Appalachian Mountains, KY
We are spending the next week traveling from Tennessee through Kentucky, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania until we arrive in Niagara Falls, NY, It is beautiful, but tough driving. A lot of single lane roads with no shoulder that twist and turn as we travel across mountain ranges. It can be pretty nail biting when logging trucks come barreling past like they are in try-outs for the Indy 500. We had just such a drive, 240 long miles from Kentucky to West Virginia. A real interstate freeway never looked so good!
Carter Caves, KY
More caves! Apparently Kentucky is filled with them. We camped at this State Park and it was beautiful, peaceful and full of friendly fellow tourists. This was a narrow cave winding through the Kentucky mountains, there are 3 different cave tours, but was just did the largest. Our grizzly Adams look-a-like guide had the cutest backwoods accent and made the most of it playing up the “hick” card (hey, they work for tips). I sure wish I had a 20-something niece to set him up with, he would be a fun addition to the family 🙂
The campground had so many activities – – swimming, horseback riding, hiking, cave tours, kayaking, and this super cute miniature put-put golf course. The props for the golf course included a perfect doggie-sized covered wagon, log home, a little trailer, etc., so I made the pups pose (they were less than thrilled about this). Also, I cannot forget to mention there were FIREFLIES!!! Yes, real fireflies that would spring up from the ground and light up as they shot up into the air. It was the coolest thing ever to watch. It made the forest look enchanted with firefly lights blinking on and off throughout the woods.
Cass, West Virginia
So this is one of my favorite things we have done so far on this trip – a 1900s steam engine trip through the West Virginia mountains. It was a 4 hour round trip, where we climbed from 2,000 to 4,800 feet, at times as steep as a 9% uphill grade. The trip included a “hobo” lunch, the fascinating workings of an old coal operated steam engine – it took 4,000 lbs of coal to make the trip up and back and one guy shoveled all of it. We had to stop along the way to grease the engine and reload water. Cass is an old logging town and this train was used in the logging operations from the early 1900s up until the 1960s. One thing about visiting this place, it is RURAL!! No cell signal whatsoever, no WIFI, you are data-less! We stayed at Whittaker Campground, which was deep in the woods, next to a farm with highland bulls right behind our Airstream.
The sound of the train horn was a bit haunting….