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 Northern Kentucky.
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 the
Mammoth Caves, KY
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
See more photos from June 5.
Go to the next page in the Diary (June 6).