After the VW show we started towards Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. Our first geocache grab was at the quirky Wigwam Motel in Tennessee. Then we crossed into Kentucky. These states blended together into a serious of back roads, small highways and little general stores broken up by large open swaths of land that possibly produced cotton or tobacco in a different era. Old, wooden farmhouses blended with stately brick homes, fronted by columns and punctuated with fields of cows and horses. But tucked away here and there were “hollers” named after the old-timers who were holed up in there. We passed Betsy’s Gap and Willard Gilmore Canyon. We saw “Pops General Store” and Old Bucks Drive. Every so often we would see a few folks sitting on a porch, watching us curiously as we passed by. None of them returned our wave with anything but a curious stare.
At Forbus General Store we stopped for the posted home made fudge. When we pushed open the front door we turned the heads of 4 men in denim coveralls. All were on ladder-back straight chairs, sitting around a wood stove and a spittoon. They watched us for a few minutes, and then returned to their discussion of local politics. We purchased some amazing fudge, and no-bake-cookies and let the screen door slam softly behind us.
The campground at Mammoth Cave National Park was nearly emptyand we were able to wander around the woods with the dogs. When the rains came, we hung out in the van and watched the fallen leaves absorb the moisture. We made our big plans for the area- we would tour the Corvette Assembly Plant in nearby Bowling Green Kentucky and take one of several available tours into Mammoth Cave.
Both of these visits were fantastic. The Corvette plant did not allow any photos. It was interesting and beautiful in an automated, mechanical sort of way. Beautiful cars being produced at a fast pace. We opted not to spend the money on the nearby Corvette Museum but instead headed to town for groceries and gas.
Mammoth Cave National Park is impressive. Over 400 miles of caves interconnected in the hills. The park offers several different types of tours and none of them are for the wimpy. Each of the tours boast many stairs, tight squeezes, low ceilings and slippery ascents. Some even include muddy knees and scraped hands. It was refreshing to see a park that was preserving history, geology and expecting the visitors to handle the rough edges. We enjoyed our “Domes and Dripstones” tour and felt perfectly tired when it was done!