Greetings to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.
It was Labor Day Weekend. It was Saturday Morning. It was early Saturday Morning. Real early Saturday Morning. Before breakfast early Saturday Morning. The Summer Saturday Sunshine had already started to perk-u-late. The whole world was full of the last Summer Holiday. It was Johnny and me, on the road again. Laughing and listening what the other had to say. Reminiscing this and that and having such a good time. It’s always a good time when me and Johnny are on the road again.
We have company for this trip. My Sister Sharolette and my daughter in law, Jaimie. We’re going somewhere. We have a Labor Day Date way up in the mountains of southeastern Kentucky. A date with a place that used to be. A place that is no more. A place where memories lay still in the open between the mountains and the stream. A place called Tip Top. A place that used to be. There’s an old man from the mountains coming home.
Very few miles had rolled over the odometer before the devastation of the Indiana corn crop was apparent wherever one cared to look. Labor Day and corn standing at knee level spoke silent volumes for what happened to Indiana Corn in the growing season of 2015. It was the rain, you know, that destroyed the corn crop. Most every year the concern in crop production is enough rain. This year just the other way around. Prayers were offered up for dry weather. And then it rained some more.
With Lafayette IN below the horizon and the Windmill Fields of Remington, just north of the city rapidly disappearing from the backwards looking mirrors, it was time to talk about breakfast. And so we did. The vote was Cracker Barrel by acclamation. A little sweet talk by Johnny, and we walked in and were seated directly as the Cracker Barrel Store was full of happy shoppers. I never asked Johnny how he got a table so fast. Some things in life are best left along. Ten more minutes in the oven would not have burned the biscuits that Saturday Morning. In fact ten more minutes would have been just right. Grits and gravy flow like fine wine at a Cracker Barrel Breakfast.
Along the way from Lafayette to Indianapolis again stood the little yellow corn. It looked sad, that little yellow corn. Couldn’t help but think if corn could cry, those little fellers surely would. Seems before we knew it the big town filled our view. Now I’m not quite fresh off the turnip truck, but kinda. So I still gawk when I’m in the big cities. Gawking is good. Indianapolis has always been one of my favorite towns for gawking.
We’ve always enjoyed downtown Indianapolis. When the She had a 60th birthday we spent a weekend downtown. We took the horse drawn carriage ride while the city was all decked out for Christmas. As we rode the streets of downtown Indianapolis on that Saturday night in late November, the snow started to fall. It sparkled against the city lights. Under the blanket that covered our knees we held hands, me and the She. I squeezed her hand. You can say “I love you” just by holding hands under a blanket while setting in a horse drawn open carriage in downtown Indianapolis as it snows on a Saturday night in late November.
The word was out to avoid Louisville KY when traveling south. Seems road construction had rendered that city near impossible to travel thru. And so we choose a different kinda route to the mountains. A direction I’d not traveled for many, many years. East to Dayton OH then southeast toward an intercept with US Hwy 23. We choose this route simply to see a different part of Ohio, a different part of the world. A part we’d not seen before. A good choice for a fun trip thru southeastern Ohio. Now I don’t care what ya say about that place. We were in red neck country, from time to time. The flags flying along the way, from time to time, supported such statements of ethnic culture.
Pretty country side, southeast Ohio. I’d not seen for many years. Corn still grows there, lots of corn. For the first time in a long time the Ohio Corn crop is much superior to Indiana corn. But just like the cubs, “wait till next year”.
Portsmouth Ohio is such a pretty little river city. Stuck there on the High banks of the mighty Ohio River. Beautiful new bridge and super clean little city makes Portsmouth stay gentle on my mind. May go back there someday just to look around a little more than just driving thru on the way to what lies on the other side of the water under the bridge.
It’s the Country Music Highway, or so said the sign there on the south side of the Ohio River, kinda northwest of Ashland KY out here on U.S. Hwy 23. Sister Sharolette said she wanted to travel this Country Music Highway. So on this pretty early September day we wound our way across two states to make ole sister’s wish come true. Ashland KY is a working river kinda town, and it showed.
Driving down the Kentucky Country Music Highway, having fun with family, priceless.
Paintsville in the twilight checking into a new motel. We’ve forever stayed at the Ramada Inn at Paintsville. This time too late making reservations, so the lady at the Ramada recommended the Days Inn. Her quote was “if we’re full and are asked for another hotel, we always say Days Inn. You won’t be disappointed there”. And we were not.
Although the Wi-Fi kinda sucked. Even Sister Sharolette didn’t like the Wi-Fi connection. We were just too far from the wireless router for a good signal. It was no big deal, after all we did not go to Kentucky to connect to the internet. But Sharolette does now think she can’t survive too long without her FaceBook friends.
Not too many would connect Paintsville KY with quality Chinese Food. Such a pleasant surprise was a brand new Chinese Restaurant within a stone’s throw from Days Inn. That Saturday evening we dined with the Wongs.
Many early summer mornings brings fog to the mountain side. The day before Labor Day 2015 was no different. Being an early riser, I watched the fog appear on the mountains like magic, as the temperature and humidity came together for that silent, fog producing, dance on the mountains. It was my pleasure to watch ’em dance. one never gets too old to watch magic or enjoy a pretty dance. The coming of the mountain fog provides both. And yes the fog does come on little cat feet.
Breakfast at Bob Evans is where we encountered a massive discontent of the customer base. Seems the wait staff were three servers short and one hostess also decided not to go to work that Sunday Morning. The natives were getting restless. I almost expected a slinging biscuit fight to break out at any minute. With no biscuits in hand to defend ourselves in case of attack, we retreated from the war zone and forged for our food elsewhere that Sunday Morning.
Jenny Wiley State Park is one of my favorite places in the southeastern part of Kentucky. Some 50 years or so ago the governor hired two people and charged them with creating a world class State Park System for Kentucky. There was a move afoot to impeach the governor for wasting money for such nonsense. Today the Kentucky State Park System stands among the best in the country. Jenny Wiley State Park is a major jewel in the crown of the Kentucky State Park System. It’s just outside Prestonsburg, up there on top of the mountain. Jenny Wiley State Park, We go there as often as we can. I like to go to Jenny Wiley and Just hang out. It’s that pretty.
Riding down that Country Music Highway, between Prestonsburg and Jenny Wiley State Park you will come across the Bull Creak Flea Market & Trade Center. Now if you like flea markets, this is a dream come true. Johnny likes flea markets. It’s somewhere between a quarter to a half mile long. Up and back one time was my limit. Johnny took longer. Jaimie said she thought Johnny had to touch ever piece for every vendor. Johnny likes to shop till he drops. That don’t take too long in the hot Kentucky sun. Most of the vendors were under roof, those in the sunshine had less shopping going on. As I returned to the air conditioned comfort of our traveling steed the outside temperature read 92°
Dinner at Reno’s Roadhouse there along the Country Music Highway is always fun. Reno’s is one of those “throw the peanut shells on the floor” kinda place. We ate in the dining room that evening. One time Johnny and I were at Reno’s and we ate in the saloon, they throw peanut shells on the floor in there also, we did too.
You may remember it was a year ago this past July 4th that we sat on a bench in the middle of Reno’s parking lot and watched the Prestonsburg fireworks. It was the best ever. In a large part because I was setting by my beautiful She. Sure missed the She this trip but it just didn’t work out for both to be gone at the same time. But next time…..
We ended the evening with Johnny and Jaimie playing in the hotel pool. It was an outside pool. And get this, on the second level. Yeah a pool one flight up. Don’t know why, just was.
After a fun day of playing in the Kentucky sunshine, flea marketing, Reno’s dining and pool splashing tomorrow we’ll go to Tip Top. We’ll talk about that the next time.
From The EastWing, Me and Johnny On The Road Again, A Country Music Highway, Jenny Wiley & A Flea Market, Dinner At Reno’s
I Wish You Well,