It’s a scenic sight along Interstate 75 through southeastern Kentucky.
But getting people off the interstate and into the highways and byways of the area is a prime goal of tourism officials.
The newest endeavor to achieve that goal was revealed Monday—The Rattlesnake, a 12-mile section of Ky. 192 connecting Laurel and Pulaski counties.
The winding road from the split of Ky. 192 and Ky. 1193 defines the beginning of the trail that travels downward to the county line at the Bee Rock campground and across the Rockcastle River and into Pulaski County.
The designation of that roadway as a motorcycle route was the culmination of the Pulaski and Laurel county fiscal courts, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the two county tourism commissions, and two motorcycle shops—Dirty D’s motorcycle shop in Somerset and Wildcat Harley Davidson in London.
“It’s always a great day in our community when we can further our tourism potential and we think the Rattlesnake will do just that,” said Tiffany Bourne with the Pulaski County tourism commission and coordinator of the event.
Laurel County Judge Executive David Westerfield said getting people off I-75 and onto the scenic areas of southeastern Kentucky was vital to continued tourism. Westerfield, a retired UPS driver, said he’d driven the roads of the county for over 32 years and that the beauty of the area could not be surpassed.
“We have some of the most beautiful communities across southeastern Kentucky that could ever be imagined and I think this is the first step in getting people off the main drags and getting them on these side roads and start visiting some of our beauty,” he said. “There’s none any more beautiful than this stretch here.”
Pulaski County Judge-Executive Steve Kelley said the effort to designate the route as a scenic motorcycle route would definitely bring tourism into the area as well as promote the two counties for their many tourism attributes.
Senator Chris Girdler from Pulaski County said he was proud to sponsor the resolution to have the highway designation.
“What we’re going to see here today is truly just the beginning,” he said. “Tourism equals jobs. Let’s not forget that. This is a tremendous initiative that we’re going to see pay dividends in the short term future. You’re going to see motorcyclists coming from all over the country to ride the Rattlesnake.”
An inaugural ride is set for June 11 and will begin at the London Harley Davidson dealership on Hal Rogers Parkway at 11 a.m., according to Charley Simpson with Dirty D’s motorcycle shop. Simpson said the ride is free but T-shirts commemorating the ride would be available for purchase.
“Most bikers are used to paying to ride,” he said. “This one is free. Remember, there is only one chance to do an inaugural ride. And there’s only one chance to get an inaugural T-shirt.”