The day promised good weather and a Sunday drive seemed the proper thing to do but I couldn't get any plan to really jell. In the past I've let a few days like this slip away through indecision and made myself get out of the house so it didn't happen again. The initial target was the Echo Restaurant for breakfast. I'd heard of the Echo (it's been there since 1945!) but had yet to eat there. Cool place, good food, and friendly folks. After a cheddar, Swiss, & mushroom omelet, I moseyed around Hyde Park Square where someone had soaped the fountain overnight.

Filling my stomach had not firmed up any plans so I found myself moving away from the city and towards the river by default. Driving along the Ohio River is always enjoyable even when I don't know where I'm going or maybe especially when I don't know where I'm going. I tend to end up in Ripley a lot but that's OK. It's a town I really like. I'll usually stop at Rockin' Robin's Soda Shoppe for some ice cream and/or at Snapper's Saloon overlooking the river. Although both were open, it seemed just a bit early for either Rocky Road or Rolling Rock so I drove along the riverfront without stopping. A plan was starting to form, however.

I'd recently learned that the very first episode of the Route 66 TV series was filmed in Concord, Kentucky with the Ohio River town playing the part of fictitious Garth, Mississippi, on the Pascagoula. Virginians Wes & Dee had spotted it on their GPS when they came through on the way to their Route 66 adventure and mentioned it to me. I knew that it was somewhere east of Maysville and Maysville isn't too far from Ripley. I plugged it into my GPS and it told me I could be there in a hour or so. Why not? I crossed the river at Maysville and was soon following the GPS instructions along KY-984 and through some very pretty country. In Lewis County the road closely parallels the East Fork of Cabin Creek with quite a few homes on the other side of the creek. Picturesque swinging footbridges connect these homes with the road but they're not just for looks. I don't believe there is any paved access to these properties and that vehicles get in and out by fording the creek or through some other "off road" path.

I've heard of people so dumb that they've pulled into rivers because their GPS said "turn here". I don't think I'm quite that dumb but I must be pretty close. I had the GPS set to route for shortest distance and it had me turn left on Chalk Ridge Road to save me, I later found out, about a mile over just continuing on KY-984 to KY-57. It didn't quite work out that way, though. Within a mile I turned from the narrow Chalk Ridge Road to the narrower East Fork Church Road. What looked to be well attended services at the Historic East Fork Church were just letting out as I approached. A couple of departing parishioners and I crawled past each other. Just past the church the road turned to gravel and I stopped to scroll through the GPS map. Yep. Looks like it goes through and I'm already half way to Fifty-Seven. Past the cemetery, which was my last chance to turn around, thing got a little worse. Slow and easy, I tell myself and keep on going. About a half mile farther, the "road" split at a house trailer and a couple of out buildings. Straight ahead it quickly faded to nothing but there was a well defined two-track to the right and that's where Garmin wanted me to go. I could have turned around at the trailer but you already know I didn't. Nope, I eased on down the last hundred yards to the scene in the last photo. My GPS showed a path going straight through the gate and I have no doubt that a road once did that. Just not recently. The church parking lot was almost empty when I got back.

My return to KY-984 was rewarded with this neat little Texaco house within a quarter mile and a short smooth ride to KY-57. The second picture is of KY-57 and the third is the east end of East Fork Church Road connecting with it. Incidentally, DeLorme correctly shows a half mile break right where I found it.

I'm finally getting to Concord, a.k.a., Garth. I'm heading north. The chimney belongs to the Killen Station power plant on the Ohio side of the river. It went on line in 1982, long after Tod & Buz drove away. There's not much Hollywood left in Concord. KY-57 turns into Main Street and heads straight to the river. The grass at its end looks like it might cover a one time river approach and, getting a little closer, it seems possible that a '59 Corvette once rolled up the slope on wooden planks. But did it? Is that the spot? Don't know.

Johnny or his brother Ed might know but I didn't ask them about that detail. They didn't live in town but "up on the hill" when the film crew came to town. Their older brother, now deceased and whose name I didn't quite catch, got some work with the crew and they think he might have been in the show a little but they're not certain about that. Johnny's biggest memory of the event was the fake bridge (ramp?) they built. It looked pretty good from a distance but was actually pretty flimsy, he said. But that's not why he remembers it. It affected him personally when it broke up and he and his buddies got fishing lines tangled up in it for the next couple of years.

As I started to leave town on KY-8, I stopped to get a picture of the old store across the street from the retired above ground gas tanks. Only after I stopped did I notice the enlarged newspaper article taped to the window. The copy is incomplete but describes the store that was used in the show and this is clearly not it. But there are some similarities (compare that stove with your DVDs) and I suspect they're not entirely accidental. It seems possible that some of the contents of the old store were moved here when it was torn down. The place was locked today but someone knows.

No date is visible on the article but there's a clue and some local trivia in the lower corner. The real store was run by J. H. Mackey and there is a picture of him and a Mr. William O'Connell in front of the store. Also in the picture is J. H.'s son, Bobby, who looks to be about 18 or 20. Bobby's aged a little since then and now runs what has to be one of the nation's largest country & western clubs that has both a mechanical bull and a ghost. And to think that his daddy owned the store where Buz broke his first window.

[Site Home] [Contact]