Saturday, November 9, 2013

Louisville Redux

Sometimes circumstances, events and desires perfectly align in time and place to facilitate our travels. Those circumstances have for three years in a row brought us back to Louisville, KY. Sarah and I use the Mary Joan III to travel to warmer winter climes. This city is just far enough south to mostly avoid snow and salt encrusted highways so that we avoid the aforementioned hazards. 

Our son and daughter-in-law live in Radclif, KY. John is in the Army, assigned to the First Infantry and he is currently deployed in Afghanistan. His wife, Becca, works as a case manager for a non-profit organization that provides services to disabled persons. So, securing the Mary Joan at Louisville allows to visit with our loved ones. 

Knowing we had just a couple days to visit with Becca, we all made the most of it. The evening we arrived, we dined on Market Street then made our way Iroquois Park for the Jackolantern Spectacular. A meandering walkway through the park was lined with thematically arranged carved and sculptured jackolanterns. 
Wonderful pumpkin art

Thousands of jack o lanterns

The next day Becca introduced us to Tonka, her recently adopted German Shepherd. We enjoyed a beautiful afternoon at Saunders Springs in Radciff. That evening we dined and enjoyed the theater at The Bard's Town Theater ( We all enjoyed our dinner and could not have expected a more hilarious performance by the community actor's and actresses. 

Becca and Sarah with Tonka

At the theater

For our last day, we decided to make an excursion to Mammoth Caves National Park ( Although we had not made reservations for the cavern tours, we got lucky and were able to join the Historic Tour and the Black Onyx Lantern Tour. This visit was my third to Mammoth Caves and it was clear that I could return many times and not see all there is to see. This was evident when our tour guide pointed out a couple from England who had spent a week at the caves and had taken two different tours each day. The extent of the caves is amazingly vast.
Beautiful day and beautiful women

The natural entrance at the beginning of the Historic Tour at Mammoth Caves

The Historic Tour retraces the steps through the natural entrance to the caverns that tourists took more than 150 years ago. We got to see remnants of the mining that was conducted there and experienced some of the largest "rooms" in the caves as well as some narrow and short passages that challenged some of the tourists.
Low "ceiling"
Historic Cavern, an ancient underground river bed 

The Black Onyx Tour took us into a cave with an amazing variety of mineral structures. It passed from a "wet" cave with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites to drier caves with exquisitely formed gypsum crystals in the "dry" areas. This tour was illuminated only by the ten Coleman lanterns carried by our fellow tourists. This tour is only offered during the months of September and October, we happened to be on the last tour of this season. 
We carried lanterns to find our way

I was continually at awe to realize that I was walking on a riverbed, the river which had long ago carved its way through solid limestone hundreds of feet below the ground level and was at some places less than one hundred feet below my feet creating more passageways on its relentless journey to the not so distant river in the nearby valley. 

Down we go
Incredible column

We celebrated our day with a delightful dinner at Rye restaurant on Market Street in Louisville ( Each of us enjoyed the food and the service. 

The next day we winterized the Mary Joan III just in case there was a hard freeze in Louisville before we could return to resume our trip south for the winter. 

We enjoyed our visit with Becca and look forward to returning to continue our journey. Stay tuned.

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