It didn’t take long to get to Kentucky from Cincinnati as it’s right across the Ohio River. Once I drove out of major civilization, the hills started rolling and my first impression of rural Kentucky was a picturesque barn with or without cows or horses on a hill every few miles or less. While I proceeded down route 75, I searched for a bluegrass radio station as that’s what I was promised. I didn’t find anything particularly bluegrass but I came across “classic” country, so some good old-time country music that doesn’t involve a broken down ford truck or a dead dog. Before I knew it, I was belting out “Roll on big mama” right along with Joe Stamply. Love it. That is the theme song for my Kentucky journey.
The terrain definitely changed as I got deeper into eastern Kentucky. The hills got steeper and steeper until they became mountains and the foliage became denser with an extremely invasive ivy that was smothering the native foliage. The rock cuts along the highway were intense terraced layers of exposed millennia.
My stay in Hazard was pretty relaxing. I came to see a childhood friend, Starla, who I hadn’t really seen much more than in quick passing once since she moved away while we were both preteens. She was the only reason I planned my trip here and at first, I was apprehensive about going to Kentucky because I had only heard backward redneck jokes about the place. I’m quite glad I got past that because Kentucky is gorgeous and Starla is definitely a kindred spirit! As I got closer to Hazard, synchronistically also called the “Queen City” (the Queen City of the Mountains), the road winds through steep mist covered rock cuts and dark foliage. The mountains of Vermont definitely don’t compare. Hazard is a cute dirty no-nonsense mining town tucked into a valley cuddled by overgrown mountains in the middle of nowhere.
I had a great first evening with Starla and her friend, Brad. Starla is a chaplain so I was completely prepared to keep my rough-around-the-edges personality appropriately tucked in but thankfully I didn’t have to do that. She is one of the least judgmental and most open people I have experienced; which in the past I admit I would not see as coinciding traits of someone so devotely Christian. I like that she has expanded my perceptions and that after years of leading separate lives we have a lot of oddities in common. I couldn’t have appreciated my trip to Kentucky more. It was also my 28th birthday yesterday and she was a perfect person to spend it with. Good ole’ fried food, booze and log rolling down a grassy hill made for an awesome celebration. Her friend, Brad, was also wonderfully open and genuine. So two amazing people burst my bubble this week. It was really refreshing.
I spent today driving to Indianapolis. I was going to applaud my GPS publically but then I had some major issues getting through Louisville and I’ve decided that my GPS is not perfect. I love him, but he’s not perfect. That seems appropriate. I did get to see a little of the city because of its malfunction though. That was a plus.
I also stopped at the Woodford Reserve bourbon distillery as I have a propensity for the lovely beverage but I was too cheap to take the tour and I didn’t want to spend the time. I enjoyed the information at the visitor center and headed out. The place was far too fancy for me and full of finicky white-haired people.