St. Louis, MO - Knoxville, TN
Actual trip: St. Louis, MO - Knoxville, TN (550 miles)
Caves and cars
We started the day by doing some light sightseeing in St.
Louis. The main focus of our attention was the Great Arch.
After parking illegally we quickly took some pictures of
the impressive structure and removed ourselves before any
parking attendants came around. The Arch also bears the
name "Gate to the West", a fitting analogy since
we were in the process of leaving the West behind.
Soon we crossed the Mississippi and entered Illinois and
Indiana not long after that. In Kentucky we encountered
toll highways for the first time. A small fee of a few dollars
gave us the right to travel a certain distance. These toll
highways were rather deserted and quickly took us through
The next major stop of the day was the Mammoth Caves, about
60 miles south of Louisville. We arrived just in the nick
of time in order to join a guided tour. Standing at the
mouth of the cave was a strange experience. Cold air rushed
out of the opening and into the forested surroundings. It
was like standing in front of an air conditioner. An underground
river largely formed the caves although some excavations
have taken place throughout the centuries. Our guide informed
us that it was the longest cave system in the world, running
for scores of miles. The corridors were well lit. As we
went along our guide turned on the light in front of us
and turned it off behind us. Even with its big "rooms"
the whole cave experience could seem a little claustrophobic.
We saw daylight again after about an hour under ground.
After spending some time at the Gift Shop we got back on
It was mid afternoon when we passed the National Corvette
Museum, not far from the caves. The Chevrolet Corvette is
only manufactured one place in the world: Bowling Green,
KY, which is also where the museum is located. Except for
a 'Vette with a flat tire the parking lot was utterly deserted;
the place seemed closed, but we tried our luck anyway. We
met a clerk inside. It appeared that the place was about
to close for the day but he let us in nevertheless. The
first object that caught our eyes was a shiny new Corvette
convertible. Visitors were urged to sit in it and admire
the cool-looking engine. A price tag of a mere $43,000 seemed
more than reasonable! Inside the actual museum classic Corvettes
were displayed along with awesome racing versions.
With the yearnings for horsepower, speed, and elegance satisfied,
we returned to our own cars that faded slightly in comparison
to what we'd just seen, and headed toward Tennessee. After
nightfall we reached Knoxville and found a suitable motel
close to a large airport.
Day 01: Leaving NC
Day 02: Tupelo, MS
Day 03: Henryetta, OH
Day 04: Roswell, NM
Day 05: Flagstaff, AZ
Day 06: Las Vegas, NV
Day 07: Victorville,
Day 08: Long
Day 09: Los Angeles, CA
Day 10: Thousand
Day 11: Malibu,
Day 12: Lompoc,
Day 13: Lompoc,
Day 14: Palo
Day 15: Palo Alto, CA
Day 16: Fallon, NV
Day 17: Escalante, UT
Day 18: Grand Junction, CO
Day 19: Lafayette, CO
Day 20: Colby,
Day 21: St.
Day 22: Knoxville, TN
Day 23: Burlington, NC
Epilogue: Author's notes