Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

< Previous: Bourbon Country | Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue | Next: Nashville >

Mammoths, Country Nashville, TN, Tuesday, 08 November 2011 7:47pm

I started the day out with a visit to Mammoth Cave. They're concerned about an outbreak of White Nose Syndrome that has been killing millions of bats, so they made me sterilize my boots and camera because I've been in other caves in the northeast with them. They wanted a complete inventory of the caves I'd been in in the last five years, but I only told them about the ones I've been in on this trip. We didn't actually see any bats on the tour, though. It seems they start hibernating in October.

The rooms in Mammoth Cave are definitely the biggest I've been in on this trip, and I think second only to one of the caves I visited in Vietnam. The formations in the part of the cave that we visited on the tour were less spectacular than the ones in other caves on this trip. Mammoth Cave has a solid sandstone cap, rather than porous limestone, so there's a lot less of the dissolving and redeposition that creates flowstone, stalactites, and other cave features. This leads to bigger rooms (because they don't re-fill) and walls that look more like plain rock.

It's supposed to rain tonight and thunder tomorrow morning, so I figured I might as well not ride tomorrow. Since I was planning to be in a major city tonight (Nashville), I found a motorcycle dealership that was willing to look at my bike on short notice. It's due for its 48,000 mile service, which is a major service. They'll have to check the valve clearances and examine pretty much every major system of the bike. I was vaguely hoping to delay this until I arrive in Austin, but that's at least 1000 miles away. When I dropped the bike off (fifteen minutes before the shop closed for the day), it was at 47,942.

I had dinner at a BBQ joint in downtown Nashville. I definitely liked the Tennessee-style vinegar-based BBQ sauce they had better than the Texas-style tomato-based BBQ sauce. Afterwards, I roamed the Broadway strip for a while. Considering that it was early on a Tuesday night, it was impressive that pretty much every bar (and two thirds of the storefronts on Broadway are bars) had live music. I ended up listening to three different bands. My favorite was the one with the fiddle and the pedal steel guitar.