Last week we planned a trip for the first half of the week. My husband specifically requested that I not put on my usual vacation-planner hat. He did not want to do anything on this trip. He told me repeatedly that there would be no side trips, no day trips, nothing outside of lounging by the pool and sleeping.
And as much as it killed me – I complied.
Except on the way home. (Come on, you know me better than that?!?)
Because Mammoth Cave National Park wasn’t just on the way home – it was also only 90 minutes from my sister’s house. So we drove north, veered 8 miles off the Interstate to hit the park and then slept at my sister’s house. It was a win-win. We enriched our children’s lives. We explored new places. We added a stamp to my National Park Passport. We cut up the 12 hour drive home into easier chunks of driving. Win. Win.
Except we didn’t get to do much of a cave tour. We got there in the afternoon and I assumed we’d be okay hitting one of the two choices I had researched. However, all tours were sold out except for one. We took it – figured it was Mammoth Cave for goodness sake, how bad can any of the tours be?
Turns out pretty bad.
Don’t get me wrong. The section of the cave we visited was impressively large. But we spent 40 minutes underground and saw two (yes two) parts:
We stopped in each section to hear some history of the cave and I have to admit even I, trivia-loving person that I am, tuned out most of the history. I was stunned at one point to hear my 10yo daughter’s voice echoing in the cave as she answered some obscure question that no one else in the entire group of 60 people knew. But other than that I can’t tell you much beyond digging for salt peter… and that this section of the cave is remarkably good at preserving things because of three key things: constant temperature, constant humidity and no water. We joked that this tour should be renamed the three things tour because those factors were repeated many, many times.
Am I glad I disregarded my husband’s wishes and planned this trip? Yes, because it was still fun and I liked seeing my sister and I liked eating a ridiculous Southern breakfast before heading home. HOWEVER, it did not satisfy my desire to really see Mammoth Cave – and my kids feel the same way. Now that we know how close it is to my sister’s house we’re already planning another trip in early June and plan to get there in the morning to snag one of the real, non-lame cave tours. I’ll have much better pictures then I’m certain.
Take two will be here in about 9 weeks…