A to Z Challenge: Reflections #atozchallenge

A-to-Z Reflection [2016]During the month of April 2016 I participated in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The challenge had each blogger select a theme and then do a post thematically from A to Z during each day of April , except Sundays.

This was my first opportunity to really participate in this annual event, which just completed its 6th year.  It was not easy!!  I had to not only post something daily, but also create a theme and stick with it.  And, in my perfectionist way, I wanted to make sure there were plenty of photos and commentary.  I wrote in such a way to draw people to the more detailed posts, where ever possible. 

It was a load of fun and I completed the challenge.  Not sure how many actually did, but it was certainly tough, yet fulfilling. 

What I really loved about the event was being able to communicate and link up with others doing the same thing.  I have made some new friends on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.  I have found some interesting blogs to follow and also have a few new followers.

I most certainly look forward to participating again next year.  Now to start thinking of a good theme for next year.  May actually take a long time!!!

A BIG Thanks to Arlee Bird and her wonderful team!!

My blog was number 1337 out of 1670 participating blogs. This year my A to Z posts took readers across the back roads of America to many unique towns.  See what other bloggers posted about, check out the link: A to Z Theme Reveal List for 2016

Following is a complete listing of each with the banners associated with each post’s link. Click on the Lettered Banner to go to the specific post.

ABanner600

The A Towns: Amarillo, TX – Adair, IA – Alzada, MT – Alamogordo, NM – Alligator, MS – Alliance, NE – Ada, MI – Akela Flats, NM

 

BBanner700

The B Towns: Bemidji, MN – Boring, OR – Blackfoot, ID – Burk’s Falls, ON – Booger Holler, AR – Brownsville, TN – Babb, MT – Blackwater, MO – Bena, MN – Bucksnort, TN – Bugtussle, KY – Bugtussle, TX

 

CBanner

The C Towns: Cactus Flat, SD – Centralia, MO – Cape Elizabeth, ME – Climax, NC – Climax, KY – Choteau, MT – Cave City, KY – Charm, OH – Chelsea, MI – Champaign, IL – Cut Bank, MT – Caledonia, ON – Cut and Shoot, TX – China Grove, TX – Cool, TX – Coolville, OH

 

DBanner

The D Towns: Douglas, WY – DeForest, WI – Discovery Bay, WA – Dublin, OH – Dublin, TX – Dragoon, AZ – Denton, TX – Durant, OK – Danville, IL – Dallas, SD – Denver, NC – Damon, TX

 

EBanner

The E Towns: Earth, TX – Eureka Springs, AR – Elbe, WA – Easton, PA – Eldon, IA – Egg Harbor, WI – East Peoria, IL – Embro, ON – Eagle, CO – Endeavor, WI

 

FBanner

The F Towns: Flagstaff, AZ – Friendly, WV – Friendship, AR – Flippin, AR – Fair Play, SC – Fergus Falls, MN – Feely, MT – Flippin, KY – Fly, OH – Four Way, TX – Future City, IL

 

GBanner

The G Towns: Gainesville, TX – Gothenburg, NE – Guthrie, KY – Gregory, SD – Galata, MT – Glasgow, MT – Glasgow, KY – Gardiner, MT – Gillette, WY – Granbury, TX – Grand Forks, ND – Gravel Switch, KY – Gilboa, OH – Georgetown, TX

 

HBanner

The H Towns: Hell, MI – Hamtramck, MI – Hamilton, ON – Hatch, NM – Hico, TX – Hopland, CA – Hoboken, NJ – Hugo, OK – Hershey, PA – Home on the Range, ND – Hamburg, IA

 

IBanner

The I Towns: Indian Head, SK – Intercourse, PA – Ironwood, MI – Independence, MO – Idaho Falls, ID – Iona, ID – Inverness, MT – Iron River, WI

 

JBanner

The J Towns: Jamestown, ND – Joseph, OR – Jeffersonville, IN – Juneau, AK – Jackson Hole, WY – Janesville, WI – Jackson Center, OH – Jamaica Beach, TX – Jamestown, NY

 

KBanner

The K Towns: Kemmerer, WY – Keystone, SD – Ketchikan, AK – Kensington District, ON – Kadoka, SD – Kremlin, MT – Kirkwood, MO

 

LBanner

The L Towns: LeClaire, IA – Lake Nebagamon, WI – Lesage, WV – LeRoy, NY – Lizard Lick, NC – Lake Jackson, TX – Lost Springs, WY – Langdon, ND

 

MBanner

The M Towns: Mt. Horeb, WI – Meadville, PA – Metropolis, IL – Marshfield, WI – Moenave, AZ – Mystic, CT – Montrose, SD – Minot, ND – Mitchell, SD – Mapleton, ON – Medina, NY – Moose Jaw, SK – Mars, PA

 

NBanner

The N Towns: Nicholson, PA – Nekoma, ND – Natchez, MS – Neah Bay, WA – Nauvoo, IL – Newport, OR – Newark, OH – Normal, IL – Nice, CA – New Salem, ND

 

OBanner

The O Towns: Only, TN – Old Orchard Beach, ME – Okay, OK – Oil Springs, ON – Oak Creek, CO – Oacoma, SD – Odd, WV – Onawa, IA – Oddville, KY

 

PBanner

The P Towns: Pella, IA – Peculiar, MO – Pierre Part, LA – Point Pleasant, WV – Paris, KY – Paris, TX – Paris, TN – Paris, ON – Port Orchard, WA – Powder River, WY – Paducah, KY – Port Gibson, MS – Palmyra, NY – Perryville, KY – Paxton, NE – Pembroke, NY – Penn Yan, NY – Ponder, TX

 

QBanner

The Q Towns: Quincy, IL – Quartzsite, AZ – Queen City, OH (Cincinnati) – Quicksand, KY

 

RBanner

The R Towns: Roswell, NM – Regent, ND – Rhinelander, WI – Rabbit Hash, KY – Raton, NM – Red Lodge, MT – Riverside, IA – Rugby, ND – Rudyard, MT

 

SBanner

The S Towns: Steubenville, OH – Stanley, ID – Sedona, AZ – Santa Rosa, CA – Staunton, IL – Sisters, OR – Seymour, WI – Santa Claus, IN – Sandwich, NH – Sweet Grass, MT – Shakespeare, ON – Stratford, ON – Sikeston, MO – Success, MO – Soda Springs, ID

 

TBanner

The T Towns: Tightwad, MO – Talent, OR – Toad Suck, AR – Thermopolis, WY – Teton Valley, ID – Tetonia, ID – Tuba City, AZ – Tornado, WV – Tavistock, ON – Tomahawk, WI – Tripp, SD – Tunica, MS – Tioga, TX – Ten Sleep, WY – Torch, OH

 

UBanner

The U Towns: Uncertain, TX – Uncasville, CT – Upper Lake, CA – Ukiah, CA – Upton, KY

 

VBanner

The V Towns: Vulcan, AB – Valier, MT – Vernal, UT – Vandalia, IL – Vicksburg, MS – Versailles, KY – Vincennes, IN

 

WBanner

The W Towns: Wharton, TX – Welland, ON – Wapiti, WY – Wall, SD – Winterset, IA – Winner, SD – Walla Wall, WA – Worland, WY – Walcott, IA – Waldo, AR – West Montrose, ON

 

XBanner

The X Towns: Xenia, OH – Lexington, KY – Cotopaxi, CO – Oxford County, ON – Texarkana, AR – Texline, TX – Rexburg, ID – Exie, KY

 

YBanner

The Y Towns: Yampa, CO – West Yellowstone, MT –  Yellville, AR – York, NE

 

ZBanner

The Z Towns: Zanesville, OH – Zelienople, PA – Zurich, MT

(154)

A to Z Challenge: The G Towns #atozchallenge

During the month of April I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The challenge has each blogger select a theme and then do a post thematically from A to Z during each day of April , except Sundays. My blog is number 1337 out of 1670 participating blogs. This year my A to Z posts will take you across the back roads of America to many unique what other bloggers will be posting about, check out the link: A to Z Theme Reveal List for 2016

G The G Towns

Gainesville, Texas

Sumoflam at Glen Goode's Big People in Gainesville, TX
Sumoflam at Glen Goode’s Big People in Gainesville, TX
Glen Goode's Big People
Glen Goode’s Big People
Glen Goode's Big People
Glen Goode’s Big People

Across this great country there are dozens of giant Muffler Men, Big Johns and Uniroyal Gals.  In the 1960s these advertised Mufflers, Tires, etc.  Nowadays they can be seen at state borders, at tourist spots or advertising cafes (see Blackfoot, ID in my A to Z Challenge posts as an example).  I have written a post all about these giants HERE. Then there are folks like Glenn Goode (who passed away in March 2015).  Known as the Fiberglass Man because of his collection of these giants, he was in the fiberglass and sandblasting business for over 44 years.  On his property on Walnut Bend Road, Gainesville, he had five big fiberglass people .  See my full post about his unique site in the middle of nowhere HERE.

Gothenburg, Nebraska

Gothenburg, Nebraska 2007
Gothenburg, Nebraska 2007
Original Pony Express Station, Gothenburg, NE
Original Pony Express Station, Gothenburg, NE
Sod House Museum, Gothenburg, NE
Sod House Museum, Gothenburg, NE
Barbed Wire Indian at Sod House Museum
Barbed Wire Indian at Sod House Museum
World's Largest Hand Plow at Sod House Museum
World’s Largest Hand Plow at Sod House Museum

Back in 2007 I ventured west to Washington with my son for some shows with Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadours.  Along the way we visited a number of states and places.  One of the more unique stops along the way was in the town of Gothenburg, Nebraska.  This town is apparently one of only two Gothenburgs in the entire world, the other being the famed city in Sweden. Gothenburg is probably most well known as the home of the Pony Express in Nebraska. The town has become somewhat of a tourist attraction with the Pony Express building and also the Sod House Museum, which is just off of Interstate 80 at exit 211 to the left as you go into Gothenburg. The Sod House Museum was dedicated to the settlers of this area who initially built their homes out of sod.  Also at the Sod House museum are two barbed wire sculptures including an Indian and a Buffalo.  Both have well over 4 miles of barbed wire in the work.  See my write up about this 2007 visit HERE.

Guthrie, Kentucky

Welcome to Guthrie, KY
Welcome to Guthrie, KY
Pink Elephant in Guthrie, KY
Pink Elephant in Guthrie, KY
Cow with Pink Sunglasses in Russellville, KY (around the corner from a big pink elephant - see below)
Cow with Pink Sunglasses in Guthrie, KY (around the corner from a big pink elephant – see below)

Guthrie, Kentucky is located at the junction of US Highway 79 and US Highway 41 near the Tennessee Border.  I ventured through here on my way to Memphis and the Blues Highway in the fall of 2014 (see a couple of other A to Z Challenge towns in earlier posts including Alligator, MS and Brownsville, TN from this same trip.  Paris, TN and Paris, TX will also be included in my P Towns post.).  Guthrie has its own version of a Pink Elephant (different from the one I posted about in DeForest, WI in my D Towns post).  They also have a pink sunglass wearing giant cow. You can see full details of this visit and more photos HERE.

Gregory, South Dakota

Welcome to Gregory
Welcome to Gregory
Gregory Wall Art
Gregory Wall Art
Giant Pheasant statue in Gregory, SD
Giant Pheasant statue in Gregory, SD
Gregory - Home of the Gorillas
Gregory – Home of the Gorillas

Gregory, South Dakota is another town along the Oyate Trail. South Dakota is the pheasant capital of the U.S. and this area of the Oyate Trail is one of the centers of the pheasant hunting world (and, in Gregory there is also a Gorilla or two….). Apparently Gregory is “The Ground-zero of Pheasantdom” according to Fortune Magazine in 1992.  You can read more about my visit to Gregory and see some photos of old movie theaters, interesting bars, etc., in my 2013 Oyate Trail post, which can be seen HERE.

Galata, Montana

Motel Galata on US Hwy 2 - The Hi-Line - in Galata, Montana
Motel Galata on US Hwy 2 – The Hi-Line – in Galata, Montana
The Ghost Town of Galata, Montana
The Ghost Town of Galata, Montana

Galata, Montana is one of two Montana and US Highway 2 Hi-Line towns I am including in this G Town post.  Located about 23 miles east of Shelby, Montana, Galata is practically a ghost town.  But the 1960s era neon sign advertising the Motel Galata is a classic.  Definitely something worth looking for on a roadtrip across northern Montana.

Glasgow, Montana

US Highway 2 in eastern Montana outside of Glasgow, Montana
US Highway 2 in eastern Montana outside of Glasgow, Montana
Hangar Bar and Grill in Glasgow, Montana
Hangar Bar and Grill in Glasgow, Montana
Welcome to Glasgow - large metal artwork by Buck Samuelson
Welcome to Glasgow – large metal artwork by Buck Samuelson
Train mural in Glasgow Montana on the side of a building
Train mural in Glasgow Montana on the side of a building

On the eastern end of Montana on US Highway 2 is the town of Glasgow, Montana.  A town of about 3000, it is a colorful place with all sorts of dinosaur lore.  As one proceeds west on US Hwy 2 out of Glasgow, you will see dinosaurs up on the hillside. These and the other animals and sculptures (as well as the dino at the Hangar Bar) are all creations of artist Buck Samuelson, who offers them for sale. Read more about US Highway 2, the Hi-Line Drive across northern Montana HERE.

Glasgow, Kentucky

The Plaza Theatre in Glasgow, Kentucky
The Plaza Theatre in Glasgow, Kentucky
Wall Art in Glasgow, KY
Wall Art in Glasgow, KY
Painted Facade in Glasgow, KY
Painted Facade in Glasgow, KY
More Wall Art in Glasgow, KY
More Wall Art in Glasgow, KY

There are apparently 21 places in America named Glasgow that range from a tiny town in Fallen Timber County, Pennsylvania, which has 63 inhabitants, to Glasgow, Kentucky the largest of them all with a population of  just over 14,000. As a Kentucky resident, I have visited many of the towns and Glasgow is unique because of its cultural depth with an amazing old Theatre and its many wall murals. Founded in 1799 by a group of Revolutionary War veterans, Glasgow boasts historic homes and buildings, the South Central Kentucky Cultural Center, downtown walking/driving tours, Barren River Lake State Resort Park and Brigadoon State Nature Preserve. The town sits at the intersection of US Highway 68 and US Highway 31.

Gardiner, Montana

Entering Gardiner, Montana
Entering Gardiner, Montana
Old ghost sign in Gardiner where they claim to sell everything
Old ghost sign in Gardiner where they claim to sell everything
Sumoflam at Roosevelt Arch in Gardiner, Montana at the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park
Sumoflam at Roosevelt Arch in Gardiner, Montana at the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park
Buffalo in Yellowstone Park
Buffalo in Yellowstone National Park

Montana is a huge state and so it is not a surprise that this post has three G Towns.  I would be remiss if I didn’t include Gardiner, Montana, which is situated in Southwest Montana, at the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park. The town is nestled in breath taking Paradise Valley, with the Yellowstone River running right through town. The Roosevelt Arch is the most famous structure in Gardiner. This Yellowstone Entrance, Gateway or Arch was dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt on 24 April 1903. The arch is visible two miles north of Gardiner on US Highway 89.  See more about my 2014 trip down Montana’s US 89 and Yellowstone HERE.

Gillette, Wyoming

Welcome to Gillette, WY
Welcome to Gillette, WY
Large Wall Mural in Gillette, WY
Large Wall Mural by Harvey Jackson in Gillette, WY
Rockpile Museum - Gillette, Wyoming
Rockpile Museum – Gillette, Wyoming

In June 2013 I made my way to Rexburg, ID and passed through Wyoming on my way to Yellowstone National Park.  (I noted the Montana entrance above).  On this particular trip I found my through Gillette, WY on my way to Cody and Yellowstone.  Gillette is home of a few nice murals, an artist walk with a number of unique sculptures that change each year and then there is the Rockpile Museum. This Campbell County Museum focuses on general, regional, and local history with an emphasis on the culture and people of Campbell County.  It was opened in 1974 at the site of the historic natural rockpile, which has been a piece of Gillette history since the 1890s. See my full report about Gillette and the drive to Cody and on to Yellowstone HERE.

Granbury, Texas

Welcome to Granbury, Texas
Welcome to Granbury, Texas
The County Court House in Granbury, Texas
The County Court House in Granbury, Texas
Who would stay in the Nutt House Hotel?
Who would stay in the Nutt House Hotel?
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center near Granbury, Texas
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center near Granbury, Texas
Giraffe Eye taken at Fossil Rim
Giraffe Eye taken at Fossil Rim

The town of Granbury, Texas, south of Fort Worth, is a fun place to visit, filled with history, an old fashioned courthouse square surrounded by unique shops and some good places to eat (especially Babe’s Chicken!!).  It is home to the Nutt House Hotel (crazy name eh?).  Not too far down the road is the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, an amazing drive thru Wildlife Park in Glen Rose, TX (another G Town!) The current facility has grown to 1700 acres and has over 1000 animals, with 50 species of native and non-native animals, including Cheetah, Rhinoceros, Giraffe, various African antelope varieties, Zebras, Ostriches and Rheas, among many others.  You can see dozens of photos of the park and also more on Granbury in my 2012 post HERE.

Grand Forks, North Dakota (Honorable Mention)

Grand Forks Smiley Water Tower
Grand Forks Smiley Water Tower

Grand Forks is another US Highway 2 town also cut through by Interstate 29.  I mention it here because of its famed Smiley Water Tower, one of three or four in the US (note the Adair, IA Smiley in my A Towns post).  This tower has the Smiley above and on the other side of the water tower is a Winking Smiley.  You can see more photos of it and also see more about my 2014 US Highway 2 drive through North Dakota HERE.

Gravel Switch, Kentucky (Honorable mention)

Gravel Switch Community Center
Gravel Switch Community Center
Gravel Switch, KY
Gravel Switch, KY
Amish Buggies in Gravel Switch
Amish Buggies in Gravel Switch
Penn's Store Sign
Penn’s Store Sign
Penn's Privy - a famous outhouse!
Penn’s Privy – a famous outhouse!

With a unique name for a place, 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. Not far from Gravel Switch is perhaps the most famous place in the area…Penn’s Store.  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. I drove through there on a trip to Elizabethtown, KY in February 2013.  See the entire post HERE.

Gilboa, Ohio (Honorable mention)

Stinky's Country Well - Gilboa, Ohio
Stinky’s Country Well – Gilboa, Ohio
Giant Steer in Gilboa, OH. I have seen many similar ones in other places
Giant Steer in Gilboa, OH. I have seen many similar ones in other places

On one of my trips back to Kentucky from Canada in 2008, I drove through the community of Gilboa, OH.  Thy had a humongous steer statue and also a unique restaurant/bar called Stinky’s Country Well.  Had to include Gilboa for these reasons.  The town is on US Highway 224 west of Findlay, OH.

Georgetown, Texas (Honorable mention)

A mural in Georgetown that depicts some of the towns more famed buildings
A mural in Georgetown that depicts some of the towns more famed buildings
Statue of Three-Legeged Willie in Georgetown, TX
Statue of Three-Legged Willie in Georgetown, TX
The distinctive Onion Dome on the San Gabriel Masonic Lodge Building in Georgetown, TX
The distinctive Onion Dome on the San Gabriel Masonic Lodge Building in Georgetown, TX

Finally, on Interstate 35 north of Austin lies the historic town of Georgetown, Texas.  I have had a couple of opportunities to visit there in the past few years and it is a unique place.  The town features some of the best Victorian architecture in the state of Texas.  And then, there is the story of “Three-Legged Willie” (Robert M. Williamson), the beloved Texas patriot, Ranger, lawyer, judge, newspaper editor, and Williamson County’s namesake. Known affectionately as Three-legged Willie due to the wooden leg he used following an illness when he was 15. His right leg drew up at the knee and could not support him. Thereafter, he wore a wooden leg, leaving his useless foot extended behind him. A lawyer at 19, he fought with the cavalry at the Battle of San Jacinto. An enthusiastic supporter of Texas statehood, he named one of his sons Annexus.

Did You Miss My Other A to Z Challenge Posts? Click on a letter below to see the others.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Learn More About the A to Z Challenge and visit hundreds of other participating blogs (click logo below)

A2Z-BADGE [2016]

(59)

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

(1283)