Thursday, April 10, 2008

A day in ... Kentucky

Fred and I got up early to beat the sunrise and headed out to Red River Gorge. When in "photo safari" mode we stop wherever we feel like we can get great photos. Our first stop was at a 700 foot long tunnel that was dug out by hand as a railroad tunnel. The first load of logs got stuck in the tunnel, and they had to dynamite them out. Our passing wasn't quite so eventful, but we tried to capture a little bit of the flavor of the tunnel on film.

Yes, film. I still shoot it, and I still love it. I have a little Nikon 10MP camera as well, and the shots you see in this blog entry are all from it as I haven't developed the film yet. I have one camera loaded with black and white, and the other loaded with color. I've been shooting a mix of slides and prints. Slides are almost impossible to get processed these days, it's very frustrating.

We also stopped at a really cool bridge that just screamed out for photography. After leaving the gorge we made our way through Kentucky for most of the day. We took "Little Shepherd Trail" which winds its way above pretty much everything. Anywhere there was a twisty road, we took it. We tried to stay off of the interstate and away from traffic as much as possible.

Coming from California, it's easy to forget that there are parts of the country that simply do not have the material resources we take for granted. In the parts of Kentucky we drove through there is virtually no industry (and thus, no jobs) except for coal mining. We saw lots of people home during the day sitting on their front porches.

The roads in Kentucky are a mixed bag as well. The interstates are in pretty good shape, but as the numbers get higher, the road quality gets worse, a lot worse. Towards the mid-afternoon we went through a big tunnel into Tennessee. I was astonished at how different the two states were, even though they border each other. Tennessee is greener, and just seemed...prettier. No offense to any of my friends in Kentucky!

Once in Tennessee we headed for the Great Smokey Mountain National Park, where we went up to Look rock to shoot the sunset. Unfortunately, that was very anti-climactic. The sunset was really rather ordinary. We have better ones out our front window almost every night.

We then made for Cherokee, North Carolina by some very twisty, very fun to drive roads. Gotta love heavy braking and cornering followed by hard acceleration! Thankfully, Fred's WRX has very sticky tires, so we didn't actually have to use the brakes that hard :-)

Thus endeth day two of the North Carolina Road Trip & Photo Safari.


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