Just across the south side of the river I hit Maysville, Kentucky -- a half-quaint, half-homely river town with the lethargic quality of a fighter who's taken too many blows. Part of northern Kentucky is covered with lush, pristine forests, but this was not that part. For a dozen miles along US 68, I was in the down-on-its-luck, strip-mall-on-every-corner, already-hot-at-10-in-the-morning part. The closer I got to Lexington, though, the softer the edges of despair became, and the slower I found myself traveling -- suddenly there was eye candy everywhere. As I skirted Paris, with its rolling acres of horse farms and shag carpet of bluegrass, I found all stereotypical preconceptions of fried chicken, hillbillies and bourbon receding into the idyllic landscape. Like most knuckleheaded Northerners, I'd always believed Kentucky was the Deep South (even though it never seceded from the Union). It was only now that I could feel the difference.