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Old 04-21-2021, 04:26 PM   #61
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Going to Phoenix in May via Las Vegas then on to LA to visit DSD and returning via Pismo to walk the beach and eat some fish.

Big loop drive!
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Old 04-21-2021, 05:11 PM   #62
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Route 66!
+1. I've taken Route 66 several times between Chicago and Flagstaff Az, before I turned south to Phoenix. Then later took 66 through California to Flagstaff. I'm missing a little bit west of Victorville, Ca. Great time on the old road through the desolate areas.
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Old 04-21-2021, 05:48 PM   #63
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I just remember Route 66 through Albuquerque. Some great New Mexico eateries on that strip west of the river.
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Old 04-29-2021, 11:39 AM   #64
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thanks to all who suggested rte 66.
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Old 04-29-2021, 05:09 PM   #65
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Fully vaxxed and 1st trip out. Mountain biking road trip (Also a first) !!! Hitting up Flagstaff, Durango and Prescott. So stoked!!
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Old 04-29-2021, 05:14 PM   #66
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OP here. I’ve re-booked the original trip. PA-Hocking Hills-Mammoth Cave-Hot Springs-Gateway Arch-Air Force Museum-PA. I leave May 19th. I need to get my mother thru her hernia surgery tomorrow and then recovery first. Priorities.
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Old 05-16-2021, 11:19 AM   #67
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Sounds wonderful, go live life to the fullest, again! Stay safe
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Old 05-16-2021, 01:11 PM   #68
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Just returned from a road trip to Branson, MO. Occupancy in the theater we saw a show was 33% and people were assigned seating that was socially distanced (at least two seats vacant between different groups of people). Many restaurants on the strip did not have dining rooms open and the ones that had the dining rooms open were seating diners socially distanced from each other. Signs to wear masks were at the entrance to all restaurants, hotels and theaters but no one was enforcing it. $5 & $10 store in downtown Branson was very very crowded and not many were wearing face coverings.

We did have a good time at the Landing with fewer crowds than normal though.

It was great to get out after a year of staying home. Planning a longer summer road trip now.
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Old 05-16-2021, 02:24 PM   #69
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If you haven't been there before, just be aware that it is, well, mammoth. No way to see more than a tiny fraction in one day. Every entrance to every part of the cave system is by timed reservation. But definitely well worth a visit.

Mammoth Cave
+1

If you can make a cave tour reservation early, do so. When I was their many of the popular cave trips were full. Thankfully, one of the tours we wanted was open the next day. Of course, it's just a nice place to hike about on the surface also.
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Old 05-16-2021, 02:51 PM   #70
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+1

If you can make a cave tour reservation early, do so. When I was their many of the popular cave trips were full. Thankfully, one of the tours we wanted was open the next day. Of course, it's just a nice place to hike about on the surface also.
Due to Covid, there is currently only one cave tour operating and it is a self guided one — The Extended Historic Tour. I purchased my timed entry ticket for it a few weeks ago. Apparently, they have tour rangers spread out along the way to answer questions.
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Trip Report
Old 05-29-2021, 07:41 AM   #71
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Trip Report

OP here.

I returned from my road trip on Wednesday afternoon. I had a great trip that went exactly as planned.

Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio was a very nice afternoon. I spent a few hours walking the main trails into the cool ravines and did some hiking up to the upper portions as well. This is well worth a visit.

Mammoth Cave National Park was also very nice. I spent an afternoon walking some of the above-ground trails in the visitor center area. Then the next morning, I went down into the cave on the Modified Extended Historic Tour (self-paced) that they are using during Covid. I had to buy timed entry tickets and I did this a few weeks in advance. On the day of the tour, I was able to exchange my 1:30 pm ticket for an 11:15 ticket since I was already there.

As far as caves go, I enjoyed Carlsbad Caverns much better. Carlsbad has more water-built features that seem more interesting to me. Mammoth is a pretty dry cave as most of the water is now below it. I don't think I even saw a stalactite! Luray Caverns in Virginia was also more interesting, I think. But still, Mammoth's immensity is impressive and well worth the day. But it's mostly dry rock chunks that are exposed and walked through. I kind of felt like I was walking through a underground canyon in Utah. Still better than a day at the office!

I then did the long drive to Hot Springs, Arkansas where I spent a day and a half. As expected, Hot Springs National Park isn't all that impressive compared to many other National Parks, but I enjoyed walking the Bath House Row and reading about the various Baths. The scenic drives were nice, but nothing to write home about. But at least I can now say that I've "Been There" to that National Park.

Next, I was off to St. Louis to visit Gateway Arch National Park. I found this to be very exciting. Due to Covid, there are a limited number of tickets sold to go up in the arch, so I had purchased mine in advance. Upon arrival at the Park, I only had about 30 minutes to spare before my time slot. So up I went. They are only using one side of the arch to go up and down during Covid (but a Ranger told me that they are likely to start using the other side of the arch in the near future). There are only 8 (or was it 10?) VERY compact cars that pull you up to the top on each side. Due to Covid, each party has their own car. Since I was solo, I had a car all to myself. I'm 6'4" and about 350#, so that car felt pretty small. My head only had about an inch to spare while sitting down. I can't imaging being crammed in there with 4 other people (they hold 5). Once to the top, each car was also assigned a specific set of windows to look out. I had a window all to myself on both sides of the arch that I could go back and forth with. As a Ranger said, because of the Covid restrictions, the experience at the top is actually more pleasant. Instead of competing with 100+ other people for window views, there were only about 30 people at the top with me and there was no jostling around for window time. However, we were not permitted to stay up top for more than 10 minutes or so. Everyone goes up together and then goes down together. Well worth visiting.

Then I was on to Dayton, Ohio to visit the United States Air Force Museum. This place is huge and a must-see if you have any interest in the history of flight and the Air Force, in particular. There are several large hangars that have been linked together and converted into museum space. They hold hundreds (thousands?) of aircraft as well as many, many written and/or video exhibits about every aspect of the Air Force and wars that we have experienced. If you want to visit every aircraft and exhibit enough to read all the signs, you better plan on spending a few days here. I only had a few hours, so I did a pretty quick pass through all of the buildings and focused on reading about a few key things that caught my eye. I will definitely go back and visit again with a more dedicated agenda.

The next day, I returned to Pennsylvania and mowed my jungle of a yard.

I drove the 2020 Ram 1500 for 2,714.9 miles (53+ hours of driving time) and got 22.7 miles per gallon.
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Old 05-29-2021, 09:16 AM   #72
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Mammoth is a pretty dry cave as most of the water is now below it. I don't think I even saw a stalactite!

I drove the 2020 Ram 1500 for 2,714.9 miles (53+ hours of driving time) and got 22.7 miles per gallon.
You didn't see this while in the Mammoth Cave? There are a number of tours, which one did you take?
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Old 05-29-2021, 09:24 AM   #73
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I can hardly imagine that -- you apparently visited Mammoth Cave at the worst possible time and saw hardly any of it. Strongly recommend a repeat visit when things get back to normal. You can actually spend days there and still see only parts.
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Old 05-29-2021, 09:26 AM   #74
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You didn't see this while in the Mammoth Cave? There are a number of tours, which one did you take?
There is currently ONLY 1 tour being offered at Mammoth Cave due to Covid. It is the Extended Historic Tour (with modifications). It is not a guided tour either. It is self-paced, on-your-own. They have multiple Rangers posted along the way at specific locations to answer any questions you may have.

No, I did not notice any cave features similar to your posted picture. Of course, I could have missed them. I asked about the lack of such features to a Park Ranger. She told me that while there are some in this cave (on other tours, that are currently not operating), that the accessible portions of this cave are a much dryer cave than many other caves.

I didn't mean to indicate there were zero water-created features. Just that the current tour doesn't expose many of them.
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Old 05-29-2021, 09:29 AM   #75
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There is currently ONLY 1 tour being offered at Mammoth Cave due to Covid. It is the Extended Historic Tour (with modifications). It is not a guided tour either. It is self-paced, on-your-own. They have multiple Rangers posted along the way at specific locations to answer any questions you may have.
That explains a lot. I guess you now have another reason to return to Mammoth Cave NP when you are next in the area.
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