We moved to the
mountains of eastern
Kentucky a few years ago and noticed that people here seem to each have
a special relationship with their vehicles.
They never buy one new and of course never sell them either.
just sort of pile up in the field between the house and the
The Sunday drive is still a fixture here. But the older folks
drive so slow they might not get back till Tuesday.
The teenagers on the other hand drive so fast on our winding roads that
they often catch a glimpse of their own taillights as they go around a
curve. I don't know how they do that exactly, especially when their
girlfriend is with them making her best effort to distract them.
The main roads, those are the ones with white lines down the middle,
have a lot of road signs. They have to since it is apparently
requirement that drivers be warned of every curve. If they
established the practice of marking the straight sections instead, they
would easily save 95% of the cost. All the extra signs do
purpose though. Where else would you find such convenient
targets. They all have enough pockmarks and holes it looks
some virulent sign disease is rampant. If all the damage was confined
to the middle of the zeros in the speed signs I would have some faith
that the shooters were competent. However, a sign advertizing
some business can be 8 high by 12 feet wide and the holes will be all
over it. Scattered randomly about you may see the results of
several shotgun blasts. The tight pattern of some of them
suggests that the shooters were not more than 10 feet away.
peppering the sign you will find dents, probably from 22s, and holes
from hunting rifles. I haven't noticed any sets of holes
lines which probably means either they aren't using fully automatic
weapons or their aim is so unsteady that by the time the second round
is fired the gun is aimed in some other direction. This is
say that some folks aren't using impressive artillery. Two
in particular stick in my mind. One has a hole that a golf
would easily pass through the other has one that looks like it was made
by a cannon.
Most roads, even the paved ones, are barely wide enough for two pickup
trucks to pass. If you meet anything larger, say a tractor pulling a
hay wagon you may have to put your vehicle in reverse and find the wide
spot you passed only a mile or so back.
We don't have a lot of flat land around here. The closest we
to flat is where it goes from going up to going down or the other way
around. So when they built our roads they generally hung them
a ridge line or wedged them in a valley. The ones in the
are relatively safe if you don't happen to encounter one of those
teenagers seeing just how fast they can make it through "The
Curves". Yes, there is a stretch of road that has acquired
name even though it isn't much different than any other to the
unpracticed eye. Most of the time you should plan your route
stay in the valleys if you can. If you run off one of those
roads, say you found a cow standing in your lane as you came around a
curve, you will hit something rather soon with no more energy
than what you brought along with you. The ridge line roads
different matter. There are no guard rails and the berm is a
or less wide. Get a little distracted, let your attention
or discover that cow and you can easily find yourself running off the
road. No, make that falling off the road. You won't
drive into a ditch or the adjacent field. You will join the
airborne and you probably didn't bring your parachute. So
you finally come to rest against whatever is at the bottom of the hill
you will have a great deal more mashed metal and bones than you planned
on when you started the trip.
If you do see an accident don't bother to try your cell phone to report
it. The coverage is spotty. There is a hundred yard
of road near our mailbox a half mile from our house where ours works
and a few places like that along the ridges but the closest reliable
service is on the interstate in the next county. One
that you won't see anyone driving along paying more attention to their
cell phone than their driving. Of course those that do aren't
the road long anyhow.
Because the hills are steep and the valleys narrow there is one time
that you should definitely consider using the ridge line
During spring rainstorms that quiet glen you normally enjoy driving
through simply fills up. During one of these cloudbursts it
behaves just like a funnel that can't drain as fast as it is being
filled. The level in the creek at the bottom rises and rises
fast. If you happen to be driving along one of those roads
then you may find yourself in a impromptu water craft. And
I enjoy whitewater sports this is decidedly a level 6 rated
experience. In river sport language that means it is a
threat to life and limb. Avoid it if you can.
We have a lot of gravel roads and they take a lot of work to
maintain. It seems like the gravel just sort of sinks into
dirt. I wonder why they don't use the kind of rocks that
the surface like those that we find in our garden every spring.
You will see some motorcycles on the roads. If the driver is
wearing a helmet you can be sure he is from out of state no one around
here would ever plan on needing one.
We don't get a lot of snow but then again we don't plow or salt most of
the roads either. The numbered state roads usually aren't too bad but
getting to them can be a problem. Venturing out some winter
mornings on any of the rest can result in an off road
Some tourists travel a long way and pay big money for that sort of
thing. They could visit us and get it free.
By the time of the spring thaw we can have potholes that are big enough
to get their own name like maybe, Corn Mash Holler.
There are a couple of places around here where that name would be
particularly appropriate. We still have some folks around
who are experts in converting corn mash to the most fabled product of
the hills. While I have never actually seen a bootleggers
executed in the heat of pursuit there are those who claim it's well
worth knowing how to do. I do know that it is worth having
of their product around if you get enough snow to make venturing out
risky. Of course venturing out then stays risky for some time
after the snow melts.
If you did hear that the storm was coming and decided to run to the
convenience store at the nearest gas station to get in some supplies
you better like HoHos, Twinkies, and Moon Pies because there isn't much
There is more litter along the roads than there should be.
thing I don't understand though is why the pop bottles you see are half
full and have their caps on. OK, I can guess the reason for
Pepsi bottles with yellow liquid but most of the contents look like
they are consistent with the labels. That is only based on
see as I drive along. My curiosity isn't enough to get me to
up one to see what it really contains.
Our county is dry, no alcohol sales at all, at least not
All the counties surrounding it are dry as well. That means
when you see a beer can along the road, and there are more than a few,
it probably wasn't the first one consumed on the way back from buying a
case or two. I'm not sure just how they stay on the road when
they are coming back from a run. Maybe they find themselves
weaving at just the right places. I wouldn't think that would
usually work out though.
Most of the vehicles you see on the road have a little rust.
fact many have so much that I wonder about just how they stay
together. I expect someday to hear about a friend hitting one
those potholes and finding himself still holding on to the steering
wheel but proceeding in loose formation with the rest of his truck.
One thing that is really nice about this area is that there aren't any
traffic lights in the whole county. There was one in the
seat right by the one fast food restaurant there. After it
down there didn't seem to be a need for the light so they took it
out. Besides no one stopped for it anyway, they just used it
I could go on but I'm sure you get the idea. So if you live
place where traffic is a problem you may want to visit and learn to
look at the world a little differently. Drop us a line if you
would like to stop by.
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