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Old 06-09-2013, 01:48 PM   #16
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Good luck with all the packing!! Have a safe drive to your first destination.
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Old 06-09-2013, 02:38 PM   #17
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Old 06-09-2013, 10:51 PM   #18
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Have a great trip. I enjoyed your last report, and look forward to this one.
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Safe travels!
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with the packing!! Have a safe trip
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Good luck with all the packing!! Have a safe drive to your first destination.
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Safe travels!
Thanks everyone!!

I'm mostly packed and the house is mostly cleaned. I am not setting an alarm, but I'm quite sure I'll be up before the sun in the morning.... We will be out the door as soon as we can finish up the last minute cleaning and packing.... I don't expect to have wi-fi tomorrow, but should be able to post the first update Tuesday.

Thanks for following along....
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Old 06-09-2013, 11:56 PM   #19
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Have a great beginning to your trip! Can't wait to hear from you Tuesday!
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Old 06-10-2013, 01:49 AM   #20
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Have a safe drive to your first destination.
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:39 PM   #21
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Have a great trip. I enjoyed your last report, and look forward to this one.
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with the packing!! Have a safe trip
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Good luck with all the packing!! Have a safe drive to your first destination.
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Have a great beginning to your trip! Can't wait to hear from you Tuesday!
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Have a safe drive to your first destination.
Thanks everyone!!
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:40 PM   #22
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Monday, June 10th
No alarm was set. I woke up several times during the early morning; 3:30am, 4:15am, 5:30am, before finally officially getting up at close to 7am. I knew we were in no rush, so I was trying to get in as much rest as I could

I think it was about 8:30 or 9am when we got out the door. I had filled up the gas tank the night before, but still had one pit stop before getting out of town I had to stop by my sister뭩 and pick up some CD뭩 she had made for us for our listening pleasure.

I was set to drive this leg of the trip because Kentucky doesn뭪 accept out of state learners permits for those under age 16. Plus Wesley had some honor뭩 English required summer reading that he wanted to knock out early.

Today we were headed to Mammoth Cave National Park. This is actually our second time visiting this park. On last year뭩 road trip, this was our last destination before heading home. When planning this year뭩 road trip, I was looking for a mid-way stopping point to break up the drive on the way to Indiana. I was originally just going to stay in a hotel for the night with no real plans; but then I realized Mammoth Cave was less than a half hour out of the way round trip and it would be a much more fun stopping point. We loved the caves last year and I liked the idea of taking a different tour.

We were then heading straight for Mammoth Cave National Park. We had a five hour drive in front of us.
It wasn뭪 long before we were in Tennessee and about 10:30am we started keeping our eyes peeled for a lunch spot.
We spotted a Steak and Shake that sounded good, but when we got off the exit we saw the sign listed it as 5.5 miles off the exit, so we just kept straight and continued right back onto the interstate.

We ended up spotting a Cracker Barrel and while it sounded delish, I was worried it may take a bit longer than I wanted to stop for. But I knew we weren뭪 in a rush, so I went ahead and stopped. I had the chicken and dumplings with okra, mac n cheese, and sweet potato. Their meals come with three sides plus bread; it was so much food. But it was so yummy! The dumplings were divine, but the sweet potato was a close runner up- they gave me cinnamon to put on it and I could have eaten that for my main course

The kids all had a variation of chicken strips. Wesley had it with fries and mashed potatoes; Dillon had it with fries and mac n cheese; Austin had it with okra; and Madilyn & Winston had it with just fries. They enjoyed it very much as well.

When we had first entered the Cracker Barrel, Winston spotted a stuffed animal Scooby doo. I normally wouldn뭪 consent to making a 뱒ouvenir purchase this early on in the trip- but Winston loves Scooby and I knew it was a good buy for him. He spent his own money on it.
After lunch, we quickly got back on the road. We did stop once more for a bathroom break; but other than that we stayed fast and steady heading for Mammoth Cave despite the occasional rain that was even heavy at times.

We arrived at Mammoth Cave at 2:30pm. We had changed time zones and it was 3:30pm 뱋ur time. We were a tad bit early for check in, but they checked us in quickly anyhow.

We had rented a four bedroom, 8 bed cabins. This was larger than what we needed. The price was a great bargain though and when I originally booked other family members were considering joining us for just this first night since it뭩 a reasonable drive from home. But long story- short no other family ended up tagging along; leaving us with lots of space for just the six of us

We had a very, very difficult time finding the cabins- well technically they are called 뱖oodland cottages. We spotted a group of cabins, but all their numbers were in the 100뭩 and 200뭩; we had 503. Finally, we headed back to the visitor center- which is literally just across the street in walking distance- to get better directions. The campground ranger ended up trying to help us, but she couldn뭪 find it either! Long story short- we had to recruit a second park employee to help us find it and it turns out we were walking right past it the whole time It뭩 just the only 500 building, so it simply wasn뭪 in chronological order making it easy to miss unless you were checking the numbers on every single cabin.

Once we found the cabin, I barely looked in it before we started unpacking the van as rain was threatening any minute. Once we did get the van unloaded- Austin immediately noticed a half-eaten plum on the night stand- yuck! Immediately, after that Madilyn seen that several of the beds were unmade as someone had slept in them and they hadn뭪 been made/sheets changed. Then I looked around and seen dirty clothes and towels in the floor! I was seriously worried we had been assigned a cabin someone was already rooming in. Thankfully my cell had service, so I could call the check in desk and report that our cabin hadn뭪 been cleaned. They sent someone quickly, but one of the housekeepers was extremely defensive and it was uncomfortable. I honestly was NOT upset that the room hadn뭪 been cleaned- I figured it was an honest mistake. But I did expect the housekeepers to be polite and maybe even apologetic. We were getting ready to head out of the cabin and Austin was looking for his shoes- he said half to me/half to himself (but certainly NOT to the housekeeper)- 뱖here is my other shoe. She responded- 뱓hat뭩 not my problem. I뭢 still in shock by what she said!! I don뭪 know if she thought we couldn뭪 hear her or what. I chose not to immediately say anything because I wanted the room cleaned properly and by this time the kids were itching to do something other than continue to deal with the cabin situation.

The lodging guests had a tennis court and basketball court that provided the equipment to play. Dillon plays tennis with the school, and he spotted the courts first thing and was itching to play before the rain set in. So, we headed over to the courts where the four older kids played tennis and Winston and I played basketball.

After that, we headed to the visitor center. I went ahead and picked up my tickets for our tour in the morning. I had purchased online, but you had to get the tickets in person. We also picked up junior ranger packets- the kids got sworn in as rangers here last year, but wanted to do it again. We also looked in the gift shop for a vest to keep Austin뭩 junior ranger badges on. Last year, he bought a hat to keep badges on, but it is slap full with the badges he earned last year. Unfortunately, they didn뭪 have vests in his size. But the lady gave me a card and suggested I check their on-line selection. I뭢 hoping we will find his size at the next NP we visit though.

We then left the visitor center and headed back to our cabin. We had sandwiches for dinner. I had read online that they do have grills, but they were a good walk from the cabins. I decided to just play it safe- in retrospect the grills are just across the street and wouldn뭪 have been overly difficult to walk over there to cook

We also noticed in the room that it still hadn뭪 been cleaned fully. A half eaten plum had been on the night stand earlier. They threw away the plum but left the residue on the night stand- yuck! It made me worried how well they had cleaned the rest of the cabin
The cabins have no A/C and I had been worried we would be hot. But zero worries- they are well shaded by trees and have ceiling fans and we were perfectly comfortable. It was actually a little chilly overnight.

We had four bedrooms with two beds in each room. Madilyn and I took one room, the little boys in one room, and I told Wesley and Dillon they could each have their own room. They have mentioned more than once that they뭗 like to have their own room at home- they share and will continue to do so even in the new house. But to my surprise, they wanted to stay in the same room here even though we had an extra room! Additionally, Winston and Austin slept in the same bed! So, we had one full bedroom go completely un-used and three total beds un-slept in. I뭢 going to remember this if ever a time comes in the future where I feel bad that my kids have to share rooms They chose to share rooms even when they didn뭪 have too.

The next morning, our Frozen Niagara Tour was set for 9:15am. We were to arrive at 9am in preparation. I set the alarm for 8am knowing good and well we wouldn뭪 need it, just to be safe. We were all awake between 5 and 5:30am and had a few hours just to sit around the cabin waiting for the visitor center to open. For breakfast we had an assortment of pop tarts and granola bars. (The cabin was very large- but it did NOT have a kitchen unfortunately- just a small fridge and a coffee maker뾟ut I knew this in advance and planned accordingly)
When we first booked I had extended family saying they would like to join us for the cave tour, so I booked with that in mind. Last year, we did a 밠oderate tour- I believe it was the Historic Tour. This year I had planned to either do another, different moderate tour or maybe even a more strenuous one. But some of the family member뭩 going would be more physically restricted than us; so I went with an 밻asy tour. Turns out, the family isn뭪 coming- but we were already booked with the 밻asy tour- so we kept it. I뭢 excited all the same because it will be a different part of the cave than we have seen before. We are taking the Frozen Niagara Tour.
We headed over to the Visitor Center around 8am. The three youngest got sworn in as Junior Ranger having completed their 밶ssignments the night before. They actually got this badge last year, but decided to get it a second time.

We also looked in the gift shop again. Last night, Austin had looked at some lanyards as an option to put more National Park badges on. I was hesitant, but upon further looking at it thought it might be a good option since we weren뭪 sure if we뭗 be able to find a vest in his size. So, we purchased the lanyard and he put his new Mammoth Cave Junior Ranger badge on it and is looking forward to adding more.
Our Frozen Niagara Tour was scheduled for 9:15am and about 9am we headed over to meet under the pavilion. This tour took us through a different part of the cave than the tour we took last time including a different entrance. Last year we went in through the natural entrance and this year we entered through a manmade entrance that they kept sealed with a vault door; it was pretty cool but I definitely prefer the natural entrance. The tour was great as expected and like last year뭩 tour, included having a few moments where they turn off their lights and let you experience the total darkness that exists in the cave. We seen a lot of cave crickets and they are huge! I don뭪 remember seeing that many of them on last year뭩 tour. It was a great tour and the kids and I would both like to take some longer, more strenuous tours. So much so, in fact that we talked about just driving up to Mammoth Cave later in the year and spending a few nights there with no other motive than just to do several of their cave tours.

When checking out of the cabin, I did go ahead and complain about the rude remarks from housekeeping and the un-cleaned night stand. I was probably the opposite of aggressive and I don뭪 really think they were very interested in my complaints. I may consider sending an email to management which is probably who I should뭭e asked to speak with when I complained. I just felt it was unacceptable and want the problem addressed for future guests.

We then headed out of Mammoth Cave and on to Clifty Falls State Park in Madison, Indiana.

Here is the pictures/video from our first day:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yAa8USLXpY
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:56 PM   #23
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First day was great, with the big exception of the room situation. YUCK to the condition of the room, the person who came to "clean" it, and to the front desk staff you spoke with. I'm glad you're doing the wonderful videos again this year and don't know how you have time to do it as you're traveling! Fun to see how the kids have grown in the past year.
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Old 06-11-2013, 09:00 PM   #24
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Great first day in spite of the poor housekeeping! I grew up not too far from Mammoth Cave and we visited often when I was a kid.
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Old 06-12-2013, 01:48 AM   #25
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Great start to your trip, except the situation at the room. How horrible!
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:01 AM   #26
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Sorry about the rude housekeeper and the cabin condition! Otherwise, it sounds like you had a great time at Mammoth Lakes!
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Old 06-12-2013, 02:19 PM   #27
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Aside from the room situation, sounds like a great start to the trip!
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Old 06-12-2013, 05:09 PM   #28
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First day was great, with the big exception of the room situation. YUCK to the condition of the room, the person who came to "clean" it, and to the front desk staff you spoke with. I'm glad you're doing the wonderful videos again this year and don't know how you have time to do it as you're traveling! Fun to see how the kids have grown in the past year.
Thanks! I use One True Video on Youtube to make the video's and they make it sooo easy; all I do is download the pictures/video's and they put it in the slideshow format for me

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Great first day in spite of the poor housekeeping! I grew up not too far from Mammoth Cave and we visited often when I was a kid.
Did they have the boats that went through the cave when you went? That sounds sooo fun and cool to me! But they no longer offer the boat rides....


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Great start to your trip, except the situation at the room. How horrible!
Thanks...

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Sorry about the rude housekeeper and the cabin condition! Otherwise, it sounds like you had a great time at Mammoth Lakes!
Thanks; we did have a great time!

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Aside from the room situation, sounds like a great start to the trip!

Thanks; we've gotten off to a great start for sure!
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Old 06-12-2013, 08:47 PM   #29
Cam22
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Though they had the boat rides when I was a kid, we never did that tour. My Mom was not fond of being in a cave in the first place. Putting her on a boat would have sent her over the edge. Several youth groups I was a part of did different tours, but always the walking ones.
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:07 PM   #30
DrDolphin
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Mammoth is on our to do list for next spring... Aprilish - thanks for the info on the tours. Sorry to hear about the mess with the cabin thought. Ugh.
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