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The Miata Diaries: Road trip to Mammoth Cave

Let's visit Mammoth Cave, she said. Let's try to pack all the camping gear into the 5.3 cubic feet of trunk, she said. 

So that's what she did.

Yes, believe it or not, all items needed for a weekend camping trip - including food - fit into the tiny trunk that can barely contain a guitar case. That's tent, ground mat, camping chair, clothes bag, grocery bag full of food and snacks, and incidentals. Oh, and a hefty camera case for a DSLR.

Those summers working in a shipping warehouse come in handy when you need to pack like you're playing Tetris. 

It had to fit, you see. Because yours truly decided to plan a detour specifically to enjoy a scenic ride through Brown County, Indiana, with the convertible top down and in high gear around the corners. (Well, not the absolute highest gear. But the pickup ahead was percipient enough to pull to the right to let this driver pass.)

It might not have happened that way, but it did. Despite unceasing rain for the first couple of hours of the road trip. Yours truly embarked with prayers that the rain would let up by the time the detour route was reached, and lo and behold, it did.

Rain came down once again as the destination neared, though. What would have been a slow, relaxed tent setup hour turned into an hour's adventure eating at Cracker Barrel for the first time. The experience was only made more immersive by the distinct Kentucky drawl the staff and most of the customers used.

When time came to leave the tip, the clouds had parted, leaving space for sunshine to brighten the just slightly postponed camp setup.

You may not be surprised to learn this trip included 5.5 miles of backcountry hiking, 12 miles of kayaking (without the help of any current), 4 miles of cave hiking and a total of more than 600 miles of driving, including two long Ohio River bridges. Oh, and two ferry rides across the lazy Green River.

Picture yours truly, sticking the Miata in park and floating across a river, like it was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Snapping pictures along the way, to boot. What the ferry operator must have thought! 

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