Day 2:   Chasing Boone through the Cumberland Gap

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Ye-ouch! Waking with the feeling of a mild concussion, Mike and Bone rolled out of the Hotel and on the road around 8:00 AM heading downtown, looking for the geographical apex of Bristol to start "Chasing Daniel Boone" on the Wilderness Road !                                       

Eyeing Evan (Shelby), founder of Bristol

Why Bristol?  Bristol (which was complete in Virginia territory at the time) was founded by Evan Shelby, father of the famous Isaac Shelby (from the Battle of King's Mountain) as a trading outpost on the westernmost reaches of British colonization in the 1760's. Evan strategically built the outpost where the Cumberland Gap began, knowing that eventually it would end up being a major trading hub between the east and west.

Shelby also was a friend of Daniel Boone whom used Bristol as the starting point of his Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap.  However, before heading down the pike (literally and figuratively) Mike and Bone thought to get some sustenance in Town to retire their nagging headaches, since the Trip started with a sleazy breakfast, they decided to have another one at the Burger Bar !! 

Hamburgers and Hank Williams ?!?

The beat-up Burger Bar is supposedly the last place the famous Country Singer Hank Williams was seen alive.

So what is the Story ?  Hank Williams saw the light in the Burger Bar on New Years Eve 1952, but he didn't get out of his Cadillac convertible due to the injection he received for Back Pain in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Hank stayed in the back all covered up while his driver, Charles Carr, stretched his legs and had a sandwich at the restaurant, while Hank passed on into history. Its specialty is the "Howlin' at the Moon" chili burger, which was a bit much at 9:00 AM, the boys had a more traditional southern, greasy  breakfast.  It is little wonder that the place killed Hank Williams with the filthy conditions, and heavy food, Bone and Mike waddled and belched their way out of the greasy spoon to hit the road lookin' for Dan'l  !!!! 

Clowning thru the Cumberland Gap

Daniel Boone really did build the National Road right, to this day much of the current 2 to 4 lane road is on the exact same ground that Daniel laid out in the 1700's. As they started out of Bristol the Boys came across a number of Historic Markers, one of which is the origin of Country Music.  Bristol is also known as the Birthplace of Country Music, with the famous Carter Family living just outside of Bristol along the old National Road. 

Gaping at the Gap !!

The morning was clear and perfect as the Boys cruised the bucolic landscape between the stark gap between the Appalachian Mountain range, as the Boys gabbed about life and work, After a pleasant few hours, they reached the "triangle" where Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky meet, the Cumberland Gap National Park ! 

Tunnelling from Virginny to Kaintuckee!

Peaking Pinnacle

There are miles and miles of trails and activities in the massive Park, one of the coolest trails is to the top of Pinnacle Mountain, where you can see where the Surveyors "divided" Virginia into Kentucky and Tennessee.  With it being a vigorous hike, the Boys just hadda do it ! Being a hot and muggy day the in-shape and lean Mike, easily out-paced the Fat-Bone (pictured sagging below), For a while the Boys walked with a ditzy local as they walked by deer and dopey tourist while enjoying a great landscape. 

Piqued and Peaked on Pinnacle

About 20 minutes after Mike made it to the top, Bone finally huffed and sweated his way up to a beautiful panorama, of the "Three States" . 

"So ya finally made it, eh Fat Boy ?!"

Viewing the Pinnacle on Pinnacle Peak !!

Viewing the Cumberland Gap from Pinnacle Peak

Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky !!!

The mountain above is what the Surveyors used to split Virginia territory into Tennessee and Kentucky. To the left of the Mountain ridge is Tennessee, to the right Kentucky, to the south is the ole' Dominion,, Virginia! 

Viewing the Cumberland River cutting through the Gap

The Pinnacle of Pinnacle Peak !

Continuing the "War of Northern Aggression"

On the way down, Mike decided to "christen" the Kentucky Virginia State Line on behalf of the 23rd Wolverine Division of the Army of the Potomac-Civil War !! Similar to christening a ship, but only different ! 

Hiking through the Hills !

Finally hiking on Dan'l's Wilderness Road Trail !

What so cool about Daniels Wilderness Road? The Wilderness Road is an epic saga about the early migration and settlement of America. As the colonies were thriving along the east coast in the late 1600s, the Appalachian Mountains remained a formidable barrier to the interior of the nation. The paths that did exist were created by the American bison as they migrated through the highlands and valleys in search of food and salt licks. Native Americans traveled what they called the "Great Warrior Path" hunting for food, trading with other groups, and creating seasonal villages along the valleys and rivers. In the early 1700's, long hunters used the path to develop an early fur trade and explore the land through western Virginia. Before the Revolutionary War, the path had become a major trail through this picturesque Valley Virginia Frontier forts were established along the route to provide shelter to early settlers. Soldiers, long hunters, and early settlers spread the news that land was plentiful and the small path became a major migration route.

Wilderness Road led settlers to the Daniel Boone Trail which led through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky. The Palatine Germans and then the Ulster-Scots began pouring into the ports of America seeking land. These new immigrants entered through the port of Philadelphia and many chose to move southward along the Wilderness Road into Virginia and beyond. Early travelers made the trek on foot or horseback. Later the Conestoga wagon became the favorite manner of transportation. These wagons were filled with commerce and the belongings of families traveling west-ripe with the hope of land and opportunity. Today's travelers along the road will learn of such well-known pioneers as Dr. Thomas Walker, Joseph Martin, and Daniel Boone, who blazed the path to a new nation and opened the first frontier to the early settlers.  Some perished along the hard journey; many turned back or stopped before they reached their destination. Yet today, over 43 million Americans can trace their heritage to the families that migrated along the Road that Dan'l Boone blazed. 

Wilderness Road Trail Scenery

As the afternoon waned on, the Boys slowly wandered back to the Car in a very hot and humid Southern afternoon. As they descended they took an alternative route back that let them take a Hiking section on Daniel's Wilderness Road. As Mike and Bone walked along, it was easy to imagine what the Road (really more of a path) was like in the 1770's as Daniel would sheppard Conestoga wagons full of settlers to the Kentucky wilderness. As they got back to the Car they started to head north in the general direction of Lexington and Boonsboro State Park. As the Appalachian's diminished into the rolling blue-grass hills of the Kentucky that is so often talked about, victuals again became front and present in the Boys thoughts. Having had a greasy breakfast two straight days, and Fried Chicken the day before, it only made sense that lunch should be some more greasy fried chicken, and since the Boys were in Kentucky, how could you' all pass up Kentucky Fried Chicken at the place where Colonel Sanders started it all in Corbin, Kentucky !!! 

Honouring the Colonel

Over the years, Mike and Bone have used KFC on many of their trips to quell hunger and hangover as they jaunt on down the Road with greasy steering wheels !. Getting a chance to worship at the font of fryers where the Harland Sanders concocted his 7 herbs and spices was not an option. plus they could pickup a bucket for the Road !

So what is the Colonel's story? For many years, people from all over the United States and the world have enjoyed the culinary creation of Corbin’s most famous citizen — Harland Sanders, known worldwide as Colonel Harland Sanders. Even though people all over the globe are familiar with the snow-white bearded restaurant icon, few are familiar with how the Colonel got his start in the restaurant business. Sanders, who was born on Sept. 9, 1890 in Henryville, Indiana, lost his father at the age of six. After completing the sixth grade, Sanders quit school and went to work at a variety of jobs. During his early years, Sanders worked as a farm hand, streetcar conductor, steamboat ferry operator, railroad fireman, secretary, insurance salesman, tire salesman and furniture store owner. However, it wasn’t until 1930 that Sanders moved to Corbin, where he would one day forge the culinary empire for which he was famous. Once in Corbin, Sanders opened a service station, which was located on a spot near where the current Kentucky Fried Chicken is located. In the back of that service station, he operated a lunchroom which consisted of one table, surrounded by six chairs. It wasn’t long, however, before word spread and Sanders found it necessary to expand his capacity. By 1937, Sanders had built Sanders' Cafe, which seated 142 customers. At this restaurant, it was soon discovered that Sanders' fried chicken was the most popular selection on the menu. Sanders often told of his search for the right recipe. It was while experimenting in his Corbin kitchen, that Sanders found his famous and closely guarded combination of eleven herbs and spices which he claimed “stand on everybody’s shelf.” It wasn’t only Sanders’ recipe of herbs and spices that made his fried chicken unique. He also used a pressure cooker to fry his chicken.

In 1939, fire destroyed the eatery, which Sanders then rebuilt as both a restaurant and motel. For many years, the restaurant and motel served as a popular stop for travelers driving along what was then the major north-south route — US 25. Business continued to boom until the completion of Interstate 75, which provided an alternative route for motorists...a route which no longer directly passed Sanders’ restaurant.

Sanders subsequently auctioned the restaurant and motel off. At the age of 66, he began to sell franchises based on his famous chicken recipe. Although he was a pioneer in the relatively new business of franchising, initial sales were slow. His first franchisee went to Pete Harman of Salt Lake City, Utah. By the late 1950s, more than 200 Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises had been sold in the United States and Canada. During the administration of Kentucky Governor Ruby Affton, Sanders was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel. He was re-commissioned in 1950 by Governor Lawrence Weatherby. Although he had been a Kentucky Colonel for nearly two decades, it wasn’t until after 1950 that Sanders began to look the part, growing his trademark mustache and goatee and donning his white suit and string tie.

Regardless of where he appeared, Sanders was immediately recognizable. At the age of 87, he testified against mandatory retirement before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Aging. Sanders died on Dec. 16, 1980, after which his body lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort. He was buried in Louisville’s Cave Hill Cemetery.

Each year, thousands of customers make a stop as Mike and Bone did at the Corbin Kentucky Fried Chicken location, where they can view a variety of items from the early days of Sanders’ restaurant business, including a barrel of his famous recipe, a life-size statue of the Colonel, as well as a replica of his original kitchen.

Colonel Sanders,, Pedophile ?!?

After touring the Museum, it only seemed proper to leave with a full Bucket of Original with some fixin's !

As Mike and Bone tooled up I-75 through the bucolic bluegrass, the side of the road was becoming suspiciously covered with chicken bones, trailing from a Volvo with NC Plates !

As they headed north the Boys noticed a sign for a Civil War Battlefield, not wanting to pass up an opportunity, Mike and Bone pulled off the Freeway and ended up driving 15 miles out of their way looking for the Battlefield in pretty rough country roads, when finally they found "The Battle of Camp Wildcat" ! 

Wildcattin' the Battle of Camp Wildcat

In the lexicon of Civil War Battles, most everyone has heard of Gettysburg, a lot of people may remember Shiloh, Antietam, Bull Run, Chancellorsville, and Petersburg, but even Bone was drawing a blank on the Battle of Camp Wildcat. The Battle of Camp Wildcat (also known as Mountain and Camp Wild Cat) was one of the early engagements of the American Civil War. It occurred October 21, 1861, in northern Laurel County, Kentucky during the campaign known as the Kentucky Confederate Offensive. The battle is considered one of the very first Union victories, and marked the first engagement of troops in the commonwealth of Kentucky.

Brigadier  Gen. Felix Zollicoffer’s Confederates moved from Tennessee in an effort to push from Cumberland Gap into central Kentucky and gain control of the important border state. Zollicoffer with some 5,400 men occupied Cumberland Gap and took position at the Cumberland Ford (near present day Pineville) to counter the Unionist activity in the area. He readily brushed aside home guard troops near Barbourville in a relatively minor skirmish.

Alarmed by the Confederate incursion, Brig. Gen. George H. Thomas sent a detachment under Col. Theophilus T. Garrard from Camp Dick Robinson at Lancaster to secure the ford on the Rockcastle River, establish a camp at the heavily forested Wildcat Mountain, and obstruct the Wilderness Road passing through the area. Colonel Garrard informed Thomas that if he did not receive reinforcements, he would have to retreat because he was outnumbered seven to one. Thomas sent Brig. Gen. Albin F. Schoepf with what amounted to a brigade of men to Colonel Garrard, bringing the total force to about 7,000. The Union general awaited the Confederate troops who had to pass the stronghold to proceed into central Kentucky.

The two sides clashed in a brisk battle in the late afternoon of October 20, 1861. On the morning of October 21, soon after Schoepf arrived, some of his men moved forward and ran into Confederate forces, commencing an intense firefight. The Federals repelled repeated Confederate attacks, in part due to fortifications, both man-made and natural. The Confederates withdrew during the night and continued their retreat to Cumberland Ford, which they reached on October 26. A Union victory was welcomed.

Schoepf reported 4 Union soldiers killed and 18 wounded in the Battle of Camp Wildcat. Zollicoffer reported 11 Confederates killed and 42 wounded or missing.In the grand scheme of things not a really eventful or game-changing battle.

The battlefield, is about nine miles northwest of modern day London, Kentucky,is located on land held by the Daniel Boone National Forest and is in private hands. The private organization that maintains the property met with Mike and Bone and were zealous guardians of the Battlefield. It was as well kept as any National Park Battlefield and impressed the Boys with their passions. 

How can it rain in a Dry County ?!?

As the Boys left Camp Wildcat, the sky turned dark as night and the wind really whipped up buffeting the car from side to side between the limestone hills of Central Kentucky, as the downpour finally started, lightning struck all around the Boys, so in response to the Storm, the Boys kicked up the Who's Quadrophenia to full blast, rolled down their windows and sunroof and flaunted their defiance to the pelting rain and wind during what turned out to be a Severe Thunderstorm !!  After 15 minutes the rain (sadly) died down to a steady downpour. The sound of the word pour made the Boys realize that a pour of some good beer is exactly what they needed, so seeing a sign for Burea, a small College Town, the boys drove the 15 minutes into town with a thirst for a college Brew pub !

Finding a quaint downtown and Town Square Burea Mike and Bone found a lovely old Hotel that is on the list of National Historic Landmarks.  Walking in to the Antebellum Lobby drenched from the rain, sweaty from the climb and wearing grungy clothes, the Boys passed fine southern ladies in petticoats, silk gloves, and taffeta dresses, and college-aged boys in tuxedos. Slopping around loudly, Mike and Bone asked anyone who would listen, "Where's the Bar !?" Finally a timid, well-dressed young man came up and used horrible, foul words on the Boys, "uh Sirs?, this is a Dry County"

 Screaming and flailing the Boys left running wildly out of the Hotel loudly, jumped in their car and headed up to their Hotel In Lexington. 

How can you really beat Pizza and Beer ?

By 9:00 PM the Boys checked into their Hotel, unfortunately it was still raining pretty hard, and with the hard partying, the heat from the hike, and the long day driving caught up with the Boys, so instead of checking out Downtown Lexington (home of the University of Kentucky), Mike and Bone picked up a case of Beer, chilled it in the Bathtub, found a good Movie on HBO, and ordered a couple of pies from Pappa John, The belching, burping, and gaseous rectal emissions (farting) continued until the beer and pie was gone at 12:30 AM.