Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's a long way to Harlan and a long way to Hazard

11 July 2011

I normally avoid the interstate highways and stick to the back roads, especially in scenic places like Kentucky. However, with Excessive Heat Warnings all over the news today, I decided to blat down the interstate in order to arrive at my destination before the afternoon heat peak. I arrived in Hyden about 11:00 and since the heat wasn't to uncomfortable yet I explored the small town and the roads in and out. Hyden is typical of small towns in these foothills of the Appalachian Mountains – businesses and homes exist one deep along the roads that pass through the valley floors. They are only one deep because the steep rise of the hill behind them precludes building.

Coal is king in this part of the world. Bumper stickers abound saying “Friend of Coal” and “Coal Keeps the Lights On”. The big coal trucks are definitely king of these twisty roads that they need both lanes of to round a tight corner.

Hyden happens to be in what is known as a “dry” county, meaning that the sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited. The two nearest towns to buy beer are Harlan in one direction and Hazard in the other. Hyden must be where that famous bluegrass song was composed.

I was made very welcome by Jeni and Chris and their dog Otis. We spent the evening catching up, had a nice Mexican meal, and relaxed with a DVD movie.

Americana for the day: Thirsty in a Dry county

Photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/T.Micheal.Young/USA2011

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