John and Tyler have cycled 2253 miles.  No cycling today because of the rain.  John and Kipp have walked 337 miles.  They walked 8 miles today when the rain stopped for a while.

From cold, windy and rainy Remington, Indiana, we are writing to you about Kentucky, where it was cold and rainy and also sunny and warm.  Whatever the weather on this Journey, we feel it in our RV.  If it is warm and sunny outside, it is hot inside.  If it is cold outside, it is cold inside.  Every now and then we have a day or two of moderate weather, which we appreciate even more after the cold and the heat! 

The beautiful state of Kentucky has both a very interesting history and and much happening in the present.  We have quoted four paragraphs from a website called, where you will find much more about the history as well as links to other sources.  After the history, we will tell you more about what is happening now.  

“Admitted June 1, 1792, Kentucky became the 15th state to enter the union. It ranks as the 37th largest state in size, and is currently ranked as 26th largest state in population. The capital of Kentucky is Frankfort. Its largest city is Louisville, population 1,245,920. The highest elevation in Kentucky is Black Mountain in Harlan County, 4,145 feet, and its lowest elevation is 257 feet along the Mississippi River in Fulton County.

“During the American Revolution, British forces allied themselves with Native American nations and incited them to attack expanding settlements in Kentucky. After Lord Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown in 1781, the western frontier and Kentucky became the theater in which the last conflicts of the American Revolution played out. One of the last battles ever fought in the War was the Battle of Blue Licks on August 19, 1782. While the battle was an overwhelming victory for the British and Indians, it marked the last major incursion of Indians into the state.

“After the American Revolution, settlers flocked to the region. Nine conventions were held in Danville from 1784 to 1790 on the matter of statehood and eventually led to the residents of Kentucky County, Virginia officially petitioning Congress for statehood. The state constitution was ratified in 1792, and June 1 of that year Kentucky entered the union, the first state admitted west of the Appalachians. Isaac Shelby was elected by the state electoral college as the first governor. Initially, Lexington temporarily served as the first capital, but less than a year later Frankfort was approved as the official capital city for the new Commonwealth.

“During the Civil War, Kentucky attempted to remain neutral. The citizens of the Commonwealth served in both sides of the conflict, and Kentucky was the birthplace of both the President of the Union, Abraham Lincoln, and the President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis. Attempts were made by a small group of Kentucky soldiers stationed in Russellville to secede from the Union and establish Bowling Green as the new capital of Kentucky.  Though this move was largely considered illegitimate, the Confederacy officially seated Kentucky in 1862, and the central star in the famous Confederate flag represents Kentucky.”

Like the State of Kentucky, the University of Louisville has an extremely interesting history, including opening and closing several times.   Here is an example in more recent history of the dramatic changes that have taken place on the campus:  “World War II and the postwar era brought major changes to the University of Louisville. Shortly after the war, a movement began to close the all-black Louisville Municipal College and desegregate the university on all levels. This was accomplished in 1950 and 1951. In 1953 the School of Business was created. Perhaps the most dramatic development of the postwar period was the movement of tax-paying citizens from the city to the suburbs. Because the University of Louisville was municipally funded, this caused a damaging drain on the school’s revenue. As early as 1965, a governor’s task force suggested the possibility of the university’s joining the state system of higher education, which it did in 1970.”

We had the opportunity of visiting the beautiful University of Louisville campus to meet with three experienced educators who are interested in collaborating and sharing ideas with Citizenship Counts.  We also took a drive around Churchill Downs.  The horse racing season opened April 28th, and the 138th Kentucky Derby will be held on May 5th, which means the city of Louisville is preparing for an onslaught of at least 200,000 visitors for whom there is a Kentucky Derby Festival of events.

Here are some randomly chosen facts about Kentucky that we hope will peak your interest.  

Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, is buried in Louisville in Cave Hill Cemetery, which was founded in 1848 during the era of Victorian-style garden cemeteries.   

The United States Mint opened in 1937 in Fort Knox, Kentucky.  The amount of gold currently held is 147.3 million ounces.  In the past, the Depository has stored valuable documents and items belonging to the United States and to other countries.   “The Depository is a classified facility. No visitors are permitted, and no exceptions are made.”  For more details, go to:

President Abraham Lincoln, the son of a Kentucky frontiersman,  had to struggle for a living and for learning. Five months before receiving his party’s nomination for President, he wrote the following sketch of his life:  

“I was born Feb. 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky. My parents were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families–second families, perhaps I should say. My mother, who died in my tenth year, was of a family of the name of Hanks…. My father … removed from Kentucky to … Indiana, in my eighth year…. It was a wild region, with many bears and other wild animals still in the woods. There I grew up…. Of course when I came of age I did not know much. Still somehow, I could read, write, and cipher … but that was all.”

Farmland covers 54%, of the total acreage in the State of Kentucky.  It is in the top five in the nation for the number of farms within a state.  Each year Kentucky produces 262,500,000 pounds of burley tobacco. Kentucky ranks first in both the thoroughbred horse breeding industry and in the value of sales, which is estimated to be $1 billion.



2 Comments for this entry

  • Tamara Hogsett
    May 6th, 2012

    Kentucky is such a beautiful state and lots of history. Thanks for keeping us posted!

  • Marty Arvey
    May 3rd, 2012

    It’s May 2 in Hailey, ID, and I was delighted to catch the interview with Gerda on the PBS Evening News. What an inspiration! It looks as though you’re more than half way there; good for you! I never asked how your caravan is going to return west!

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