4 national parks in 4 days (pics included)

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  • Labeeman

    Well-Known Member
    Silver Member
    Rating - 100%
    23   0   0
    Oct 11, 2010
    1,001
    83
    Baton Rouge
    Earlier in the year we had planned this trip for the week after Christmas, but decided to cancel because of reasons I can’t even remember as I type this. As we were sitting around one evening putting up Christmas decorations we changed our mine again and decided to make the trip after all.
    We headed out the day after Christmas and drove to St. Louis Missouri where we would start the world wind tour at the Gateway Arches. It’s funny because the day before we were going to leave I read an article that ranked St Louis as the top dangerous city in America. It made me laugh as I live in Baton Rouge which every one knows is definitely not a safe place to live. We woke up the next morning to cold and rain and made the 3-4 block walk to the arches from our hotel. We had no problems getting there as the streets were almost deserted. The arches are quite impressive. How they got the arch to connect in the middle is amazing. I don’t know if we could build a structure like this today for cost alone being a big factor. It looks like it was fabricated from sheets of stainless steel. You can ride to the top but we didn’t go as the elevator/ tram is a bit too claustrophobic for me. After checking the arch out, we hit the visitor center and looked at the history of the arch and we were good to go. You could spend more time here, but we had seen enough and needed to get on the road. We then drove to Bowling Green Kentucky where we would spend the night and then go to Bowling by Mammoth Cave National Park in the morning. This park is definitely worth going to as the cave system is incredible. It travels for more than 400 miles underneath the ground. The history and geology that make up of the cave are very interesting. It was used for salt peter during the civil war and this was its claim to games before it became a tourist destination. We went on the history tour but you really don’t get to see some of the major formations on this tour. We booked too late and this was all they had so we took it. I would highly recommend visiting this park. We did make a small hike on one of the trails but it was pretty cold so we didn’t go too far as we were constrained by the starting time of the tour. We stayed until lunch and ate in our car then got in the road and drove to Ashland Kentucky. From Ashland, we drove to West Virginia and visited New River Gorge National Park. We did make a 3 mile hike here that ends with a point over looking the gorge and a view of the bridge that crosses the gorge. This was a nice place and the views are beautiful. It just a one day park in my view especially in winter, but you could make it a two day visit with a rafting or kayak trip during the warmer months. From this park we drove to Charlotte North Carolina where we would spend the night before headed to Congaree National Park in South Carolina in the morning. This park is comprised of some of the last virgin timber in North America. The trees in this place are spectacular. There is a boardwalk hike we made ,but because of flooding you could only go halfway. These types of forest stretched from the Carolinas to Texas before they were cut for timber and development. This was a great park but again you can knock it out in one day.
    Over all we had a great time and saw a lot of our beautiful country. We drove through 11 states and put about 2500 miles on the greatest 2014 Honda Pilot ever made. We were able to save a good bit of money by staying at hotels with free breakfast and we brought food to eat for lunch everyday. We did eat out at night and had some really great Greek, Mexican, and Italian food. This calzone place in St. Louis was so good we came home and replicated what we had ate and made calzones at the house. They weren’t as good but did bring back some wonderful food memories.

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    vr1967

    Well-Known Member
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    4   0   0
    Aug 4, 2009
    92
    18
    Liberty, MS
    Sounds like it was a great trip.

    I’ve been to Mammoth and also Diamond Caverns (just a few miles away) and Red River Gorge below Winchester, KY, but New River has made the “to do” list in the last few months.
     

    cyclone1970

    Oldie
    Premium Member
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    0   0   0
    May 10, 2014
    407
    43
    Covington LA
    Your trip reviews are always fun to read. I agree that the St. Louis Arch elevator is very much a "trip" but reaching the top is worth it. As you said, it is quite a remarkable structure.
     

    3fifty7

    CoonAss
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    13   0   0
    Jul 9, 2011
    3,339
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    Bunkie
    Sounds like a great trip, congratulations and thanks for sharing
     

    Kraut

    LEO
    Rating - 100%
    4   0   0
    Oct 3, 2007
    1,795
    83
    Slidell, LA
    Mammoth Cave was pretty awesome, I visited with co-workers during a sort of similar whirlwind tour on a drive back from a funeral detail. We had done the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton the previous day before starting back, and stopped for Mammoth as we were making better time on the return trip (snowstorm weather on the way up). Next morning after Mammoth, before proceeding the rest of the way home, we got up and made the opening time for the National Corvette Museum since it was right there, and really enjoyed that as well. All three were spontaneous which made it all the more memorable. Next time I was on a similar detail, we detoured a bit on the return to hit the Jack Daniel's Distillery tour, also highly recommended if you pass nearby.
     

    Bam Bam

    Certified gun nut!
    Rating - 100%
    40   0   0
    Nov 23, 2008
    2,079
    83
    Denham Springs/Watson, La
    Years ago we had some business in Pittsburg so the wife looked at the map and noticed in the Virginia area there were 3 state parks that she wanted to see so made plans for our trip to visit each one on our way back home. Smoking Hole Cavern was site, Black water Falls state park and don't remember the others, but it was a great trip lots of good memories made. We also rode over the New River Gorge bridge too on our way there/back, absolutely breathtaking. This is a beautiful country and well worth seeing every bit of it.
     

    Labeeman

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    23   0   0
    Oct 11, 2010
    1,001
    83
    Baton Rouge
    Some of the best trips are the ones made on short notices. Sometimes you just pack the car and head out and look for adventure. We have a beautiful country, you just have to get after it and go see it.
     

    Bam Bam

    Certified gun nut!
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    40   0   0
    Nov 23, 2008
    2,079
    83
    Denham Springs/Watson, La
    We did the Denver Colorado trip back in 2019, white water rafting, Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods was amazing. One of the best trips we ever had with alot of first in it. First time my whole family flew, first time to Colorado, first time white water rafting so it was a very memorable trip. We stayed downtown Denver and near 16th street mall which was fantastic in it's own right. We don't get to take as many trips as we like but now our kids are grown we do plan on more. Thanks for posting Labeeman, awesome pics!
     

    Labeeman

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    Silver Member
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    23   0   0
    Oct 11, 2010
    1,001
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    Baton Rouge
    Colorado is definitely a place everyone should visit. It has everything a traveler can ask for. We did the almost identical trip in 22 I think. My kids are grown also so we have really ramped up the travel. At some point as we grow older we just won’t be able to go as much so we are gonna do it while we can. Stay dry my friends.
     

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