I have crossed many rivers in the midwest. Crossing the Missouri from Nebraska into Iowa, for example, brings... more of the same. You know, cornfields. Same with crossing the Mississippi from Iowa into Illinois.
But crossing from Ohio into Kentucky feels dramatic. Like somebody should be asking to see my passport, maybe. And then searching my car for drugs or fireworks.
On the other side of that river, suddenly people speak with drawls. You see more tattoos and fewer...sleeves. The line at the grocery store moves a little more slowly because the checker is telling the person in front of you about their deceased father and then about the fatal accident that happened "right out at that light" several months ago (true story). You start to notice restaurants with names like "Bubby's BBQ" (true story), and people will tell you their life story if you ask their name (also true and yet rather endearing).
Kentucky is famous for the Kentucky derby:
fried chicken, Daniel Boone, bourbon, and hot browns:
|Photo from Southern Living|
And it's also really beautiful. Beginning in Kentucky, the landscape changes from flat farmland to hilly and densely forested. It also has 50 state parks, one of which we visited the other week: