Journey of Discovery bicycle tour



August 9: Another severe electrical storm caught me by surprise in the middle of the afternoon near Hazard, Kentucky. This powerful storm hurled bolts of lightning all around me--the thunder was immediate and deafening. The rains from this system came straight down in sheets. The cars, their wipers swiping frantically back and forth, had to pull off the road due to a lack of visibility and flash flooding. Again, this storm didn't quickly subside, forcing me, after more than an hour of fighting the elements, to take shelter in a dank motel that I believe was probably rented by the hour. I was grateful, nonetheless, that it was nearby.

This picture was taken near Pippa Passes, Kentucky. Pippa Passes is a village of some 300 people in Kentucky's Eastern Coal Field region. This community with the strange name was named for the verse drama by Robert Browning of the same title. The lead character, Pippa, utters the famous lines, "God's in His heaven, all's right in the world!" In Browning's drama, Pippa is a sweatshop worker who works every day of the year but three. On her rare days off, she goes cheerfully about the town singing her song, containing the lines quoted above. The name "Pippa Passes" is supposed to be emblematic of the influence of unconscious good on the world. The town had no post office when Alice Lloyd, founder of Alice Lloyd College arrived in 1916. She solicited donations from the Browning Society to found the college and to build a post office. The Browning Society suggested "Pippa Passes" as an appropriate name for the post office. The town was earlier known as Caney Creek and is still called that by its inhabitants. Nestled in the center of this most unassuming town is Alice Lloyd Collegeā€”a small, private liberal arts college, where every student is required to work throughout their academic career. The school is dedicated to developing leaders for the Appalachian region. I was invited to have my supper meal in the college cafeteria, and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and variety of the fare. There were only a small number of students on campus at this time. The night was spent in the nearby hostel located up the hill from the college.

© Ted Phelps * * * Photos captured using an Olympus C-5500Z
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