Lexington to DFW - Part 1

(thru Bugtussle, KY and Bugtussle, TX)

Feb. 21, 2010

Seeking out the Bugtussles of America!!

by David "Sumoflam" Kravetz


Feb 21, 2010: Yet another opportunity for a ROAD TRIP courtesy of iHigh.com!!  We needed to get some schools active in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area and so I asked to take a trip to Dallas.  Due to costs, I offered to use the weekend to drive and would stay at my Sister Sherry's house in Keller, TX while there for the week.  This is Part 1 of my Texas trip - my search for Bugtussle USA.

Lexington, KY thru Flippin, KY, Bugtussle, KY, Bucksnort, TN, Only, TN thru Bugtussle, TX into Keller, TX - all in one day


I left the house at 4:30 AM to head south on what would be one long day of driving and seeing some interesting places along the less beaten paths of America.  My main goal for this beautiful Saturday morning was to get to Bugtussle, KY and eventually all the way to Bugtussle, TX and perhaps be the first person ever to document such a trip!!  And I did it.  Here is the story....


I drove west along the Bluegrass parkway to I-65 near Elizabethtown and then headed south until I got to Kentucky 9008 (Cumberland Parkway), north of Bowling Green.  I headed down the highway just into Glasgow and then left the freeway to go along less beaten paths. from Glasgow I took KY 249 due south through beautiful farmland and was greeted by a fabulous sunrise just north of Lamb, KY.



The sun rises above pastoral lands near Lamb, KY


As the sun rose, I was also greeted by a call from my sweetheart Julianne, who wanted to make sure I was doing OK since I had awaken so early in the morning.  I was fine but lamented to her that I still had not seen "Herry", my term for blue herons.  I figured along those roads with all the ponds, that I would see one.  Ironically, shortly after hanging up, I came down a hill and in a small pond on my left was Herry.  I stopped to snap some shots of him, but he flew off...so this is all I was able to get.  I also saw some deer just across the road. There were 5 head of them.



"Herry" the Blue Heron - my favorite bird - greets me early in the morning



Deer scamper in the fields along the road just north of Flippin, KY


As the sun rose, I came into the small village of Flippin, KY.  This is an unusual name, but it is actually not the first Flippin I had come across.  Through my work at iHigh.com, I had done some support work with a school in North Central Arkansas, Flippin High School and had found the name to be unusual.  I asked the school people about it and they said there are lots of people in the area named Flippin.  According to one history of Flippin, AR, Thomas J. Flippin and his family left Kentucky for the Ozarks in 1820 and settled in what is now the Marion County area of Arkansas. Perhaps the Arkansas Flippins were the original settlers in Flippin, KY.  I am not really sure though,  But it makes an interesting town name in this day and age when the word flippin' is used as a sort of expletive.


Well, with that in mind, I was soon driving through Flippin, KY, with a population of a few dozen people or so. My first sight of the village was of this great cabin and wood pile:




Then there was the Flippin "Post Office"?? and the Flippin Volunteer Fire Dept....


....but nothing topped the Flippin Church of Christ


From Flippin, I continued south on KY 100 towards the small town of Gamaliel, KY.  This name reminded me of a name out of Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings", but actually, the town name is derived from the Bible.  Gamaliel was supposedly the teacher of Paul the Apostle. (See Acts 5:34).  Once in Gamaliel, I turned right on Main St. headed west on KY 87, a windy little road that eventually brought me to Bugtussle, KY...or what is left of it anyway. At one time Bugtussle appears to have had a small store.  The store practically backs right up to the Tennessee State line.


So, why the interest in Bugtussle you ask?  This name for me goes way back into the late 1960s.  When I was around 11 or 12, I was a big fan of the television show, the Beverly Hillbillies, a show about a hillbilly family that moved to Beverly Hills after becoming millionaires due to an oil strike on their homestead.  Jed Clampett (played by Buddy Ebsen), the patriarch, was from a fictitious town called Bug Tussle. In 1967 there was even an episode titled "The Mayor of Bug Tussle", wherein Mayor Amos Wentworth Hogg traveled from Bug Tussle to Beverly Hills to visit his friends the Clampetts.  Actor James Westerfield played Mayor Hogg. During the late '60s and early '70s, a couple of other "sister shows" seemed to add to the fray.  There was "Petticoat Junction", which was set in the fictitious town of "Hooterville" (which is later where the show "Green Acres" was set -- kind of a reverse of the Hillbillies in that rich big city folk moved to the country.)  If I recall, Bug Tussle had even been mentioned in an episode of Petticoat Junction.  All that being said, since those days I have always remembered Bug Tussle and Hooterville.  Then, last summer, as I was perusing the map for odd-named towns in Kentucky, I came across Bugtussle.  I just HAD to find my way there....and I did.



Shows from the '60s...Jed Clampett (center), supposedly was from Bug Tussle



Map and satellite views of Bugtussle, KY.  The circled are on the map at right is the Bugtussle store shown below


The road sign says it all, but there was, at one time, a Bugtussle General Store at 6061 Bugtussle Rd.


It was so exciting to me to finally make it to Bugtussle.  But the more interesting part of this story is that, in my research on Bugtussle, I found out that there are actually four of them in the US.  One in Kentucky, one in Alabama, one in Oklahoma AND....one in Texas!!  So, I set my sights on knocking out TWO Bugtussles in one day...and that was the goal for this day (I know I said this above, but now you know the rest of the story...)


So, what about that name Bugtussle?  Apparently, Bugtussle was named by local comedians due to its doodlebug population.  In an article in Time magazine (online edition), they write that "nobody knows how the town of Bug Tussle, Alabama got its name. Its 300 citizens, mostly cotton farmers, rather think it refers to their annual battle with boll weevils."  I even found a Bug Tussle Records!!


Well, enough about Bugtussle for now...on with the trip.  Just 30 seconds south of the Bugtussle General store is the "Welcome to Tennessee" sign and the highway turned to TN 261. Still out in the boonies, I headed south through Enon, near Pumkintown and then past Frog Pond, where there is a BBQ stand.  Makes me wonder what is barbecued here....ironically, I passed a Flippin Rd. just before I got to the intersection of where Frog Pond Cemetery Rd. meets TN State Highway 261.




Not too far from Lafayette, on TN 52 towards Westmoreland, was Peggy's Market which offered Home Cookin', Hardware and Feed.  I stopped for a gas stop and snapped the pizza man below.


This Pizza Man was out front


I finally made my way into Nashville...but was just driving through.  I would hit Interstate 40 out of Nashville heading towards Memphis.


The Nashville Skyline heading south on I-65


Along I-40 west out of Nashville one can find some interesting towns right off of the freeway.  I figured I would take a quick exit for a look-see....first stop-Bucksnort, TN, easily accessed at Exit 152, about 40 miles west of Nashville. There is not much there, but I did come across "Yesterdaze Pinball", a sort of Pinball Machine Museum.  There is also a song named after the town: "Bucksnort, Tennessee" by a group called Trailer Trash Tremblers, from the Netherlands.  Yes, a southern trash country rock party group from the Netherlands with other songs such as Getaway Car, Beer & Burgers and Gringo.  I think I will stick with the Trailer Park Troubadours.

Wo knows for sure how Bucksnort got it name, but legend has it that there was a trader named Buck who lived in the area, and locals would say they were going to “Buck’s to get a snort.” We may never know...



Welcome to the booming town of Bucksnort, TN, home to Yesterdaze Pinball


Well, it was back on the freeway to head west, but off again at the next exit, 148, and then south on County Hwy 920.  I didn't have to go too far for my destination....Only, Tennessee.  Yes...a town named Only.  Once again, it is barely a dot on a map, but there is a road AND even a church...



Only is that a way....on Only Rd....



This was the funniest...I first saw the sign on the right and then got into town and saw the real "Only Baptist Church"


After 5 minutes I was back on I-40 heading west to the next exit, number 143, wherein is Buffalo, Tennessee.  Apparently this is where country singer Loretta Lynn moved after becoming famous.  She was originally from Butcher Holler, KY.  Up the road about 7 miles is the Loretta Lynn Dude Ranch, her mansion, etc.



The buffalo statue is in front of Loretta Lynn's Kitchen in Buffalo...and yet another church...do they worship Buffalo?


After these three stops, I got back on the road and continued west.  Got into Memphis and then crossed over the Mississippi River into Arkansas and then continued west into Texarkana.  I had been there before and even had visited the two state post office.  This time I just stayed on the road and got to the rest area just into Texas. This water tower is in two states...



Crossing the Mississippi River into Arkansas; A water tower in two states - Arkansas to the left, Texas to the right


By now I had been on the road traveling for over 13 hours and the sun was starting to go down.  As I approached Hooks, TX, the sun was setting and it was beautiful.  I pulled off the freeway to get some shots.  I am thrilled with what I got!!



Sunset just outside of Hooks, TX...a beautiful balance from the sunrise earlier that day


Once photos were taken, I then continued on I-30 west out of Hooks until I got to Exit 199, just west of New Boston.  From there I hopped on US 82 and headed west through Malta, Clarksville, Detroit, New Chicago, Reno and into Paris, a virtual world tour!!  After a stop for gas in Paris, I continued west to Honey Grove, TX. It was really dark out, but I was getting close to my destination...oh so very close to my goal.


After driving through Honey Grove, I headed south on County Rd. 34, only a few miles north of what should be Bug Tussle, TX.  When I got to the intersection of County Rd. 34 and FM 1550 (Farm to Market Rd.) I looked for some evidence of Bug Tussle.  I knew from other photos I had seen that there was a house on the corner with a sign that said Bug Tussle, TX -->.  I found the house in the pitch dark, looked up where the sign should be, but, alas, it was no longer there....so no evidence.  I was dumbfounded!!  All this way and all I could do was photograph the two road signs.



The road signs at the intersection where Bug Tussle should be (see maps below)



Here are the maps with the intersection....


So, dejected at not having found my second Bugtussle, I continued south towards Ladonia...then, about 200 yards from the intersection, on my right, there it was...a little farm road heading to a farm house.  And, at the entrance, a road sign, with the name Bugtussle!!  Dejection had turned to overwhelming delight.  I had driven from Bugtussle, KY to Bugtussle, TX in one day!!  And I had proof!!


Bugtussle and Milton, 200 yds south of County 34 and FM 1550


Dead tired, I still had a couple of hours to go to get to Keller, north of Ft. Worth.  I drove through the ghostly town of Ladonia (see photos below) and then through Commerce and on to I-30 again.  I followed I-30 into Dallas and then eventually made my way to Keller, arriving at about 10:30 PM, Central Time...about a 19 hour drive from Lexington.



Ladonia, TX: Seemed like a ghost town in the dark


Stay tuned for Part 2: A Week in Texas and Part 3: An Uncertain (TX) trip home in search of Waldo.


Some roadside guidance provided by......


 See more of Sumoflam's Trip Journals