Day 31 – BBQ & Mammoth Cave!

This post is a few days off, there was no service or WiFi in the campground except for at the visitors center but there was nowhere to sit an hang out for the hour it would take to post this.

We are driving to Mammoth Cave today and I am so excited! It’s the longest cave in the world!
On the way there we passed through Louisville, KY so we searched for a BBQ place on Yelp. I chose Momma’s Mustard, Pickles, & BBQ because it had great reviews. 20130901-110122.jpg20130901-110154.jpg
We had the smoked chicken wings for an appetizer because of the rave reviews on Yelp. 20130901-110316.jpg
They were delicious! We analyzed them, LOL, and determined that they are not smoked. When chicken is smoked the meat usually has a pink hue, these did not. They are ready immediately too and they are ridiculous hot, like they were just cooked. Therefore, we determined that they are fried with a dry rub that includes smoked spices….I will not divulge which ones, you’ll have to try them for yourself….or come over to our house, I’m sure we will be making these one day!20130901-110954.jpg
I ordered the pork ribs, above, the reviews on these made them a “must get” for me. They were yummy, the dry rub is sweet and savory. The meat was tender, moist, and a nice smoke ring. There was no doubt that these ribs were smoked for hours.
Jacob ordered the pulled pork sandwich with mac and cheese and bbq beans, below. 20130901-111609.jpg
The pulled pork was wet and soggy like it was cooked in a pressure cooker or stewed. The meat was not smokey but the sauce sweet and flavorfully and definitely necessary to make this meat good. Maybe, we’re just jaded by the awesome cooking ability of the Big Green Egg we purchased….It’s hard to beat that meat! Jacob would like to give a “Shout Out” to the mac and cheese. He said it was just the way he likes it, lots of black pepper and creamy cheese! I think it may have been Velveeta, milk, macaroni, and pepper….but whatever makes him happy, I’ve made the mental note and will put black pepper in his box in the future. Hehehe

With very full tummies we continue driving to Mammoth.
This campground is primitive and it’s really hot in Kentucky, who woulda thought! Thankfully our site is very shaded.

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We were the only travel trailer, there was one pop-up, and one of those vans that are also a camper. Every site was full with tents. There is no showers and a restroom with only 2 stalls. This was a big loop of the camping area and the sites are allowed 8 people each, 2 stalls is not enough, but it was air conditioned so that’s a plus.
We had an hour to kill before the Historic Tour was to begin so we cranked up the generator to cool down the inside for Roux, no dogs allowed on the tours.

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The visitors center looks new, it’s big and beautiful with a great exhibit that tells you all about the formation, discovery, and history of the cave.

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The historic tour takes you inside the original entrance of Mammoth Cave which is located behind the Visitor’s Center.

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As we walked down the hill to the opening of the cave we felt a wall of cold air, it was awesome!

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This a 3D map of the 400 miles of Mammoth Cave that have been discovered so far. They believe there are 600 to 1,000 miles total….it would be cool to be on the discovery team, going into unknown areas of the cave.

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That’s the ranger that led the tour. He’s informing us to; not use flash photography and flashlights because to hurt others eyes and scares the wild life inside, never touch the formations with your hands, stay close to your party, and use your inside voice.
There were people who broke all of these rules! Adults are worse than children and some people never stop talking it was ridiculous! The people were worse in the second tour we took.

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The historic tour takes you to the first entrance that was toured by visitors since 1838 so there is a lot of human wear. It is a dry “dead” cave with out stalactites or stalagmites and no pretty mineral formations, just history and massive rooms. It is crazy to think that we are standing inside a massive amount of limestone, I kept thinking that something will fall on someone.
So if you don’t know about Mammoth Cave, it is s system of holes and tunnels in carved into limestone, a soft porous sedimentary stone made of millions of years of dead marine organisms. This area of Kentucky is unique because the soft limestone is covered or protected by less porous sandstone and shale. In some places water found a way, through small cracks, to seep through the protective layers and into the limestone. This water, containing carbonic acid, ate through the limestone collapsing it in many places forming sinkholes. Sinkholes in this landscape happen over many years. If you look at a picture of the topography you can see all the wavy marks where each sinkhole is located. After the limestone is collapsed the water continues to dissolve the rock and transport it thorough the newly formed underground river systems.

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I don’t really know what any of these pictures are since Jacob was taking them, sorry. Our first stop on the tour was a large open room that was used to mine for nitrate, saltpeter, for gun power for the War of 1812. Some the mining tools and piping was left as a historical site.

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During the early days of touring, slaves would lead tours into the cave and would get a tip if for writing names on the ceiling with a flame.
There is a small area that you have to bend while walking and turn sideways….

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Just when I was thinking that the whole tour would be of dead dry cave, we get to the pretty stuff.

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This is angel wings falls above. Below, butterscotch falls.

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After the tour we went for a bike ride. It was a doozy, remember the sinkhole landscape, up and down, only a few miles and we were ready to head back.
We made a fire and roasted some… uh… food? Jacob had hotdogs, I grilled chicken on the hotdog stick. It was awesome!

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Sleeping in the camper will not be fun, it’s hot!

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