Mammoth Cave, then on to Ohio

Last night was a beast.  We went to sleep at about 9:30 CST which made it late for us at 10:30 EST.  The air-conditioning in the RV made it tolerable and I, always the optimist, figured that as the outside temperature dropped, and the inside temperature rose, we would have the lower humidity on our side.  Put another check in the wrong column.  At midnight it was 82 in the RV with not a breath of air.  I opened all the windows and vents and the temperature dropped to 81 and the humidity went up.  We switched from the upper bunk to the lower where I looked like a 12” long wurst in an 8” roll.  I drank water so I could sweat better and we laid there and roasted all night long. We would have moved outside where we had a better option for catching a breeze but I didn’t; want to set up a free buffet for the bugs, so we laid there and cooked.

At about 7:30 we woke to the nearby kids’ scootering up and down the road.  I never want to live ion a community where there are no children.  I was glad that the kids were scootering because the inexpensive clock I bought at Wal-Mart has a cheap alarm and I couldn’t get it to reset to a different wake up time once I set it.  Kids are great, they allow us to see us, as we were, if we care.  They are the future, and if you watch carefully, you can see them take joy in things we long ago deemed commonplace.

We had a quick almost breakfast and headed off to our scheduled 8:45 tour that we arrived at, at 8:45 event though the ticket clearly said, when I got it out to show the ticket taker, be there at 8:40.  No one said anything, we had out shoes sanitized the day before against white nose syndrome, so we were off.

When I was traveling across country forty years ago with my roommate in a 1969 converted Dodge van (strangely the View has beige shag carpet, go figure, the van had blue shag carpet – hey, it was cheap in 1973) we spent some time spelunking in non commercial caves in southern Indiana.  It was the last time I was in a non-commercial cave and I remember it like it was yesterday.  MammothCaves ‘New Entrance Tour’ has the same non commercial feel.  The passageways ate tight, the headroom is low, you have to contort yourself to fit.  I’m sure that plus plus size people could run into trouble.  I spent the first half of the tour bent sideways so I could fit.  There were passageways that where narrower than my shoulders were wide.

The cave had three separate parts and the decorated section was the smallest and saved for last.  For size, it was larger than any cave I have been in.  For commercial caves, it had more of the feel of exploring a non-commercial cave, I guess that it was the ‘vibe’.  The ranger guide, although very good was really uninformative.  There was no explanation of where you had been, where you were going, what to look for in the next section, you just kind of walked along and took in the atmosphere.  It was almost as if you were free to wander and there were there to make sure that you didn’t get into mischief.

The good part was that it really made Endless Caverns shine.  There was a non-commercial feel at Endless, what with the small group, and the here we go, it’s the same way we’ve been doing it since we started, along with over the top repeating spectacular formations.  It also showed that although there has been significant changes ion the last forty years, the place is, excuse the term, AMAZING!

So, would I recommend MammothCave? Yes, we have been to many caves all over the country, and this is one of the best.  Are there better? Maybe yes, it depends on the measuring stick.  I do know that it’s on the top of the list for repeat caves.  We met a nice couple in the parking lot as we were leaving.  The dad noticed the blog URL on the front of the RV and had some questions, and said he would check it out.  I hope that he does.  We meet the very nicest people on the road, and I would like it if they follow along and add their two cents or more about the stuff I feel I should write about.

We stuck to the superhighways today and completely avoided the side roads.  It was good because I made great time and averaged over 15MPG (made me happy), but thinking about the trip, all I really remember is the sight of the Cincinnati skyline coming into view as we entered Covington KY.   There are so many more images in my head from the day before when we took the really local roads.  I hope that I always make time to take the lesser traveled road.  Frost’s poem comes to mind, again.

Cincinnati. Holy cow! They built a city there in the last 42 years. Last time I was there is was a little, funky, college town with some stuff going on, and now it’s this economic powerhouse, and someone built a little bit of Manhattan there.  Holy Crow!  I was stunned. We arrived in time for rush hour traffic, which on a New Jersey scale of traffic wasn’t so bad.  Apparently the whole country is approaching equal opportunity congestion.

My friend Marjery called.  I was excited to hear from her, she sounded excited to have us close and see us the following day. Having someone excited to have you visit is a gift. We arrived at Caesar Creek State Park and the two young ladies staffing the booth were wonderful and set us up with a site close to where we had reservations.  The site was close to level, so it took a minimum of block stacking, the awning went out, the picnic table was moved.  We seemed set.  I went to plug in the electricity and the 30 amp plug was filled with spider web and dead bugs.  I grabbed the 15 amp adapter, plugged everything in and we were humming.  The AC was on, it was hot and humid, so we had a refreshing drink inside and a snack and were in the middle of cooking dinner, including charcoal grilling some very nice pork chops, when everything went off.

Short story, I diagnosed that the breaker at the site was bad.  Dumped the briquettes into the fire ring to let the grill cool, ate dinner, packed everything in and up, stuck the grill in the coach, it was mostly coo, put the leveling blocks on the steps and we were off to one of the walk in sites.  The office was closed, so I couldn’t find a nearby site guaranteed to be vacant.  We drove to site 17 by chance, our lucky number, and plugged in everything .  It worked! Turned everything on, and it still worked.  A quick leveling job, and off to sleep.  A very good day.