Monday, August 21, 2017


This year's vacation may be the last that will include Brandon since he will graduate from high school in a year and be independent (no longer required to participate in family activities).  Bob wanted to do something that Brandon and Sophia would especially enjoy.  Since they have been eager to go on weekend visits to local lakes to have Bob pull them on the tubes and swim in the lake, Bob and Dawn decided to rent a houseboat at Lake Cumberland in Kentucky for a few days.  On the drive home we would stop at Mammoth Cave, northwest of the lake, to take a short tour.

Lake Cumberland is a reservoir constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers in the early 1950's to prevent flood damage. The lake is 100 miles long and has 1250 miles of shoreline.

The Jamestown Marina does not provide boats with anchors, so they must be tied up along the shore at night.

Dawn's finger points at the X which marks the spot where we eventually tied up the boat.

Our first try at tying up failed because we were unable to get close enough to the shore where there was vegetation to tie up to.  Eventually we found the ideal spot, but tying up required using Bob's boat to get to the shore with a rope.  Rather than have to repeat the process, we decided to leave the houseboat tied up and tour the lake in Bob's boat.

The houseboat could accommodate twelve people.  It had 5 cabins, each equipped with a double bed, and a sofa in the lounge that opened up to sleep two. There were two bathrooms, each with a toilet, sink and shower. The kitchen was fully equipped to serve twelve and had seating for four at the bar and a booth for about six. A generator ran 24/7 to provide electricity and to power the air conditioning.

Bob spent hours fishing, but all he caught was the
attention of turtles!

Looking for a bird we could hear but not see

The view through the kitchen window
Most of our time on the boat was spent relaxing on the deck

There is also an upper deck. Located here is a second wheel under a canopied shaded area, a hot tub and lounges for eight.  Also available is a slide from the upper deck into the water.

From the houseboat, the view north, across the arm

Sunset, looking west

Each day we went out in Bob's boat, once to visit the Marina and other times to just enjoy being on the water. 
Sophia, hoping for a signal in open water

Just chillin' and hoping to get a tan

Dawn, sunbathing on the tube

Wolf Creek Dam, on the far left, is a quarter-mile wide.  The retaining wall, the long 
cement strip, is over a half-mile wide
Google Map of Wolf Creek Dam

Seventy-Six Falls
Seventy-Six Falls was more like a spillway and was named for the station number in the original survey.

Although we weren't to return the houseboat until Thursday morning at 10:00, the weather forecast was for rain to begin at 8:00.  To eliminate the need to rush, complicated by doing it in the rain, we requested and were given permission to bring the boat in Wednesday evening and spend the night docked.  Such a wise decision!

Having packed Wednesday evening, we were up before 7:00 Thursday and reversed the order followed in moving gear onto the boat a few days earlier.  Following checkout, some gear was loaded into Bob's boat, and bags with our clothing were put in trolleys. Bob and I took the Marina's shuttle to the off-site parking area to get the Jeep. Back at the marina in the loading zone, we brought the tolleys with our bags from the houseboat and stowed them. 

Then it was back to the houseboat so that Bob could move his boat to the launch area, about a mile from the Marina. Brandon, Dawn, Sophia and I went in the Jeep to get the boat trailer from yet another parking area, and from there drove to the launch to get Bob and his boat.  Boat out of the water and on the trailer, drops of rain began falling as the tarp was being snapped onto it.  Rain began in earnest as we drove away from the lake.

It was about a three-hour drive to Mammoth Cave and no joy for Bob to drive to in pouring rain and heavy traffic. After arriving, we chose to do a self-guided tour. The entrance was several yards from the visitor center and we were all wet before we reached the passageway. The walk in this section of the cave was a short one which left us contemplating a return to see more. Our short tour completed, we returned to the Jeep for the 7-hour drive home.

Below-ground cave entrance
Paved path in the cave

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