Seconds before we left West Virginia on IH64 to enter Kentucky today, it began to drizzle.
Why is that mentioned?
I can guess the first thing my friends Ray and Leland Hammonds think of when the subject of Kentucky is brought up is horse racing. Our parents and grandparents actually raced horses together for decades. (The Hammonds cousins continue to own race horses to this day).
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind with Kentucky? Whiskey? Bourbon? Bluegrass? Fried chicken?
Being the Elvis Presley fan that I am, of course, my first thought as we entered the state with a drizzle, was his first 1970s hit “Kentucky Rain.” In fact, it was his 50th Gold Record.
Recorded at American Sound Studio, the hit was written by Eddie Rabbitt and Dick Heard. One of the backing musicians was pianist Ronnie Milsap.
Before he was recording hits such as “I Love a Rainy Night” and “Drivin’ My Life Away,” Rabbitt also penned Milsap’s “Pure Love.”
Both were ecstatic about being associated with Elvis.
Elvis even hired Milsap to be the entertainment at his private New Years Eve Party.
“He was the voice of my generation,” Milsap explained. “I had a million questions to ask him, but he wanted to talk about that session of ‘Kentucky Rain,’ so we talked about that.”
Milsap asked Elvis if he’d like to sing at that party.
“No, I want to sit here with my friends and not have to worry about singing,” Elvis replied.
“Well, we know all your songs,” Milsap said.
But that was fine, Milsap reminisced, “He knew we did, but he didn’t want to get up and sing, and that was fine. It was his party.”
So we drive in to Lexington and go northward towards The Kentucky Horse Park. It’s the only kind of it’s venue in the world. Set on 1,200 acres, it has four museums, show barns, the Show Jumping Hall of Fame and more.
Unfortunately the drizzle became a full fledged storm. A real Kentucky Rain!
Earlier I had thought about staying in The Greenbrier Resort, but room prices ranging from $250 to $25,000 (plus $250 for Mr. Beefy) quickly changed my mind.
Baby Boomers may have heard of
“Project Greek Island.” It was the codename for a super secret, giant underground bunker under a portion of the Greenbrier.
During the Eisenhower and Kennedy era it was built to house all 535 members of Congress during an atomic bomb attack.
The Greenbrier has been welcoming guests from around the world since 1778. Construction began in 1958 on the 112,544-square-foot bunker, which was built 720 feet into the hillside under The Greenbrier’s West Virginia Wing.
Once complete in 1961, the facility was maintained in a constant state of readiness by a small group of government employees working undercover as Forsythe Associates, a company hired by the resort for audio/visual support services.
It features a 25-ton blast door that opens with only 50 lbs. of pressure, decontamination chambers, 18 dormitories designed to accommodate over 1,100 people and a power plant with purification equipment and three 25,000-gallon water storage tanks.
Over the 30 years that it was an active facility, communications and other equipment were updated, keeping The Bunker at full-operation status. The location of the facility, critical to its effectiveness, remained a secret until 1992.
So, the Greenbrier was out of our price range and the storm forced us to drive about 20 mph on the 70 mph IH 75.
The storm was so intense, 18-wheelers and passenger cars were forced to pull over and wait it out. We finally reached the safety of where we’re staying tonight.
Although in the hard rain it looks so much like the Bates Motel from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho movie, we were just happy to be off the highway.
It’s actually turning out to be one of our favorite places to stay on the trip. The North Star Inn, in Corinth, Kentucky, is a very quaint and comfortable inn owned by Dawn and David Henson. They also have a nice cafe next door (check-in is there) that people say offers delicious home made plates. Unfortunately their hours and days are limited during the pandemic.
Kentucky rain keeps pouring down
And up ahead’s another town that I’ll go walking through
With the rain in my shoes (Rain in my shoes)
Searching for you
In the cold Kentucky rain
In the cold Kentucky rain