He read about it and had a book about it but Kentucky was far away and he had a family to raise and a farm to look after.
Now strangely his daughter is in that far away state and very close to the massive cave that so interested him.
The cave most likely has branches under our farm. The tourism aspect of the cave is as large as it is and everywhere we go we see billboards for tourist attractions linked to the cave and the National Park that surrounds it. The cave has more than 400 miles of explored passageways and is designated a UNESCO world heritage site.
However my father would have been horrified at the other things tourists need to have to make a holiday fun for the entire family! As big as the cave is and as beautiful as is formations are commercialism is the way of the world.
Mini golf, haunted houses, rock and gem stores, antique and collectable businesses abound. You can see that tourism has not always been kind to this region. Failed businesses dot the roadside and abandon and moldering hotels along the road are slowly being taken over by under growth and bush. Some of these old motels have been saved and put to use as apartments, a few have been renovated and are still housing tourists and travellers as they roam the country.
Some of the more unique motels like Wigwam Village are showing their age but are also showing signs of hope, new paint and owners lovingly restoring the geometric designs around the windows. These old teepees have seen the style of accomodations change. Now it seems hotels and motels are cookie cutter and run by mega chains.
Everywhere you go you see enormous billboards advertising this or that, stables, ziplines, black light mini golf, paintball and of course the caves.
The relief you get from this barrage of commercialism is palpable when you cross into the National Park itself. The land here is untouched for the most part, hiking paths and bike trails occasionally cross the highway but the woods are untouched and wild...deer graze unafraid beside the road and it is peaceful.
We have not toured the mighty cave yet, but I have to admit I find it a bit strange to be so close to a place father talked of and was so interested in.
We will take the time when things slow down and we are moved properly, until then I will marvel at the strange combination of the commercial cave business and the preservation of the natural world around the cave that dominates this region.
I think "Dad" would have got a real kick out of the Wigwams!
Take care everyone and God Bless.