If camping with Yogi Bear was on my (our) bucket list, well then, I (we) can check that off the list.
I (we) are not much for commercial campgrounds, but with Princess A only be granted one week of the two weeks vacation she requested...we revamped our entire vacation plan to accommodate a one week trip. I can't even remember the last time we took a one week vacation. This is kind of cramping our camping lifestyle. King Ralph reminded me that we said last summer how much easier getting away was going to be when marching band no longer consumed our summers. HA! This year it seems harder minus marching band. When kids grow up, and you want to spend time with them, you do what you have to do. So we ended up at Jellystone Campground. The Avery's and Yogi.
Oh, and if there were any doubt to Yogi's gender...he's a boy bear alright. A boy bear who could sure use more than a hat, a shirt collar and a bow tie. BooBoo get this bear some trousers!
Why don't we like commercial campgrounds? One, they seem to be over crowded. And Jellystone was! Two, because they seem more like-- they paved paradise , and put up a parking lot. We choose Jellystone because of the oppressive Midwestern heat that is swallowing up that neck of the country. We needed an electric site for some refreshing A/C! We took a pass through the national park campground-- aaaaahhhhhh! King Ralph said, what we were all thinking: nice. By the number of campers in the park, four, the rest of the camping families were thinking what we were--electric for the A/C. Don't get me wrong, for a commercial campground Jellystone is very nice. It had a nice crystal clear pool (that thanks to the 100* weather felt like a bathtub) and a water slide (that felt like a bathtub), playgrounds, mini-golf...and hayrides, complete with Yogi and Cindy. Being a costumed fictional character during a heat wave is a job for a sucker. I chose to stay the distance from Yogi for fear he smelled like a sewer. The showers in the park sucked. I either had a stall that had a power washer feeling or a stall that felt like a pee stream...I mean trickle.
We came to Cave City for one reason, Mammoth Cave National Park.
In our Griswoldesque quest to visit all bazillion national parks, we chose Mammoth for its proximity to our home base. Glad we did. It is an awesome sight...and a cool retreat from the oppressive heat outside. We did two cave tours: History Tour (were the guide was less than impressive) and the Grand Avenue Tour (Ranger Rick Thomas was a FANTASTIC guide!). On the History Tour going through Fat Man's Misery
and hearing the girls ask King Ralph to stand by the sign for a picture, his reply "I am not standing next to anything that says fat man" was worth it. Just for the laugh.
Oh, we also referred to this tour as the tour of stupid questions. Our favorite: who is the current owner of the cave? I felt sorry that the guide even had to bother answering that one. Grand Avenue was worth the tour. Our guide added to the greatness of the tour. He was full of knowledge and stories about the cave, with a sprinkling of humor. Which in my opinion makes a guide, never losing the interest of his group. We also called this tour the tour-of-the-family-in-front-of-us-who-took-group-pictures-every-ten-steps and the tour of why-would-you-people-wear-flip-flops. On this tour just when I was getting my exercise on and working the soles of my hiking shoes...we had a group break. There is some good steeps inclines and declines on Grand Avenue. With the breaks came good stories from Ranger Rick. We did get to see a bat on the four and a half hour tour. If you come to see Mammoth Cave and have time for only one tour, I would recommend this tour. I also recommend coming when there isn't a heat alert so you can camp inside the park and enjoy the hiking trails.
Before packing up and heading on to territory before traveled...the girls (no matter their age, and always with a little (lot) of giggles doing this) continued the quest they started fourteen years earlier
OH YA JUNIOR RANGERS OF THE MAMMOTH CAVE!