Day 1 of the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green is here, and we wasted no time getting started. Mallory, KK and I left the hotel around 7am to head to the event and park the Cherry Bomb for display at the Beech Bend Raceway. KK asked Mallory if she wanted to ride with me in the Cherry Bomb to make sure I didn’t grind the gears, or cause any other problems. Mallory said, “Yeah, but let me grab my pillow first”. That’s my kind of supervision.
We hit the wall of traffic around 7:30. All vehicles came to a standstill on the road leading directly to the raceway. The gates opened at 7:00 so we obviously didn’t arrive early enough to beat the rush.
Once we got into the raceway, we drove around briefly to find the best spot. It is all first come, first served, so we had plenty of choices. Since we are expecting a lot of rain over the next few days, we emphasized high ground over shade with our selection.
With the Cherry Bomb ready for display, we did some walking around the area to check out some cars and the swap meet. Some of these folks really baby their vehicles, which should really come as no surprise considering the time and money invested. My favorite was the guy using a feather duster to clean off his car.
The swap meet involved people setting up tables to sell anything and everything, but mostly items related to older cars. It was an experience to walk through the area, look around, and listen to some of the conversations.
By 10am we had seen enough and started back to collect the rest of our group for lunch and a visit to Mammoth Cave.
We grabbed some lunch at a spot called The Lookout Restaurant at Park Mammoth. It had a nice view, but no air conditioning. That is not the best trade-off. The food had mixed reviews with our group, but the waitress tried her hardest and she got us out of there in a timely manner.
Following lunch, we had to hustle to get to Mammoth Cave National Park, as we had tickets for a cave tour that started in 30 minutes, and we were not exactly sure how long it would take to get there. It all worked out as we got our tickets and were in place 5 minutes before the deadline.
We had tickets for two tours, the Historic Tour at 1:45 and the Frozen Niagara Tour at 4:15. The Historic Tour is labeled as “Moderate” and scheduled for 90 minutes. Before departing on the tour, the guide explained that the tour should be taken with caution by those who have a heart condition, have had recent surgery, or a tough time getting around. Although PK had been getting around great and she had a ticket to the tour, she decided at the last minute to not go on the tour. What a great decision that was! Nobody in our group considered this tour “Moderate”. It was extremely difficult, requiring hundreds of stairs, many narrow and twisting passages, and low ceilings that required considerable time spent hunched over while walking.
This tour was more of an educational portrayal of the cave, which has the most mapped areas of any cave in the world. Over 400 miles of cave has been mapped to date. There are also several species that are only found in Mammoth Cave, including the Kentucky Cave Fish and Kentucky Cave Shrimp.
This particular tour had about 120 people in it. That was too many. Any group that size takes forever to get from one point to another within the cave, and even when they are gathered to listen to the guide, not everybody can get close enough to hear.
After completing tour #1, it was time to regroup and prepare for tour #2, the Frozen Niagara tour. This tour was described as “Easy”, and PK chose to attend this one with us.
We got to ride a bus from the Visitors Center to the entrance for this tour. While the first tour was heavy on history, it was very light on cave formations. The second tour gave us what we wanted: stalagmites, stalactites, draperies, bacon, soda straws, and all the other good stuff.
The second tour also gave us a tour guide with better cave jokes. For example: “There is an optional walk that includes 98 stairs. The 49 steps down are optional, but if you do take them, then the 49 steps back up are required.” Hey, it was funny at the time.
Once we completed the tour, we attacked the gift shop and didn’t stop till we had everything we needed, and then some.
After a long day of caving, our group was ready to eat and head back to the hotel. We stopped to eat at a Logan’s Roadhouse. This goes against the general guideline of don’t eat anywhere you can eat at home, but it was available and we were hungry.
A meal at Logan’s should be uneventful and nothing noteworthy should occur. Oh, don’t we wish that was the case. By the end of the evening, our entire table was belly laughing when the next screw up occurred. Here is the rundown.
- PK ordered the sirloin steak. Was told they were out of sirloin. (This is a steak restaurant.)
- When KK’s 16oz ribeye came to the table, it was a 20oz bone-in ribeye. Was told they were out of 16oz ribeye. (This is a steak restaurant.)
- Stephanie and Marissa’s salad came to the table without the avocado or egg. Was told they were out of avocado.
- The steak on their salad was not cooked enough. Sent it back to the kitchen, and it came back burnt to a crisp.
- We asked for a box for some of our food, and they brought out several small boxes. We asked for a larger box. Was told they were out of larger boxes.
Before we left, the manager did come to our table at our request. There was a brief discussion of our issues, but these issues were nothing new. The manager was pretty upfront with the fact that they offer poor service pretty routinely. We could not visit with him for long though, as he told us he had two more tables to talk to after he finished with us. Our guess is that those will not be the last two tables of the night he gets to visit with.
Travel Tip: Avoid the Logan’s Roadhouse in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
In spite of the disaster at dinner, it was an outstanding day. Looking forward to more excellence tomorrow!