On our way south to Texas, via I-65 and Louisville

We had a marvelous Christmas with great food, some nice presents, but most we had precious time with our family. Sher and I were really ready to get back on the road though. It did not take too long to get the RV loaded with the clothing we would need as we headed south. It was way too cold to even think about de-winterizing the RV’s water systems. It was 11 degrees when we hit the road for lands south.

Louisville, Kentucky as seen from Clarksville, Indiana

KFC’s “YUM” Stadium on the riverfront at Louisville

We stopped on the Indiana side of the Ohio River across from Louisville for a short break and to get some pictures. We will stop on the other side of Nashville, Tennessee tonight.

Bardstown, Kentucky’s old jail is a real trip back in time

Thick walls and narrow windows of the jail

Thick walls and narrow windows of the jail

Bardstown, Kentucky is in Nelson County and is in the heart of the Kentucky Bourbon industry. Bardstown is also home to one of the oldest jails in the area. The original jail structure (now called the front jail) was erected in 1819 and was used until 1874 to house prisoners. In 1874 the “back jail” was built and held inmates until 1987. During this time the front jail was the jailer’s residence. The facility is now a Bed and Breakfast using the rooms in the old residence.

The history of this place is fascinating. You can (for a fee) take a tour of the back jail, with many of the jail cells untouched since the last prisoners left in 1987. There are original photos, some of which show the last hanging that took place in 1894 in the yard in back of the jail.

The structure is quite the fortress! The walls are every bit of 30 inches thick with large metal bars covering the narrow windows. There are mason’s marks on the huge stones where hooks were used to move them into place during the construction. The original wall surrounding the back yard is complete with massive solid metal gates.

There are some nice RV parks in the area, including My Old Kentucky Home State Park. Be sure to check out the old jail and the other attractions in and around Bardstown.

Hood and shackles for the 1894 hanging

Hood and shackles for the 1894 hanging

Back of the jail where the gallows were for the last hanging in 1894

Back of the jail where the gallows were for the last hanging in 1894

Update! I-75 southbound is closed at the Kentucky/Tennessee line

Update: Today we took the “car” detour for I-75 that is still closed due to a huge rockslide. This detour followed road 297 that s runs roughly parallel to I-75. Wow. What a lousy road to become a detour for a major interstate. This road is narrow, windy and goes over at least tow pretty high mountains. At best we could travel at 45 mph (which is the posted speed limit). Lots of the time 25 mph was the maximum safe speed.

Large RV’s and towed travel trailers should take the truck route. Our 24′ Class C handled the road ok, but it was a bit of white knuckle driving.

Well, at least it was a surprise for us. We left Indiana on our way to Pigeon Forge and Sevierville, Tennessee. About 50 miles into Kentucky on I-75 we saw one of those big information signs that hang over the highway. There was quite a bit of writing on the sign, but traffic was busy and all I could catch was I-75 closed. It seems that there was a huge rockslide on February 27th that closed the entire interstate in both directions. I guess if you don’t live in Kentucky or Tennessee you don’t get the news.

Closer to the border the road side signs spelled out more details. Trucks must get off at Exit 29 in Kentucky. Cars must get off at Exit 160 just inside the Tennessee State line.

OK, we are in an RV. We’re not a truck, we’re not a car. Do the trucks have one route due to width or height restrictions? Road /bridge weight limits? Guess we’ll find out in the morning. We are taking the car exit. Stay tuned…