2023: Year in Travel and Other Stories – Part 2 – April and May

The second quarter of 2023 was not a super busy travel period for me.  I was still recovering from my shoulder injury, but was thrilled to begin “breaking in” the new (to us) GX460.

Mural in McKee, KY
Sheltowee Trace near McKee
I was struck by the beauty of this old house in McKee, KY
Nature on the Sheltowee Trace

Our first trip was once again associated with the Sheltowee Trace as we traveled to McKee, Kentucky. While Julianne hiked, I drove into the countryside and made a few new discoveries.  After her hike we did our traditional Mexican Food restaurant visit, this time hitting up the El Dorado Restaurant in McKee.  It was our first visit here.

El Dorado Restaurant in McKee

On April 16 Julianne biked the Heidelberg section of the Sheltowee Trace, which is located near Beattyville, Kentucky.  This is a pretty section of the trail, but predominantly road hiking, so taking a nice bike trip on it makes it quicker and more enjoyable.  At this time of the year the wildflowers are in abundance.  I was very excited to see trillium on the side of the road among the numerous wildflowers.  On the way home through Ravenna, Kentucky we also enjoyed some splendid views of huge fields of what is called Butterweed or Tansy Ragwort.

On the road to Heidelberg, KY
Crossing the Kentucky River in Heidelberg, KY
Riding on the backroads of Kentucky
Winding her way along a scenic back road
Giant field of Butterweed near Ravenna
A lovely field of yellow butterweed near Ravenna, KY
Butterweed Field near Ravenna, KY
Riding along another back road
Heidelberg Bridge over the Kentucky River
Not all roads are paved
Trillium in central Kentucky

We made our first out of state trip for the quarter with the bike in tow for a visit to our son’s home up in Liberty Township, Ohio.  From their house we ventured to a nice little bike park in Lebanon, Ohio.  According to the sign it was the Premier Health Atrium Medical Center Bike Park and it had two short trails and three different bike loops.  None of the trails exceeded a mile in length.  After the biking fun we all booked it over to the Northstar Cafe in Liberty for a late lunch.  The menu offered some fun and unique items.

Welcome to the Bike Park
Premier Health Bike Park in Lebanon, Ohio
The family gets ready to ride
Enjoying the ride on the bike path

The next day was a lacrosse day for our grandchildren, so we went to attend the game. But, before we went,  Julianne and I made our way to the Essen Kitchen in the Over-the-Rhine District of Cincinnati where we got brunch. This is basically a small hole-in-the-wall place with a totally plant-based menu.  There is no indoor seating, but there are a couple of picnic tables in the front.  We chose to get it to go and ate it in the car on our way to Lacrosse. It was actually quite good!

Essen Kitchen in Over-the-Rhine District of Cincinnati
Some good vegan food from Essen Kitchen
Another great meal from Essen Kitchen – Bagel and vegan cream cheese and vegan lox

After lacrosse, we began our return trip home.  As always, I wanted some backroads travel so we took a side trip through Miamiville, Camp Dennison and Milford.  Julianne took the bike on the Little Miami Scenic River Bike Trail at the Milford Trail Head. She had a nice ride and I got a few nice photos to add to my ever-growing collection of travel pics.  As both a mural enthusiast and a bird photographer, I was especially excited to see the lovely bird mural in Milford.  It was painted by the local ArtWorks group to commemorate the internationally known naturalist and wildlife artist John Ruthven who was often called the 20th Century Audubon. The 2,500 Square Foot mural was painted by a number of artists in 2021.

Welcome to Miamiville, Ohio
Fun mailboxes in Miamiville, Ohio
Camp Dennison Civil War Site in Ohio
Camp Dennison Museum
Riding the Little Miami Bike Trail near Camp Dennison, Ohio
Welcome to Milford, Ohio
This area is part of the John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail
A portion of the John Ruthven bird mural in Milford, Ohio
Another section of the Ruthven mural
More of the Ruthven mural
A wider view of the John Ruthven mural by ArtWorks in Milford, Ohio

A couple days later, on May 9, we made a trip up to Frankfort, Kentucky.  More murals and colorful things to see.

Welcome to Frankfort, Kentucky
Train bridge in Frankfort, Kentucky
The historic Franklin County Courthouse in Frankfort.
Historic church steeples in Frankfort
Colorful apartments near Frankfort’s River View Park
RJ Corman Children’s Mural painted by Jennifer Zingg and a number of children in 2010
“Wanderlust” by Cecilia Lueza, painted in 2020. It features six Kentucky birds and lots of swirling colors.
The original Kentucky Capitol Building in downtown Frankfort
The famous “Singing Bridge” crossing the Kentucky River in Frankfort

In mid-May Julianne again trekked on the Sheltowee Trace, this time near Salt Lick and Clear Creek Lake, Kentucky.  The wildflowers were still in bloom in many areas.  While she hiked, I visited the Minor E. Clark Fish Hatchery near Morehead to do a bit of bird watching.  We spent the night in Morehead and had dinner at the Melini Cucina Italian Restaurant in Morehead.  It was really good and they provided plenty of food!  On that Sunday, May 21, Julianne and I took a leisurely return trip home and checked out some of the covered bridges in northeastern Kentucky.

Julianne heads off on the Sheltowee Trace near Salt Lick, Kentucky
Salt Lick Creek as seen from Black Sulphur Rd near Salt Lick
Clouds and hills as seen from Clear Creek near Salt Lick, KY
An old barn near Salt Lick, KY
Lovely pastoral scene near Salt Lick
Fields of yellow near Salt Lick
Bee and butterfly as seen on the side of the road near Salt Lick

Our first bridge was the Ringos Mills Covered Bridge near Hillsboro, Kentucky.  This 81-foot long bridge was built in 1869.  From Hillsboro we went to Wallingford, Kentucky to see the Goddard White Bridge.  It is of special note as this is the only remaining covered bridge in Kentucky that utilized what is known as the Ithiel Town Lattice design wherein the timbers are joined with wooden pegs.  This 63 foot long bridge was restored in 1968.

Ringos Mills Covered Bridge history near Hillsboro, Kentucky
Sign on Ringos Mills Bridge
Ringos Mills Covered Bridge
An old overgrown car near Hillsboro, KY
Goddard White Bridge in Wallingford, Kentucky
Goddard White Bridge info sign
Detail of the trusses on the Goddard White Bridge

We next drove through nearby Flemingsburg, a quaint little town.  Then it was on to Mayslick and Mount Olivet, where we saw our third covered bridge of the day.  The Johnson Creek Covered Bridge is a 114-foot truss bridge about four miles from Blue Licks Battlefield State Park.  Mount Olivet is also home to one of only a few Advertising Barns remaining for Rock City.  The See 7 States from Rock City white paint on black barn advertising used to be an iconic way to advertise.

Downtown Flemingsburg, Kentucky
The Fleming County Courthouse in Flemingsburg
Welcome to Mayslick, Kentucky
The Johnson Creek Covered Bridge in Mt. Olivet, Kentucky
Rock City barn advertisement in Mt. Olivet, Kentucky

Our trip continued into Cynthiana, which has become famous because of The Walking Dead television show.  Author and creator Robert Kirkman grew up in Cynthiana.  The town now has a lovely mural depicting the characters.  Cynthiana also has a number of other murals and some lovely historic buildings.  After the drive through Cynthiana, it was back home to Lexington.

Walking Dead Mural in Cynthiana, Kentucky.  It was painted by Cynthiana native Wylie Caudill
Welcome to Cynthiana
“Tater” Truck mural in Cynthiana
Another nice mural in Cynthiana

April and May were filled with fun as we mainly traveled to numerous locations in Kentucky.

Did you enjoy what you saw here?  My books cover so much more.

Enjoy the Ride with Sumoflam
You can get my books online!  The series now has five books and I am working on books six and seven.

Book Six will be all about murals from all over the country!! Watch for them later in 2024.