As you know, Owensboro may be the 4th largest city in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, but it's a relatively small town.  It most definitely has that vibe.  It's certainly a town where everyone seems to know each other.  In many ways, Owensboro can be a very convenient city to live in.  That said, there are things about it than can drive you absolutely bonkers and make you want to pull your hair out and scream your face off.

I haven't always lived in Owensboro, but I did grow up here and moved back 24 years ago.  As a native who moved away and then returned, I have learned a few things about our fine city that I feel compelled to share with you.

Now, you may live here too.  Or, you may be planning a visit.  Either way, you're going to find that these pro tips are the bomb dot com.  I have discovered some very useful ways to navigate this city and some of its most popular sites and offerings.

Here are my 5 Pro Tips to Make Your Life Easier in Owensboro!

#1- If you want to go to Chick-fil-A when there are very few cars in the drive-thru, go during a UK game!

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

You're welcome. Look! If you live in Owensboro, you know that our Chick-fil-A is insanely busy.  Seriously!  At any time of the day (except on Sundays, of course), traffic can be wrapped around that building two or three times.  It's like a gigantic, automotive boa constrictor.

Well, here's a pro tip from someone addicted to their yogurt and their #1 chicken sandwich combo (with waffle fries, a lemonade and NO pickle).  Wait until the UK Wildcats are playing basketball and then go!

The other day, I went to grab a combo and breezed directly into the drive-thru line.  I didn't even have to drive around the building. I was able to shimmy Miss Celie (my Chrysler 300) directly into Lane #2.  There were barely any cars.  I couldn't figure out what was happening at first. Then it dawned on me. The Cats are playing!!!!  Everyone was glued to a TV set somewhere.  Well, no offense, Cats.  Not me!  Not this U of L grad!  I was peeling off Salem Drive and into the Chick-fil-A drive thru with only a handful cars in line in front of me.

#2- If you have to grocery shop, hit up the Kroger (or your go-to) at 6am on Sunday mornings.

Again, you're welcome.  Look!  Owensboro has a population of approximately 60,000 people.  And, let's be honest.  We don't have that many grocery stores.  My rough estimate, as I am sitting here writing this story, is that we have less than ten.  That means big crowds, lots of carts and long, mind-numbing lines at the self checkout. (Sidebar- Y'all, if you don't know how to use the U-Scan, please spare the world your attempt.)

Dave Spencer/Townsquare Media
Dave Spencer/Townsquare Media

Well, I'll let you in on my little secret.  I do my grocery shopping at 6am on Sunday mornings.  I lovingly call it "Beat the Christians!"  Owensboro's tucked right into the Bible belt and most folks spend Sunday mornings at church. And you know you've been there.  When church lets out, the restaurants and grocery stores fill up!  It's like Moses parted one sea and filled up another.  I can't tell you how many times my family barreled out of Settle Memorial United Methodist and drove right up onto a table for six somewhere.

But, if you go early, you can be in and out quickly.  I am a guy who knows virtually everyone in town.  So, for me, a quick 15-minute trip to pick up some fresh produce and eighteen 12-packs of Cokes for Kevin, can turn into back-to-back episodes of the Kelly Clarkson Show and Dr. Phil.  But at 6am, it's Wham!  Bam!  Thank you, Spam!

#3-  If you want to trigger the traffic light at the Bypass and Frederica, roll up to it SLOWLY.

I get to work each morning by taking the bypass from Carter Road to Frederica.  As you know, from that exit ramp, you can turn right onto Frederica pretty easily.  To turn right to in order to make your way onto Salem Drive, you basically have to play a game of Frogger and, yes!  You're the frog.  Or, you can turn left onto Frederica, which is what I need to do to get to work.


Obviously, the lights favor the traffic moving north and south on Frederica.  However, I have learned through observation and practice that if you SLOWLY roll up to that light- and drive directly over that gigantic painted white arrow on the pavement, you will trigger it almost instantly. Usually, because I roll Miss Celie up to that intersection like she's a "Stranger Danger!" van, I almost never have to wait for the light to turn.  Sometimes, it starts to turn before I even stop.

#4- Wait at least a month to try and eat at a brand new restaurant in town.

Can I get an "Amen??"  Those of you who lived in Owensboro around 1990, will likely remember, quite well, the notoriety our city received when Owensboro was ranked #1 in the country for the most fast food restaurants in relation to the population size.  Yes, we had more restaurants per capita than any other city in the United States.  In many ways, it still feels like we're leading that charge.

Y'all know this is the truth.  If a new restaurant opens in this town, we flock to it in gigantic herds and claw at the front door like a scene from The Walking Dead.  Let's admit it and embrace it.

Prime example! When Panda Express opened a few months ago, the drive-thru line literally stretched the length of the Menards parking lot.

Here's a photo my friend Chris Conley captured with this drone.

Chris Conley
Chris Conley

Yeah, that was the line!!I  People, it's rice.  It's freaking rice!!

I tried to go by there one night (a couple of weeks after it opened) and the line literally backed up to behind MOD Pizza.  THAT. IS. INSANE.  And that happens every single time a new restaurant opens in this city.  Remember when Popeyes opened????  I didn't get a piece of chicken for like three months.

For the record, I STILL haven't had Panda Express.  But I am following my own pro tip.  I am just biding my time and waiting for the excitement and all the other rabid appetites to wear off.

#5- If you're going to the Malco or any other retailer at Gateway Commons, go in the back way!!

Okay, let me lay it out.  I am NO fan of the traffic on Hwy 54.  Yes, I am one of those people.  I used to live in southern California and I understand what a real traffic nightmare can be.  I also admit that nothing we experience in Owensboro is even close to what motorists experience in big cities.  But, I think it's because I live in Owensboro that I have gotten so spoiled with the fact that it only takes me five minutes to get to work.  Because of that, any inconvenience at all is just hyper-annoying.  For me, that's Hwy 54, which is precisely why I will do everything in my power to avoid turning right onto 54 from the eastbound Bypass.

One night, Kevin and I were going to the movies and I made the mistake of making that dreaded turn.  We got stuck at that traffic light by Aldi and waited in line FOREVER to turn left to get to Gateway Commons.  I think we sat there for a week.  Naturally, we were late and missed some of the previews.  Luckily, the Malco shows about a half hour of previews before every movie and they don't start rolling until the film's printed start time. Luckily for us, there was a courtesy cushion.

But I learned my lesson that night and have never made that mistake again.  If you're going to the movies, drive past 54 and take the Pleasant Valley Road exit off the Bypass.  Just go in the back way!  You'll save time and Goody's Headache Powder in the process.  As my friend Teresa says, "Trust!"

So, there you go! My Five Pro Tips to Make Your Life Easier in Owensboro.  If you're a fellow Owensboroan and you have a pro tip to share, please do it!  As they say, we're all in this together.

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