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
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
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
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
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….
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
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
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
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
So, what about that
name Bugtussle? Apparently, Bugtussle was named by local comedians due to
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
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
This Pizza Man was
I finally made my
way into Nashville…but was just driving through. I would hit Interstate
40 out of Nashville heading towards Memphis.
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
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
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…
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
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.
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!!
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
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.
All photos and commentary expressed are copyright of Sumoflam Productions and David Kravetz. All rights reserved.