June 28th, 2020

gandalf

A Mammoth Adventure

Daniel turned the big 1-0 this month, so his present was a four-day camping trip with Grandbear. Setting this up proved to be a challenge with the virus and all, but we managed to snag a reservation for two nights at Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky) and another night at Charlestown State Park (Indiana). On the way home, we were planning to look into Big Bone Lick State Historic Site (Kentucky again).

The focus of our trip was rocks, fossils, and nature (both prehistoric and current). That was what Daniel was to explore. But another focus was just giving the boy a chance to have the undivided attention of his Grandbear. We went at his pace, consulted his interests, let him try whatever he wanted. We ate enormous amounts of food. And we talked about all kinds of things.

Wednesday, June 24

I was mostly packed the night before. Just had to finish my personal packing, plus the cold food, get gas and ice and a prescription before leaving town. I was on my way out of B-town by 9:20 a.m., heading for Richmond. When I got there, Daniel was on hot coals, waiting for my arrival. He had been pacing back and forth with his day pack on for some time, and wanted to leave as soon as I pulled up in my truck. Within minutes, we were on our way down the road. We left Richmond at 11:45.

We toodled down to Cincy via Oxford, Ohio. Lots of road work. More road work on I-71/75 through Cincy. Traffic was backed up for miles in the lanes headed for the Roebling Bridge over the Ohio. Finally, I shifted over to whizz through downtown and cross the river on I-471 and followed the ring road around to Florence, KY. It would'a been quicker to take a mule path, if I could'a found one. We drove down I-71 to Louisville, then finally got on I-65 heading south. And within an hour and a half or so, we found ourselves pulling into Mammoth Cave N.P. We found our campsite at 4:45 Central Time. That means it was 5:45 our time. Six hours from Richmond (eight hours for me from Bloomington). We were tired.

There was no one to check us in at the campground entrance, so we went to find our reserved site. I was surprised at how empty the place was. When I made our reservations, most of the sites seemed taken already. But that was just the Park blocking off two out of every three sites to enable social distancing. As someone who had already paid online, the Rangers had no beef with me just pulling in and setting up.

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Still Life with Ten-Year Old
Our campsite at Mammoth Cave
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