USA 51, 27th October 2006

I drove into Frankfort. It's the capital of Kentucky, I had no idea. Mind you I had hardly heard of Kentucky even, before I arrived. Apart from Kentucky fried chicken that is, and I've never tried that. Maybe I should.

This is the capitol.

When I reached the visitor centre it was shut. It's Sunday. Everything was shut. Except the cemetery. I took the tour on the brochure left outside the visitor centre. The route on the brochure was explained using road names. It was tricky. In common with many places they don't show signs with road names. Well, not obviously. I noticed in some place (not Frankfort) that they took down road signs during the war to confuse the enemy. They should have left them up if they wanted to do the job properly.

The Buffalo Trace Distillery was also closed of course. I left and was trying to work out where to go next when I was flagged down by a police car, I had been straddling 2 lanes. Ooops! Last time I was stopped I gave them my golden Age passport, but I got it right this time and gave him my driving licence. For the 460 you need the second left he told me.

I found more fall colours. Sorry about the phone lines on the picture.

It was time to stop for the night. I was in the Daniel Boone National Forest and found a trailhead parking. It said I needed to pay $3 to park overnight, but how, and where do I pay?

I took a walk in the morning. Now don't you wish you could have been with me?

There was even a suspension bridge.

Just more fall pictures. Lots of them.

I took lots of little walks to viewpoints.

Mostly there wasn't any sun during the day but it did appear for a few moments.

I continued round, through the famous tunnel built for trains but now used for cars, and arrived back where I started. This time I was earlier and reached the information centre just before it closed. I bought my night parking pass for $3 less 50% golden age. Normally it's free to park on National Forest land but at $1.50 I'm not raising the roof.

I came back to my file to continue my story, and noticed the pictures were remarkably clear. Then I noticed that just with the few pictures above, the file was over 1 Mb in size. Aha. I had been working on a picture that I wanted to keep at the highest quality, and had set the save level to 100%. Normally I set it to 65%. It'll take me ages to redo it. When I have resaved and reduced the picture size, I then have to delete all the pictures from this email, then save it, then individually reload the new smaller pictures. If you want to have an email with embedded pictures, it's the only way. With attached photos it real quick, you can do it in bulk.

The first picture reduced from 80 Kb to 13 Kb. That's more like it. The whole file reduced to 211 Kb even including another 3 photos. No readily noticeable reduction in quality.

This is a view from quite near my campsite.. For one reason or another this was the 6th time that I had driven along this piece of road but I had not noticed that you could see this famous landmark, chimney rock from here.

The scenery was gorgeous. After leaving the park I took a pretty route marked on my map, and it really was pretty. The road was up and down all the time, along valleys, over hills, one of the prettiest areas I have ever driven through. I am not saying it is majestic, like the Rockies, or stunning, like some amazing views. If I say it was pretty it will be the 4th time I have used the word in just one paragraph but it just seems the most appropriate word.

It wasn't really very sunny and I continued on to Pikeville Walmart for the night. There's been some stuff blown up on the balloon list about Micki, I've been contributing my opinions. What with that, and checking on my facts, I haven't been doing as much sightseeing as I would wish.

However, in the morning I took off. On the wrong road. I stopped to ask the way. Everyone wanted to send me back, to take the 4 lane highway. Eventually someone told me a way, it was longer, he said, and only 2 lane, but I would get there.

This word pretty is in danger of being over used. South east Kentucky is superb. It's just bumps everywhere. Sort of like really coarse sandpaper blown up to huge proportions.

I reached Elkhorn City and found an information centre in an old railway carriage. I tried the door. It was open! Inside was full of cobwebs, dim green lights, big spiders, and similar weird stuff. Plus 4 very normal looking ladies. We're getting ready for Halloween they said, we've got lot's of brochures though, just a moment, we've got them all covered up.

I left them and took a quick tour of the railway museum. Amazingly it was open. I think I was the first visitor for 3 days. Some while back I spoke to a volunteer at a museum that was open with no visitors. It's better than being bored at home he told me.

I realise I don't have a photo of these bumps that are everywhere so here's a photo from Break park, the distant view will give some, totally inadequate, idea.

I stayed in the campsite at Break Park. $9 but there was nowhere else near and I didn't feel like going looking and $9 is hardly the end of the world. Especially as I found out, they have hot showers............

I wasted all the morning with emails. I had to use my modem link with a regular phone line, even for a modem it was a slow connection, it took for ever. Thank goodness no-one had sent me megabyte size files today. I'd still have been there.

I headed off into the midst of south west Virginia. The scenery was much the same, beautiful. Like Kentucky many of the houses were small and looking rather run down.

I have noticed a communication problem. People can't understand what I say. And I have difficulty in understanding them. Oh well, we eventually get there. In that respect it's better than Mexico.

I headed off east on the 19 to go to the Walmart at Bluefield but passed one on the way so I stopped.

I've really no idea where I am.

Best regards

David Barker
Travelling Virginia
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