We only had 191 miles to travel today, so we were in no particular hurry to leave this morning. We were up early enough to have a couple of cups of coffee and a banana and take showers. RV parks, like motels, usually have posted times for departure (latest) and arrival (earliest). If the park is not crowded, or not expecting to be, you can usually hang around a little beyond check-out time or arrive a little before check-in time; but if you push the limits on this you may be asked to pay for an extra day or wait in a holding area until check-in time. I walked up to the office of Northgate RV Travel Park to let the owner, Wes, know that we planned to leave around 10 AM and he seemed fine with that. I also checked the park egress to US-31 to make sure we could leave the way we planned. Wes’ dog, Dottie, followed me around for a bit. Dottie looked to be at least part Border collie, and was very sweet.
We chatted with our neighbor for a while. He and his wife were Royal Canadian Air Force mechanics who had been full-timing for the last three years since they retired from military service. We had also chatted some with Eric yesterday. The only long-term resident of the RV park, Eric is a young EMT for whom Wes has provided a small trailer to live in. We also met and chatted with some other RVers on our strolls through the park, all of them passing through like us. One younger couple was from Wyandotte, Michigan, an old community south of Detroit where one of our best friends grew up. His “Big M” (University of Michigan) hat was the conversation starter. They were headed to Pensacola, Florida to visit the Naval Air Station and see the Blue Angels. Their kids were on (presumably) on spring break. They were familiar with Wayne RESA, from which I retired in June 2012, which surprised me. We always seem to meet interesting people in RV parks.
We pulled out of Northgate RV Travel Park at 10:30 AM, turned onto northbound US-31, stayed to our left and almost immediately were on the entrance ramp to northbound I-65. Fifteen miles later we were in Tennessee. I-65 in Alabama, at least the part we traveled, was an excellent road through attractive countryside and that continued to be the case in Tennessee. In fact the road got even better as entrance ramps were usually longer, forming an entrance lane that eventually merged in to the right hand lane of the Interstate. At larger interchanges, and near cities, there were often double entry lanes that merged down into a single lane and then into the traffic flow. The total distance for these merge lanes was often 1/2 mile, plenty of distance and time to get up to speed and merge.
Getting through Nashville was the only tricky part of the drive, and it wasn’t that bad (hey, we made it). Traffic was congested, made a bit worse by some construction, but it moved along. To stay on I-65 we had to negotiate at least five places where the road split, alternating “keep left, keep right, etc.” but our Rand McNally RVND 7710 GPS provided lane information in navigation mode, and Linda was watching the route on a map and her smartphone, so we knew where we had to be. Actually, what we did was get in the center lane with all of the long-haul trucks, slow down, and follow them. The center lane generally allowed us to go either left or right as required and had the added advantage of keeping us out of the right hand lane with all of the exiting and entering traffic.
We stopped at a Pilot truck stop at Exit 6 in Kentucky and put 86 gallons of #2 diesel in the tank bringing the tank level up to 3/4. That was enough fuel to get us home where we can put in additives and top off the tank with fuel blended for the cooler Michigan climate this time of year. The fuel stop added 20 minutes to our trip and we finally pulled off I-65 at exit 354 at 2 PM CDT. It was less than 1/2 mile to Cave Country RV Park from the exit. Linda got us checked in and the woman in the office escorted us around to our site in a golf cart. The normal route in was blocked by a disabled motorhome being hooked up to a wrecker for towing. We heard it was an electrical problem, but it doesn’t really matter; RVers always feel for their fellow travelers when equipment problems develop. As an interesting side note, the woman in the office was a seasonal worker who had been at Williston Crossings RV Resort for the big Carriage 5th wheel rally that took place the last week or so that we were there. IN some ways RVing is a small world and people who have been on the road for quite a while tell us that this sort of thing happens more than you would expect.
We had a mixed greens salad and an Amy’s Roasted Vegetable Pizza for dinner and then went for a walk around the RV park before taking a quick drive through town to locate the grocery store. In spite of its location near the entrance to Mammoth Cave NP, Cave City did not appear to be a prosperous place. Many business were closed, the buildings vacant and for sale. Most of the newer/nicer businesses (motels, restaurants, filing stations) were right at Exit 354, including Cave Country RV Park.
Cave Country RV Park is a well kept basic park (good gravel interior roads, no swimming pool) conveniently located to I-65 and the entrance to Mammoth Cave National Park. It has a laundry, restrooms, and a lounge with a pool table, a big comfy couch, and a TV. The office has a small store with the usual essentials, such as electrical and sewer adapters. It is located next to a major CSX rail line, but we like the sound of trains, so that was OK with us. (It is not unusual for RV parks convenient to highways to be adjacent to railroad tracks.) Given that it is the Monday of Easter week it seemed odd that the park wasn’t even half full, although rigs continued to arrive after sunset. Rain was in the forecast for the overnight and it rained briefly for the first time just before 9 PM. We were able to pick up CBS over the air, presumably from Bowling Green, Kentucky to the southwest, and watched a little TV before turning in at 10 PM.