So on my recent birthday my intentions were to climb the Cloud Splitter Rock in the Red River Gorge. Oh, I had climbed it many years ago but as a matter of self pride, dealing with the inevitable aging process, I had convinced myself to undertake this climb for the self satisfaction of saying I could still do it. My daughter Allison had agreed to accompany me on the trip, probably just to make sure I made it. That was my plan. That was until mother nature decided to create a 90 degree day on my birthday. Too much heat and I folded and withered from the macho cliff climbing attempt.
The Cloud Splitter is well named. One of the massive stand alone outcrops in the gorge it provides beautiful vistas of the Red River valley. Though not an official trail is marked, one certainly exists because of the many hikers that make their way up to the top of the cliff.
So, instead I ambled on down to Versailles, Ky to the Bluegrass Railroad Museum. I specifically went to take the train ride that is offered each Saturday and Sunday at 2 PM. I spent a few minutes talking with the engineer (driver of the train) about the train and his background. Arthur Richie is the engineer and a very pleasant fellow that will try to answer any question about the locomotive and operation. Other nice conductors provide commentary as the train travels through beautiful bluegrass farms.
After purchasing tickets we boarded the passenger cars that were built and operated in the 1920's and 30's.
I found myself on a car was used to transport people to work in New Jersey and New York. The train left promptly as promised and slowly made its way down a 1 percent grade for miles traveling through bluegrass horse farms before arriving at the end of the high Tyrone bridge. The giant steel-trussed bridge is now long been closed to trains but still standing and really is quite the bridge to see.
The engineer and his brakeman successfully bring the train to a halt only a few yards from the end of the bridge. After a look about the grand overlook of the Kentucky River Valley with the famous Wild Turkey distillery on the opposite of the valley of our vantage point, we boarded the train to head back up the tracks to our starting point. This time the train is going in reverse but the old rail cars had ingenious designed seats that flip over and face the opposite direction. No passenger has to ride backwards.
There are very few places in Kentucky that one can take a train ride and this is one that offers an enjoyable afternoon experience for the family. You can find out more about the scheduled times and seasons and the museum at Bluegrass Railroad Museum.