Revisiting the Wedding Roadtrip: Howe Cavern

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Our road trip across the country on the way to our daughter’s wedding has begun! We’re taking the slow roads, avoiding the interstates, stopping to walk through the little towns we pass through if they catch our eye. For the next few weeks, we will be footloose and fancy free. And then we will be parents of the bride. So, please welcome my husband, Jim, to the blog. Jim is the photographer in the family, and he will be taking pictures and giving updates on the trip from his perspective.

Secret Cave narrowIf the surface is hot, go underground

Day 3 – July 17, 2012

I slept very well, had not slept much the night before. Kelly got up first and asked if I wanted coffee or anything as she headed off to the free breakfast.  As expected it was all carbs but, much worse, a $40 charge if you took ANY food out of the room or ANY drink. She couldn’t even get her coffee.

She decided we would hit the road.  We were not having any luck and hunger won out, we stopped at McDonalds. Blueberry oatmeal for me and big breakfast for Kelly (thanks for the piece of bacon). I had a large coffee and Kelly a small. When oh when will I learn that I DO NOT LIKE MCDONALDS COFFEE. It does not sit well, it does not taste good.  I drank very little. A good thing about the McDonalds was that it had a hotel coupon book we had been looking for.

After driving awhile we both realized that we had passed a Panera and we  both would have preferred that.

I was still impressed with the mpg of the car but noted that I had used a quarter tank to go a rather small distance.  A little later it had dropped even closer to ½.  I was convinced someone had siphoned out 5 gallons or so.  I plan to fill up around half tank or so so I stopped and put in 3 gallons (exact amount in car). This is just what I would expect at 45 mpg, what was going on?  Even after filling the gauge did not read full, 2 pips below full.  Something was wrong with the gauge. This became clear as after driving a bit the gauge went up a pip or two (I didn’t see any sign of tampering with the gas cap).

Kelly had picked todays destination, a cave. Either Howe’s cave or Secret cave (probably the same cave).  We chose Secret Cave (16 each) and had a great time. A small group (a family of 5 and us) and a fun tour guide.  The high point (or is it low point) is a 100 ft underwater water fall.

The story says two cows fell through a soft spot of Earth and discovered the cave. This opening is covered with cement as it was planned to turn the cave into a fallout shelter but it had too many entrances for air infiltration.  The owner of Howe’s cave sent two teenagers inwith flashlights to see if it was worth buying and opening to the public. We were told they made it to the falls when the flashlights failed and they had to spend 7 to 8 hrs trying to find their way out in the dark.

Some areas of the cave have been blasted so we could walk instead of crawl.  The guide said they were unable to stop people from touching stuff so they now make it a feature of the tour, touch whatever you want.  It is a young cave so no huge stalact or stalag mites but some neat things and the water fall and underground river was amazing.

She did the usual thing of telling us how dark a cave is and asked if she could turn off the lights.  It was amazing how in the darkness my brain insisted I could still see the walls  of the cave (of course I could see nothing). It was a good feeling knowing many of us had cell phones and we could have light whenever we wanted it.

She then said that if we wanted she could leave the lights off and we could travel by flashlight!  We said yes. She had two small flashlights, about the size of my thumb. She took one as she was in the lead and I took one as I was the tail.  It was fun.

Ascending from the coolness to the 90+ degrees and humidity was tough.

We once more had not had lunch. I had suggested that Kelly try YELP. She downloaded it and it suggested a little place that sold wine and stuff.

I of course drove past it but this trip if I miss something I will turnaround to get there. So we did . It was a very cool place, lots of neat things for sale and a nice lunch place. I had a chicken salad sandwich on whole grain with cole slaw on the side while Kelly had a half sandwich and soup (lobster Bisque- too salty for her so she ate little.

It was very good. I was surprised that I could only eat half a sandwich. I ended up eating just the chicken from the other half.  Kelly and I both had iced tea, peach for Kelly and Raspberry for me.

I excused myself and went looking for a men’s room but without luck so I returned to the table. Kelly said sit, they were about the bring the dessert tray to us. Yes, she said yes when they asked.  The dessert looked wonderful but we both found willpower and said no.  Lunch was about $20 (no free refills on the tea and I had 2) so with tip about $26.

They have a small candy store as you leave the lunch area, and some pastrie. I have extreme weakness for chocolate chip cookies and they claimed theirs were fantastic. I guess I’ll never know as I passed them by.

Kelly eventually found the rest room and we were soon back on the road on our way to rt 20 west. Drove through a lot of small towns, some nice verticals and curves so a bit fun to drive at time.  I got to 90+ going down some hills (didn’t downshift like I did in NH).

I wanted to stop at a grocery store to get some instant iced tea to add to the water. I don’t think I was drinking enough.  In Gennesee we saw a Wegman’s and I remembered how much Jack raved about them in NJ.  They do have amazing food, and amazing looking desserts of all kind (I won’t keep you in suspense, I did not break down and did not have any). Kelly got sushi and she found they had an entrea for 6 bucks (I got pulled pork and two vegetable sides).   They have a café area where you can eat your food and a microwave to heat it.  The $6 meal was too much for me, ate a bit more than half.   Also picked up some ice so finally cold water! Yea. Total Wegman’s bill was $29 and change. (Bough some Washington cherries that are the largest we had ever seen, they were good)

Decided to make an early night of it and used coupon to stop at a Holiday Inn.

It has a pool (outside). Water was 80 degrees!! (amazingly hot water for those of you who think pool water should be 95- this means you Meagan).

Swam a bit. Kelly got done first and went to the fitness room to ride the bike. I swam some more then sat on a chair an read a bit.  I joined Kelly in the gym but, since I still had my bathing suit on, went to the Jacuuzzi which I had all to myself.  I then spent about 3 minutes in the Sauna.  Never did get back to use the equipment as back in room writing this.  Hotel was 89 with coupon we got from book we got from McDonalds.

They offered me a room with two doubles or a room with a queen, a handicapped room. The bathroom is huge!

Is very comfortable (all three hotels have had refrigerators, and some have microwaves).  Plan tomorrow is, maybe, Maid of the Mist at Niagara.

Still trying to decide if we follow Oregon Trail or head south to 50,”The loneliest Road”.  At the moment plan is to stay north until after SD then due south to 50 so we can get Colorado and Utah, then maybe Vegas where we will earn enough to pay for the wedding.



About Kelly McClymer

Kelly is a writer, a mom, and a reading tutor for children with dyslexia. Plus, she is totally addicted to her iPad. Curse you, Steve Jobs.

2 replies
  1. Kathy Lynn Emerson
    Kathy Lynn Emerson says:

    I remember Howe’s Caverns . . . from 50+ years ago. For part of one tour we were in a boat and the guide told us to sing something to hear the echoes. My friend Patty and I sang “Pink Shoelaces.” And now I’m feeling verrrry old!

    Sounds like you’re having a great road trip. I’m enjoying the updates.


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