Deep Into The Earth and Then Bourbon, Horses, and SO MUCH FOOD.
It should be noted the last time I was at Mammoth Cave I was a very small child and it was many many moons ago so while this was officially the Old Man’s first time I was counting it as mine as well.
Dogs are welcome all over the Mammoth Cave park on the trails, campgrounds, just not in the caves. With the Old Man dying to go underground in a cave we took the park up on their kennels and left the dogs for a mere $1.00 an hour kennels. It should be noted these kennels are pretty primitive and their are only three so it is first come first serve as far as I saw, but to be fair we did a two hour tour and then had lunch and our dogs were the only ones in there. They do give you the lock so you go back and visit them as you need.
After a very sad puppy good bye the Old Man and I rushed to meet our 9:30am tour which we managed to make by the skin of our teeth. There are a few cave tours you can choose from do to our schedule the early two hour tour was the most bang for our buck. The Old Man would have loved the 6 hour cave spelunking tour, but we didn’t have time and I do have my limits.
The cave tour was smaller than normal which was a good thing as it usually hold hundreds and not our measly 50 people. So we had a bit more time to walk slowly through the amazing sites of the cave and still hear our tour guide. We ended up 280 feet underground which wasn’t as terrifying as it sounded. It amazes me that people explored this cave (and still do today) with nothing more than a little bit of firelight. I was also surprised to learn that most of the cave was discovered by slaves in a way to avoid field work and then later as guides for the tours that were offered before the Civil War.
After our tour of Mammoth Cave we ate a quick lunch at the hotel located on site and then rescued our pups so we could whisk them off to Lexington and to Grandma and Grandpa!
While I figured my parents had missed the pups I didn’t take into account how much the pups missed my parents this was proven by the fact that the moment Jayne heard my dad’s voice she bolted off her leash to find him and ended up running head first into a mirror thinking it was his lap. Jayne 1, Mirror 0.
Since our clan had arrived a day earlier than the others joining our Like Family Reunion (you can thank my mom for that little label) we headed to dinner at a local hole in the wall with one of the local like family people. I like to think of this as the starting gate of the eating festival we were about to embark on.
In looking back I think my favorite part of our trip was the next day when we headed off to Maker’s Mark, my dad had missed his barrel (a Maker’s Mark Abassador perk if you can wait 7 years) by a few months, but he still had his labels and let’s be honest it all taste the same. The tour was awesome, the property was amazing, and it was fun to watch the pros hand dip the bottles, but even more fun was watching my dad hand dip his own bottle.
The Old Man and I walked out of there with only one bottle of bourbon, a bag of coffee, and hat. I was super impressed with us, living in a van means you can’t cart around a bunch of bourbon bottles not matter how much you want too.
Next up was Keeneland for some horse racing and meeting up with everyone for the first of many adventures. The Old Man won some money on the first race and it was downhill from there. Good thing we had dinner with the group of 24 to look forward too. The Merrick did not disappoint and the Old Man got his first of many Hot Browns (if you don’t know just Google and then drool). He also got to speak to the Bourbon guy and enjoyed a nice flight of tasty Bourbon.
The next few days were a basically us going from one meal to the next or walking around brewery and distilleries. I am not sure I have eaten that much food all year and it was all so yummy. It is always nice to catch up with everyone, but I was starting to get a bit homesick for Luna. I missed my own bed.
Sadly it was time for my folks to head home and us to pack up our clean laundry (whoot whoot) into Luna and head for the Old Man’s next gig in Dallas. We decided on making a pit stop in Memphis again to see if we can get a bit more sightseeing in on this go around. I don’t hold out much hope, but you it was worth the try.