Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Kentucky Driving Is Dreary But Delicious

We've talked about Hunter S. Thompson writing about the Kentucky Derby and Hippies, and now here he is--in a Feb. 18, 1962, Chicago Tribune column--writing about driving in Kentucky, winter, preaching, breakfast, coffee ... a whole bunch of stuff that I actually care a good bit about:

If you drive thru Kentucky and plan to spend the night, get your room early.  And if you like a toddy before bedding down, remember that 86 of the 120 counties are bone dry until you make friends.  Grog shops are few and far between, and a man without foresight will usually go to bed thirsty.

Winter mornings are bleak.  Almost always you wake up to a gray sky and a good country breakfast:  fried sausage or ham, fried eggs, fried potatoes, and plate of biscuits with butter and apple jelly.  Then, after a pot of coffee, you move on.

No matter which way you go you'll drive thru a lot of cold, barren country to get there.  North, thru the heart of the Bluegrass, west toward Louisville, east into the mountains, or south to Tennessee.

Not much speed on those narrow highways, plenty of time to look off across the white fences and wonder how the cows find anything to eat in the frozen fields.  Time to listen to the sermons on the radio or the lonely thump of a shotgun somewhere back from the road.

Not much to hurry about in the Bluegrass, specially in the winter when the trees are bare and the barns are white with frost and most folks are inside by the stove.


  1. One of my most striking memories from Kentucky was driving home one Christmas Eve on the Western Kentucky Parkway. It was just getting dark and there was no one on the road but me and no lights but those off in the distance from inside homes where I imagined people gathering together for nice warm family fun.

    I was in my early 20's at the time and couldn't really envision myself ever having that kind of family life of my own and felt unbelievably lonely. I wonder what I was listening to that evening.

    It was so nice to get home that night and see mom and dad and feel the embrace of their love. That memory more than anything else represents Christmas for me.