When you start RV life, the wind fills your sails and everything you see is shiny. Don’t get me wrong–almost four years in, and the wonder of fulltime travel is still here. But problems catch up with you, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
Problems caught up with us in Cave City, Kentucky.
I started this article a month ago, so it’s time to get it up! If it seems like my writing is abbreviated, that’s because it is. Our stay in Cave City was from June 17 to July 1.
Everything Is Broken
After two days of driving from Hot Springs, AR, to Cave City, KY, we assessed Meriwether, our RV, and felt like everything was broken:
- Our jacks wouldn’t go up. This happened as we were leaving Austin on our six-month trip. Literally. Caspian was strapped into his car seat and Eric was about to back out of our site when we discovered the problem. We finally got the issue diagnosed in Hot Springs–the circuitboard was bad–but the new one had to be created by hand and we were still waiting for the part to arrive. Meanwhile, we were anxious about finding sites at each RV park that were relatively level.
- Our front AC unit was broken. We were fairly certain it was the capacitor, or starter. Every morning, we had to unscrew the cover inside and spin the fan by hand to get the unit going. Yeah.
- The support for our wardrobe rod came off the ceiling during our drive, crushing all our clothes and making them almost inaccessible.
- The charger for my beloved Dyson vacuum had expired. No vacuum with a white cat that sheds like crazy? What nightmares are made of.
We made a point of visiting our mechanic, Iron Horse RV, before we left on our trip. Everything was just fine when we left the shop. Not until we were leaving the state did everything go haywire!
(Here’s our Facebook Live video from Cave City about everything being broken.)
Sudden Family Needs
The day after we arrived in Cave City, we talked to our eldest, Darius, who is serving in the United States Coast Guard. He was facing an important test at his station in North Carolina, and we decided he needed support at this vital crossroads in what he intends to be his life-long career.
So around 8 p.m. on Sunday night, we decided Eric would get up at 5 a.m. to start his drive to the Outer Banks. I made a 10 p.m. run to the grocery store, so Caspian and I would have what we needed all week.
Absolutely no regrets. It was the right thing to do, and we’d do it again. Darius passed his test, a huge relief for all of us. We’re so proud of his hard work. <3
Things to Do in Cave City
Having said that, our two weeks of exploring the area were condensed into one. Caspian and I spent the first week walking to what we could, but that wasn’t too much. Here’s what we did make it out to during our time in Cave City.
Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park was the main reason we decided to stay in Cave City. We dedicated two days to visiting, and barely scratched the surface of what there is to do.
We spent one afternoon going underground for the self-guided Discovery Tour. We arrived at the park around 1 p.m., and were surprised to find that many of the tours for the day were already sold out. Granted, it was summertime.
Tour schedules change by season. Details here.
We wanted to go hiking on our second day at the national park. We chose Cedar Sink Trail and it was quite cool. This 1.8-mile out-and-back takes you beneath generous foliage to see an underground river as it peeks above ground. Video here.
We love meeting the locals as we travel. This is Bonnie, owner of Nuttin Fancy in Cave City, with her sweet grandkids and Caspian. Her shop is located behind her house, just off main street. She told me she hardly ever gets visitors. Everyone is missing out because she is altogether kind and welcoming. And she's amassed quite a collection. #cavecity #rvlife #antiquetrail #caspiantheodore #babynomad
During our week without wheels, Caspian and I walked to main street a couple of times. This sleepy area is composed almost entirely of antique shops. We wandered into Nuttin’ Fancy, located behind the home of Bonnie Hurt and her husband.
Don’t good things happen when we aren’t in a hurry? Caspian and I had a lovely visit with Bonnie, returning later in the week to say hi, and then going back the next week to introduce Eric. In the process, we met the whole family, including Bonnie’s three beautiful grandchildren. Main street video here.
Day Trip(s) to Bowling Green
There’s a lot more to do in Bowling Green. But when we looked into staying there, the RV parks had really poor reviews. That’s why we looked up the road to Cave City.
We did second-guess ourselves, though, because of how many times we found ourselves driving the 40 minutes between the two places.
- Flea Land/Antique Mall – Flea Land is an 85,000-square-foot venue with what you might expect to find at a Kentucky flea market. We really enjoyed Antique Mall, an area with 300 booths that’s co-located with Flea Land. I actually wish we had started with Antique Mall because we were worn out by the time we got there!
- National Corvette Museum – Bowling Green’s claim to fame. We’d never been there before, and figured it was something we had to do once. The museum will mean more to you if you have an affinity towards Corvettes, but who doesn’t like to look at cool classic cars?
- Double Dogs – We ended up going to this local restaurant twice. The concept is nothing unique, with a variety of American cuisine and a focus on food, but we enjoyed everything we ate there and liked the vibe. Eric chose it as his Father’s Day lunch spot, as special day to celebrate with Caspian for the first time.
Day Trip to Bardstown
We made a quick day trip to Bardstown, located an hour from Cave City. Bardstown is known as one of the most beautiful small towns in America. It’s also the epicenter of the Kentucky bourbon scene as the “Bourbon Capital of the World.”
Eric doesn’t drink, and I wasn’t super interested in doing the distillery thing on my own. But I was intrigued by Old Talbott Tavern, the oldest bar west of the Appalachians, and decided to stop in there, while Eric walked around town with Caspian.
After seeing the room where Jesse James stayed–the one with bullet holes in the wall–I sat at the bar and tried a cocktail: Sidecar Named Desire. The official drink of the 2014 Kentucky Bourbon Festival includes Woodford Reserve bourbon (made about an hour from Bardstown), Cointreau, strawberry simple syrup, apple cider, and lemon juice, with a Turbinado sugared rim.
Official drink of the 2014 Kentucky Bourbon Festival: Sidecar Named Desire. Woodford Reserve bourbon (made about an hour from here), Cointreau, strawberry simple syrup, apple cider, lemon juice, with a Turbinado sugared rim. We're in the country's unofficial bourbon capital, Bardstown, KY, at the oldest bar west of the Appalachians. #oldtalbotttavern #bardstown #bardstownky #bourbontrail #rvwanderlust #rvlife #rving
We wanted to stop and eat at Kurtz Restaurant, around since 1937, but it was booked up with reservations for the next few hours. We ended up stopping in Elizabethtown on the way home, for some delicious Thai food at 2 B Thai.
Things to Eat in Cave City
We only ate at two local restaurants during our time in Cave City. Turtlelini’s was our favorite–we went there twice. Good pizza, and a nice salad bar. Our second visit was on a Sunday, when they have a buffet. The buffet features different kinds of pizza, as well as some type of home cooking. On the day of our visit, they had BBQ sandwiches with all the fixin’s.
I had a weird first visit to El Mazatlan. I was there by myself with Caspian, and they refused to serve me a margarita (we had walked there and I was planning to eat a full meal). I couldn’t find any regulations that permitted them to do this. Trust me, I checked. It felt like discrimination to me, but I can understand both sides of the issue. Anyway, after I got over being mad at them, Eric and I went together. Of course, they were happy to serve me a margarita with my husband there…
The food was good. Not only that, but the menu was creative and extensive, with more than you find at a lot of Mexican restaurants.
Where We Stayed in Cave City
We had made our two-week reservation at Singing Hills RV Park, which was right down the road from Mammoth Cave National Park. But when we arrived, the Internet signal was extremely week. We ended up staying one night (Saturday), and moving to Cave Country RV Campground for the rest of our time in Cave City.
The couple that owns Singing Hills is darling–some of the kindest people ever–so we highly recommend you support their small business if Internet connectivity isn’t vital to you. We need a strong signal for work, Monday through Friday, so that’s why we had to move.
Cave Country RV Campground certainly did the trick. There’s some lovely landscaping around the perimeter, and a nice dog run. The people in the office were kind, too. The train goes by at all hours, and it isn’t as secluded and quiet as Singing Hills. But at least the train never seemed to bother Caspian!