Friday, July 2, 2010

Daniel Boone National Forest

On Tuesday we left Lexington and headed east to the Daniel Boone National Forest. We are staying in the Twin Knob Campground which is on Cave Creek Lake as Bill wants to get some musky fishing in. Right now we are in a non-electric site as the campground only has 9 electric hookup sites. They are not reservable so they basically hold a lottery drawing for the sites when they are vacated especially on a holiday week such as this one. So at midnight someone has to go down to the entrance gate and put their name on a list. Then in the morning when someone who had an electric site leaves, someone has to be at the entrance gate when their name is called or they are passed by. What time in the morning? Who knows? Anywhere from 7am to 1pm checkout time. Crazy. It is supposed to be cooler the next few days so if we can tolerate today we may just make do with the non-electric site and the little generator. At least we are in the trees.
The neighbor from the next campsite over stopped by and told us that there were agkistrodon contortrix, otherwise know as copperhead snakes, around here...great. So we need to be extra vigilant as Dozey would no doubt think it was something to play with like a chipmunk.

We have commented many times on the fact that during our travels we have found it hard to find bars or taverns. Granted that not many places in the country drink as much as we do in Wisconsin but sometimes it is to the extreme the other way. We were reading the campground rules and it states that it is illegal in Kentucky to drink alcohol in public places. So I began looking up what exactly that meant. It seems like it means what they want it to at the time. Bill needs to start remembering to check his beer supply as for example here in Kentucky 46 counties are completely dry, 42 counties are "moist" which means they have cities in them where alcohol is sold, and only 32 are wet counties. Right now we are in Rowan County and it is moist with only the city of Morehead selling alcohol and of course not on Sundays. The really sad part is the following study "A study of about 39,000 alcohol-related traffic accidents in Kentucky found that residents of dry counties are more likely to be involved in such crashes, possibly because they have to drive farther from their homes to consume alcohol, thus increasing impaired driving exposure. The study concludes that county-level prohibition is not necessarily effective in improving highway safety." So basically what is the point of a dry county?

On Tuesday we took a drive south to Frenchburg and the Red River Gorge area of the forest. The camping in that area had been closed since last Sunday as a hiker had been attacked by a black bear. Black bears have been reintroduced to Kentucky in the last decade and people are still not used to having them around and do dumb things like let their dogs bark and chase a sow with cubs and leave food outside for their coon dogs which then results in incidents like last Sunday's. At least the bear has reportedly left the area and they were not able to just shoot any old bear to make the public happy.

For lunch we decided to try something local and walked into a small, corner restaurant in Frenchburg. The minute we walked in Bill started laughing as it was so stereotypical. But I guess stereotypes have to come from real life, right? Anyway, you had a fan turning slowly on the ceiling and two tables of locals, one table being two old guys with seemingly endless cups of coffee and cigarettes jabbering away in an almost incomprehensible southern drawl. If I had a dollar for every "y'all" that was said during the course of our lunch I would be able to retire without a 401k! The waitress was dressed in jeans and a t shirt and came up to the table asking "What y'all have today?" When she told me what type of diet soda they had, one being Ale-8-One (which is actually really, really good and only distributed in Kentucky unfortunately) and I didn't know what it was, she asked, "Ya'll ain't from around here, are ya?" Well, no, you couldn't tell by the accent? The food was very good, at least Bill's burger was. I made the mistake of trying the catfish and everything, and I mean everything, was overly deep fried -- the catfish, the french fries and the hush puppies. We told her about how in Wisconsin a small town such as Frenchburg would have a bar on every corner. She laughed and said they have a church on every corner....I looked around and they really did!

We also drove around the countryside -- we are both very comfortable here in Kentucky and especially like the hills. The views of the foothills of the Appalachians are spectacular and we saw many cabins such as this one.

And many, many black barns and fences. We could not understand why they would paint the barns and the fences black so I did some research. It seems like the barns are not actually painted black but have creosote on them and I found two reasons why - one is to keep termites and other bugs from eating the wood and the other is to keep them hotter to cure the tobacco crop inside quicker. The fences have creosote on them to keep the horses from chewing and rubbing up on them so that the posts last longer. You also "quilts" on barns which are part of the Kentucky Quilt Trail.

While we were in the southern part of the forest we came upon the Nada Tunnel There really weren't any warning signs stating that we would be going through a 900 foot long tunnel of solid rock that was only one lane - barely!

There were signs on both ends of the tunnel that said vehicles should yield to oncoming traffic and then we saw this....

And then as we got closer we could see the proverbial light at the end of the very long was a good thing that the Avalanche has manual controls for the headlights as for some reason they did not come on automatically. There is no way we would have gotten the RV through this! I guess from now on we need to check the road ahead to see if there are any places bigger vehicles cannot get through.

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