2004 "Trip To Nowhere"

We like to take a trip every year with little or no pre-planning. This means getting up on the morning of departure and deciding on a direction. This year it was north and we elected to tour Eastern Kentucky and Western West Virginia, areas that neither of us had seen before. Naturally we took as many back roads as possible.

After some beautiful mountain drives we spent the first night in Pikeville, KY. We really liked this well-kept, mid-sized college town.

The second day consisted of more viewing of Kentucky and a swing through West Virginia. Overall we did not like the "feel" of that state and returned to Kentucky. We had seen an ad for a state park on the border of KY and VA, so decided to check it out.
Barbara at the Breaks Park.
As luck would have it they had room in the inn, so we stayed the night at The Breaks Interstate Park in Northwest Virginia. This is a wonderful park with all the amenities you could want, including a nice restaurant. We hiked to several overlooks which let us view the "Grand Canyon of the South", a gorge 1,000 feet deep. This picture of Barbara doesn't really capture the depth and it is a lovely spot. We intend to revisit the park soon.

Day three was more wandering through the mountains and small towns. We stop at any interesting spot, but avoid the tourist attractions for the most part. The night was spent in London, KY.

The fourth day was, you guessed it, more scenic mountain drives and exploring of small towns. We ended up at Cave City, KY.

Day 5: Barbara likes caves so we checked out one of the smaller ones, Crystal Onyx Cave, which turned out to be very nice. Our tour consisted of five people and a knowledgeable guide. Then it was time to head south through Tennessee to home.

Some thoughts:
  • Eastern Kentucky is beautiful and the people are friendly. But look out for the many coal trucks; that industry is still very busy. Also, much of the countryside is covered with run-down mobile homes, the most we have ever seen in any state.
  • Pikeville was our favorite Kentucky town. More information is on the Pike County tourism site. Harlan, KY, also displayed a lot of civic pride.
  • West Virginia has nice scenery, but is not tourist friendly. Charleston is difficult to navigate and the people for the most part were rude. A long toll road didn't help the impression either. There are nicer places to go.
  • Western Virginia is very nice and the homes and towns are well-kept. We will be checking it out more in the future.

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