Pit and Brian said their goodbyes in the morning and just like that, it was down to Kristie and I for the final week of this trip. There was only one thing I wanted to do in Knoxville and that was to go visit the Wigsphere. It’s really the Sunsphere from the 1982 World Fair, but it was parodied in an episode of the Simpsons so it will forever be known as the Wigsphere to me. We rode the elevator to the observation deck of the sphere which offered us views of the city. There really wasn’t too much to see, but the observation deck did have random signs with information about the city and the Sunsphere which even included a line about it being called the Wigsphere by the Simpsons. I’m glad they are embracing it.
From Knoxville we drove to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. Actually, before I get into that, let me mention that I ate Firehouse Subs for the first time for lunch. It has promise but poor execution. My sandwich was warm but soggy. I do like that they offer many types of hot sauce though. Right, so back to Mammoth Cave. The weird thing about Mammoth Cave is that it is in the central time zone and I got very used to working on Eastern Time again. When we arrived, we had the choice of going on a lamp tour or waiting an hour and going on the normal historical tour. Kristie gets very anxious with tight spaces and our book warned that this a tight narrow cave. Even though I secretly (well, not so secretly) wanted to do the lantern tour, I decided it would be best to just to the historical tour since it was shorter. When we met in the group at the start of the tour, the guide explained we would be crawling through tight spaces the width of his flashlight and ducking a lot due to the low ceilings. I could see Kristie panicking inside at the thought, but she didn’t make us bail out of the tour. We were going for it.
This was the largest cave tour group we’ve been on clocking in at about 120 people, which certainly didn’t help Kristie with her claustrophobia. Aside from trying to scare everyone before the start, the tour guide just seemed like he didn’t want to be there. He was constantly looking at his watch and just seemed like he was going through the motions the entire time. Other than the large group and the lackluster tour guide, I actually enjoyed this tour for the mere fact that it was much different than Carlsbad and Wind Cave. The other tours felt more like I was walking through a museum and looking at different rock formations, while this tour actually felt like I was in a cave. The tight parts warned by the tour guide that we had to walk through were greatly over exaggerated. It certainly wasn’t the roomiest of walks and I had to duck, but it wasn’t like we had to lube ourselves up with butter to squeeze through a space. It’s a shame too because I brought my butter with me for no reason. I’m just kidding. I used the butter on toast so it did have a reason. In the end we survived, but the tour would definitely benefit from using smaller groups. I felt like we spent a good portion just waiting for people to catch up to whatever room we were in.
After the tour, we ended up driving up to Louisville, KY to visit my uncle Rob and Bill. We ended up getting to their house much later than I had hoped due to the time zone switch, (it switched from Central back to Eastern) but we made the best of the time we did spend together. They were wonderful hosts who had delicious food and beer waiting for us when we arrived. They just moved into the house and I could tell Kristie was particularly envious of their hardwood floors. It was great sleeping in a bed again without having to be concerned with whether or not I ended up putting a “do not disturb” sign on the door and being woken up by housekeeping at first light.