It was  spring now a while ago. Full on Summer now, kids out of school and attempting to stay up as late as possible and destroying morning routines for the parents, which somehow still include going to work.

Growing up, the second sign of spring was the blooming of daffodils.


Yellow blooms and green stalks around the base of the rhododendrons, sometimes interspersed with small melting piles of snow. I should point out that this was a sign of spring in Philadelphia. Daffodils do not seem to be featured in Houston, which I think of as a two season city and despite being here for 15 years I still look for daffodils in the snow, or just snow. I missed snow more than daffodils.

The first sign of spring were the croci (crocuses?). Purple and white and dotted in the melting snow.

The third sign was spring break. Kids always have spring break. Adults are lucky if they have one, especially if both parents work and job and kids and school synchronization has to occur.

We managed to have a spring break this year and we drove a Cricket to Kentucky and back.

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Start at home and go! See what you find.

Why Kentucky? Well, daffodils of course, and great friends, and showing my kids a house I designed, and hiking underground, and camping. It was not the tornados.

Somewhere in Arkansas, near the end of a long day of driving and trying through the use of smartphone top identify and great campground to roll into, Sarah got a tornado alert on her phone. Hmmm. Abstract problem or DANGER NOW!!! ? None of the other trucks and cars on the highwasy seemed to be searching for shelter. Sarah downloaded a better weather app to see if we could pin down exactly where the danger was – trying to determine the difference close, really close, DANGER NOW!!!, relax and too late. The app suggested that there were tornado possibilities to the left and right of the highway, that we were in a small pocket of non-storm with the winds blowing in the same direction we were driving. We already knew this of course as looking out the window it was dark and stormy to the left and to the right. I turned on the radio and was immediately met with that sound. How do I write that sound? WERRRRGNH, WERRRRRGNH, …… The national weather alert sound that they sometimes test on the radio while announcing “This is only a test, in the event of a real emergency …..”

I cannot remember the exact quote after the sound. It started, “THIS IS NOT TEST, SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER …...” I would like to know how broad an area gets that emergency broadcast message. 10 miles? county by county (how do you determine fast what county you are in when driving?)?, 100 miles?

We left the highway and sought shelter. I now know that most roadside motels consider their fire stairs as their storm shelters.

It rained. No Tornado. Motel breakfast with the ubiquitous flipover waffle machine.

We reached Kentucky the next day.


tobacco barn

We met our friends. We ate dinner. We drove to the house I designed and fell asleep.


You cannot really tell but the house is really quite a lot like a tobacco barn. In fact much of a former tobacco barn went into its construction (the interior surfaces are all made from the former exterior of a falling down barn). Tobacco barns are stained black to attract heat, have vertical siding with gaps between to keep out most weather but let wind blow through and are sited on small ridges to catch those breezes. The tobacco would be harvested and then hung in great bunches from the rafters (see smaller photo above. The light inside tobacco barns is beautiful as vertical slices of light hit rafters and beams and hanging leaves and ….

We harvested eggs from a chicken coop. I can attest that fresh eggs are better than supermarket eggs. I can also attest that their is peer pressure from the chickens who just keep laying them, to keep eating eggs and eggs and eggs. One can have too many eggs. We walked. We caught a fish or two. We napped in a circle of trees prepared to be abducted by aliens.

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Or maybe we were just tired. No aliens. No tornados.

Not disappointed.

We saw a baseball bat factory. Joey Votto’s bat was being spunout in downtown Louisville. Baseball playing son pointed out that MLB players bats were distinctly less costly than Little League bats. I knew that already. Disappointed in Little League.


IMG_4960The bats of Louisville were a warm up for the bats we might see at Mammoth Cave National Park. Camping. Finally. Isn’t that why I am writing?


Mammoth, KY

This is above ground. Near the campground. Near dinnertime.


One of the small doors to the big cave. About 400 miles big so far. We took a hike.


I am only half sure that the picture below is right side up. I like caves. Some do not. Claustrophobia. More dark than can be imagined. Dark is quite different than the absence of light. Whenever I am underground in a cave (not that often) and I turn out the light on my head to experience that absence, it makes me think that those cave escape stories of fiction (Tom Sawyer) have got to be lies. How could one ever get out? there is nothing nothing so dark as that. I like the feeling. I also like having extra batteries.



Then we drove home. We saw the Parthenon. We saw the Clinton Library(‘s gifthsop only). I now have a presidential bathrobe.



  • Antje & Harald Kirschner says:

    What a great trip!
    Every time our family gets out with our cricket (146), it’s an adventure. it’s vacation (even if it’s just a weekend). it’s nature. it’s awesome.
    THANK YOU for designing and building it!!
    PS: Nice storytelling, too. Some might no care. But I do.

    June 4, 2016 at 11:23 pm
    • TaxaOutdoors says:

      Thank you! So glad that you’re enjoying your Cricket 😀

      June 15, 2016 at 3:05 pm
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