A Sense of Where We Are: Lost, Probably

View Westward Expansion in a larger map

Louisville, Kentucky—With yesterday’s detour into Ohio! and Indiana, our total number of states has climbed to 12. Included within that is a former independent republic that kind of sort of wants to become a sovereign nation again (Vermont), a giant chunk of space that could be its own state (upstate New York), a state that used to be part of another state (West Virginia), a state that was almost a state but for the all-consuming 18th century real estate market (“Franklin” in East Tennessee), and a state that nearly sold itself to the king of Spain in exchange for a few noble titles and access to the Mississippi River (Kentucky). A little bit of everything, in other words.

My host in Lexington made a funny face when I told her I was in Kentucky “to see the sinkholes,” but it’s really no joke—they’re everywhere in Kentucky, where water and limestone have teamed up to produce a bevy of preposterous geological activity. Case in point: We’re headed south to Mammoth Cave today, which, if our navigational talents hold up, will probably be the last place we’re ever seen alive. I’m told the WiFi signal is a little spotty that close to the Earth’s core, but watch this space for the full report on our trip to the Creation Museum and the last resting place of America’s worst-dressed head of state.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.