Saturday, April 24, 2010

616. A Free Day, Finally; Thus A Ride

I've been busy - thus there's been very little posting. As I've written before, I am involved with a mayoral campaign - that of Greg Fischer, the front-runner according to all of the polls in the Democratic Primary, which is set for May 18. Most of the last month or so has been a series of meetings and meetings, and other meetings, with EXCEL sheets and other data thrown in. It has been somewhat exasperating, but, as my candidate is in the lead, it is paying off.

This last week has been one of the campaign's best, with a widely broadcast debate earlier in the week where Mr. Fischer's three closest opponents took aim at him with their questions, giving him not only time to explain his positions, but then further time to make them clear (or clearer). Poor stategy on the part of the other campaigns; never give the front-runner additional airtime. Mr. Fischer's question went to the guy in third place, not second, a much wiser tactic. The two African-American women in the race properly aimed their questions at the African-American gentleman also in the race as that is arguably their best possible candidate from whom to pick up votes.

Mr. Fischer was also endorsed by three more state legislators as well as the very popular former Congressman Ron Mazzoli, a member of the United States House of Representatives for twenty-four years and a resident of one of his opponents' Metro Council districts. Those endorsements were capped by that of Dave Armstrong. Armstrong formerly served as both Mayor of the old City of Louisville and as well as Jefferson County Judge/Executive, the two positions whose duties were combined to create the duties of Louisville Metro Mayor, the office Mr. Fischer is seeking.

As stated, it has been a great week politically. Nonetheless, I've really needed a day where I neither went to my regular nine-to-five or had obligations as a campaign consultant. Today, for a variety of unrelated reasons, became that day.

Ergo, I declared a holiday. I have that power, at least over those people under my command, a total populace of One. For argument's sake, April 24 should be a holiday for writers, of which I count myself as one, anyway. The first newspaper in America was published on this date in 1704 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Library of Congress, the great repository of America's written works, was established on this date in 1800 by President Adams. Today is the birthday of one of America's great poets, Robert Penn Warren, born in Guthrie, Kentucky (down on the Tennessee line) in 1905. Sue Grafton, another American writer, a native of Louisville, and known for her Kinsey Millhone detective novels, was born on this date in 1940. Finally, my youngest niece, Aubreana, celebrates her eleventh birthday on this date. I'm sure she does considerable writing in her classes at Hite Elementary School in eastern Jefferson County.

So, with a reason to celebrate, a holiday declared, time on my hands, and a full tank of gas, I called a friend and asked him if he was up to a ride. I knew he was as his week has been as exasperating as my month - the time away from the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606 would be a welcome respite for both of us.

We headed south on I-65 to Elizabethtown. The first stop was in the Lebanon Junction area where a company along KY61 (S. Preston Highway in Bullitt County) sells metal trailers for trucks, something my friend has been interested in buying for some time. We found a few that might merit a second trip, then moved on toward our as-yet-undetermined destination. Trips with as-yet-undetermined destinations can be the best kind. Neither of us were interested in going anywhere in particular; we just wanted to go somewhere.

Reaching E'town, we ramped westward onto the Western Kentucky Parkway. He remarked we had made this leg of the trip before, back in 1999, when we drove a 1968 Red Mustang Convertible down to the Fancy Farm Picnic. I assured him we weren't headed to Fancy Farm as I had someplace to be late tonight - and still do.

At the intersection with KY84, we exitted the parkway and headed along the two-lane across US62 and westward through rural Hardin County. KY84 runs this path for another eighteen miles, almost of all them in Hardin County, which is one of Kentucky's largest counties. [The map at left is from 1895]. With 630 square miles of territory, Hardin is more than one and one half times the size of Jefferson County. KY84 crosses Rough River in far western Hardin County, at this pont truly just a creek, and enters into Breckinridge County, like Hardin, another of Kentucky's larger counties. Breckinridge covers 586 square miles of territory. KY84 ends abruptly at KY401, which frankly is rather odd. Two-digit highways typically connect with other two digit highways, or with federal highways such as US60. To end at the three-digit number goes against the orthodoxy of Kentucky's highway numbering system. That discussion aside, we turned left on KY401 for the four-mile trek to KY259, one of the main north-south routes in this part of our state. KY259 runs from Breckinridge County south, crossing over three of Kentucky's well known rivers, the Rough, Nolin, and Green, before ending in southern Kentucky in Warren County. We travelled the route northward to the Breckinridge County seat of Hardinsburg. A friend of mine once spent some extended time in Hardinsburg, literally doing time in the Breckinridge County Regional Correctional Facility located west of town near the US60 Bypass. I visited him there on several occasions.

From Hardinsburg we headed west on US60, a very well built four-lane highway, eventually reduced to a well-built three- and then two-lane highway as it makes its way northwestwardly toward the Ohio River. The current road by-passes the old river town of Cloverport, a quaint little burg on both sides of Clover Creek, at Milepost 707.6 along the Ohio River. We drove down into and through Cloverport, over the narrow bridge (at left, built in 1922) and through the old river town, around the square and up past St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church alongside the railroad tracks, then back up the hill to US60. Cloverport is well-known in Kentucky history as the place from which a seven-year old boy named Abraham, in the tow of his parents, Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln, and other family members left the Commonwealth of Kentucky and were ferried across to Tobinsport, Indiana. The Lincoln family's westward movements serve as the genesis for three different state mottoes: Kentucky, Lincoln's Birthplace; Indiana, Lincoln's Boyhood Home; and Illinois, the Land of Lincoln.

Not too far out of Cloverport is the Breckinridge/Hancock County line. We stayed with US60 through the county and, unlike at Cloverport, we did not go off the main road down into the county seat of Hawesville. From Hawesville westward, US60 makes the bend to the south and becomes a four-lane highway all the way into Daviess County. Hancock has the distinction of being one of the eight of Kentucky's counties which carried for Barack Obama in the November 2008 election. (For the record, the other seven were Jefferson, Fayette, Henderson, Elliott, Menifee, Wolfe, and Rowan). But, I digress.

Once arrived in Daviess County we decided to do what most tourists do in Daviess County - that is to go have dinner at the Moonlite Bar-B-Q on W. Parrish Avenue. Unfortunately, a lot of other people had the same idea. There appeared to be some sort of combination biker rally/Gatewood Galbraith rally. Lots of motorcycles, lots of Galbraith 2011 signs, along with more than a few Boswell-sticerked automobiles. Maybe all that was coincidental; maybe not. We skipped Moonlite and drove around downtown Owensboro where they are rebuilding the waterfront on the Ohio. Owensboro was originally known as Yellow Bank or Yellowbanks. We left town driving over what was once the US231 North bridge (J. R. Miller Boulevard), but now carries a four-digit number becoming IN161 once into the Hoosier state.

The old routing of US231 heads due north for about eight miles coming to a end at a T intersection with IN66 in the community of Reo. IN66 heads eastward to Rockport, another river town which serves as the county seat of Spencer County. The new US231 (William Natcher Bridge) comes into the state just east of Rockport. The Indiana Department of Highways has been rebuilding US231 from this point north to I-64 for a number of years. They've completed about 1/3 of the project. The new road is a broad parkway-like structure which empties onto I-64 just west of the town of Dale. We stopped in Dale and ate some food at Windell's Cafe, one of two eateries in the town. The food was pretty standard American fare. I had chicken salad, my friend had an open face Roast Beef sandwich. Both came with fries and creamy coleslaw.

Once on I-64 and headed east, we really didn't intend to make any more stops. We were about 75 miles from Louisville and the winds, thunder, rain, and occasional hail prompted us toward home. Nonetheless, I can never pass by the town of Ferdinand without gazing upon the Monastery Immaculate Conception at the top of the hill on the east side of the town, about 2 miles north of I-64. The monastery was built in the early 1900s, completed in 1924, and is home to the Roman Catholic Sisters of Saint Benedict. I have visited the "Castle on the Hill" many times and am always awed by it. Today, even in the rain, was no different. We drove around the circle past the rows and rows marking the graves of deceased members of the Sisters, and back down 10th Street past the St. Ferdinand Parish church and cemetery into town and headed south along Main Street back to I-64.

From this point, we made no more stops and arrived safely back to the hustle and bustle of life along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606. All is well.


James Walter Moore said...

Anonymous said...

The Boswell stickers at the Moonlite are not uncommon. Boswell and the Bosley's, who own the Moonlite are long time close friends. Sen. Boswell lives only a few miles from the establishment and many of the regular patrons are close friends of not only Bosley's, but Boswell as well. Nothing to do with Gatewood...nothing against Gatewood. Just go there any day and you will see Boswell stickers.

The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.