For those familiar with the TransAmerica Bike Trail, there is an option to take a side trip (it’s really a loop) to Mammoth Caves National Park. I followed this loop for a two day bike tour, leaving Hodgenville KY on Saturday morning, biking 46 miles to Mammoth Caves Campground, and completing the loop on Sunday by biking 48 miles back to Hodgenville.
I departed from Hodgenville on Saturday morning at 7:30am. Very light traffic and a cool, overcast morning made for a perfect ride to Cave City KY (about 9 miles shy of the park).
The Kentucky countryside this time of year is simply gorgeous. The redbud is just past its peak, and the dogwood has started to bloom. The deciduous trees are just starting to fill out with new leaves, and the local wildlife is waking up after the cold winter. I don’t know about you, but for me the sound of robins and cardinals singing in the early morning let me know Spring has finally arrived.
Upon entering Cave City, it was like turning the clock back to the 1950’s or 60’s. Tourist attractions crowd the road on both sides.
You can stay overnight in an air conditioned teepee..
You can play putt putt golf at Jellystone Park.
You can shop for antiques and gem stones at stores that try to attract you with not-your-every-day yard decorations.
And if you are really adventurous, you can sneak around in the woods to get a glimpse of some really big and ferocious Kentucky wildlife!
Despite all of these attractions and distractions, I finally completed the last 9 miles of the day, and arrived at Mammoth Caves Campground. The facility is top notch. It is one of the best maintained and clean campgrounds I have stayed at. I set up camp, took a shower, and then got busy making dinner. Take a look ….. Pad Thai noodles with steamed broccoli, sautéed onions and spicy peanut sauce.
Throughout the afternoon and evening, there were many yellow and black striped butterflies flying around my campsite. I think they were eastern tiger swallowtails.
As the sun set, I started a fire, and enjoyed the last sunlight of the the day.
Sunday, April 24, 2016
I got up before sunrise on Sunday, ate breakfast, packed my bags, and set out for my return trip to Hodgenville. Just before leaving the park, I got to ride a small ferry across the Green River.
In my four years riding my bike around the Kentucky countryside, there is one resident that I have seen almost every time – the turkey buzzard. Because there are so many deer and rodents killed by cars, the buzzards never go hungry. I spotted one eying me as I labored up a steep hill. I think he was hoping I would get hit by a car so that he could break the monotony of dining on venison and opossum.
It is nice to know that there are other modes of transportation that are as slow and deliberate as riding a bike. There is a large Amish community in Munfordville KY. This family was probably on their way to church.
I made it safely back to my car in Hodgenville by 1pm. What a great weekend. If you think you might enjoy an overnight camping trip by bicycle, please give it a try. Who knows, you may like it so much that you will start thinking about riding the entire TransAmerica Trail. That’s what happened to me!