The cave tour was interesting. We saw an entire 2 miles of the 367 total miles of cave. Only 12 miles are set up for tours so the vast majority of the cave is just has it has been for millions of years, quiet and dark. Our joke of the day is, "the cave sure is big, but I don't see any Mammoths". Ha Ha. The cave was huge by Virginia standards, but it was also quite plain. We saw very little in the way of stalactites and stalagmites and other interesting formations, perhaps because the cave was formed by rivers and not seepage. The Historic tour was theoretically moderate to difficult, but we had no problem with the 2 mile distance, the 418 steps up, nor with squeezing through the Fat Man's Misery stretch. The Mammoth Dome was over 200 feet tall and quite an impressive site.
1. Get vehicle work done more than 2 weeks before the trip so the mistakes the mechanics make can still get worked out well before you leave.
2. Be pleasantly surprised by the extra time you get going west, but plan for losing an hour and being early on the way back.