Metaphorical Mammoth…Trip Phase 2

After two days in Shawnee, we struck camp and headed out south and east.  Steve suggested Mammoth Cave National Park as our next destination.  He’d never been there, and I hadn’t been there in over 40 years.   We took our time getting there, having decided that we would eschew interstate highways as much as possible.  Kentucky countryside in October really took our breath away and just about won us over.  We felt right at home…for a while.  Reminders of Wendell Berry and Barbara Kingsolver colored our interior landscape, but our exterior sightings began to speak urgently in other voices.  Every quarter mile or so, there was a Baptist Church with a slogan on its marquee or a Romney/Ryan sign in someone’s disheveled yard.  The National Park and National Forest boosted our faith.  The rangers were intelligent, articulate, and friendly.  Their awareness is broad-based; they can discuss archaeology, geology, history and the present with ease.  We stopped at two different public libraries to get information as well.  Scanning the “Kentucky Section”, we hit such landmarks as Bluegrass Music, Edgar Cayce, Muhlenberg County, Daniel Boone, and The Kentucky Derby.  As we drove along the Green River valley, I was singing in my head, “Daddy, won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County/Down by the Green River, where Paradise lay?/ Well, I’m sorry my son, but you’re too late in askin’;/ Mr. Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away.”  Gas stations and barns had signs posted: “We Support Coal”.  Questions:  Why are we here?  What are we looking for?  What are we doing?  What do we want to learn on this trip?  More about that later.  For now, some photos of Kentucky…