We had such a wonderful time this past week traveling the incredibly beautiful Natchez Trace but it is time to head home. Randy had been watching the weather and was worried that we would get caught in an on-coming series of storms. So while he normally does not like large highways he opted to travel on the interstate to speed our travel to our next destination.
Our first destination for the day was Mammoth Cave National Park in Cave City, Kentucky. Randy had visited the cave some years before and wanted to share the experience with me. The drive there was quick and almost rain free. There were a few sprinkles but not enough to stop and put our rain gear on.
The drive into the park was very nice. Fortunately for us the 9:30am show was still available so we only had a short wait to join the tour. We all gathered in a common area and by the time he finished reiterating the warnings about the strenuousness of the walk through the cave I was actually feeling a little queasy. But when I looked around at all the other eager visitors I decided I could handle it.
The cave was amazingly beautiful and scary at the same time. The walk through the cave was uneven, steep, dark and exhilarating. At one point during the tour the ranger gave everyone a demonstration of what it was like for the early visitors to the cave would experience and turned off the lights and lighted the area with only a lamp. That was scary enough and he pulled the plug on all the lights. You could hear a pin drop in that cave. I loved the candle graffiti on the ceiling of the cave. Some of the graffiti dated back to 1839. Then we descended down to 310 feet below the ground. Each time we stopped the ranger gave an informative talk about the history of the caves, the early visitors and becoming an important landmark.
Then it was time to return to the surface climbing up 150 steps. That was hard enough but then we had to climb an additional 62 steps to the front of the cave then adding additional stress on my knees we had to climb back up the hill to the visitors’ center. I was never so glad to be back on the bike.
Our next stop for the day was the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in Hodgenville, Kentucky. I loved this park and all its displays. The park is in a beautiful and peaceful setting with a visitor’s center, a memorial building, the Nancy Lincoln Inn (which is now a museum and gift shop) and other historical markers tracing Lincoln’s boyhood years in Kentucky. As we pulled into the parking area I remarked to Randy how heart warming it was to see so many visitors at the site. It is nice to see that so many people come to visit and learn about one of our greatest presidents.
My very favorite stop was at the Memorial Building that was constructed on the very hill that Lincoln was born. Once again we were climbing stairs. There were exactly 56 stairs to the top representing how long he was with us before he was so cruely assisinated. Within the memorial building is a log cabin one very much like the one the family would have lived in. Why was that my favorite? Usually when you visit a memorial building there are statues standing around, famous words etched on the walls or glass cases full of memorabilia. But when I opened the door to the building what was there,a log cabin. Now Randy will tell you that whenever I see something I really like or experience something that makes me feel really good I express myself spontaneously and loudly. I took one look at that cabin and exclaimed, “Wow that is so cool!” Randy just laughed.
After such an educational and fun day we felt it was time to find a home for the evening and headed for Glasgow, Kentucky. We traveled on US 31E and what a treat that was. We drove through beautiful farmland beautiful enough to be painted and hung in a museum. I did not have my camera available but the image is permanently imprinted on my memory. We encountered a few more sprinkles and dark clouds were threatening so we were very happy to have a room at the Sleep Inn.
Also fortunate was having a Mexican restaurant right in front of the hotel. The food was good. They brought two salsas and chips to the table. The roasted pepper salsa was delicious. It was hot and smoky and very good. I was surprised that Randy liked it because he usually does not like hot salsa.
Randy ordered an enchilada and taco and I ordered a chalupa and taco. Both dishes were good and tasty but I must confess that I found myself comparing this restaurant with our favorite restaurant back home. Time to get back to the hotel and some much needed rest before taking off tomorrow for the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee.