Let’s build our young people to match our Eastern Kentucky Mountains, match our Red River Gorge

bring-me-men-to-match-my-mountainsIn 1967, on my first 14,000 mile bicycle trip, I visited friends in Sacramento, California.  As I was leaving, I rode by the Capitol building and other state office buildings.  Across the marble top of one of those state buildings was written, in two-foot tall letters, a poetic quote.  Over the years, I forgot what the quote was, but I remembered that it had made an incredible impression on me at the time.

Two years ago, I flew to Sacramento and visited that family again.  At breakfast I told them the story about the quote carved on the building and that I couldn’t remember what it said.

B.J., who had been a child in 1967, said, “Then let’s drive to the Capitol and find that building.”  We circled the Capitol and other state buildings and in just a few minutes there is was, high up on the State Library building in huge letters: “BRING ME MEN TO MATCH MY MOUNTAINS.”  Wow!

A couple of nights ago I was talking to Chris and Mandy Chaney about this.  Instantly, Mandy found the poem on her iPhone from which the quote had been extracted.  The poem is Coming America by Walter Foss.  It not only says “Bring me men to match my mountains.”   The poem also says, “Bring me men to match my forests; bring me men to match my rivers,” on and on.Rugged Red 2

Here I am, talking to two young Powell Countians, Chris and Mandy, both of whom are community leaders. (Mandy will be the race director of the Rugged Red this year.) Then I recalled the forty-plus young men and women who are members of the awesome Mountain Rescue Team.  Those team members, from Powell, Menifee, and Wolfe counties took care of the trail runners in last year’s Rugged Red Trail Half Marathon.  Those young people make up one of the top mountain rescue teams in all of North America.

Creation FallsThen I began too recall all kinds of different groups of young people who make this place thrive and function.  Over a hundred volunteers helped us in The Rugged Red and also helped with the cancer drive.  Additionally the young people at the high school were invaluable in different kinds of good projects.  I have worked with Eagle Scout Trevor Faw and some of his friends.  It is incredible what they have done at the Stanton City Park.  And then there is the natural born leader Janice Odom, who has brought several thousand dollars in grants for projects into Powell County.  Many of those projects involved high school and elementary students.

Instead of asking someone to “bring us men to match our mountains,” I think we older folks should concentrate more efforts into building and developing our young people into men and women who match our Eastern Kentucky Mountains, young men and women who match our awesome rivers, who match our Daniel Boone National Forest.  Let’s help build our young people to become the men and women who will match our Red River Gorge.

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Each an individual flying creation, in total cooperation with each other.

Early this morning I was driving to Mt. Sterling. The sun was warming the earth but the fields were still white with a heavy frost .A thin layer of fog was rising from a lake surrounded by hay fields.

A flock of geese, maybe as many as twenty, circled overhead and had set their radar beacon on the lake. I pulled the truck over into the emergency lane to watch something spectacular happen.

The geese continued slowly, in a lazy “V” formation, to circle until they found their path of final approach.  They leveled off slightly adjusting the “V” until they were in a straight line with the main lake. Then their wings stopped flapping as they were starting their glide pattern.geese

Flying slowly found each bird, making fine adjustments in their wings, descending toward the still, glassy water. This was much as I would do in my Cessna 150 approaching the runway. Maybe a full minute passed and they were slowing even more, just three feet off of the water.

The “V” formation, still very much visible above the glistening smooth water. Now all the birds, with three-foot wing spans, gracefully flying close together approached the water.  All the birds now, making many small adjustments of the edge of their wings and even individual tail feathers, silently approached their stall speed where they would stop flying and be on the water.

Wow! Wow! Wow! All twenty geese, each an individual flying creation, in total cooperation with each other made a perfect,, beautiful, fantastic landing on the mirroring lake.

How did they do that?  Can us humans learn how to cooperate with each other like that?  I know we have many times over the centuries and perhaps some believe we never have and never will be able to do it.

Right now in Eastern Kentucky, Powell, Lee, Wolfe, and Menifee Counties are doing it and advancing their tourism base. We are working with each other and with communities outside our area at being the very best to the people who come here to vacation or to just take a weekend off.

At Bowen Farm we are cooperating with each other to make our guests stay here the best they have ever had.  We are doing the same with the trail runners of the Rugged Red, Red River Gorge Trail Half-Marathon.

While staying here, at another cabin, hotel, or campground, taking the Red River Gorge Zip-LIne or running the Rugged Red, hiking our incredible trails, or rock-climbing, if you have an idea that will help us accommodate you even better, let us know.

A House With A Story

real winners don't quit

Joe Bowen, proprietor of the Bowen Farm Bed & Breakfast will soon starting posting stories about the Homestead House and Tobe’s Barn Cabin. He built the house out of old barns and general stores; the ultimate in recycling and upcycling. Each room holds stories in the wood much as the whiskey barrels hold the prize drink in the wood. Please follow along and look forward to the publication of this story into his third book. In the meantime, check out his first two books: The Stiltwalk and Real Winner’s Don’t Quit. Enjoy!

Blog: Eastern Kentucky

Repost from A Drink with a Stranger

“The Top Five Things Joe Told Me” by Phillip McClusky (May 2006)

I have a fairly consistent Saturday morning routine. It involves coffee and… well, coffee. I drink coffee.

It is not an elaborate routine.

So I was just doing what I would normally do a few Saturdays ago, with one exception: I was talking on the phone to Joe, a man in his early 70s from Powell County, Kentucky.

Joe is affable and avuncular: I could feel the southern charm seeping through the phone as we talked, and I felt at ease right away. Talking to him reminded me of how great this project can be—the small connections it can help me make.

He said so many things that I liked. But five stuck with me. (read more here)

NPR: Stiltwalking

Repost from NPR

“A Bird’s-Eye History Of Walking On Stilts” (December 2011)

A couple of years ago, NPR’s Robert Siegel had a 5-year-old kid moment.

He was in the new wing of a hospital watching a workman put up drywall and, as drywall installers are wont to do, the workman reached the top of the wall by walking on stilts.

The 5-year-old inside the radio host was suddenly enchanted by the thought of stilts, so Siegel set out to learn more; first through Google, then from Joe Bowen, who walked more than 3,000 miles across the country on stilts in 1980. (read more here)

The Rugged Red

September 6, 2014rugged red

September 6, 2014, Joe Bowen will be hosting The Rugged Red  trail half marathon event at his Bowen Farm Bed & Breakfast. For all you run enthusiasts, nature lovers and those wanting to challenge themselves to some thing new; come and join us for a two day event. Opening fire and check-in will be on Friday, September 5, 2014. There will be live music, tailgating and s’mores.

The main event will be the next day, runners and their cheerleaders will be shuttled to Daniel Boone National Forest to begin the run. Runners will be refreshed with food and drink at the finish line while everyone is shuttled back to the Bowen Farm B & B.

At noon, we will begin the post race party and awards ceremony with more tailgating and live music.

For more information and registration, http://www.ruggedred.com. We can be found on facebook and twitter too.

The Front Door

The Front Door

Every door in the Homestead at Bowen Farm Bed & Breakfast is repurposed from different places. There is literally a story behind every door.