Radio Interview on WRFL Trivial Thursdays with Mick Jeffries – November 7, 2019

This morning I had the privilege of being interviewed on local radio at WRFL-FM in Lexington during the Trivial Thursdays with Mick Jeffries to talk about my new book Less Beaten Paths of America: Beyond Description – More of the Strange and Unique.  As always, Mick does a good job of asking good questions.  I was able to include a few plugs for places like CarhengeUranus Fudge FactoryParadise Point, Bowlin’s The Thing, Wall Drug, Standin’ on the Corner in Winslow, Arizona, and Apple Valley Hillbilly Gardens, among others.

Mick Jeffries and me in the Studio

Following are a few shots from the studio and the complete audio of the interview (used with permission of WRFL).

LISTEN:

Scenes from the studio:

You can purchase my book at fine establishments like Paradise Point Marketplace in Scottsville, KY;  Carhenge in Alliance, MO; Bowlin’s The Thing in Dragoon, AZ and Uranus Fudge Factory in Uranus, MO.  My new book is also available online at Amazon.com at https://bit.ly/sumoflam3

Now with three books available on Amazon!

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Paradise Point (KY) Revisited: September 2019

Visiting with John and Sebrina Erskine to celebrate my new book, which includes a chapter about them!

Back in January of 2018 I made my first visits to the Paradise Point Marketplace in Scottsville, KY and did a blog post about it (see the original post).  In celebration of my newest book release, which features a chapter about Paradise Point, I made a trip down there in mid-September 2019 to sign the book and have a fun visit.  Since they are also an excellent and whimsical eatery, they will also be included in a future book on eateries, so I needed more photos of the place, especially the amazing breakfast items, bakery items and hot dogs.

Paradise Point Marketplace in Scottsville, KY
Funky Junk
Paradise Point

From Lexington, its about a two and a half drive to get down to Paradise Point, which is just down US 31E from the beautiful Barren River Lake State Park and Resort.  They are HIGHLY visible right off the highway and have plenty of parking and seating.  As they have gotten more and more popular, they expanded their seating to a covered outdoor area, which provides much more room for bigger groups.

Expanded Seating at Paradise Point
Breakfast!

I took an early morning drive from Lexington to Bardstown on the Bluegrass Parkway and then exited off to take US 31E south along the Lincoln Memorial Highway (I’ll have a separate post about this scenic drive coming soon).  Other than seeing Sebrina and John, I really looked forward to indulging in their amazing breakfast offerings. They homemake almost everything there and make a sweet tasty breakfast hashbrown casserole, breakfast burritos, cowboy casserole, a couple of types of quiche and a unique french toast casserole, among other things.  Oftimes, on the weekends, their breakfast items sell out, so, if you wanna try them out, you better get there early.  On weekends in the summer, they open at 8 AM CDT.

Breakfast Menu
My favorite is the Hashbrown Casserole
Hashbrown Casserole
French Toast Casserole
French Toast Casserole is yummy too.
Serving Breakfast and goodies
Yes, they have good coffee
Bakery items like brownies, cookies and pies … yum

Along with breakfast, you can pick up some of the other goodies that are bakery items, such as huge cookies, mouth watering pies and other goodies.  After breakfast I was too full to even think about trying these, but they too looked sooooo good!

They also have a huge selection of drinks to wash the breakfast and sweets down, so no need to worry about that either.  And, for the coffee lovers out there, they have some high quality coffee products.  I am not a coffee drinker, but I have heard good things from others about the coffee.

Need a brownie? Look at these!
Me Want Cookie
Look at that pie….yummiferous
Hot Dogs

The last two times I visited, it was in the morning and so I could not try out John’s hot dogs, so I stuck around until hot dog time to try one out.  They have a huge following for their hot dogs so I really had to try one and I loved it.  Me..I am a mustard and hot dog kinda guy, so that’s what I did.  I kicked myself after leaving…should have gotten a couple of the long road trip back.  I will certainly do that.

The Hot Dog thingamajigger
Best Hot Dog
Buns
Yum!
Get your Hot Dog ticket inside and then go get the goodies outside
Hot Diggity Dog
Yummiferous
John sports the Hot Dog shirt
Eat your hot dogs in their big area
John Erskine Art

Of course, food is only a small part of the Paradise Point experience!  The marketplace has a great variety of quirk, color and whimsy, all sprinkled with happiness and joy and love in their shop. From the colorful car and mural enhanced semi trailer, among other things, in the parking lot and adjacent junk and art area to the overwhelming amount of eye-candy merchandise on the inside, this place is a shoppers paradise.  John Erskine is an artist and all sorts of his joy-inspiring art is available for sale in the store, along with other unique things…including Sumoflam books!!!

Here is a menagerie of what you can see at Paradise Point.  Hope you can get down there and have a fun time.

The Art Car gets changed every year. This year its extra colorful
Don’t Postpone Joy is a continual theme throughout the place
Greetings from Paradise Point!
No naughty allowed…be nice or leave
This is where it needs to stay!!
Need a bathroom?
Be warned! Only 3 guys allowed in the rest room at a time
Bathroom Door
More art by John
Be Happy
Patriotism
Used to eat Milky in Japan all the time—so fun to see a can in the middle of reural Kentucky
Lots of fun stare down opportunities
Don’t Forget Ice Cream
Always make someone’s day
Next to a lake…boat ride anyone? Great companions
Wait a minute!! I know this guy!! His books are for sale at Paradise Point!
Get it? (Yes, there are many Amish down in these parts)
Did I mention the Hot Dogs?
Not sure what this is, but they have it Paradise Point!
Need a sign? They have them. And stickers too!
CUSTOM Love Bigger and Don’t Postpone Joy t-shirts are available here
Yes, it makes me happy!

ENJOYING WHAT YOU SEE?  TRY MY BOOKS.

Now have three books out. Check them out!

You can find my books at Paradise Point or you can check my books out on Amazon for more fun reads about my quirky back roads travels.  Get them out on my Amazon page https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0784XVGSW

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Red River Gorge – Slade, KY: A Different Look

Slade, Kentucky Welcome Sign

Ofttimes when we visit a place, we have a destination in mind.  The Red River Gorge area of Kentucky is one of those places.  Visitors typically are focused on visiting beautiful and expansive views of the gorge, hiking some of the well known trails, taking a hike up to the Natural Bridge or something else.

This past weekend (August 31, 2019) I took my wife to the area fora hiking meetup.  This left me with a three hour window to do other things.  I am not able to hike some of these trails right now because my knee has been causing problems.

Red River Gorge
Red River Gorge Scenic Byway

So, after dropping my wife off, I headed back to Slade to do my “offbeat travel”  thing and find some of the unique and quirky of the area.  I had no problems with that, because inevitably, where there are lots of tourists, there are also the quirky and offbeat to draw them in.

Many dangerous cliffs in Red River Gorge, but a climbing heaven for rock climbers.

As the Welcome Sign above indicates, Slade is the “Adventure Capital of Kentucky.”  And it is true.  A drive around the area in the summer months will prove it as one can see license plates from all over the United States and Canada.   According to one website (GEARHUNGRY), the Red River Gorge is the second best, just behind Yosemite for rock climbing.  They call it a “must-do list contender for the serious climber.”   The site notes that there are over 1600 potential climbs in the area.  And Slade caters to these visitors big time.

Slade Welcome Center just off of Exit 33 on the Bert T Combs Mountain Highway
Miguels Pizza in Slade

A drive down Kentucky 11 (also called Natural Bridge Rd.) from the Slade Visitor’s Center will take you past the REALLY World Famous Miguels Pizza and its neighboring Miguels Rock Climbing Shop, both of which cater to climbers big time.

Founded by Miguel Ventura, who was from Portugal, the place has become a go to for climbers and hikers since 1984 (the name was changed to Miguels in 1986).   As the Ventura family continued to befriend climbers, they expanded and opened a campground and soon the place got the nickname “The Camp Four of the East” by climbers. (The Original Camp 4 is a climber’s campground in Yosemite National Park).  For over thirty years the Ventura family has made a name for itself all over the world as a result.  Then, in 2016 in the field behind the Pizza Shop, the Rock Climbing Shop was opened and now is a full-service climbing shop as well as the check-in spot for the campground.

Climbers and hikers from all over the world set up tents in Miguels expansive campground
Miguels Pizza in Slade, Kentucky
The Sign on Highway 11 for Miguels Climb Shop
The artsy Miguels Pizza front door has been opened with hands of people from all over the world

Rock climbing is not the only drawing card of the area.  Another big hitter are the more than 30 big hiking trails in the area.  It includes the 282 mile long Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail which begins in northern Kentucky on KY377 and travels south nearly 290 miles to its terminus at Pickett State Park in Tennessee.  The trail meanders through the Daniel Boone National Forest and also gets its name from the Shawnee name given to Daniel Boone by Chief Blackfish.

Star Gap Arch on Auxier Ridge Trail (#204) in Red River Gorge (Photo by Julianne Kravetz)

But Sheltowee is not the only trail.  There are many other trails from easy to very difficult. Most of the trails are numbered (all are in the 200s) and there are plenty of maps in the area.  Many of the trails offer spectacular views, many arches and lots of scary cliffs!

Cliffs as seen along the Auxier Ridge Trail (Photo by Julianne Kravetz)
Fall Colors over the Red River Gorge in Kentucky
Natural Bridge State Resort Park, Slade, KY
Natural Bridge Skylift

Drive down KY11 a little further and you get to Natural Bridge State Resort Park, home of a large geologic formation called Natural Bridge, which is 65 feet high and 78 foot long.  It is one of the few large arches in the Eastern United States.   The hike is about 2.5 miles long, but those that prefer a more casual adventure can take the Natural Bridge Skylift up to the scenic arch.

I had fun driving through the park and catching some of the unique.  For instance, where can you go to find a unique speed limit, like 23 MPH?  Then there are the other things…

Speed Limit 23 in Natural Bridge State Resort Park
Low Gap Trail leads up to the Natural Bridge Arch
Watch out for Bears!
One Lane Tunnel

Take the opposite direction from Slade on Kentucky 15 northwest to Kentucky 77 which leads to the Nada Tunnel (pronounced nay-duh by the locals), a 900-foot long tunnel which is considered as the “Gateway to the Red River Gorge.”  This unique single-lane rough hewn tunnel was originally built in 1911 for the Dana Lumber Company.  It was named for the small town of Nada, which was a logging town at the time.  Its original use was for a railcars, but has since been paved and is used by thousands of visitors every year as they traverse into the geologic wonderland of the Red River Gorge.

Entrance to Nada Tunnel
A lit up view of the interior of the otherwise very dark Nada Tunnel
Exiting the Nada Tunnel
Wild Things of Kentucky

For me, much of the fun is discovering the “other stuff” that can be seen on the road.  Probably the most interesting “touristy stop” along the way was the Wild Things of Kentucky tourist stop where they advertise their Kentucky Snake Pit, the Kentucky Aquarium, an hilarious restroom and other things.  Sadly for them, they literally JUST missed out on being included in my most recent book about unique and quirky tourist destinations. (Have you seen my new book?  If not, check it out HERE!)

Wild Things of Kentucky -another unique tourist stop
Feed the Goats that reside on the roof

Places like this always try to find things that become a drawing card for tourists.  Indeed, they have some unique finds in the shop.  And, for a small fee you can visit the “Snakes and turtles and fish…Oh My,” as their pamphlet advertises.  Over on the other side of the building you can feed live goats that reside on the roof of the building.  You can get a selfie with their “Sitty Hall” outhouse or with their own version of “Bigfoot.”

Selfie with Sitty Hall
Feed a Goat
Too funny/weird – The Snake Pit
The “Aquarium” includes a couple of turtles
Can’t be a trading post without the Indian
Inside the store
Entrance Fee for Wildlife Exhibit
Better not use the porch! Go use Sitty Hall.
They have goats…why not Goats Milk Products too
Lots of fun shirts and stuff… much of it Red River Gorge themed
Yes, they do have a resident Bigfoot.. He wants you to choose happy

And back to the road…a few more fun scenes from the Slade area roads

Big Arrow
Need Wood?
Go through the tunnel to get to The Depot
A bearable bear
There are folks that set up on an empty corner with lots of interesting stuff
Take the forest roads to the trails and there are forest service restrooms. Some of the signs are funny
And then there was this…

ENJOYING WHAT YOU SEE?  TRY MY BOOKS.

Now have three books out. Check them out!

You can check my books out on Amazon for more fun reads about my quirky back roads travels.  Get them out on my Amazon page https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0784XVGSW

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