October 18 – Cave City, Kentucky

Beautiful morning for a drive and only 70 miles to go. Didn’t count on the wind that was blowing across the interstate. Struggled with driving as the wind and the huge semis pushed me back and forth. We made it safe.

We made it to Cave City and our campground – Singing Hills RV Park. Small park with gravel roads and small spaces. Great wifi and we got SAT, despite the tree next to us. But we are two miles from Mammoth Cave National Park, our purpose for being in this part of the country.

Had lunch which consisted of a Honey Crisp apple slice and peanut butter. Apples were from the Huber Orchard (see previous blog). Oh was it yummy!

Brenda and I visited mammoth Cave NP to do our inside work (movie and stamp) and investigate the tours. Campground host warned us they sell out every day for the tours. We reviewed the list and bought our tickets for tomorrow.

There are many opportunities for caving, hiking, biking, canoeing etc. in the park.

Wednesday up early for whatever reason, maybe the excitement of exploring the cave. Unfortunately Brenda wasn’t feeling well and declined to go. Was able to return her ticket and only lost $3 for refund fee.

Mammoth Cave is the largest in the world system of caves, over 400 miles of surveyed caves. The park is over 53,000 acres of surface area. And it is a limestone geologically feature. The park is also known to be one of the early (1812) huge mining operations of Saltpeter (ingredient for gunpowder).

Met our group (close to 35 people) at the starting shelter. We rode a bus to the Great Onyx Cave opening.

Great tour guide who was humorous and informative (he looked like he enjoyed his job).

Only 45 uneven steps down (and back up) and the trail was not too strenuous. Saw stalagmites and stalactites and a variety of gypsum displays.

Did not see any bats, in fact they said that 80% of the bats inside the cave have died from White-Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease. In fact, after leaving our tour we had to go through a shoe wash to get any particles off our shoes to avoid spreading the disease.

This tour was with Coleman lanterns, as there is no electric lights in the cave and it was one mile in and out. The cave’s temperature inside was mid-50’s which was great when it was 80 outside.

After the tour (2-1/2 hours) had lunch at the Mammoth Cave hotel, my favorite – meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

Also got to visit the historic entrance to the original section of cave. The tour of this area was closed but the tour guide had told us how to go around the barricades and at least see the old entrance.

I will say that Carlsbad Caverns was more impressive on the inside than Mammoth – though each NP is unique in its own way – that’s why you need to see every NP.

Dropped off some mail at the post office and returned home.

Did meet our neighbors (part timers) who were from Maine. They are traveling to Florida and in fact, stopped at some of the same places we did in Louisville (see last blog).

Thursday is our rain day – yes it rained all day on and off. As you might expect we didn’t do a whole lot today. We had already planned on smoking ribs and spent 6 hours doing that. With the new grill that holds it temperature, they turned out perfect. Note the thick smoke ring (dark pink).

We did get a chance to talk to Josh and Leah on Facetime. They are still in London and getting ready to return to America. They are downsizing (we can relate to that) as they pursue their future on a sailboat. Love their enthusiasm.

Brenda spent most of the day sewing.

Friday woke up to 50 degrees and temp is not getting above 60. Time to put on big-boy pants.

Today was lazy day. Brenda needed to sew and it was too cool to ride, at least on the road. So I did nothing except some minor paperwork and designed a plan to add a cargo carrier to the back of the coach.

The other thing I have noticed in our travels are the “tourist traps” outside national parks. They were exciting as a kid, but now they seem so hokey.

Saturday woke up to 43 degrees and fall must be coming. We are headed toward Knoxville, TN.

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