Before we escalate to acts of armed aggression, I should clarify: the PCA region of Kentucky spent the weekend driving through the Hocking Hills portion of southeast Ohio. The Hocking Hills is a deeply dissected area of the Allegheny Plateau featuring cliffs, gorges, rock shelters, and waterfalls. The area’s topography is due to particular sandstone formation: thick, hard and weather-resistant, forming high cliffs and narrow, deep gorges.
The area is world famous for its roads featuring sweeping curves and scenery. What would you expect from roads named “Black Diamond Run”, “Zaleski Zipper” or “Hocking Hills Nipper”? A favored spot for America’s motor journalists, frequently using the area for sports car comparisons. In fact, Car & Driver magazine has declared a 14-mile path they’ve carved out in the Hills as their “favorite test loop” for taking a vehicle through the motions. The magazine has been testing cars on the roads here since at least 1989. Well, if it’s good enough for Car & Driver, it must be good enough for KYPCA.
Lest you think it was all roads meant to be explored in a spirited fashion, the area also features more bucolic routes: “Lazy Rivers” and “Rim of the World”. Not least but last, there is the famed “Triple Nickle”: up and down and around a route guaranteed to make your passenger sick.
We decided to make a weekend out of the trip, leaving Louisville early Saturday to return Sunday night. Of our 700 mile round trip, 300 miles were spent on the Hills’ “Windy 9” (as in “winding”, not as in blowing air); 9 specific routes featuring the best scenic and winding routes for cars and motorcycles. A brief aside: does everyone in Ohio always drive 20 miles under the speed limit at all times? Our admittedly less than statistically accurate survey would say “YES”!
Besides sampling routes, we spent time visiting many popular tourist attractions, including the pencil sharpener museum, featuring a collection of over 3,400 pencil sharpeners (including one shaped like a 911 Turbo), thought to be the nation’s largest.
Our monthly activities also included our annual trip to Southern Indiana’s Polly’s Freeze, serving ice cream continuously since 1952.
Most of us probably read Car & Driver and Road & Track magazines each month. Over the course of many Porsche, Jaguar, Maserati, etc road tests, there are continuous references to the Hocking Hills and Southeastern Ohio’s magnificent roads. Well, maybe it’s time we checked this out: if it’s good enough for motor sports journalists, it’s got to be good enough for us.
And so, June 29th to 30th, we drive to Athens for the Windy 9 (as in winding roads, not blowing air).
Want more info on why? Check out: https://www.explorehockinghills.com/blog/posts/2016/may/experience-the-thrill-of-driving-hocking-hills-famously-scenic-roads/
We’ll leave 9 am Saturday freewaying to Cincinnati, from where we’ll take 2 lane roads arriving in the Hocking Hills by 12 or so. We’ll spend the next 4 to 5 hours sampling roads following a pre-planned route, stopping in Athens for the night. Sunday, we’ll drive more of the hills until around 1 PM or so, before heading back to Louisville via Maysville and Paris. Some of our stops may include the one remaining, still in operation, washboard factory.
Please RSVP so we can get a head count and try to arrange a group rate at a motel. Food, lodging all responsibility of attendees.
The Kentucky Region covers a territory 200 miles wide by 120 miles North to South. Of our 480 members, 410 reside in the greater Louisville area, at the North East corner of the region. 20 members are in the south and 50 in the West (and 1 in Belgium).
This month, we decided to follow Horace Greeley’s advice and go West to join up with our far western neighbors. We first traveled Kentucky parkways for 90 miles prior to smaller two lane roads. Our first destination Jefferson Davis State Park, home of the world’s tallest concrete non-reinforced obelisk. Washington’s Monument stands 554 feet tall: Jeff Davis Memorial stands 351. Kentucky was a southern state during the Civil War.
Don’t know any of us would claim confederate sympathies, just wanted to see a 35 story concrete obelisk standing in the middle of a farm field.
Our next stop was the Casey Jones distillery, where we met some of our western members, located outside of Hopkinsville, KY. The distillery was named neither for the famed engineer, nor the Grateful Dead song, but for an early moonshiner from the woods of far Western KY, whose grandson operates it today using the original still design. His shine was the only liquor acceptable to Al Capone, himself a native of the same area.
After touring the modest, but attractive distillery, we all repaired to a local BBQ for lunch (and home made coconut cream pie) prior to the long drive home.
Would that have been all, it would have been enough, except the region also attended the annual Joe and Jane Galownia Steak and Wine party, a pre-purchase inspections tech session from Mitch at Stuttgart Specialists and KYPCA Ladies Night at the local Massage Envy hosted by the lovely Vycki Minstein.
2019 KYPCA Activity List
March 9th – Drive to Story, Indiana (Brown County State Park)
March 16th – Tech Session at Blue Grass Dealership
March 23rd – Donut Run
April 6th – Drive to the Overlook Restaurant in Leavenworth, IN
April 20th – Drive to the Chicken House in Sellersburg, IN
May 11th – Joe and Jane Galownia’s Steak & Wine Dinner, New Albany, IN
May 18th – Tech Session at Stuttgart Specialists
May 19th – KYPCA Ladies Night Out – Massage Envy hosted by Vycki Minstein
May 25th – Casey Jones Distillery Tour, Hopkinsville, KY
June 8-9 – Summer Driver’s Education, Putnam Road Course, Greencastle, IN
June 29 – Overnight trip to Athens, OH
July 12th – Polly’s Freeze Ice Cream Run, Georgetown, IN
July 20th – Keeneland Concours
August 3rd – Urban Bourbon Distillery Tours – Old Forester & Michter’s, Louisville
August 9, 10 & 11 – Tail of the Dragon Tour
August 24th – Pool Party hosted by Anthony and Vycki Minstein, Louisville
August 30th – Little Twirl Ice Cream Run, Salem, IN
September 7-8- Fall Driver’s Education, Putnam Road Course, Greencastle, IN
September 21st – LuxRow Distillery Tour, Bardstown, KY
October 5th – Huber’s Drive, Starlight, IN
October 5th – Germanfest/Bourbonfest hosted by Steve and Bernadette Doolin
October 12th – Wild Turkey Distillery Tour, Lawerenceburg, KY
November 2nd – Castle and Key Distillery Tour, Frankfort, KY
November 16th – Kentucky Covered Bridge Tour
Additional details for each event will be distributed as their respective dates approach.
The Overlook restaurant is uniquely positioned on a bluff in Leavenworth, Indiana, offering a 20 mile panoramic vista of the Ohio River. As you enjoy your meal, watch barges churning up and down the river or the sun setting behind the wooded hills of Indiana.
The restaurant serves up country classics such as fried chicken, pork chops, chicken pot pie, and catfish fillets—and in-house baked coconut cream pie worth an hour’s drive.
Or maybe, it was the donuts. April’s first drive started at a late enough hour to get folk out of bed (10:30 leave time) and at what is arguably Louisville’s best for donuts: North Lime Donuts. Regardless, we had a 50 mile drive through the farm country of deep south Indiana, between the twin urban Indiana metropolises of Elizabeth (pop204) and Laconia (pop 51). Once through Corydon, our group of 27 cars and 38 folk remained on Hwy 62 along the Ohio River bottoms until reaching Leavenworth and the Overlook restaurant.
Following PCA recommended protocol, we had split the 27 cars into three separate drive groups. Leaving 5 minutes apart and staying within speed limits allowed us to be safe, and not disrupt local traffic by trains 10,15 or more cars long. As a result, we arrived at the Overlook parking area with enough time between to safely park.
The Overlook had reserved 3 long and two 6 top tables in a separate room, surrounded by views of the curve of the Ohio. Everyone enjoyed a country style home cooked lunch and some of wisely chose dessert (the wisest among us choosing coconut cream pie, just sayin’).
After lunch, it was time to saddle up for the drive home. Some chose to go direct to the freeway, a little West and North. Some chose back to drive East back to Corydon following State Scenic Route Hwy 62 getting on the freeway after the scenic part of the drive. And some decided the day was warm enough to drive further North and West to Patoka Lake sampling a wine called “Drunken Bunny Piss”. We hope they make a safe return.
“It was a dark and stormy night…”, well actually, cloudy (thought it did get stormy later) and morning. But, an opportunity to consume excellent donuts at our meet up spot preparing to brave the elements for the 200 mile round trip to Story, IN, inside Brown County. We explored the farm country and roads over and on top of glacial moraines visiting two separate covered bridges.
Although rain had threatened, we were able to get to the Story Inn on time for brunch, surrounded by antique bottles, glassware and a meat grinder (I remember my mother using one in the 1960s).
Story was founded in 1851, a land patent grant from President Millard Fillmore to Dr. George Story. Story soon became the largest settlement in the area, in 1880-1929 supporting two general stores, a nondenominational church, a schoolhouse, grain mill, sawmill, slaughterhouse, blacksmith’s forge and post office. Story never recovered from the Great Depression creating the opportunity for the State of Indiana to purchase 16,000 for what is now Brown County State Park.
“March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb”. Well, here in Kentucky, we add “…and hangs around like a feral boar”. Scheduling drives means potentially contending with rain, sleet, ice, cold and warm sunshine: all in one day.
With weather remaining so uncooperative, our next adventure was a tech session at Bluegrass Motor Sports. The how’s of replacing plugs on coils. Well attended, we were walked through the procedures and dos and don’ts…afterwards, consuming large quantities of pizza.
Our last activity for the month the 2nd Annual Endurance Donut Run, visiting separate donut shops around central Kentucky. As Homer Simpson says: “Uhm…donuts”…indeed.
We ventured out on some of Kentucky’s fine back roads, around, alongside and over the Kentucky river and its many tributaries. For those geology buffs among us, the open limestone cliffs were a stark reminder of the tremendous waterflow through here from the melting of the great ice sheets of the last ice age. How much water? Considering water density at room temperature is 0.998g/cm³ and ice is 0.9167 g/cm³, the ratio of volumes is inversely proportional to the ratio of densities. So an ice sheet two miles thick melting produces a lot of water: enough to carve out hills, valleys and erode the hard rock underneath.
Whatever: we had a lot of pretty scenery to drive through as we got to our first stop: B’s Bakery in downtown Frankfort. Their constantly shifting selection of fresh donuts made decisions difficult and a number of us grabbed some to go. The heath bar donut especially interested me, but too much sugar can be, well, too much.
After B’s, we saddled up and went out through the flat farm lands of central Kentucky, again driving along the Kentucky river and more of it’s tributaries, but this time, in the flatter zone indicative of the Kentucky Bluegrass. We ended up driving through the thoroughbred horse farms producing Derby competition to arrive at our 2nd stop: Doughdaddy’s Donuts outside Versailles. Although a donut specialty house, the clear winner was Bs with their varied home made specialties.
By the time we had finished lunch, it was warm enough to put down the top (albeit with seat and steering wheel heaters in ON position) as we drove home.
Primary Members: 305
Co Members: 177
Total Members: 482