Friday, January 25, 2008

1/25/08 World's Longest Cave and Graceland

If you receive email updates: To see the photographs, click on the blue link "Malkoff's Grand Adventure" at the bottom of the email. From the blog: You may restart the slideshow by clicking on the arrow.

So we packed up and headed off from Sandusky with pages full of email and myspace addresses – our plan was to get home safely to Albuquerque and to have some fun along the way.

Our first stop was in Cincinnati, Ohio and the home of Mel’s step-brother Lionel and his wife Carole. (Darn, why didn’t we think to take some pictures…) Lionel was in California, but Carole was in town and we got to have dinner with their daughter Allison, her husband Dennis and their daughter Lily -- an adorable two year old. We were thrilled with the news about their upcoming new arrival into the family. We had a fantastic meal at an Italian restaurant with good conversation, a comfy night’s sleep and we set off for Kentucky.

Mammoth Cave Slideshow

Why Kentucky, you ask? It is the home of the Mammoth Cave National Park in the Green River Valley and hill country of south central Kentucky. It is the world’s longest cave system, with more than 365 miles explored. Remember, we’ve been in cold weather for quite a while now; it was 25 degrees outside (starting to feel warm to us polar bears), but down in the underground caves, it was more than 45 degrees – warm to us. Our little flash wasn’t enough to get any good pictures, but it was fascinating. Prehistorically, the caves were used by Indians more than 2000 years ago. The caves produced a product for gunpowder – necessary for the War of 1812 -- and the mines are still visible. The caves are still being explored today by teams like the three scientists with scuba gear who entered the cave with our tour who were studying the unique cave-adapted species known as eyeless fish.

We hoped back in the car and headed overnight to Memphis, Tennessee home of Mel’s cousin’s son Bobby and Kimberly and their new son. Unfortunately, Sarah was coming down with a dreadful cold, and we cancelled the visit to snuggle the new arrival.

So, if you are in Memphis, and you are unscheduled, what do you do? Go to Graceland, of course!

Elvis Presley, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and his beloved Graceland Mansion… what a fantastic way to teach history of the 50’s and 60’s and the cross-cultural barriers he overcame. Elvis’s home was filled with video footage, photos, personal mementos, army memorabilia, music awards, movie memorabilia and stage costumes. The house was outrageously decorated – Sarah’s favorite room was “the Jungle Room” with oversized hand-carved furniture and green shag carpet on the floor and the ceiling.

Elvis Presley Slideshow

His famous Pink Cadillac and the red MG from the movie “Blue Hawaii” was on display with many of his other favorite cars and motorized toys. Another part of the museum housed his airplanes and a video showed news footage of the jet being moved through the streets of Memphis to its final home at Graceland. Then we toured the customized jet “Lisa Marie” with 24-karat gold bathroom sinks, and kitchen, dining room, bedroom and sitting areas.

We spent more time there than we had planned -- Graceland was fascinating. The kids learned about customer service. All of the staff who worked at Graceland were unsmiling and unfriendly. Dave and Sarah wondered why they couldn't find people who liked Elvis -- we decided Cousin Gale with her passion for all things Elvis would be their perfect prototypical employee.

No comments: