We should do this every thirty years

Scott and I are having a WONDERFUL vacation in celebration of our 30th anniversary.

Yesterday we drove to Paducah, KY with a stop for a picnic lunch in Mansfield, MO. Scott had told me there were no city parks in Mansfield, but we were getting hungry and I said, “all we need is a picnic table, and a potty with it would be a bonus.” Not two minutes later, we came to the Laura Ingalls Wilder place, and when I saw the word “Restrooms” on a building just across the road from that fair establishment, I hit the brakes and pulled in. And beside it was a lone picnic table in dappled sunlight under a massive post oak tree. Very nice.

Paducah must be a record-setting town. In driving one linear mile from our hotel (Courtyard by Marriott; we were not impressed), I actually counted 31 restaurants. We picked Fazoli’s, and in keeping with my decision to eat something new and different at any restaurant where I have a standard “favorite,” I chose Chicken Carbonara, which was very tasty.

This morning we got McDonald’s on the road as we headed toward Mammoth Cave, where we had tickets for the 3:15 Historic Tour. (Note to self: while the Steak, Egg, and Cheese McMuffin is fine, it really can’t compare with the classic Egg McMuffin.)

The cave was truly awesome. Literally. It’s huge. They’ve mapped 400 miles of it! Our tour group was also huge, but by staying close to Ranger Elaine, we were able to ask questions and hear more details. I always love a good tour guide. Fat Man’s Misery was just as tight and claustrophobic as I remembered it from my childhood, but I was able to hike up the 155 steps at a steady pace and without stopping on the landings. I was so proud of myself. Scott was just amazed by the cave, the geology, and the history, and I’m so glad he suggested we go there. We’re staying at a very nice Fairfield Inn in Bowling Green tonight, and as planned, we’re going back to the cave for the Domes and Dripstones Tour in the morning. It’s a good thing Scott bought our cave tickets in advance online; when we got there, the tours we’d signed up for were all sold out.

Ever since we’d seen a bike trail on our way in to the national park, Scott had been wanting to do a bike ride, so when we got out of the cave – very hot and sweaty, even though it had been 54 degrees down there, we changed into shorts and started off from the visitor center, headed toward a cemetery, where we’d decided we would turn around. With my single speed bike, I have to get off and walk if there’s much of an uphill grade at all, and I did that several times. Light was fading, and when I finished walking it to the top of a small rise, we talked about turning around here and heading back. but we had talked about going all the way to Sloan’s Crossing Pond, which a ranger had said was really neat, or at the very least to Furlong Cemetery, so I said, “well, since we’ve come this far, we might as well go on to the cemetery,” (or something very Roberts-ish like that; I have, after all, been a Roberts for 30 years as of this week), so we pressed on, and it just so happens that that was the very point at which the trail began a l-o-n-g downhill. Which I greatly enjoyed. But being a bear of much more than very little brain, and realizing that that meant I’d be pushing my bike back uphill for approximately 17 times as long as it had taken to coast down, I announced that I was turning around. And we did. We both walked up the hill, laughing sweating.

The next part of this story is truly delightful.

To be continued…


1 Response to “We should do this every thirty years”

  1. 1 Opinionated Man September 16, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Sounds like a fun road trip! I’ve actually been up that way, but it’s been a long time! Have fun!

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