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When I'm coming back from Nashville, I've always counted on my I-65 rest area immediately north of the KY-TN state line. It's the one in Franklin.

I cannot count on that rest area any longer...or at least for the near term.

When we were returning from Memphis, Sunday, we almost didn't notice it.

Chad mentioned he thought it was odd that he'd never noticed Kentucky Downs before. It's right behind where the rest area used to be.

But not only is it closed, it's GONE.

I mean bulldozed. You know that big walking hill that's to the left of the restrooms and the visitors' center? It's been flattened.

Gone, too, of course, are all the vending machines and their wildly overpriced snacks.

(Remember when there used to be an ICE CREAM vending machine that the gods of sensibility removed?)

MID-BLOG UPDATE: I've learned that it's been closed for nearly three weeks. My last jaunt into Tennessee via 65 was just before the first of the year and the wrecking ball.

Kentucky Today tells us that that 45-year-old rest area has received no major upgrades since it was built in 1974 and that the new one will feature "horse statues, fences, improved signage and TV screens in the lobby to showcase many of Kentucky’s tourist attractions."

This is excellent news. You know, it SMELLED old. I had no idea it had gone that long without updates, but, now that I hear that, yeah, I can totally see it.

We'll soon be welcomed back into Kentucky in style. At least, in much higher style that we were previously encountering.