We are off again on small roads. This time we are headed west. We start in North
Carolina, cross a piece of Tennessee and then a piece of Virginia and finally we
are in Kentucky. We are headed toward the Natural Bridge and Nada Tunnel area. My
database shows that there is much to ride in Kentucky but we are limiting it to these
two items. They fit in with our general route planning and timing.
The route we have followed is full of coal mines, coal trucks, coal processing plants
and coal dust on the roads when the trucks leave the mine or processing plant. I
imagine it would be slippery when wet.
As we crossed into Kentucky we scored another highest. Someone painted on it 4,145
but my GPS said about 3,500.
Towns are strung along the narrow valley floor. Often the creek, road and one or
two rows of houses is all the width of the valley can handle.
The next day is a miserable, wet, thunderstorm day and we just hid out in the tent. But
one group that didn't mind the weather were these guys. Stocking the creek by our
campground with new fish. The fish were 6-8 inches long and I think they are trout. But
I've never gotten hooked on fishing so I could be wrong.
That morning, before they packed up and left, a couple had braved the rain and spent
a couple hours fishing to no avail. If they had only known what was coming.
The next day it was dry. So we rode the Nada Tunnel. It was built by hand in the
1880's as a railroad tunnel for the logging trains. It was started from both ends
at the same time and they met just slightly off giving the tunnel a slight kink. Today
it is one way at a time but no traffic controls.
At the entrance one can see the light at the end of the tunnel. If there are no
headlights in between then you can proceed.
The right hand picture is the other end.
We followed the, sometimes one lane, road around a 30 mile loop and returned to the
Natural Bridge State Park. This is where we are camped but now we are going to hike
the trail to the bridge.
The park with trail, picnic area and campground was created by a lumber company's
railroad in 1895. The only way to get here was to buy a ticket for the train. Pretty
smart thinking on somebody's part. In 1926 it was given to the state.
We took the "Original Trail" to the top. There were several choices, some going
up stairs and chutes like we saw in Germany at a park there.
When we had reached the top we were on the ridge with views all directions. We followed
another trail along the top, past the, closed and not running, ski lift style cable
cars to "Lovers Leap". From here we could see back to the bridge and all around.
The way we took down was on one of the sets of stairs I mentioned earlier. They
led down a narrow slit in the rock that got wider as it went down. It was very dark
at the top so pictures inside were poor. The one below was taken looking down into
the slit from the top. Kathy is in the middle.
This concludes Kentucky for this trip. I doubt we will be back. We are missing
a lot but it could take all of our year to see Kentucky properly. So like other
states we have to say good by and maybe come again.