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Day 1, Camp 1 - Mammoth Cave National Park, KY

Posted 11-20-2009 at 06:44 PM by Phantom

2009/11/16 (3 nights @ $8.50 per night)
Day 1, Camp 1
Mammoth Cave National Park,
Park City, KY
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We finally got out of Michigan on November 16th at about 8:45 am, after winterizing the house, blowing out pipes,etc. We had gotten the Bambi back after repairs, the previous Thurs. and spent 3 days packing. We drove south to Mammoth Cave National Park... 457 miles... in about 8 hours. The campground was decent, nearly empty, no hook-ups, water available at the dump station, showers available in the concessionaire's building by the post office... ($2 for 10 mins... First night we discovered a huge hole in the roof vent cover over the bed... big enough to 'throw a tom-cat through'! It had rained much of the way south but the bed wasn't wet! I taped a garbage bag under the vent and we slept but little... with rain most of the night. Next day the rain had let up and I borrowed an 8' step ladder from the maintenance men, got up and found the vent cover was disintegrating (after 2 years!). Found that there was a Camping World down in Bowling Green. The kind ranger let me use her phone and they had vent covers in stock. We put a tarp over the vent (now totally open) and drove 35 miles down to Bowling Green, bought a replacement cover and back to camp. Got up on the roof and couldn't get the vent cover onto the hinges. The air conditioner was too close to lay the cover flat and get the right angle to get it started on the flat, U-shaped hinges. I removed the AC cover, wriggled and pried and finally managed to break the hinge tabs off the brand new cover! Taped the cover in place with good old Gorilla Tape and decided to 'call it good' for now. What a loser. Doofus. Failure.
Next day we did two tours of the caves. Historic Entrance and New Entrance, 2 hours each... walked nearly 3 miles up to 250 feet underground. Lots of steps! Very amazing. The park is 58,000 acres with 367 miles of surveyed caves... thus far. Upon starting the cave tours, I discovered I had forgotten my larger flash unit! Doofus! Duh! The built-in flash is only good for about 15'... pretty much limits cave photography! Feeling more like a failure. The cave was used to mine Saltpeter during the war of 1812. After the war ended, there was no more demand for Saltpeter (used in gunpowder) and it was pretty much exhausted from the dirt as well. Thus the expression... "all petered out"...
Next day we wanted to take a river trip down the Green River but couldn't find a reasonable shuttle. We did a driving loop and crossed the Green River on two of the last remaining public, single-car ferries in the country. It was cool Thurs. morning so we canned the canoe trip and headed out for the for the Natchez Trace Parkway. It's good to be on the way.
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