Two Brothers, A GPS and a 4 Wheeler were all we needed to start a day of adventure.
My brother Jeff drove out from Colorado this week with his wife Teresa, daughter Chris, and grandson Jared.
Kathy and I met them at their camp site near Natural Bridge State Park Thursday and we set out in their 4 Wheel Drive truck for a day of exploring.
Jeff was not in a hurry and he likes to explore the country, so we purposefully took the back roads to our ultimate destination of Cumberland Gap.
The windy roads and elevation changed as we toured eastern Kentucky; it proved to be slow, but of great reward in scenery and historical education..
The lush growth from the abundant July rains made the occasional roadside viewpoint especially treasured. Jeff stopped repeatedly, and we viewed the Smoky Mountains even though we never entered the park.
The natural beauty was in stark contrast to the historical town of Lynch, Kentucky. The memorial to the hundreds of miners who lost their lives in the coal mines was especially sobering. Those honorable men were providing for their families in the best way they knew. There is reason to question the current practice of carving a hole out of the side of a mountain using heavy equipment while mining for coal. The priceless value of lives lost in the conventional mining practices makes scraping a mountain much more palatable.
It took us six hours to finally motor into Cumberland Gap National Park. After a quick tour of the visitors center we trucked up to the top of "The Pinnacle."
The Pinnacle is a two mile very steep drive to the crest of a hill where one can view Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. We appreciated the clear weather and we posed for numerous photos.
With our daylight dwindling rapidly we set the GPS to take us back to Jeff's campsite and proceeded onward hoping that we could make the return trip before dark.
I kept an eye on the Kentucky map that Kathy had dredged up for two reasons. The GPS is only as good as the programmer who entered the info and because old habits die slowly. I have greatly enjoyed looking at maps as long as I can remember. After traveling about an hour I glanced at the map and noticed a small paved road that appeared to shave about 10 miles off our route.
I asked Jeff if he wanted to try a short cut. From the back seat came some sarcastic remarks from my loved one, guess who?
There are a few shared life experiences with Kathy that justify her doubt about the wisdom of taking a "short cut."
Jeff was up for an adventure, and we turned on the enticing narrow road that began our "short cut" adventure. The GPS adjusted to our new route. The little paved road we navigated soon became very narrow and the GPS directed us to turn on C. Wilson Road.
C. Wilson did not own a paving company. The road was clear of grass but cluttered with baseball sized rocks. The women in the back seat, most notably my dear wife, had some additional choice comments sprinkled with nervous laughter. Less than a mile, we suddenly were confronted with a tree that had fallen across the road. Fortunately it broke into several pieces.
Jeff, Chris and I were able to swing the dead wood to the side of the road. The GPS continued to lay the favored magenta line ahead of us. Shortly we came to a small farmhouse with a very noisy dog. The dog ran beside us and barked incessantly. That agressive dog began to cause a little worry in my mind.
Jeff put dust between us and the dog and then the road curved, and dropped down into a creek. Literally, there was no bridge. Jeff put the truck in 4 wheel drive and we slowly made our way across the creek. The relief of crossing the creek was suddenly replaced with the sight of a large grass field without any road whatsoever.
The witty comments from the back seat riders were a bit terse. I noticed that the little simulated car on the GPS no longer was following a line. The backseat riders directed us to turn around. I insisted on continuing mostly out of pure stubborness. Momentarily though, I spotted what appeared to be a paved road a couple of hundred yards in front of the truck. We continued moving forward with great expectations.
Fortunately there was no fence guarding that large grass field. Jeff easily pulled the truck up onto the paved road and the GPS was once again satified to lay the magenta line for us to travel. I glanced at the arrival time on the GPS and was greatly satisfied that despite the perils of our journey, we had shaved two minutes off of our arrival time.
Reflecting upon our adventure Jeff and I were especially amazed that someone had taken the time to enter C. Wilson Road into the progamming of my GPS. Do you have a GPS story you would like to share? Please do. Paul