I guess a good second post would be about my latest adventure. I spent several days in Kentucky with a very short stop in West Virginia. This was a great trip for a traveler looking for the weird. Appalachia is always good for some odd ball sights and people. While the idea of this blog has been in my brain for a few months, I didn’t really think I’d start it. Now that I have. I regret not taking more and better pictures of my latest trip. I promise to change that for the future.
My first night’s sleep was at Wigwam Village No. 2 in Cave City, Kentucky. Yep, I slept in a Wigwam! Cave City is probably like you would imagine a place named Cave City to be. It’s main tourist attractions are caves and caverns and it’s main export seems to be junk. There are “antique” stores on every corner that looked like they were barely standing. You can buy an old, rusted handsaw for the reasonable price of $20! People sold geodes from their front lawn at a fraction of the price charged by the many geode gift shops. On a side note I watched a man practice fishing in a parking lot from his hotel room (which I’m pretty sure is also his permanent residence).
All that being said, I liked Cave City. I could have probably spent my entire vacation there. They have zip lining, horse back riding, and something called Zorb Ball where they throw you down a hill tucked inside a person sized, inflatable hamster ball. I checked out Dinosaur World which is just a trail loop decorated with life sized, plaster dinosaurs beginning and ending in a dinosaur themed gift shop. I’m a huge fan of dinosaurs so I enjoyed it but thought it was a little over priced.
The crown jewel of the trip was Big Mike’s Rock and Gift Shop! Don’t let the overpriced gift shop fool you, this place holds wonders! For the reasonable price of $1.00 plus 6 cents tax you get a guided tour of Big Mike’s Mystery House! You see optical illusions such as water running uphill and technological wonders like entire rooms bathed in black light (essentially my friend’s 1997 dorm room). Holographic pictures showing Civil War generals quickly turned to vampiric horrors as you walked past. Minerals and rocks were on display to add an educational aspect. This place has it all!
The bizarre powers of Big Mike’s Mystery House can make you grow or shrink.
Even gravity bends to the will of the Mystery House.
After leaving Cave City, I headed north to Louisville to zip line through Mega Cavern, “the world’s only fully underground zip line course.” Shooting through a cavern at 35 mph in the dark was great fun and terribly exciting but still took second fiddle to Big Mike’s. From Mega Cavern, I drove further north to Florence, KY where I would make my home base for the next two nights. I soaked in the pool and hot tubs at the Wildwood Inn. What makes this hotel special, and worth a stop for this traveler, is it’s themed hotel rooms. From tropical to glacial, there is a room for everyone’s taste. Me? I stayed in the Happy Days room!
My bed consisted of a beautiful 50’s era convertible and watching TV on a projector was like being at the drive-in. Also in the room was a soda fountain counter, red leather booth, and phone booth. There was a men’s and women’s restroom and true to the Fonze’s office, the men’s room had a wall mounted pay phone in it.
After a wonderful three nights in Kentucky it was time to head home. On the way back I navigated the most serpentine road I have ever been on. It was in some mountain area of West Virginia and it seemed like I was never on a straight away. With the lack of any human structures, I was reminded of movies such as Wrong Turn and The Hills Have Eyes. This was the perfect path to take to my detour: the Mystery Hole!
Let me tell you, folks, the Mystery Hole is no Mystery House. As expected from the name, the Hole is smaller than the House. What I didn’t expect was that the Hole was six times the price of the House! The House had so much more to look at, took longer, and I liked the guide better. What the Hole has going for it is it’s backwoods location. While Cave City is no metropolis, it is a thriving hub of civilization compared to the Midland Trail in Ansted, WV. This makes finding the Hole that much more of an achievement. The Hole also tries a lot harder on the exterior. Big Mike’s is mostly reviewed as a gift shop on Trip Advisor. It seems few people notice the Mystery House aspect of it. The Mystery Hole however can’t be mistaken for anything except a wacky tourist trap.
To end the post I want to mention the Creation Museum. I visited the museum when I was in Florence as a goof. I’m sorry creationists, I believe in evolution. While I thought I’d get a laugh out of it, I actually became upset. I listened as parents and “educators” frequently talked about science as being false. They outright teach that plants are not living things. They also show animatronic dinosaurs cohabiting with humans. The amount of money sunk into building this state-of-the-art facility was astounding! This blog isn’t meant to be political or religious, but I feel I have to mention this as Young Earth Creationism is invasive through Kentucky. I found out when I got home that the Mega Cavern, a place for zip lines and dirt bikes, was run by someone who believes the Earth is less than 10,000 years old. For a good understanding of this museum and it’s founder Ken Ham, please take the 2 hours and 45 minutes to watch this video, it’s worth the time.