One Tank Trip

By: Danielle Morgan Email
By: Danielle Morgan Email

Sometimes one vacation is just not enough, but it's the cost of two that can keep you at home. We have a solution with great places to visit on just one tank of gas, places that are rich in Kentucky history and heritage.

For our first trip, we take you to the Cumberland Gap where Abraham Lincoln's grandfather was one of the first pioneers to cross through Appalachia in the late 1700's.

It's described as an incredible mosaic of resources where you can learn about Kentucky history and witness nature's ever changing story.

"Whenever I describe the atmosphere of the park, I always say it's excitement galore here," said Park Ranger Carol Borneman. "We have gap cave which we really call an underground cathedral, beautiful stalagmites and stalactites and on many of the tours we are nose to nose with bats."

At the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, you're likely to run into a variety of wildlife, from salamanders in caves to free roaming black bears.

On our One Tank Trip, we certainly couldn't pass up the beauty of the Pinnacle Overlook. We're standing in Virginia, you can see Tennessee and also overlook our home of Kentucky. Back in the 1700's, this was a 150 mile wall to pioneers looking west here in the Appalachian Mountains. There were only three entrances, one in New York, one in the Ohio Valley and one right here at the gap, known as 'The Best Road West.' The Best Road West for drivers is now the Cumberland Gap Tunnel, a sight to see in its own right. By developing the new road, the 50 year old 25-E was torn out, restoring the gap so hikers can experience the pioneers' passage way.

"As you stand in that historic passage way, you can feel for yourself the hopes, the dreams, the fears that these early pioneers had as they journeyed into Kentucky," Borneman said.

Among the pioneers in the late 1700's was President Abraham Lincoln's grandfather and it's just across the border in Tennessee where the Lincoln Memorial University was established, along with a museum.

"Students would come by here to rub that nose for good luck. They'd have to just in case when a test came up," said Thoman Mackie, LMU Library & Museum Director.

The LMU Museum is much more than a place to pick up a little luck. You can find rare pictures of President Lincoln, along with some of his historic belongings, including the cane he was carrying at Ford's Theater when he was shot and killed and you can't ignore the echo of his remarkable speeches, especially the Gettysburg Address.

"The words themselves are used as an art form, used as an inspiration. World War One Liberty Bonds were sold using words and the image of President Lincoln," Mackie said.

And on your way back across the state line, the visitor's center is a great stop to stretch and let the kid’s burn off any energy they might have left.

We are giving away free copies of our book, One Tank Trip, with WYMT's Danielle Morgan as your travel guide. If you would like a chance to win a copy of One Tank Trips, click on the contest page.

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