goto to Audio Tour


What is the First Frontier Audio Adventure Tour?

The Tour is a 220-mile self-guided driving tour with a map guidebook, a Passport, and over 2 hours of descriptive audio that is timed to the drive. The principle roads traversed are US 25E and US 119 in Bell, Harlan, and Knox Counties in Kentucky.

How much does the Tour cost?

The Tour is completely free. Tourists will pick-up, use, and return the First Frontier Tour package on an honor system. The Tour can never be sold in whole or in part. Tourists can download a high-quality verison of the tour for free from this website, which includes the Guidebook, Passport, MP3 audio, and even CD-ROM labels. Tourists will need to print the paper material and either burn a CD or podcast the audio. Pick a version of the tour to download.

Where can I get the latest tour conditions.

When you are driving the Tour, you can dial 5-1-1 on your cell phone to learn about travel and tourist information. While online, you can visit for travel info and the discussion board.

Can the Tour promote private businesses?

No, except overnight accommodations. The Tour will not contain commercials and cannot promote private businesses except overnight accommodations. All overnight accommodations are listed in the Guidebook to encourage the Tourist to extend their visit.

How can the Tour promote local private attractions?

Local tourism commissions will supplement the Tour with information for important tourist-related attractions not mentioned in the Tour.

Can the Tour promote contributing Artists and Writers?

The Tour package cannot promote individual artists. However, credits will be given here with links for purchasing music found in the audio.

What is included in the Tour?

The First Frontier Tour package consists of 3 items:

  • One 8-page, four-color, 8.5" x 11", full-bleed Map Guidebook with area photographs.
  • Two audio CD-ROMS or two audio cassettes.
  • One First Frontier Passport, a double-sided, 8.5" x 11" document that the Tourist has stamped at Major Tourist Information Sites (listed below) to receive promotional discounts.
  • One 9" x 12" clear plastic zip-lock type bag that holds the above items, plus supplemental information provided by the local tourism commissions.

What is the Passport and why is it important?

Tourist can keep the First Frontier Passport, but must return all other items. The goal of the Passport is to motivate the Tourist into one of the ten Tourist Information Sites to learn about local activities, gift shops, and restaurants that cannot be described in the Tour. The Passport is designed to be a collectable, especially after each Site gives their signature stamp to the Passport. The reverse side of the Passport is the Audio CD contents with credits and project contacts.

What is the goal of the Tour?

The goal of the First Frontier Tour is to:

  • Increase the Tourist's adventuresome spirit to visit unplanned destinations.
  • Get the Tourist out of their car to explore less visited attractions.
  • Extend the Tourist's stay by one day in Bell, Harlan, or Knox Counties.
  • Entertain the Tourist and sharpen their appreciation for mountain culture, history, and arts.
  • Create a Tour that can be used for at least 5 years

Where can Tourists obtain the Tour?

The First Frontier Tour Itinerary is looped so tourists can begin or end at any of these Major Tourist Information Sites in the First Frontier Corridor, in order of visitation:

What are the approximate drive times?

Without stopping at each Pit-Stop, and for food, etc.., the entire tour can be driven in 5.5 hours. To stamp your Passport, you'll need to budget an extra hour. An average tour takes about 10 hours after you stop at all the overlooks, museums, craft shops, and local activities. You read a detailed itinerary here.

What is included in the audio?

The audio script can be read here Disk 1: Vistas into the Mountain Frontier and Disk 2: Waters of the Cumberland River and is broken into 7 narrative themes:

  • The Host is the tour guide that describes significant geographical landmarks and makes transitions for the other segments.
  • The Navigator gives detailed driving instructions and suggests rest stops and overnight accommodations.
  • Rhododendron Cove is poetry, spoken word, and short story excerpts read by local artists.
  • Magnolia Songs is traditional music performed by local artists with commentary.
  • Mountain Table offers recipes from the mountains from traditional, Native American, and contemporary recipes.
  • Voices in History is the segment that gives dramatized readings from historic journals, oral histories, and summaries of historic landmarks from Kentucky's WPA Guide and other sources.
  • Specialty Field Guides is a broad segment that includes interviews from Recreational and Leisure-Time Professionals.

Why are some locations not on the main driving tour?

The driving tour was developed on existing tourism infrastructure with 3 criteria:

  • 1- a destination has road direction signage
  • 2- a visitor area with scenic, informational, or recreational activities, and
  • 3- is no further than 5 miles from US 25E or US 119

then that destination would most likely be in the driving tour. Attractions that fall outside of these criteria could be included as an Alternate Tour. If all counties wanted to include all of their attractions, then the Tour would have more driving miles in out-and-backs from US 25E and US 119 than the main tour.

What are Alternate Tours?

If a destination is too far or difficult to visit from the main driving tour because of lack of signage or demanding driving conditions, it is designated an Alternate Tour. They are however discussed in the audio. The tours are:

  • Daniel Boone Memorial Park
  • Martin's Fork Lake and Cranks Creek WMA
  • Wilderness Road State Park
  • Little Shepherd Trail (2 sections)
  • Pine Mountain Settlement School
  • Dr. Thomas Walker SHP

Note: these destinations are as significant as any on the tour; they add too much drive time to include audio-on time.

What is the audio format offered on this work site?

The audio is MP3 at 64kbps and 196kbps. The raw audio interviews are offered as low-quality MP3 audio files for internet dispersal, which was requested by interviewees. Not all recorded audio is offered on this site. As draft segments are completed, they will be released in a high-quality MP3 format.

How can I make make suggestions?

You can post comments to the discussion board after you register for an account. Currently the board is public.

I've driven the tour, so what's next?

You can post your trip photographs in the community photo gallery! You can also share your adventure on the discussion board.


Funding provided by SEKTDA
Written and Designed by Boyd Shearer
Host Narration by Mike Graves
Navigator Narration by Desiree Jones
Music can be found on June Appal Recordings, AppalShop


Boyd Shearer
PHONE: 859-806-3938
P.O. Box 2054
Lexington, KY 40588