I have to agree with this headline ...
The Wackiest Trip Ever
by Deanna Klingel
I’ve been traveling with my books nearly every week for five years. But this is the wackiest trip I’ve taken yet.
I leave home with my Rand McNally Atlas, print out of my destination’s website, MapQuest directions and my GPS all in agreement. I’m going to Fairview, in Northern Kentucky, an hour north of Lexington on U.S. 68, to the Jefferson Davis Monument State Historic Site where I’ll sign books beside the 350 foot obelisk monument.
Have you heard of the annual 500 mile long yard sale? It’s on U.S. 68, and it’s today. Every home, business, church and farm has set up a sale along the road. U.S. 68, a two-lane highway with a double yellow line, has berms as wide as driving lanes lined with parked cars. Shoppers dash across the highway carrying lamps and ladders. Chairs are lashed to the roofs of cars; family pets wander back and forth.
After several miles I suddenly see Welcome to Fairview. I’m in an Amish farm community. Ladies in bonnets sort through the dishes, boys in blue ironed shirts, black pants with suspenders, peddle their bikes in the highway. Teenage girls load their buggies. In the fields men and their horses work the dirt. There are no brown and white state park signs. There is no 350 foot obelisk. Thank you for visiting Fairview.
A mile further up the road I see a state park sign, but not the one I’m hoping for. Surely a ranger there can tell me where to find a 350 foot monument in their neighborhood?
“No ma’am. We got nothing like that around here.”
“Is it possible there are two Fairviews?” I ask.
“Oh no. Not possible. It’s ag’in the law. Can’t have two with the same name in the same state. Uh uh. Nope.” It’s true, I remember, Rand McNally only lists one Fairview, Kentucky.
“Is this your zipcode?” I point to MapQuest.
“No. It isn’t.”
“I guess I need to call this other park ranger and see where he’s hanging out today.” The guy looks like I just woke him up. Oh! Park Ranger! “I can help!” His park brochures are not in a rack or alphabetized. They are all in a wash tub. Together. He sifts through them and eventually finds one that says Jefferson Davis. “Looks promising,” I say. We turn it over where the locator map indicates it’s in the far southwest corner of Kentucky. Another Fairview. Five hours away.
Gladys, my GPS navigator, is not leaving. She insists we have reached our destination. I trick her by keying in a town close to the second Fairview. Okay, she says, get back on U. S. 68, and the fun continues. After many miles of roadside sales we leave U. S. 68 to travel the Bluegrass Parkway and later the Western Kentucky Parkway. Now, we’re back on U. S. 68 again. I’m blinking, taking it all in: ladies in bonnets, boys in blue shirts on bikes, girls in buggies, farmers plowing with horses. I have a sinking feeling. There’s that little sign…again…Welcome to Fairview. I dare to think how this could happen. Was it the Parkways in the wrong direction? Did I really drive in a circle? But no, my dashboard reveals I’m still traveling SW. Suddenly, rising out of a wheat field in front of me, a 350 foot obelisk. This really is the other Fairview.
But not the one where I have a hotel reservation.
Both Fairview, Kentuckys are on U.S. 68, both are State Park sites, five hours apart, the rangers aren’t aware of each other. Both are rural Amish farm communities that look just alike, (except for a 350 foot obelisk) including their identical welcome signs. Both are exactly six hours from my home in different directions. I don’t think there’s an obelisk in the Twilight Zone. But, maybe.
Deanna K. Klingel writes primarily for a Young Adult and Children's Literature market. She's also been published in anthologies, short stories and poetry. She collaborated with Write Integrity authors on The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt. Her books include: Just for the Moment: The Remarkable Gift of the Therapy Dog, Avery's Battlefield, Avery's Crossroad, Bread Upon the Water, Cracks in the Ice, Rock and a Hard Place a Lithuanian Love Story, Amanda and the Lazy Garden Fairy, Beth's Birds, and The Mysterious Life of Jim Limber. Several have received awards or acknowledgements.
Deanna and her husband Dave have seven grown children raising their children across the Southeast. Deanna and Dave make their home in North Carolina.