Visiting Mammoth Cave, Kentucky

Posted on October 17, 2001 by Chris Lumens in .

We decided to head on up to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky over the long weekend (October 13-16) for the purpose of camping and running around in the dark. What follows is the captain’s log from the three day trip with as little additional editing and commentary as possible. Reading the captain’s log almost makes it seem like you’re right there in the car. Enjoy!

All times are recorded in standard car time - Eastern.

Day 1

Time Mileage Comment
9:22 108791 After failing to save a squirrel from the wheel of our neighbor’s SUV, we depart for Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. Elliott is driving, I’m in the front, and David’s in the back. It’s raining here in Atlanta but hopefully not in Kentucky.
9:45 108816 Just saw a truck lose one of the kayaks that it was carrying. Also, we passed a truck carrying “bulk flour.”
10:42 108894 Entered Tennessee for the first time.
10:51 108904 David explains how Lookout Mountain is a town, complete with a college. They’ve also got an incline railroad (no “d”).
10:57 108910 Back in Georgia. They don’t renumber the exits when you change states this fast but they do change the mileages over.
11:00 108915 Entered Tennessee again. We’re also in the central time zone and had to explain the car time policies to Elliott. This whole chunk of road is the Senator Albert Gore Jr. Highway System, honoring the creator of the Internet. (Correction: It’s really named after Senator Albert Gore, Sr.)
11:14 108929 Sign: “Warning: trucks that hit this will hit bridge” – seen before an overpass at exit 152 where we pulled over for lunch.
11:56 108931 Left the Arby’s. On the way out, we noticed that they had one of those newspaper mailboxes out front. Well, the name on the side was The Hustler. So of course we went to the first gas station we saw to get a copy. Of course, they didn’t have any.
12:57 109006 Stopped at a Murfreesboro, TN Chevron for 14.72 gallons of fuel at $1.419 per gallon. The receipts were printed on BP paper (Addition: It’s because the Chevron station’s owner’s brother owns the BP and occasionally, they share supplies). Chris is driving now and David is recording.
Miles traveled: 215 miles
Time: 3.58 hours
Average speed: 60.06 MPH
Average MPG: 20.19 MPG
Gallons used: 10.65
Gallons per minute: 8.26e10^-4 GPM
1:34 109037 Exit 47: Nashville, TN.
2:03 109072 Kentucky
2:58 109112 Mammoth Cave appeared on the boards. 15 miles.
3:04 109119 Mammoth Cave.

Day 2

Time Mileage Comment
9:45 109145 David does all the recording today… Awoke to freezing cold. Last night was fun. We went to Cave City to buy stuff to make hobos, since we had nothing to cook on or with. After dinner we treed a coon and then went to bed. We are currently en route to Cave City for breakfast.
9:52 109153 Sign: “BEGIN”
10:43 109163 Sign: “END Kentucky Scenic Byway”

Day 3

Time Mileage Comment
9:31 109208 Chris does all the recording today… Left the campground for good, bought posters at the visitors center, and threw one of our tents away. Last night, it rained a whole lot and both tents got wet on the inside. The end result was Elliott moving to the car and me not getting much sleep. In the morning, Elliott threw his failed tent (and sleeping bag) away.
10:51 109269 Entered Tennessee on our way back to Georgia. There are volunteers scattered everywhere.
11:19 109302 We just passed the Lamar company headquarters in Nashville, TN. That’s the company responsible for all the tasteful billboards dotting the roadsides of America. Yes, they had a big sign out front.
11:21 109304 Lamar just had another sign up on the side that said: “It’s not a toupee.” And the sign was purple. For reference, see the track listing for TMBG’s Lincoln album. Strange.
12:31 109368 Stopped at the Chevron in Manchester, Tennessee. (Addition: A discussion about the scariness of regulars of gas station food followed. There were several such people in this gas station, and we left in a big hurry. The restroom also required HazMat gear and I was the only one brave enough to try it). The miles traveled, average MPG, and gallons used include all the traveling done since the last fill-up yesterday. Yes, I did fall down on the job this time.
Miles traveled: 361.5
Time: 3 hours
Average speed: 53.33 MPH
Average MPG: 25.19 MPG
Gallons used: 14.35 gallons
1:11 109413 Passed the 10,000th sign for Ruby Falls/Rock City (10,001st sign spotted shortly after)
1:19 109423 Back in the eastern time zone and Georgia (temporarily).
1:23 109427 Again, we’re in Tennessee.
1:26 109429 Pulled off at the Lookout Mountain exit so we can see Rock City, like the signs tell us to.
1:40 109436 Halfway up Lookout Mountain, we are back in Georgia.
1:43 109437 Trapped effectively by Rock City. We got one large unassembled bird house and four pieces of fudge in a birdhouse-shaped box. Seeing seven states would have cost $16 each, so we didn’t do that.
2:03 109438 Back in Tennessee, on the way back down.
2:18 109450 Yet another state change - back in Georgia.
4:21 109555 Back within the comforting confines of the Perimeter. Also, we were just passed by a Hoshizaki Ice Systems van.