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Trip Report Weekend to Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, and Tennessee

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Started with Gus's Famous Fried Chicken in Memphis. We have been to Memphis several times but had never eaten at Gus's. We arrived right at 5 on Friday night and seated right away. Chicken was very good. Just slightly on the spicy side, not to much, just right! I thought the cole slaw was good, baked beans were below average. We also had the fried green tomatoes, which had a thick batter and were very good. Sweet tea is very sweet. Chicken plate was $5.75 and the fried tomatoes were $5.25. So a pretty good meal for under $30 for 3 people We then drove to Jackson and spent the night at Laquinta Inn. Usually, the LQ Inn & Suites are fairly nice. This one wasn't terrible, but was certainly below average.

On Saturday, we drove to The Hermitage -Home of Andrew Jackson arriving at 9:00am. Visited there for 2 hours-very nice and certainly worth doing. We then headed to Country Music Hall of Fame. Had a very good lunch at 222 cafe in the CMHOF with live musician playing a guitar. Daughter had fried tomato BLT, wife had turkey brie with cranberry ailoi, I had a nice southwest salad. After roaming the CMHOF we headed to La Paletas Popsicles. This one is hard to find, but is worth the 10 minute drive to find it. I had an avocado popsicle(which is cream based), wife had blackberry/pineapple(no cream), daughter had chocolate raspberry. All three were excellent. We then headed to Mammoth Cave. Arrived in time to take the Star Chamber Lantern tour, which is about 2.5 hours long. This tour was sold out, so I was glad I had purchased tickets in advance. Mammoth cave lodge has 4 different types of lodging. We stayed in the Terrace area. Which is motel type lodging. Pretty much your standard National Park Lodging. The next morning my daughter and I headed out for The Wild Cave Tour. This is 5 miles long and 6.5 hours. The tour guide has a lot of leeway on where the route goes based on the group. It is a pretty tough tour and you need to be very adventurous. I weigh 170 and probably had the largest waist among the 12 people in our group. There was a couple of places that I barely managed to squeeze through. I don't see how someone with much bigger of a waist could do this tour (mine is 34 in.). Everyone in the group was under age 25, except myself and one other man. The minimum age is 16(which my daughter just reached last week) and the tour requires above ankle boots with aggressive tread. My daughter and I did the Wild Cave Tour in Carlsbad a couple of years ago(age requirement for that was 12). I found the Carlsbad tour to be better. Carlsbad is far prettier. The tour in Mammoth is better, in the fact, that you are doing some serious spelunking. Definately make reservations far in advance at either place. Both are excellent!!! After the tour, we drove our car over the neat little Ferry Boat crossing(2-3 cars fit on the boat). Also took a little hike near the ferry--saw 20+ deer within feet of us for nearly the entire hike(about a mile). We had dinner that night at Mammoth Lodge. Not sure what the difference is about Kentucky Country Ham, but we really liked it. Far different, than say, a Virginia Ham.

The next morning we drove to The Corvette Plant in Bowling Green and did the Factory Tour. Very interesting and great tour. Had breakfast @ Corvette Cafe and strolled through the Museum. Museum was nice, but we all agreed that we liked the plant tour the best. Don't miss either.

From there we made our way back home and made a final stop @ The Loveless Cafe. Country Greens and Creamed Corn were the best I have ever had anywhere. Everything else we had there was very good as well. We arrived @ 12:15 and didn't wait more than 5 minutes for a table. We were served our food within 10 minutes after that. The place was very busy, I guess we just got lucky or they really have their lunch service down to a science.

All in all, a very nice 4 day weekend. Mammoth Cave was great, but I rate Carlsbad well ahead of it. Glad I did both of them.

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