Mammoth Cave National Park (map / wiki) is set up similar to Carlsbad Caverns. They’ve both been tourist destinations since the 1800’s and as a result they get a lot of traffic. The visitor center reminded me of a ski resort lodge complete with an island information kiosk and a winding ticket queue. The guided tours were sold out before I arrived so I had to settle for the $5 general tour.
Mammoth Cave’s claim to fame is that with over 400 miles of explored passageways, it’s the longest (known) cave system in the world.
The problem was that on the general tour you only get to see a 1/4 mile of it.
Now, it’s worth the $5. The cave is massive, maybe 140 ft wide and 60 ft tall at some points. It’s deep, dark, dank, and otherworldly, but knowing how much more there was to explore behind the roped off side tunnels made it hard for me to feel satisfied.
I left the cave with energy to burn, and after one of my trademark cooler top parking lot sandwiches, I headed north, over a ferry crossing to a 10 mile mountain bike loop trail.
The trail was the perfect difficulty for me, and it was the first time I’ve really felt comfortable with my bikes handling and gear set up. I still caught myself fighting my motorcycle muscle memory when trying to downshift with my foot going into turns, but on the whole, I’ve improved.
The father of my sisters boyfriend has a house in Kentucky, and that was where I slept for two nights (4/4/15 and 4/5/15).
The grand tour of their home revealed that practically every beam, brick, and nail had a story behind where it came from. Most of the building materials had been reclaimed and reused from homes, schools, and barns that were set to be demolished. The main living space was wide open with vaulted ceilings. I was in need of a recharge day, and my hosts (along with their 5 dogs) were more welcoming than I could ask for.