2010 Tom's 50th High School Reunion in Kentucky

 

Go back to Corbin, Kentucky and see many of my high school friends one more time? Ride the Natchez Trace and other great roads in TX, LA, MS, TN, KY, AR & OK? In October on a Harley XR1200 Sportster the same color as the little Harley 165 I rode in high school? You bet!

This trip was carefully planned to avoid the direct route on I-30 in both directions. I've made trips that way too many times already since I came to Dallas from Kentucky. Some of those trips were on four wheels, which is definitely too many. Some were on two, but I was younger and they covered more distance each day than I care to now. This trip will be a slow scenic rumble to smell the roses and the Bluegrass.

 

I suggest you set your window just a little wider than the photos and scroll down.

 

 

This is most of the actual trip as it turned out, which is a bit different than it had been planned.

 

 

Two hours into East Texas, I found myself on Squirrel Road. If you don't know, Squirrel Road is right there between Woodchuck Road and Sheep Road, near the home of our friends Lynn and Lindy.

 

 

They weren't home, but a stop at their place always inspires

 

 

Heading diagonally southeast across Louisiana with the sun on my back.

 

 

Into Natchez for a late dinner

 

 

 

 

After a quick look around the next morning

 

 

I left with a trace

 

 

I had ridden some parts of the Trace Parkway before, but this time I would ride it all

 

 

 

 

It's a sweet road if you adjust your attitude to just take it easy. (Hint: Getting older helps.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

These guys crossed the road in front of me, then left "without a Trace"

 

 

You can walk short stretches of the original trace in some places

 

 

This guy could just get by with his cane, but once on his Gold Wing Trike he was good to go.

 

 

These very cool guys from Argentina flew to Nashville to rent Harleys and ride the Natchez Trace.

We all agreed that now it's my turn to come south and ride the incredible roads of Argentina. Yes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Choctaw ancestors of my ex-wife Margaret came from this area

 

 

 

 

 

 

They get a lot of hay from the meadows that line the Trace Parkway

 

 

More of the dozens of native burial mounds

 

 

 

 

 

 

Too bad they didn't know what they were being duped into.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is one of the few places where you can ride on a part of the original trace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I knew this had happened but didn't realize I would come across the site on this trip

 

 

 

 

There are no stop signs on the Natchez Trace Parkway. At some intersections you cross under.

 

 

At others you cross over. It's controlled access but the control isn't intrusive

 

 

This big crossover was just south of Nashville, where I got off the Trace at its north end

 

 

An hour of I-65 north from Nashville is all I could take of the superslab

 

 

So I turned east onto KY 100, which I had never ridden before. It was far more pleasant.

 

 

As long as I ignored politics of course

 

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Halloween is coming

 

 

 

 

This is much like the Kentucky I knew as a kid

 

 

I was pleasantly surprised to find a good motel in the little town of Tompkinsville

 

 

 

 

I came onto the last remaining state run ferry in Kentucky. It was free so of course I took it.

 

 

I had forgotten how much the Kentucky fog collects in the low places in the morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This lake seemed mythical when I grew up near the Cumberland River about 60 miles east

 

 

Now I'm getting back near my home turf. I rode this road so many times about 50 years ago.

 

 

I parked my little Harley 165 here many times when I was in high school

 

 

I often swam out to that big flat rock and dived into the Cumberland River

 

 

There were of course no signs like these back in the good old days.

 

 

Tourists above the Cumberland Falls

 

 

 

 

Some 60 years ago, I shot my own little popgun in this same spot

 

 

And walked often to the falls to see the rainbow. It's also famous for it's moonbow.

 

 

It was so glad to see me again it came through with a nice double rainbow

 

 

I wish I had all the photos taken of me in front of these falls, but most are long lost

 

 

 

 

If the CCC program hadn't pulled my folks through in the late 30's I probably wouldn't be here

 

 

Dupont Lodge, where we held our 45th reunion five years ago

 

 

The famous (to us back in the day) "Dry Land Bridge"

 

 

My friend Glen, the "Hummer Boy" lived here

 

 

And I lived for 18 years here at 110 18th St. I was shocked that it and three others had vanished

 

 

Once when I was about to give up finding my missing arrow I found it stuck in that upstairs door

 

 

My first job was washing mugs here when I was thirteen. Two summers of that bought my first car.

 

 

My folks later bought the A&W and made it successful enough to still later buy this house

 

 

The "Concrete Bridge" where I often played

 

 

My quarters during the reunion weren't here of course back in the day

 

 

But the Sanders motel and restaurant were

 

 

Mom and Dad and I often ate the Colonel's chicken here when he served it to us himself

 

 

He also cooked it himself in this kitchen. My dad knew Harland well before he was the Colonel

 

 

Dad eventually bought this Laundromat, mainly so he could fix the machines when they broke

 

 

Dad and I pulled tourists from these rooms into his fishing boat when Corbin flooded

 

 

Except for the KFC and the Hardee's signs, main street looks much like it did in the 50's

 

 

This is the old L&N depot located on (you guessed it) Depot Street

 

 

We began the reunion by gathering outside the old Edwards Gym

 

 

And had a classic car parade through downtown

 

 

This low underpass sometimes trapped 18 wheelers. They would deflate the tires to get out.

 

 

The old football stadium

 

 

Classic cars? Hey they were young when we were

 

 

The class of 1960 always did draw a lot of cops

 

 

 

 

 

 

My high school sweetheart (and first wife) Patti and I had a good laugh once she recognized me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mayor of Corbin came out to speak the memorial service for our 11 classmates that are no longer here

 

 

Bo Eubanks, Peggy Sturgill Eubanks, and Mrs. Ima Sturgill (who is the cause of all of this)

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was glad to find my old friend Doug Cornn, who often rode to school on my Harley 165

 

 

He now has a truss manufacturing company with his son

 

 

Doug lives next to his shop the same way I do mine

 

 

My dad's brother Clyde operated this shovel in the coal business for decades

 

 

It morphed into a general excavation business now run by his son Mike

 

 

We were treated to a nice little play about returning to Corbin (Nibroc is Corbin backwards)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I fell in love with Triumph Bonneville parallel twins and Harley Sportster V-Twins while I was in high school

 

 

I also fell in love with these twins at about the same time.

 

I waited 50 years and they all just kept getting better. Patience really does pay!

 

 

Every time I stopped to see my first mother-in-law she was out running around somewhere.

 

 

I finally caught up with and met my third cousin Scott, who is Mike's son

 

 

One last look at the old A&W where I worked for many years

 

 

Dad taught me to drive on the days we went to this ice plant to fill the chests for the motel where he worked

 

 

My parents moved to this place in "Woodbine" while I was away in college

 

 

I never did catch my second cousin's wife Wilma at home.

 

 

But I finally did catch his son Mike and his wife just before I had to head out

 

 

I passed this place often in college but didn't know about it. There was no sign and no access until recently

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just had to take old Hwy 25 north to Berea, which is about 20 miles south of Richmond where I went to school.

 

 

I had a great visit with my first brother-in-law Dan Brewer and his wife Donna

 

 

Dan has a cool job making and fixing all kinds of stuff for Berea College

 

 

Don't you use clamp blocks from your machine shop to hold down your P-38 parts?

 

 

This is how a college office should be

 

 

I passed here a hundred times while in college but couldn't afford to stop and eat. Today I splurged.

 

 

Boone Tavern is known far and wide as a class act.

 

 

I have very fond memories of Eastern, and still visit every chance I get.

 

 

In 1961 I ended the first ride of my wife Patti when I dumped my Allstate 250 in a patch of oil right here.

 

 

This Amphitheatre was a fine part of campus life and it still is.

 

 

Patti and I lived here at 228 Brockton for three years. It was brand new, inexpensive, and great.

 

 

My class was the first to graduate in the new Alumni Coliseum in 1964

 

 

I was standing on these steps when I learned that JFK had been shot in Dallas

 

 

Dr. J. G. Black, my mentor and friend, was head of the EKU physics department and lived here on Oak Street.

 

 

I rode the Western Kentucky Parkway, and near Paducah I saw this very interesting Harley shop.

 

 

 

 

Here I crossed the Ohio River to ride a half mile in Illinois

 

 

Then I crossed the Mississippi River into Arkansas

 

 

I wound my way across beautiful North Arkansas

 

 

 

 

Back in the 70's I often visited Jack's with my good friends Bill & Bobbie Curtis

 

 

Bill once tried to borrow Steve Goodman's guitar from John Prine for me here, and he almost pulled it off.

 

 

We had great times on the White River in Jack's boats. Sadly I learned Jack had passed just this summer.

 

 

The dock at Calico Rock is a few miles on up the White River from Jack's place.

 

 

I bet these guys are visiting from Kentucky to teach the locals how to run.

 

 

Yep! Look close and you can tell.

 

 

I once rode into this spot near Harrison frozen in place on the Cagiva saddle. It was 19 degrees.

 

 

My friends Carol and Bill Goodson pried me loose and thawed me out.

 

 

Today it's a lot warmer.

 

 

Bill knows the roads here well and made some suggestions about my route.

 

 

I found he was right on. The roads were fantastic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I learned the CCC is still teaching important skills to people in many places around the country.

 

 

I happened across a Bluegrass Festival because I had lived next door to Bill Monroe when I was a month old.

 

 

Part of the beautiful "Pig Trail" scenic byway

 

 

This is just south of Fayetteville

 

 

These people have the ultimate apple cider. I once lost a gallon I had bungeed to my Gold Wing.

 

 

My good friend and ex-wife Margaret (try it, you'll like it) had just gotten a Nintendo Wii.

 

 

She quickly made a believer of me and I'm getting one myself.

 

 

This is her Granny's old churn that we refinished and the Indian that was carved near Jack's about 35 years ago

 

 

This very special Choctaw lady got her masters in Native American Studies about 15 years ago and returned to work with her people in Oklahoma. She ran two Cherokee Chief elections then went to monitor the first democratic election in Mozambique with Rosalynn Jimmy and Carter.

 

 

Margaret's mother Maggie lives in Soper, Oklahoma, a few miles west of Hugo.

 

 

I stop in to visit her about every 15 years or so. She just gets younger as I get older . . .

 

 

 

 

 

That's all folks!