September 13-16, 2010, Mammoth Cave National Park, KY

We drove to Georgetown, KY where we spent the
night in the Wal-Mart parking lot. It was a busy area with lots of truck noise but we managed to get a good night’s sleep. Tuesday morning we headed towards mammoth Cave National Park. After about two hours we were on I-65 and a pickup pulled next to us, honked and motioned toward the rear of the 5th wheel. We pulled over and discovered that we had blown a tire. The tire was torn completely off the wheel and had wrapped around the axel and broke our brake line. The shoulder of the road was narrow and there was not a lot of room to change the tire. There were a lot of semi trucks going by and many of them couldn’t or wouldn’t change lanes. It took Rex a while to get the shredded tire unwrapped from the axel but after about an hour we were on our way again. We didn’t have brakes on the 5th wheel so we slowly drove the 30 miles to the campground. After getting set up in Diamond Caverns Resort & Golf Course, Rex went in search of parts to repair the brake line. He ended up having to go about 35 miles to Bowling Green where they had to order the parts. The parts are supposed to be here in a day or two – hopefully by Friday when we plan to leave here. We called Nancy’s brother, Bob, in Sikeston, MO, where we are heading next, and he has found us a new tire. The RV park is really nice and not very full. Our sight overlooks a large area with grass and trees.

Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave has over 365 miles of surveyed passageways and is thought to have 600 miles of undiscovered passageways. It was authorized as a national park in 1926 and fully established in 1941 but only 40 miles of passageways had been mapped at that time. The park was named a World heritage site in 1981 and became the core area of an International Biosphere Reserve in 1990. There is also 53,000 surface acres which are heavily wooded. On our way to the Visitor Center we saw many white tailed deer and wild turkeys.

We took the Grand Avenue Tour, a 4 ½ hour tour of the cave covering 4 miles.  The cave was very interesting and different from other caves we have seen. 
Most of the cave is dry so there were not a lot of formations until we got to the end of our tour – then we saw lots of flowstone, stalactites and stalagmites. 
Even though our tour was 4 ½ hours and we walked 4 miles we only saw a small portion of the cave. The Park Ranger leading our tour has worked in the park for 13 years and has explored a lot of the cave. He was very knowledgeable and was able to tell us a lot about the cave - we really enjoyed his tour.

We spent our 2nd day here on a driving tour of the park. Again, we saw a lot of white tailed deer and wild turkeys. The park has a few roads through it and we think we drove on all of them. We crossed the Green River on the Green River Ferry – not as exciting as our crossing of the Yukon River last summer but still fun.

The drive was beautiful with thick forest on either side of the road most of the time.  We saw lots of small old cemeteries in the woods along the roads.  Towards the end of our drive we crossed the Green River again on the Houchins Ferry – a wider crossing than the first one but on an identical ferry.  We ate lunch in a picnic area on the other side of the river and watched the ferry working.  It seemed there was a vehicle wanting to cross about every 5-10 minutes.

We really enjoyed our visit to Mammoth Cave National Park.




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