  But there are a few more planets out there…real and fictional.

Welcome to Mars
Welcome to Mars

Perhaps Mars, Pennsylvania is the most famous of our planet named towns in the US. No one is sure how the name “Mars” came into being. Some say it was Samuel Park’s wife,  who enjoyed astronomy, and others aver that it might be shortened from Samuel Marshall’s name.  In any case, on March 6, 1895, Mars was incorporated as a borough.  Residents of Mars are often called “Martians”, or “Planets” because of the high school team name, The Fighting Planets.

There are a number of other places in the U.S. named after planets.  SenseList.com has a nice list of the many town names and place names.  Of all of those on that list, perhaps the most well known would include Jupiter, FL, and Blue Earth, MN, which is home to the Jolly Green Giant statue. But, there are other “planets” as well.  How about Romulus in Detroit (I have yet to get a photo of the town sign near the airport!!).  Then, try out Vulcan, Alberta.

Vulcan, Alberta
Vulcan, Alberta
Welcome to Vulcan
Welcome to Vulcan

I really get a kick out of this town.  They have a Starship Enterprise statue, murals on the walls with Star Trek stars, etc.

Welcome to Vulcan (in Vulcan)
Welcome to Vulcan (in Vulcan) — They also have one in Klingon!!

If not a planet, about a Star?  Brightstar, Louisiana

Brightstar, Louisiana

Then there are the town names that may conjure up an inappropriate thought:

Intercourse, PA
Intercourse, PA
Climax, North Carolina

There was actually not a Climax sign for the town, nor is there one for Climax, Kentucky.  But, if you are on Interstate 73 in North Carolina, you will see an Exit sign for Climax and High Point.

Climax and High Point, NC
Climax and High Point, NC

Here are few more quick ones:

Lizard Lick, North Carolina
Lizard Lick, North Carolina
Egg Harbor, Wisconsin
Egg Harbor, Wisconsin
Braggadocio, Missouri
Braggadocio, Missouri

And, where’s Waldo?  Well, in Arkansas of course (though Waldo is also in Kansas, Maine, Florida, Ohio, Oregon, New Mexico and Wisconsin — see more here)

Waldo, Arkansas
Waldo, Arkansas

Want more strange town names for your upcoming trips?  Here are a few sites for you:

Weird U.S. Town Names

Funny Town Names

24 of the Funniest Town Names in America (Reader’s Digest)

America’s Funniest Small Town Names (AARP)

Towns with the Most Unusual Names (Travel Channel)

 

 

 

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I’ve Been Everywhere – Part III: More Unique Town Signs

Rabbit Hash, KY
Rabbit Hash, KY

There are literally hundreds of fun town names around the U.S. and I have barely scratched the surface with them.  In my last post, I noted many names that are common adjectives or descriptive.  This post will have some signs from some of the more unusual place names and hopefully, a little about how the names came to be.

Rabbit Hash, KY sign
Rabbit Hash, KY sign

Rabbit Hash, KY – This small town of about 40 people is right on the Ohio River in Boone County.  Besides its name, it is also famous for its string of mayors…all dogs. Nobody really knows for sure when the original name of Rabbit Hash came to be.  According to a Wikipedia article, ” The hamlet was originally known as Carlton and was required to change its name because mail was being mixed up with the larger community of Carrollton several miles down the Ohio River. It is still the Carlton voter precinct. During the early 19th century the town, now known as “Rabbit Hash”, was well known for a rabbit hash meal. Steamboats often stopped to order the famous hash as they traveled along the Ohio river. A local legend states that, in 1831, a pirate ship docked and entered the town, where they proceeded to burn all of the buildings and kill every person. The next steamboat to stop for hash saw only a three foot sign with the words “rabbit hash” written. It was the only structure standing, and was thought to be the name of the town.”

Metropolis, IL
Metropolis, IL
Smallville Billboard
Smallville Billboard from New Adventures of Superboy #16. Art by Kurt Schaffenberger

Metropolis, IL – Like Rabbit Hash, Metropolis is located along the Ohio River, very close to Paducah, Kentucky. And it really is not a Metropolis (as is typically represented in the Superman movies), but is probably much closer to the Smallville of Superboy fame.  Note the similarities in the two signs above.   Metropolis has had a people living in the area for thousands of years, but the town got its name back in 1839 when the town was platted.  Everywhere you go there are Superman things, including a giant statue in town square.  The town also has another giant guy at the grocery store.  It is also the home to Fort Massac State Park, a great historical site.

-A couple of things of note:

  • On January 21, 1972 DC Comics declared Metropolis the “Hometown of Superman”.
  • On June 9, 1972 the Illinois State Legislature passed Resolution 572 that declared Metropolis the “Hometown of Superman”
  • The city holds an annual Superman Celebration held the second weekend in June.
  • The local newspaper is named The Metropolis Planet, inspired by The Daily Planet, the fictional paper in Superman’s Metropolis.
Toad Suck, AR
Toad Suck, AR

Toad Suck, AR – This name apparently comes from the days when steamboats ran the Arkansas River, well before the current Lock and Dam were built.  Legend has it that when the water was too low, the sailors would dock the steamboats and refresh themselves at the local tavern where they would “Suck on the bottle ’til they swell up like toads.”   Toad Suck is actually only the name of the park.  The town is Bigelow, Arkansas.  However, there is a Toad Suck Convenience Mart that sells Toad Suck Souvenirs and just down the road in Houston, AR you can chow down on steaks at Toad Suck Bucks. You can even visit and like their Facebook Page.

Santa Claus, IN
Santa Claus, IN

Santa Claus, IN – Unlike its counterpart North Pole, AK, Santa Claus is in a much warmer climate. According to the History of the Town, ” it was a child who provided the inspiration in naming this community after Santa Claus. Going into the fall months of 1852, there was no Santa Claus community. Residents of the area had spent months trying to select a name for the community but none of the proposed names carried universal appeal. Then, on Christmas Eve, as the congregation gathered at the church for yet another meeting, the sound of bells was heard outside. ‘Santa!’, a jubilant child rang out, ‘It’s Santa Claus.’ “That’s it!”, shouted one of the elders. ‘Why not call it Santa Claus?’ The residents all agreed and the town of Santa Claus was born.” Like Metropolis, everywhere you turn there are Santa Claus statues.  The Post Office is the only one in the world named Santa Claus.  The town is home to a number of unique Christmassy shops and also has a small amusement park called Holiday World.

Hop Bottom, WV
Hop Bottom, PA

Hop Bottom, PA – This town is located in Susquehanna County and is very near Nicholson, PA, home of the famed Tunkhannock Viaduct. Though the name sounds funny, it does make sense.  The nearby creek bottom at one time was covered with Hop Vines, yes, the hops used to make America’s favorite alcoholic beverage.  as of 2010 there were about 350 residents in the small scenic town.

Tightwad, MO
Tightwad, MO

Tightwad, MO – This is by far one of my favorite road trip stories.  The town, located on Missouri Hwy 7, is very small — only about 30 or 40 residents. It was unincorporated until 1984 though there has been a Post Office there since the early 20th Century.  Supposedly, the town’s unusual name is said to stem from an episode in which a store owner cheated a customer, who was a postman, by charging him an extra fifty cents for a better watermelon.  There is a real bank in town called the Tightwad Bank, which I have written about on some of my other blogs, including this one. The bank sells T-shirts, mugs and hats and you can open an account and get checks with Tightwad Bank on them.  The Tightwad Cafe does not take credit cards.

Dr. Pepper, TX
Dr. Pepper, TX

Dr Pepper, TX – This is the only “fake” sign in my set today, housed outside the Dublin Bottling Plant, which used to be the only place in the world that sold Dr Pepper made with the original pure cane sugar recipe. On 12 January 2012, it was announced that Dublin Dr. Pepper will no longer be produced, after the Dublin Dr Pepper Bottling Company settled a trademark dispute instigated by Dr Pepper Snapple Group.  Until that time, the town would have one day out of the year when they officially became Dr Pepper, Texas.  The Dublin Dr Pepper Bottling was the oldest remaining Dr Pepper bottler until 2012, producing the beverage continuously since 1891.  As for the sign…every June the town would have Dr Pepper Days and the town, for that one day in June, would officially become Dr Pepper, Texas. By the way, notice that the population on the sign is 1024 – from the original 10-2-4 of Dr Pepper.

Bucksnort, TN
Bucksnort, TN

Bucksnort, TN – Yes, there really is a town called Bucksnort. Its a small unincorporated community in Hickman County, Tennessee. It is located near Exit 152 on Interstate 40, a few miles east of the Tennessee River, just down the Interstate from Only, TN, which I wrote about in my last post.  This town name has an unusual story. Apparently, the moonshine business was quite active in the 1880′s. There was a man named William “Buck” Pamplin who sold his homemade brew and people would say “Let’s go to Buck’s for a snort”.  As people often do the whole phrase was condensed down to “Bucksnort” and it stuck.  True or not, it makes for a great story.   By the way, there is also a Bucksnort in Alabama.

Black Gnat, KY
Black Gnat, KY

Black Gnat, KY – Black Gnat is a Green county community about five miles northeast of Greensburg on US 68. Tradition says the community name stems from a time in the late 1800s when the schoolhouse was being painted white and hordes of gnats covered the building.

Fly, Ohio
Fly, Ohio

Fly, OH – While on the subject of bugs, how about Fly, Ohio? This is home of the Fly Ferry Landing. It is just across the Ohio River from Sistersville, WV.  Not sure where the name came from.

Drain, OR
Drain, OR

Drain, OR – I love the sign “Entering Drain.”  Made me feel like my trip was about to go down the Drain.  Actually, Drain is quite a quaint place.  Like other unique towns in Oregon such as Talent and Boring, Drain was actually named after Charles C. Drain, who had emigrated west and purchased the land Drain now sits on back in 1861.  The town eventually grew around the Drain Train Station of the Southern Pacific Railroad.  Today, the town is a small touristy place, famed for the “Drain Castle“, an old Victorian house that is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Drain is also home to a couple of old covered bridges.

Three Brothers, AR
Three Brothers, AR

Three Brothers, AR – Located in historic Baxter County, I could not find much pertaining to this little dot on a map.  There is a Three Brothers Church and a Three Brothers Cemetery. But that’s all I know.

Marked Tree, AR
Marked Tree, AR

Marked Tree, AR – Keeping in Arkansas, Marked Tree, is the only town in the world named Marked Tree. Of even more interest is that the town may be the only one in the world that is located between two rivers a quarter of a mile apart flowing in opposite directions. The town got its name in the 1880s.  The settlers chose “Marked Tree” because of an “old marked tree” on the bank of the Saint Francis River near the railroad camp. The story goes that Osage Indians traveling northward up the Saint Francis River marked a tree at the first point at which Little River is only ¼ mile distant across the land between the rivers. By dragging their dugout canoes across this short portage to Little River they could continue their trip northward and eliminate eight miles of up-river paddling.

Fair Play, SC

Fair Play, SC

Fair Play, SC – This is a small town in Oconee County, in the northwestern corner of South Carolina. There are a couple of churches, a couple of stores and a big lumber yard.  Did lots of digging and all I could find was that the town gets its name from a fight.

DISH, TX
DISH, TX

DISH, TX – DISH (yes, it is officially all caps) is in Denton County, northwest of Dallas. his community, established in June 2000, was originally named Clark. In November 2005, the community accepted an offer to rename itself “DISH” (all capital letters) as part of a commercial agreement with the satellite television company Dish Network.

Bugtussle, KY
Bugtussle, KY
Bugtussle, TX
Bugtussle, TX

Bugtussle – There are officially FOUR Bugtussles in the US that I am aware of.  One in Kentucky, one in Texas, one in Oklahoma and one in Alabama.  The signs above are for the Kentucky and Texas versions, which I visited on one trip the same day.

Bugtussle, Texas – Bugtussle is at the junction of Farm Road 1550 and State Highway 34, ten miles south of Honey Grove and five miles north of Ladonia in southeastern Fannin County. The community was initially called Truss, after John Truss, who settled there. It was founded in the 1890s and had a post office in 1893–94. Later the town’s name was changed to Bugtussle. The most popular legend is that the name commemorated an invasion of bugs that spoiled a church ice cream social although a variation on this anecdote suggests that the relatively isolated spot, long popular as a site of Sunday school picnics, offered little else for picnickers to do after they ate than watch the bugs tussle.

Bugtussle, Kentucky – This is literally on the Tennessee border in Monroe County.  The community was named by local comedians for its doodlebug population.

A final note: The fictitious Bugtussle, TN was the home town of Jed Clampett, from the Beverly Hillbillies.

Tomahawk, WI
Tomahawk, WI

Tomahawk, WI – Next is a chop chop of the Tomahawk. The town of about 3500 traditionally traces its founding to the establishment of construction camps for a dam and a railroad in 1886. The company leading the effort was the Tomahawk Land and Boom Company, headed by William H. Bradley, who is thus considered to be the principal founder of Tomahawk. The town site was platted in 1887, with lots sold in Milwaukee that summer. The city was incorporated in 1891. In the 10 years after the first construction camps were built, Tomahawk grew rapidly, boasting many stores, a three-story hotel, many saw mills, a paper mill, and service via three railroads.  Today is a stop on the road, but there are a few places to eat, a giant moose statue and an interesting sculpture with eagles in the middle of town.

Muleshoe and Earth, TX
Muleshoe and Earth, TX
Earth, Texas
Earth, Texas

Earth, TX – Back to Earth folks…  This town on U.S. Highway 70 and Farm Road 1055 in northwestern Lamb County, was established in 1924 by William E. Halsell. Originally Halsell called the place Fairlawn or Fairleen, but it was renamed Earth, supposedly for a sandstorm blowing when storekeeper and first postmaster C. H. Reeves had to come up with a name acceptable to postal authorities in Washington. Earth was incorporated in 1947.  They do have a great time with the name.  Ironically, it is about a 3 hour drive from the alien infested town of Roswell, NM.

Muleshoe, TX – Since I have it in the photo, how about if I close with Muleshoe. The town derives its name from the Muleshoe Ranch which was founded by Henry Black in 1856. The town was incorporated in 1926. It had been founded just 13 years earlier, when the Pecos and Northern Texas Railway laid tracks across the agrarian expanse of Bailey County.

Part IV: Some faraway places right here on earth….

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