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RV Roadtrip Roulette

On November 4 my mom and I embarked on our RV Roadtrip Roulette. What does that mean? Well, we jumped in the RV and headed South with no destination and no worries! The first place we stopped was a little mom & pop breakfast place called Hilltop in northern Indiana. (See the photo of me, my mom, and Sasquatch). We were fueled up and ready for our next stop, which ended up being Nashville, IN. It’s a cute village-like city full of little shops and homemade goods! After that, we packed up and jumped back on the highway. We found a quaint campground: Brown Country State Park. This place had some seriously beautiful sights! We climbed the fire-watch tower, then continued our journey.

The next words out of my mom’s mouth came as a shock. “Let’s get tattoos!” WHAT?! Well, I opened up Google maps and looked for some tattoo shops along our route, because why not! A place called Beauty From Ashes in southern Indiana caught our eye, so we decided to stop by and see if they could squeeze us in. Lo and behold, the artist Billy Young was at the shop a few hours before it was scheduled to open, and graciously allowed us to come in and get inked up! My mom got an amazing ambigram–from one angle the words read “Jesus Christ”, but if you flip it over, it says “Lord & Savior”! How cool! And of course I had to commemorate my pet rats with a “rattoo”. What a memorable trip this is becoming! We rounded off the night with a luxurious stay at the “Walmart Resort”.

Next, we knew we wanted to visit some caves and caverns, but we weren’t sure quite where we wanted to go. Mammoth Caves sparked our interest, so further south we went. Along the way, we discovered Hemlock Cliffs, which proved to be a fun hike with breathtaking sights. We decided this would be a good place to come back and visit in the spring months, when the waterfalls would be flowing.

Onward to Mammoth Caves! We got there just in time to sign up for the last “extended tour” of the day. My mom tried to sunbathe on a bench while we waited for your guide and the rest of our group, but the infestation of ladybugs proved to be too much for her, as one of them managed to bite her! Now, pay attention because this isn’t the only bite my poor mom received during this adventure….

Mammoth Caves was indescribable, and our tour guide David was extremely knowledgeable. The history within those caves is just incredible, and it’s a must see. We squeezed through the part of the caves called “Fat Man’s Misery” and began our ascent back to the surface. We made sure to collect our National Park tokens and pressed some pennies as souvenirs, then resumed our trek.

Our hunger got the best of us, so we stopped for some grub at the Steel Coop. It is a family owned establishment with yummy food and hospitable staff. The partial owner of the restaurant sat down at our table and chatted with us for quite some time. He wished us well, and we went on our way.

We found a KOA RV park in Tennessee, and made tentative plans for either the Tennessee Zoo, horseback riding, or the Lost Sea Adventure. The latter proved to be the most practical, as we awakened to rainy skies. We were grateful that the precipitation was not frozen–our northern folks were not so fortunate! We found the Lost Sea Adventure, and descended underground via a large yellow pipe. It felt like an episode of Lost! These caves were beautiful, and contained both historical and geological jackpots. We learned the story of a boy who discovered an underground lake, which was dismissed as an urban legend–however near the end of his life he was credited for his discovery when the myth turned to reality. We took a boat ride on the largest known underground body of water in the United States! I was awestruck.

We decided to head east for our next destination, and found Bearwaters Brewery. I got a delicious ginger beer, and my mom got a flight of local craft brews. We ate some tasty okra and tater tots from the food-truck style restaurant in the brewery. Upon heading to our next stop, my mom (finally) decided to let me take a whack at driving the RV. I felt like the queen of the road! And back to another Five-Star Resort (Walmart) we went for some free lodging. Just as we were getting ready for bed, however, we heard a loud knock on the door. “Walmart security! We don’t allow overnight parking.” A familiar song lyric rang through my head: “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.” So, off to Lowe’s we went! In the morning we were met with some generator trouble, but after some investigating by my innovative mother, we were back on the road. Today’s destination? The Biltmore Estate! We had a wonderful time and the sights were magnificent and regal. Although we spent several hours there, we still didn’t see everything there was to offer. However, we still had much we wanted to do, so onto our next adventure we went. A five hour drive and a lot of fruitless phone calls in search of a campground with full hook-up brought us to a place called “Camp on the Kentucky.” We rested up, and in the morning we started searching again for a place to ride horses. As it turns out, a lot of people own horses in Kentucky, but not too many of them let strangers ride them! We continued our search as we drove, and stumbled upon Wildside Winery. My mom befriended the staff, as she does, and purchased some liquid souvenirs. Oh, and a t-shirt!

On our way out of the winery, we saw some horses in a nearby field. I decided I wanted to try and pet one, so we jumped out of the RV, picked some grass, and made some (embarrassing) noises to get the attention of the horses. We piqued the interest of one horse in particular, and he gratefully accepted our grassy offering. Now, remember when I mentioned that my mom received more than just ladybug bites on our journey? That’s right, she got a little too playful with our equine friend and received a not so friendly nip on her hand. Oops!

We’re back on the road now, starting to inch our way back up north. But the adventure isn’t over; next stop: Kentucky Zoo! We’ll make sure to give an update on the remainder of our trip when it reaches its conclusion. What an adventure we’ve had so far!

Brooke Denslow