Saturday, May 13, 2017

Big South Fork Scenic Railroad

We took the Big South Fork Scenic Railroad train ride today and it was great. The train station is located at Stearns, Kentucky. This is in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation area of the Daniel Boone National Park. If you are in this area, take the train. Tickets are $25 each and well worth the price. We had a very good lunch at the train station before the train departed. The McCreary County Museum is across the street and free with the train ticket purchase. This Daniel Boone Forest and Big South Fork are in both Kentucky and Tennessee and almost better than the Smokey Mountains. Lots of things to see and do.

The train ride is about 40 minutes each way. It stops for 90 minutes at the Blue Herron Coal Mine with plenty to see while you are there. The National Park Service operates the mine area complete with park rangers. 

Train Station Entrance

Museum with Moonshine Still

Old Gasoline Pump

Museum display of many items from early 1900's

A steam whistle from one of the mines.

They use a diesel engine now with plans for a future steam engine.

The train passes the Barthell Coal mine.
You can rent miner's cabins for overnight stays

Barthell Coal mine "company store"

More Barthell mine buildings.

Of course there is a tunnel.
The Blue Herron was the second coal mine in the valley.

Blue Herron Station, National Park Service.
The train can be seen near the upper left.

The "tipple" had railroad track across the valley to carry coal from the mine to the train cars under the tipple. We walked the entire length.
The mines were in the hillside at the far end of the tipple.

A coal car that traveled across the tipple.

The train cars are below and filled by gravity after being sorted by size.

Coal cars where they load up

The Big South Fork River from the top of the tipple.

Under the tipple

How it looked when in use and how it looks today.

Coal cars.

Heading back to Stearns Station. 
Our next stop is Winton Woods in Cincinnati Ohio.

Colonel Harland Sanders

 Everyone has heard of Kentucky Fried Chicken and Colonel Harland Sanders. He was born in Henryville Indiana in 1890. He died in Louisville in 1980. Here is a link to learn more about the Colonel We have mentioned stopping to see his original restaurant in Corbin every time we travel on I-75 so we have finally been there.

I met the Colonel while working at Chris Volz Motors in Milan Indiana. I believe he lived in Seymour Indiana at that time. I was a mechanic at the GM dealer while in high school and until 1973. The Colonel bought new Cadillacs and I became his preferred mechanic. He would have been 70 years old at that time. He was very friendly and always dressed in his famous white suit. Maybe I should have asked him for a job in the chicken business?

The original restaurant started in 1932 was named Sanders Cafe, on the right.
A KFC restaurant is connected and on the left side.

The Colonel did a lot of things while. He had a motel, garage and filing station next to the restaurant. He also had a ferry boat in Louisville and sold Prudential Insurance before moving to Corbin. That's another connection for me as I also sold Prudential Insurance for a while after I left the GM dealership in 1973. Maybe I could have been selling chicken instead of insurance if I had asked him!

He built a model motel room inside the restaurant to advertise the motel. 

The model room is still there as part of the restaurant/museum.

The original restaurant with kitchen, office and the model motel room.

Yahoo Falls

We took a hike to see Yahoo Falls on Wednesday. This is in the Daniel Boone National Forest west of Whitley Kentucky. It's the tallest falls in Kentucky. There were 200 steps down into the gorge and a slippery walk due to water dripping from the huge rocks over our heads.

We drove to Alum Ford and found the river very high so no ford crossing today. The Big South Fork Recreation Area is part of the Danial Boone Forest. The Cumberland River runs through much of the Big South Fork area.