It would be a better world if all road trips started with a crossing of the 1866 Roebling Suspension Bridge. That's not really possible, of course, so I'll just be thankful that some of mine do. In particular, southbound Dixie Highway trips do and that's what I'm doing today. The river was near flood stage when I crossed. That cannot be seen in today's photo so here is one, looking north, taken the day before.

At the end of my most recent trip, I claimed there was very little Dixie Highway left for me to drive. I had driven several Florida connectors and a bunch of the west mainline. All that remained, I said, was "the 200 or so miles between Chicago and Indianapolis". Not exactly. Just two days after I started that trip, a Dixie Highway group was launched on Facebook and, just two weeks after the trip ended, a post in that group identified two more segmented I needed to see. Both were "official" and had appeared on Dixie Highway Association maps. One I was vaguely aware of but had forgotten. The other was a true surprise. The forgotten one begins right here at the bridge. Naturally, they have been gnawing at me so, on the first decent day of the year, I headed for the one nearby. Of course, after all the cold and snow, I'd have gone just about anywhere on this 50 degree day.

ADDENDUM: Jun 29, 2015 - Although I produced an updated Dixie Highway scoring map to reflect this trip, I failed to post it with this page. It is here.

The Dixie Highway Association first designated a route between Cincinnati, Ohio, and Lexington, Kentucky, that passed through Florence, Kentucky. Then, in 1921 a route through Falmouth, Kentucky, was added as an alternative with the idea that one or the other would eventually get dropped. It appears that the DHA disbanded in 1927 without ever making an official selection so maybe they are both "real Dixie Highway". While the name Dixie Highway is used on several sections of the Florence route, this Dixie Chili sign could be the only spot on the Falmouth route where the word Dixie appears. I'd like to say that the restaurant took its name from the highway but it's just not so. Dixie Chili began in Newport, Kentucky, about five miles from the nearest Dixie Highway. There are currently three company owned restaurants and one franchise. In addition to the original location, the company stores include one on each of the Cincinnati to Lexington DH alignments. This is the franchised store which probably makes it the perfect alternate Dixie Highway alternate Dixie Chili.

Early roads sometimes crossed streams on 'S' bridges. With the coming of the railroad a variation, the 'S' underpass, was frequently employed. Breakfast -- good and a lot of it -- was at the Log Cabin Inn.

Q: What has 120 counties and 122 county seats? A: Kentucky.

Campbell and Kenton counties both have two county seats. One of Kenton's is Covington and the other is Independence where this 1911 courthouse sits.

I had heard of Punkyville so my stop was planned though I didn't know whether or not it would be open or even what "open" might mean. Some men were unloading firewood off to one side but the place was otherwise deserted so I just strolled around the little town looking in all the windows. Thinking it might be on some sort of winter shutdown, I didn't even try the large sturdy latches on most of the doors. The unloading wrapped up about the same time I finished the circuit and one of the men stepped into the open as I approached. It was the town's creator, Charles "Punky" Beckett. Following some very casual introductions, he asked if I'd been inside such-and-such. Nothing was locked, he explained and mentioned a couple of items he thought I might like. I thought Punkyville was very cool as a whimsical cluster of buildings but it was even cooler as a cluster of buildings with a mini-museum inside each one. That red sign whose edge is just barely visible on the left of the last picture once hung at a car dealer in nearby Falmouth. The last year Whippets were produced was 1931. The last year for the Willys-Knight was 1933. Beckett started building Punkyville in 2001 and he's not done yet.

A few scenes from some older and narrower sections of the route. The first two pictures are from Old 3 L Loop No. 2 and, no, I have no idea where the name came from. The last two are from Upper Curry Road.

There are quite a few attractive old buildings in Cynthiana, the one and only seat of Harrison County.

Starting in Cynthiana, the old Dixie Highway route follows Old Lair Pike for about five miles to this bridge. The bridge was fine but work was being performed on the railroad just beyond which led to both the railroad underpass and the bridge being closed. I backtracked to Cynthiana then followed US-27 to reach and photograph the other other end of the closure.

The two alignments reconnect in Lexington. I could have taken the expressway home from there and called my trip complete but instead I continued thirty some miles on the Dixie Highway to Berea, Kentucky. Berea is a pretty college town with an historic hotel where I've long wanted to stay. This seemed a perfect opportunity plus I could look into a couple of Dixie Highway related items while I was there. I checked into my room at the Boone Tavern, walked around the area a bit, and had a wonderful dinner in the hotel dining room. In the morning I returned to the dining room for a delightful breakfast before stepping out in the rain.

It was still warm but rain had moved in overnight and it would continue all day. I extracted an always present but never used umbrella from the car and walked a block up the street to the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center where some pretty solid rumors indicated an original Dixie Highway "cotton bale" sign might reside. Each helpful person led me to another until I reached curator Christopher Miller. Chris retrieved the sign from the archives, allowed me to photograph it, showed me several Dixie Highway postcards in the center's possession, and was generally friendly and helpful to a remarkable degree. A little more walking it the rain got me to the college and some issues of the Dixie Highway magazine not available in Cincinnati. Sharon, the person in charge of the library's Special Collections, is the only name I remember but everyone at the library was just as friendly and ready to help as the people at the Appalachian Center. Big thanks to Sharon and Chris and all the helpful folks in Berea and to road fan Mike Curtis without whose help I wouldn't have even known the signs and magazines were there let alone find them.

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