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An Aussie's 'Bluegrass Holiday' to Kentucky!

From Banjojustin on 2/27/2013 3:57:43 AM

Well, it's almost time for my trip. I decided to start this blog to keep everyone who's interested informed of my travels. I've planned a pretty tight schedule. I fly out of Australia on Sunday and because of the time difference, fly for about 26 hours with 3 different aircraft and I am scheduled to land in Louisville around 6:30pm the same Sunday! (I will lose a day going home) My journey which I've planned myself will begin with 3 nights in Louisville, or Loo-ah-vul (yeah I know how to say it!) before heading to Owensboro via Rosine to see Bill Monroe's birthplace and the Bluegrass Museum. I'll then head to Fairview to see the Jefferson Davis monument before overnighting in Bowling Green. From there to Monticello and Russell Springs to meet with Frank and Ricky Neat (they built my wonderful banjo). After that I'll visit Perryville Battlefield, stop by Lexington before overnighting back in Shepherdsville to see Dailey and Vincent live at the music barn. Then I'll head back to Lexington before seeing Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver in Clay City. After that, the mountains! Berea, London, Corbin, Middlesboro (Cumberland Gap overlook), Harlan and Whitesburg (for 3 nights) where I'm meeting up with WMMT Appalachian Mornings host Ben West, and hopefully pay a visit to the great Lee Sexton. Then I head to Morehead to visit some folks at the Kentucky Center For Traditional Music, and a friend of mine in Ashland before heading to Wilmington, OH for the two day music festival. I'll head up to Dayton to see the USAF Museum and then head to Frankfort via Cincy. I might drop by Cincy Zoo and Paul Brown Stadium. Frankfort will be my last night. I plan to do a distillery tour at Buffalo Trace and drive back to Louisville for my long journey home.

Fingers crossed the weather holds up it's part of the bargain! Although I wouldn't mind seeing a light dusting of Kentucky snow, and I think there's a more than fair chance I might see it. I'll try to update the blog when I can. My internet access might be intermittent whilst I'm traveling.

Hope everyone enjoy's the blog,

 

Justin Broadbent

Queensland, Australia

51 Comments

erikforgod says:
2/27/2013 4:18:04 AM

Justin I am so jealous of you! But I know you will have a great time. On your way over to Owensboro from Louisville if you take old highway60 through Breckinridge county and Hardinsburgh ( where I also have family ) you will come pretty close to Ft Knox as you come across Muldraugh Hill. If you stay in Owensboro you MUST EAT AT Moonlite BBQ ( remember this name ) and you MUST eat a BBQ mutton sandwich and have a bowl of hot Burgoo. The only thing I ask is that you enjoy it...please save some for me hahah! This part of Kentucky, which is where my family hails from is famous for its southern style BBQ. Also while you are in Bowling Green, try to drive over to Brownsville for an afternoon ( only about 20miles ) and see Mammoth Caves. You can take at least one of the cave tours...you just cant miss it. Have a great time!! Kentucky will grab a hold of your heart and not let go...you may not want to come back!

Banjojustin says:
2/27/2013 4:22:16 AM

Oh yeah. Moonlight is on my list for sure. That looks great! Especially seeing its going to be so cold!

Banjojustin says:
2/27/2013 4:22:51 AM

Oh yeah. Moonlight is on my list for sure. That looks great! Especially seeing its going to be so cold!

erikforgod says:
2/27/2013 4:26:52 AM

Excellent....they have a buffet...especially the dessert buffett, banana pudding, cakes,pies...all homemade...ohh MYY you are going to put on 10 pounds! Of course if you get invited to someones house for dinner...get ready to be spoiled!!

MuddyCreek says:
2/27/2013 8:30:13 AM

Justin, sounds like a great, but whirlwind of a trip. Hope you thoroughly enjoy each moment. BTW, I agree with Eric's suggestions. I don't see how you could fit it in but I thought I would mention that that Bowling Green is only about 45 minute drive from Nashville. Glad to see the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is on your itinerary. It's a "can't miss" kind of thing while you are here.

Cheers,
Jim
Lexington, KY

Aradobanjo says:
2/27/2013 11:05:16 AM

Hello Justin,

From your itinerary, I see you will be in my neck of the woods in Northern Kentucky at the end of your journey. It would be a pleasure to meet if possible. I glad you are able to come visit our fine state.

Aradobanjo says:
2/27/2013 12:13:07 PM

Hello Justin,

From your itinerary, I see you will be in my neck of the woods in Northern Kentucky at the end of your journey. It would be a pleasure to meet if possible. I glad you are able to come visit our fine state.

KANINJACK says:
2/27/2013 3:31:19 PM

I'll probably see you at the DV show, great venue with a lot of history.

KANINJACK says:
2/27/2013 3:42:56 PM

I'll probably see you at the DV show, great venue with a lot of history.

Banjojustin says:
2/27/2013 5:40:21 PM

Yes I'm planning to check out some of the bourbon history at Bardstown and also visit a distillery. Probably Buffalo Trace or maybe Barrel House in Lexington. John, I'll send you a message and see what we can arrange, it would be great to say hello on the way through. Troy, be sure to look out for me! I look the same as in my profile photo and I'm traveling by myself on this one. I've already bought my ticket from Monroe Rice for the show. Can't wait!

erikforgod says:
2/28/2013 3:39:15 AM

One of my favorite places in Kentucky to be is LBL or "Land Between The Lakes" Its an area I have my eye on for retirement in the future some day....but dont tell my Argentine wife...she is a real city girl. Either way its not camping season in Kentucky...too cold!

Banjojustin says:
2/28/2013 3:45:06 AM

Unfortunately I'm not quite going to make it that far west in this trip.

erikforgod says:
2/28/2013 6:47:59 AM

Its a shame KY lake is really nice. The far western part of the state is called the "Jackson Purchase" or most of the folks out there just say "The Purchase" Its some of the flattest ground in the state....and cotton is grown in a few places down there in Hickman/Graves county....it also has some great fishing areas....lots of bayous and cypress swamps!

Banjojustin says:
3/4/2013 5:18:31 PM

Well I'm here! Wow it's cold. I'm used to the mid-80's. I think it got to 43 today. Well, due to the forecast for Tuesday's unfavorable weather, I decided to do some sightseeing today and went to Hodgenville to the Lincoln Birthplace and the Limcoln museum. Both we very interesting, however the birthplace was near deserted. Only myself and another couple were visiting this morning. It was very peaceful, except for the squirrel gnawing nuts up in the tree! I also checked out the civil war museum at Bardstown. Thoroughly enjoyable. It's the first time I've seen civil war artefacts. I also went to visit First Quality music only to find out that they no longer have a show room! That's a little disappointing as I was really looking forward to visiting. Oh well. One more day to explore Louisville and then off to Owensboro on Wednesday.

erikforgod says:
3/5/2013 4:31:32 AM

Awesome!! welcome to Kentucky in early March!!! I am not surprised the Lincoln memorial was deserted being that its off tourist season. That are of LaRue/Marion/Nelson counties south and southeast of Bardstown I have alot of roots in that part of Kentucky too...especially heading a little further east. in the late 1700s my family immigrated from Leicestershire England to Maryland and after that up to the Ohio river, took a flatboat down to Louisville and settled right in that area there. I supposedly have alot of ancestors in that area buried in cemeteries....My uncle spent a whole year doing a bunch of geneolgy in that area, leaving after work on the weekends to head over there and research old county records. In Louisville you should check out the riverwalk and also the Derby grounds if you can...did you get to try a "Hot-Brown" sandwich while you were there? I spoke to my aunt Donna in Owensboro and she says "Old Hickory" BBQ on highway 54 is a little bit cheaper and she thinks the BBQ there is more authentic ( its been 4-ever since I have eaten there ) You MUST try a mutton sandwich and a bowl of Burgoo dont leave Owensboro without trying that! Moonlite is good also...my parents lived in an apartment very near there when they were first married...my dad worked at the little airport nearby. Anyways you will love the Bluegrass music museum...I think they are still having jams there on weekends. one final MUST...you have to drive out to Ohio county to Rosine. If you want directions...and take a more rural/backroad scenic route through the hills just ask me and I will be glad to send you directions to Rosine the back way so you can see the roads that I traveled on as a boy with my grandaddy for many many years! Anything about kentucky, Owensboro ro whatever....just ask! ENJOY and welcome to the Bluegrass State!!

erikforgod says:
3/5/2013 4:34:03 AM

Not only the roads that I traveled on as a boy but no doubt Bill Monroe and Pen Vandiver...you can head into Rosine the back way from county road 878 out of Dundee. Its hilly and full of curves and bad shoulders so drive slowly...but its worth it to see the hills and farms.

erikforgod says:
3/5/2013 4:41:20 AM

You mean the "First Quality Music" ...Sullivans right? I have only been there once. Yeah when I went there yeers ago they had a showroom. If I remember right they almost went through bankruptcy with the economy going bad...

erikforgod says:
3/5/2013 4:44:47 AM

Ohh one last point...before I hog up the thread...go a bit south out of Louisville, ( I think its called Dixie Highway ) past Valley Station, cross the Salt Fork and go over Muldraugh Hill. From there right before you get to Ft Knox you will hit a stop-light for Ky highway 60, turn right. Take Highway 60 to Owensboro. Dont go up into Indiana and take Interstate 64....its shorter to go through Indiana but I think the drive down highway 60 is much prettier.

Banjojustin says:
3/5/2013 4:58:33 AM

Hey thanks Eric that's great info. Google maps prefers Indiana, but I'll definantly be taking the route through Kentucky for sure. It's raining here this morning and going to get worse. I've still got a few things I want to check out like the Slugger museum, cardinal stadium, the downs and maybe Ft Knox. We'll just see how bad the weather gets later. I'm hoping as I drive west tomorrow things improve! Anyway, I'm having a ball. Being a firefighter I visited Engine 10 last night to. They were very welcoming. Oh and I'm a bit of an aircraft enthusiast so watching all the UPS planes is great to! I love it.

erikforgod says:
3/5/2013 6:18:49 AM

yeah Louisville is one of the hubs for UPS...I take it you are at a hotel near the airport? Its true the highway through Indiana is interstate 64. Its quicker and its a good highway with 4 lanes. Highway 60 through Kentucky is just two lane and its a bit slower going ( although I think now its 4 lanes in a few spots? ) anyways it takes you through Hardinsburg and by Cloverport and Hawesville ( where one of my uncles live ) and its pretty countryside driving through there.....its up to you. The forecast doesnt look to bad: wunderground.com/weather-forec...boro.html

erikforgod says:
3/5/2013 6:21:06 AM

You might want to consider the interstate through Indiana if you leave tomorrow though....if the roads ice up tomorrow, drive slowly... but even highway 60 I think should be pretty clean...looks like its going to get cold tomorrow though.

Banjojustin says:
3/5/2013 8:28:11 AM

Yeah I'll see how the overnight weather is. I'd like to take US 60 because I want to get to Rosine before heading to Owensboro.

erikforgod says:
3/5/2013 9:18:09 AM

Ohh ok...then here is a way you could get there: Take Ky highway 60 to Hardinsburg and when you get to Hardinsburg, get on Ky highway 261. take Ky 261 to Ky highway 54 just outside of Fordsville. Turn right on Highway 50 ( just a few minutes outside Fordsville ) go around the curve to downtown Fordsville and then turn left on Ky highway 69. Take Ky 69 south ( be careful on Ky 69 because its narrow with low shoulders in spots. take Ky 69 through Dundee until you get to Ky 878. Turn left onto highway 878 ( very narrow curvy hilly road ) and about a mile down the road it turns into Ky 1544...stay on Kentucky 1544 south until it take you right into Rosine. These are the directions for the scenic route...but be careful with hilly curvy roads ok? Have Fun in Rosine! Youll love the little store and barn where they have those jams. I used to go into that little store as a kid with my grandfather.

Banjojustin says:
3/5/2013 5:49:58 PM

Well the snow is here! Not real heavy around Southern Louisville yet. Hopefully it stays that way. Today I managed to check out the General Patton Museum at Fort Knox. A lot of the tanks are gone now, they moved 'em to Fort Benning. I think that's in Georgia? How's my US Army knowledge? Well then I drove back to Louisville and checked out the Slugger Museum and had a Hot Brown at THE Brown Hotel. I didn't want to wait for the trolley so I just walked there from the Slugger Museum in the rain. It wasn't too heavy so I was only a little bit soaked! Ha ha. This afternoon was pretty miserable weather wise but I managed to go to the gift shop at Churchill Downs to get some stuff for my wife and her sister who are both 'horse people'. And I caught some more UPS plane takeoffs. I love those MD-11's. I don't see those where I'm from in Brisbane. Now yesterday I also bought a cheap cheap cheap open back from the Guitar Center on Shelbyville Rd. When I get it home going to reshape the neck a bit and refinish the thing, put a new head and a new bridge on it. The. It should sound great. When its all done ill post pics and sound files on the my HO home page. Tomorrow, Owensboro, Rosine and Bowling Green. I'm going to skip the Jeff Davis monument. I've learned already that I'm underestimating the time it takes to see what I want to see. Loving my trip! And I've been snowed on in Kentucky. Magical!

Banjojustin says:
3/5/2013 5:51:53 PM

There are some typos in that last post. Sorry.

erikforgod says:
3/6/2013 3:30:45 AM

Yeah Kentucky is a small state,but if you take those country roads it can make it seem like everything is much farther with those little two-lanes and curves etc.. I saw on facebook all my relatives posting about how it started snowing last night. If its still snowy and the roads seem icy, I would take I-65 down to Elizabethtown to the western Kentucky parkway and head over to Rosine that way just to be safe...the interstates and parkways should be nice and clean. Congrats on the old banjo find...what-not a better souvenir to take back to Australia with you right? Did you get to see the river also? That area around Bardstown, central Kentucky, Shepherdsville is really beautiful. I am also glad that you enjoyed a hot-brown. Let me know when you get over to western Kentucky and Rosine and Owensboro! Have fun!

Banjojustin says:
3/6/2013 3:42:09 AM

Hey thanks Eric, I'll be leaving Louisville around 9:30am this morning so I was thinking about taking US60 I think it is. Outside of Fort Knox. But I'll see and I might take the interstates. I'm going to Owensboro first until after lunch (at Moonlite BBQ!) and then Rosine so hopefully any ice would have melted by then.

erikforgod says:
3/6/2013 8:14:15 AM

Dang I am super jealous...Moonlite has the best buffett in the world...your going to put on 15 pounds after eating there haha! Get a mutton sandwich with an onion slice and a pickle...ain nuthin better ( except for a bowl of hot burgoo and warm crackers on a cold winter day :) The best day to go to Rosine is Friday night when it is "open-mic" night at the barn there...people come from all over to pick there. Right across the highway from the barn in Rosine is a little gift shop...there you can buy all kinds of cool little souvenirs, t-shirts etc... If you go to Rosine, just head out highway 54. On your way you will pass through a sleepy little town called "Whitesville" thats where my granny lives and where I stay everytime I go to Kentucky to visit...lots of memories there! My aunt works at the IGA supermarket there :) Anyways on your way to Rosine, take highway 54 through Whitesville and on into Fordsville ( another town where I have alot of family. In Fordsville take a "right" and head south on Ky hwy 69. Take Ky 69 south through Dundee and about a mile or so out of Dundee turn left ( you can only turn left ) on hwy 878. Turn left head up the hill ( careful its curvy and hilly, narrow ) go until it turns into hwy 1544. Stay heading straight south on Hwy 1544 and it will take you right smack-dab into Rosine. Its kinda a more scenic route, backroads through the hills. If you take the Natcher Expressway south from Owensboro to Beaver Dam or US 431 its a bit more boring.

erikforgod says:
3/6/2013 8:16:24 AM

Most of my family is in Hancock county Kentucky though...you will pass by a town called "Hawesville" if you go out route 60....my mom went to school in Hawesville. Its also where Abraham Lincoln and the Lincoln family crossed the Ohio river on their way to Indiana.

Banjojustin says:
3/6/2013 7:36:44 PM

Hey Eric, I appreciate all the advice on the directions, however today I stuck to mostly the interstates. I was just punching it into my GPS unit and letting it guide me. I took your advice though and headed south to Elizabethtown and then heading to Owensboro from there. So I made it to the museum which was good. And I went to Moonlite and tried the BBQ mutton. It was interesting. It had kind of a stronger flavor. I missed the burgoo! I was looking for it but didn't see it til I was on the way out. Apparently I was lucky to even get in there because the guy at the museum said Bill Clinton was in town and he went there for lunch last time he was in town and the place was packed. I didn't see him there today though. I loved looking at the bridge across the Ohio with that power station or whatever it was billowing steam in the distance upstream. So then I got to Rosine cemetery after some missed turns. Wow those roads are tiny. I didn't stay in Rosine long, I kind of felt like I was intruding. My GPS did take me on KY505 I think it was. A road winding through the hills south and west of Rosine itself. The temp was 34 around there. This eventually led me to Bowling Green and the Corvette Museum. I'm a big fan of the early 70's Stingrays so I enjoyed the museum visit. And that's about all for today. Tomorrow I'm off to Monticello and Russell Springs.

erikforgod says:
3/7/2013 3:41:55 AM

Justin I love getting up in the morning and reading about your travels in Kentucky! So how did you like this part of Kentucky? This is the area where I have the happiest memories of my life and childhood. Its a great place, a great state with great people. Kentucky often gets a bad rap for being backwards, hillbilly, impoverished, uneducated...its really not fair. Yes Bill Clinton has been to Moonlite BBQ before...I have seen pictures of that. Also the sheiks from Saudi Arabia..I have heard that when they are in the US,they take a private jet to the airport in Owensboro and order carry-out of mutton from there...the arabs eat alot of mutton. Rumor has it that Ky BBQ mutton and BBQ has its roots in the traditions of Catholic Welsh settlers to the southern mountains and then central Kentucky from back in the pioneer days. My wife ( Argentine ) hates the mutton and BBQ but I was raised on it and I love it. It does have a very strong flavor. So you took the Western Kentucky Parkway from E-Town all the way to the Natcher in Hartford/Beaver Dam and then north to Owensboro? That would have taken you right by the neighborhood where my aunt and uncle and two cousins live in Owensboro. Right where you get off the Natcher Pkwy and then onto the hwy 60 ( Owensboro bypass ) to go to Moonlite, they live in that first area right when you get on the bypass right there:) Also when my folks were first married,they lived on Parrish Ave just about a mile or so from Moonlite...they met in Owensboro and got married there...wow that was 1971! So you took the directions I gave you to Rosine? You must have taken hwy 505 out of Horse Branch ( if I remember ) and went down through Butler county in Morgantown? I remember that area as being kinda remote and yes hilly...be careful on those roads they are narrow, curvy, bad shoulders and the locals fly up and down those roads! My grandfather ( who was a foxhunter and raised foxhounds ) used to trade foxhounds at a place down in Butler county and I think we used to take hwy 505 to get down there....been a long time though. On your way to Rosine did you take hwy 54 andgo down through Whitesville, Fordsville or did you just go down the Natcher parkway and hit hwy 62 east to Rosine? I thought you would have enjoyed that more scenic route but if it was icy out, I understand. Enjoy Bowling Green...its popular for a big race track they have down there ( I have never been ) and also its near Mammoth Cave. Check out Mammoth Cave if you can! Have fun!

Banjojustin says:
3/7/2013 4:19:06 AM

Yeah it was still near freezing when I was there and I just took the parkway down to Rosine. I think I went through Beaver Dam and that area. It was a nice drive, but still pretty barren looking at this time of year. But I love looking at all those old barns and houses that are all over the place. 505 was a small road, and I'm unsure of the speed limits on a lot of those roads so I hoped I wasn't annoying people when they came up behind me. I won't get time to see Mammoth Cave. I'd really love to come back here with my wife in the spring or summer and we would definantly do that if I had her here. I need to be in Russell Springs after lunch and I want to go via Monticello to pay a visit to the grave of Virgil Anderson. One of my absolute favorite Kentucky banjo players.

erikforgod says:
3/7/2013 9:03:16 AM

awesome!!!....yeah in summer its hot and humid sometimes reaching 100 degrees ( almost 38 celcius ) and its just lush green countryside...and you can do some camping and hit some festivals.

Banjojustin says:
3/8/2013 8:08:14 PM

Alright I couldn't do an update last night because I was in Russell Springs and the motel wifi was not working. So I started yesterday at Bowling Green and took the most wonderful drive so far between Glasgow and Monticello. When I'm playing my banjo at home these are the images of Kentucky that go through my head. The old weathered barns, the hills, the streams that drive had it all. Even some snow left on the ground the closer I got to Monticello. I spent a good 40 minutes walking around Elk Spring Cemetery at 34f and my hands were nearly frozen off! But I found what I was looking for. The resting place if Wayne County banjo player Virgil Anderson and his wife. I paid my respects and headed for Russell Springs. I arrived there mid afternoon and spent the rest of the day with Frank and Ricky. What great guys they are. We talked and shared stories and just had a really pleasant afternoon. Now this morning I left Russell Springs and headed for Perryville Battlefield. It was so cold there to. But the snow made it look really nice. It's amazing to think how many men were lost on that patch of ground there. I'm glad I went there. Next up lunch at Nicholasville with none other than Mr JD Crowe! Can you believe it? I couldn't. I was pinching myself. I got in touch with him the night before with a bit of Franks help. Let me tell you he was very much obliging to my request to meet and he is every bit a gentleman. It was just lucky he was home this week. This was a true highlight of my visit to Kentucky. As far as I'm concerned JD's the number one banjo picker of the second generation of Scruggs pickers. Hope that makes sense. Well then I left Jessamine Co. for Shepherdsville where I just saw Dailey and Vincent. No finer singing will you here! I met them to after the show. Great guys. Tomorrow Lexington, then Doyle Lawson at Clay City. I'm not sure what my wifi internet is going to be like for the next few days so another update might be a few days away.

erikforgod says:
3/9/2013 6:11:28 AM

Wow Frank Neat, JD Crowe.....dang you had the vacation of a lifetime! Yeah western Kentucky is hilly in spots but more rolling, nothing like the hills and mountains the further east that you get. I have never been to Russell Springs but heard about it. I have always heard the the crappie fishing on lake Cumberland ( especially in winter ) is some of the best crappie fishing there is. Never been to Lexington although I have a cousin that lives there. So you made the complete circuit, back to Louisville and now headin over to Clay City. You'll be heading way back in the hills, hollers and woods over there! Glad youre having a great time...enjoy!

Banjojustin says:
3/9/2013 8:59:20 PM

Well what another wonderful day in the bluegrass state! This morning I left Shepherdsville and drove to Keeneland via some of the scenic roads past all the horse farms. In between the interstate and US 60 if that makes sense to those who know the area. Keeneland was great. Both my wife and sister in law are horse lovers so I had to get plenty of photos. Then I checked out the Kentucky Aviation Museum. It was worth a look just for the F-14 Tomcat sitting in the hangar let alone the rest. The Fayette Mall to pick up some wildcats gear. Go Cats! Then I had the pleasure of visiting fellow Neat banjo owner and hangout member Craig Loscalzo and his wife. That was very nice to be able to visit them. It was a real pleasure. I really wish we could've talked longer but once again I'm trying to fit too much in. I had to leave Craig's and get out to Clay City to watch Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver. What a wonderful group he's got going with the current line up. All are wonderful musicians, and the crowd were loving Joe Dean on banjo! He tore it up good. So that's my day. Tomorrow Renfro Valley, Corbin, Cumberland Gap, Harlan and Whitesburg. And I get an extra hour to do it! Ha ha. Hope my phone changes the time automatically. Otherwise I'll sleep through.

erikforgod says:
3/11/2013 6:40:10 PM

So hows the trip through eastern Kentucky coming? Maybe you could meet BHO member Jim Reed? He lives in Sydney, Pike County Kentucky just outside of Pikeville heading over towards Tug Fork. Sounds like you will be in his neck of the woods soon. You are WAAYYY back in the hills now over in eastern Kentucky!

Banjojustin says:
3/11/2013 6:54:37 PM

Well I'm now in Whitesburg. I had a very interesting drive again yesterday to get here. Starting in Stanton I drove through Irvine, the outer limits of Richmond, which looked like a really nice place and then stopped at Berea to get some pictures of the historic college buildings. From there, the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in Renfro Valley. I quite enjoyed looking through there to. Then I went and had lunch at the Sanders Cafe in Corbin. I know, I know it's just the usual KFC but you gotta eat there at least once in your lifetime! Anyway, off to Cumberland Gap. I went up to the pinnacle where the view was a bit hazy in the distance but not too bad really. I then drove through the tunnel and got out of the car in the township of the same name. It was really so I could put my feet on Tennessee ground. The only time I would have the chance on this trip. Then I took a scenic route to Whitesburg through Harlan, Pennington Gap, Big Stone Gap, Norton and Wise. All in Virginia. That was a nice drive. Snow up the top of the mountains and a great overlook. Finally I arrived in Whitesburg. Then today I met up with Ben West, host of Appalachian Mornings on WMMT community radio. I spoke on air this morning and then we took a look around Letcher Co. We went to the Letcher Co. Extension office and saw the bird of prey rehabilitation area and I saw them making maple syrup. Then we took a drive through the old coal camps of Neon and Jenkins. Lastly, a trip up to a very small road atop Pine Mountain. I saw some wild turkeys but the rain was coming in so the views gradually got worse. We came back past the site of the 1976 Scotia mine explosions. All in all, an interesting day.

Banjojustin says:
3/13/2013 5:30:31 PM

Well what another great two days! Yesterday my friend Ben West from WMMT took me out to play banjo with mountain banjo legend Lee Sexton! We stayed for about 3 hours. It was wonderful. It's starting to be a habit sitting in the lounge rooms of banjo legends! Ha ha. Then this morning I left Whitesburg, drive through heavy snow flurries, and had a jam in the lobby and then lunch at Morehead with Raymond McLain, Jesse Wells and the rest of the guys at the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music at MSU. Then finally I arrived in Ashland and jammed with Michael and his dad Keith Garvin at Michaels new fiddle shop. Keith's dad was Bert Garvin who's banjo and playing of it inspired my custom built banjo. It was great to meet those guys to. Off to Wilmington, OH tomorrow for the bluegrass convention.

erikforgod says:
3/14/2013 7:37:11 AM

dang you have seen more of Kentucky than I have.....

MuddyCreek says:
3/14/2013 2:10:41 PM

Justin,

Sounds like your visit is going extremely well. I can't believe you have seen and done so much and met the folks you have. You are very fortunate. I'm very happy you are enjoying your visit.

Jim

Banjojustin says:
3/14/2013 3:23:16 PM

Hey thanks Jim and Eric, yes I think I've seen more Kentucky that what a lot of Kentuckians have! Today I left Ashland and headed for Ohio. I was fortunate enough to meet with Tony Ellis for a little while this afternoon. In doing so I achieved what I set out to do. Meet the 'major players' who have 'mentored' me via CD, book and video all these years. He was a great guy and he played a tune for me which was great! I'm now in Wilmington for the Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival. And the USAF museum on Saturday.

Aradobanjo says:
3/17/2013 4:42:07 PM

Hello, I had a fun time picking Scruggs songs with Justn today. Too bad it was for a short two hours. A snowy day in Northern Kentucky made it difficult to play outside. But, it was warm picking.:-)

Banjojustin says:
3/17/2013 6:35:49 PM

Time for an update. Well the last few days I was at Joe Mullins' festival. Wow. What a great line up. IIIrd Tyme Out, Lou Reid, Audie Blaylock, Seldom Scene, the Radio Ramblers the list goes on. What a great two days. I managed to get to the airforce museum to. Took me about 2 hours to see all the aircraft. I didn't do much reading! Ha ha. Anyway, today, well started ok. Cold but ok. Got to Cincinnati and went to Devou Park to take a pic of the famous Cincy skyline. It was a bit grey but not too bad. It soon started to lightly snow. I then visited John Robison, a hangout member, for a little picking in Independence. His wife baked some nice cookies and we good but short time. It was a relatively short visit as I'd made plans to be in Lexington to have dinner with another hangout member, Craig Loscalzo and his wife and friends. So, then the weather turned quite nasty. The snow was getting worse and the interstate was reduced to 35 mps. Cars were off the road, trying to go too fast and it was just messy. Luckily snow turned to rain as I neared Frankfort where I checked in at the motel and then made a beeline for Craig's. his wife put together a wonderful Thai meal and we had a great time sharing stories. It was a great last night in Kentucky as I fly home from Louisville tomorrow. Lets hope the rain isn't too bad but the prediction is for thunderstorms.

erikforgod says:
3/18/2013 5:50:20 AM

Justin have a great trip home to Australia tomorrow....it seems like you had a great time and have alot of memories to take back home with you. It's a shame you didnt get any of that good old-time country cookin while you were there. If I'd have been there, would have invited you over my granny's house for some cornbread with fresh beans and new taters, Okra/Mustard Greens, fresh sliced/peeled tomatoes along with a tall glass of iced tea....well maybe next time! hahha No seriously, I am glad you had a great time in ole Kentucky and got to see alot of the sights. I have never been to Frankfort but I have been close. I have been to northen Kentucky one time, and purely by accident...years ago. The furthest east I have ever been in Kentucky is like Bardstown and Shelbyville, other than that I am from the low country of western Kentucky. We have some pretty good hills in western Kentucky but nothing like those beautiful mountains!

Banjojustin says:
3/20/2013 4:25:40 PM

Well I'm back home now. I miss it already! Biscuits and gravy every morning, the snow (as long as it ain't heavy!), the good music, the BBQ, the people, the scenery, everything! I had a fantastic time and I achieved almost everything I wanted to. The weather on Monday was wet again and so I went to Buffalo Trace Distillery (my favorite bourbon comes from there), and then missed looking around Frankfort as I decided to head back to Louisville. I'd rather kill a few hours around there instead of something holding me up as my flight was taking off at 4:40pm. I had one last meal of biscuits and gravy at Cracker Barrel in Louisville then headed to the airport to return my rental car and start my journey home. The flights were good, the Dallas to Brisbane leg was as good as it could get as the plane was only half full so I could spread out and sleep a bit. With 15 and a half hours flight time, all of it in darkness, this made the trip a lot more comfortable. Everyone I met was great, and I already can't wait to head back there when I get the chance. Thanks to everyone for their hospitality, Craig and John it was a real pleasure to meet you guys and Eric, thanks for the tips and ideas and comments here on the blog. I really appreciate it. I'll post a folder full of my pictures on here when I get the chance. I'm back to work tomorrow so maybe next week.

Banjojustin says:
3/23/2013 4:02:15 AM

I've posted some pics of my trip on my homepage. The album is titled Kentucky and Ohio 2013.

erikforgod says:
3/23/2013 7:03:11 AM

Some great photos and I tried to comment on each and everyone! You mentioned Cracker-Barrel...wish they had that here in Argentina LOL! But it's ok, I taught my Argentine wife how to make Biscuits n Gravy and she does a purt dern good job of it!

Banjojustin says:
3/23/2013 1:05:57 PM

Yeah I've decided to learn how to make biscuits and gravy to!

erikforgod says:
3/25/2013 8:06:21 AM

That's great! Being that Australia has a heavy north european/english influence like the USA, do you guys have certain dishes that include some kind of gravy like that? I mean I assume that an Australian breakfast probably isn't much different than an american breakfast, even a southern one no?

Banjojustin says:
3/26/2013 7:48:30 PM

No. None if that sawmill gravy like you get over there. It's going to be a struggle to even make the gravy here. We don't even have breakfast sausage meat we can buy. There's not much traditional Australian food. Mostly English influenced. Meat and 3 veg, minced beef pies that sort if stuff. We have roast dinners with brown gravy and the like. A hot breakfast is either oats or bacon, eggs, tomatoes and hash browns. No biscuits and gravy.


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