Friday, July 10, 2009

"Y'know, there's a lot to see in the middle of nowhere"; a road trip to central Kentucky

"Hi, my name is OTR (otter); what's yours?"

"Sophie, huh? Well, Sophie, you smell good!"

"Sure, you can rub my head! I get awful itchy...

We knew we were in for something special when we hit the rolling blue-green hills of the heartland. Kentucky. Horse country. Home of the Kentucky Derby, many a thoroughbred, and home to my best friend since I was 17, Kim.

Kim moved to a 150 year old farm house in Kentucky with her husband, Mark, about six years ago. My dream was always dogs; Kim's was always horses. We worked together as counselors at an equestrian camp near where I live, giving 10 year olds riding lessons during the hot sweltering summer.

Now, it's my own 10 year old who I'm showing the ropes to.

Kim is also pursuing her dreams of being a musician. And she has blossomed down there in horse country, as a musician, a middle school science teacher, and as someone who I admire for pursuing her dreams.

As we drove toward Louisville, I plugged Kim's address into my GPS. "No known address." She is, literally, off the grid. On one of our classic road trips, Sophie and I followed the winding, wildflower-covered road toward Kim's house, walls of sweet corn paving our way. Summer's love.

Nature's bounty was everywhere. Along the way, Sophie said, "y'know, there's a lot to see in the middle of nowhere." And she's right.

these pretty blue flowers line the road leading to Kim's farm

A little bit of southern work ethic...

...a little bit of southern hospitality

I went to Kentucky to shoot my best friend's birthday party and musical line up of the Heartland Songwriters' Association. And despite the 88 degree temps and 94% humidity, it was an absolutely beautiful day. I met so many wonderful people, and spent the day with the unique and beautiful woman I am honored to call my best friend for nearly 20 years. She's been there for me through so many things: chemistry, my first broken bone from breaking a wild Arabian stallion, marriage, divorce, marriage again. She and I were zoo keepers together, partners in crime, best friends always.

I shot over 400 photos - clearly far too many to upload here. But, here's some of my favorites.

Virginia Napier playing mandolin

Of course, there had to be dogs:

"Tommy" the dog

"Buddy" the spaniel, begging me for a rib

And my own Gracie dog, who joined us on our trek southward

And then, there's Kim and her awesome five-person band. I am in the process of uploading videos of their performance to youtube and will post when available.

Vocalist/guitarist/harmonica extraordinaire, Mark Dewitt

Thank you, Kim, for a wonderful weekend. And for your friendship.

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