Somewhere over the ‘moonbow’

“Where they Went” by Diane Daniel
(Published Feb. 3, 2008, in the Boston Globe)

From Di’s eyes: Bill and Jan’s creative roadtrips show their great sense of playfulness and humor. It’s nice that they often meet up with long-time friend Paul Savina of Chapel Hill, N.C. (right up the road from me in Durham). I interviewed only Bill and he had me in stitches much of the time while he described Zaneville’s claim-to-fame, Wigwam Village, the crazy bus ride at Mammoth Cave, and their madcap chasing of the moonbow. He was rewarded with a photo of gold at the end of it.

WHO: Bill, 53, and Jan Sides, 52, of Foxborough, Mass.

WHERE: Kentucky.

WHEN: 10 days in September and October.

WHY: “In 2004 we were out West, and there was a restaurant that had a big tepee for the dining room. Jan wanted to eat there, but she got voted down,” Bill Sides said. “Later I went online and found a wigwam in Kentucky you could stay at, and I made up a little brochure with an itinerary and gave it to her for Christmas.” Jan and Bill Sides at Cumberland Falls State Resort ParkThe highlight was seeing a lunar rainbow at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. “It’s the only place in the Western Hemisphere that you can see a moonbow on a regular basis.”

PAYING HOMAGE: “We stopped somewhere in Pennsylvania the first night to put some miles on and the next day went to Shanksville, where the plane crashed on 9/11. We had a very close friend killed in one of the towers.” From there they visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater in the village of Mill Run, Pa. “It fits in the landscape so perfectly. It’s just an amazing house.”

Y NOT?: “We had to tick off Ohio, so we went to Zanesville. Every town tries to promote something. This town promotes the fact that it has a Y-shaped bridge, and an overlook that you can look down on the Y-shaped bridge.”

LUKEWARM ON WIGWAM: They spent two nights in Berea, Ky., known for its arts and crafts, and from there, they headed to Wigwam Village in Cave City. The tepees “were all concrete, and probably state of the art when they were built 70 years ago. It was really pretty interesting but not that nice. My wife would say, ‘You get what you pay for.’ ”

THEY CAVED: At Mammoth Cave National Park, they chose the Frozen Niagara Tour over the Tall Man’s Misery and Fat Man’s Misery. “The tour was nice and interesting, but the most exciting part was the bus ride to the cave opening. It was in an old school bus, and we were blasting around all these corners.”

MILESTONES IN HISTORY: At Cumberland Falls park, near Corbin, they were joined by longtime friend Paul Savina of Chapel Hill, N.C. “We stayed at Dupont Lodge, part of the park and one of those CCC [Civilian Conservation Corps] projects built in the ’30s. It was absolutely wonderful.” In Corbin, “the Birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken,” they went to Colonel Sanders’s first restaurant. “We also went to the World Chicken Festival in London. Their claim to fame is they have the world’s biggest frying pan.”

KENTUCKY MOON: A chance to see the Cumberland Falls moonbow, a rainbow produced by the moon instead of the sun, can draw hundreds of people, Sides said. It’s visible only The Cumberland Falls moonbow or lunar rainbowat certain times near or during a full moon. “We had two chances to see it. The first night it was partly cloudy, but the next night, the sky was clearer. There were about 60 people and everyone is hurrying to get there. It only lasts about half an hour. It’s a fascinating phenomenon. It was quite bright, but you see white. It only shows colors in photos. I took three six-and-a-half-minute exposures, and one came out really great.”

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