As you might imagine, internet connection on the road is splotchy. Especially when you're in the Great Smokies. Here's an update from Big Meadows Lodge in Shenandoah.
After two days of driving, beering and boating, we reached Mammoth Cave. Less beautiful than other caverns I've seen, but far more abuzz with history and stories. Its also, of course, mammoth. We got the tip off to buy our tickets early. Surprisingly, you can only enter with a guide, and tours cost $10-$45 a pop. We picked the Violet City lantern tour. For some reason, hicks like to name places 'City' even if its just a general store and a bar at a crossroads (Bryson City, Cave City, etc...)
Our ranger guide was an old local Kentuckian. Who liked to make you think about your place on the planet. My favorite spot was the ceiling that looked like you were looking at a night sky from inside a gorge. The fires that folks that lived in the cave years ago blackened the ceiling, leaving just small flecks of the original sparkly white stone. Ralph Waldo Emmerson, a Concordian, wrote a poem about it; he was so inspired.
That night as the real stars were coming out, we arrived in Nashville.