Three States Before 9 a.m.

Because we are living in the Wilderness Road Campground, Tom and I have to drive through three states in order to get to work.  We have to report to work at 8:30, which means that we have driven through three states before 9 a.m.

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is located at the conjunction of three states:  Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia.  The campground is in Virginia, so we are technically living in Virginia.  The Visitors Center is in Kentucky, so we are working in Kentucky.  In order to get from one to another, we have to drive through a little triangle of Tennessee.  It can be a bit confusing.

When we worked at Pipe Spring National Monument in Arizona, we were six miles from Utah.  Utah was on Mountain Time and Arizona was on Central Time, so we got used to asking which time zone an event was going to be:  Utah time or Arizona time?  When we worked on San Juan Island in Washington state, the closest cell tower was on Vancouver Island in Canada.  We had to help visitors set their phones in airplane mode on the island so they wouldn’t be charged for roaming.  When we worked at Fort Union Trading Post, the fort was in North Dakota and the parking lot was in Montana and those two states were in different time zones.  All of this can be pretty confusing, especially to visitors to the park.

Even though we are at the intersection of three states at Cumberland Gap, at least they are all in the same time zone.  The three states are most confusing to me, the geographically challenged newbie.  People are often telling me what town they are from, but they rarely say what state unless I ask.  When I work at the Visitors Center desk, I have to take reservations for tours and picnic shelters.  Yesterday a woman making a reservation told me she was from Roseville but didn’t tell me the state.  After she walked away I asked the ranger next to me what state that was in.  She laughed and told me Virginia.

Everyone who lives in the area just gets used to knowing where the state lines are.  And they get used to the different rules and laws.  For instance, you can buy alcohol in Tennessee on Sunday but not in adjacent Bell County, Kentucky.  Not a problem I will have, but interesting.

I am working on getting the lay of the land around here.  It is one of the fun things about being in a new place – learning where things are.