Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Salt Cavern of Wonders.

Life just rolls along same ol’ same ol’
You know how it is.
Then KaBlammO….everything kinda hits at once.
Gots some stuff ta share but gotta spread it out.
I will start with Saturday

As you may or may not know, Boy is in Boy Scouts
(I would be worried if he was in Girl Scouts, However I DID put my time in there. This was back when girls were icky, weird and far from understandable. Now days they are no longer icky, but the rest stands true.)
We were afforded a chance to attend a scout event which was kinda unique.
Spend the night in an active Salt Mine.
In fact, the biggest one in the whole western hemisphere.
Ok. This could be cool and you know me, whatever I can do that will elevate me in my child’s eyes I am going to snatch up. So we paid the $30 bucks each and last Saturday we packed up and headed out.
Oh what a beautiful Saturday it was too! 70 degrees and sunny in the middle of winter in desolate Kansas. We met up with the rest of the troop and some 2nd year Webelo’s and headed out.
(Ok here I could make a note on how I used to be rather anal about schedules and leaving when the afforded timetable said I would and such but… ah no big. Don’t really care that much anymore.)
After an hour drive we were almost there, like 10 minutes to go, and the weather did a Kansas Thing. Now unless you have been to Kansas, you can understand the concept but the actuality of what the weather does is rather astonishing to experience. The closest I can equate it with is the way Florida gets a sudden rainstorm out of nowhere, the only thing is, and in Florida you kinda expect a shower.
Kansas affords no warning to the weather. In the morning you can be wearing shorts and by the evening a parka and Visa-Versa. In fact, wearing shorts with a parka is a known look around here.
Anyway back to our story...
Ten minutes of from Hutch the wind picked up and roared, the sky clouded and darkened and the temperature dropped, bounced and rolled under the couch. It was like sunny, sunny, sunny, right turn, winters back.
OK enough of the piddly lil details…
Got there, got in and by 7pm we were 650 feet under the ground.
The mine has been active since, umm I know this, I think before the 40’s but the 40’s was where it became commercial. Anyway its size is about 980 Acres in size. The ceilings are 9’ to 13’ high and the tunnels are oh I would say 30 feet across.
Claustrophobia really doesn’t hit you at all.
It’s really hard to grasp the concept that you are further underground then the St. Louis Arch is tall.
We walked about a 10 mile hike, got to go places the general public didn’t get to go. We saw artifacts still laying in the tunnels from the 40’s and got to experience what “dark as a mine” really means. Let me tell you, closing you eyes in a dark room is still not as dark as mine dark. There is absolutely no light whatsoever so your eyes never adapt or become accustomed. It is so dark that just the glow from a watch dial can seem to illuminate an entire room.
It is as close to being blind as you can become.
The place is used as a storage facility due to its inherent safety and constant temperature.
Doctors and Hospitals from all over keep their old records in there to keep them safe. Hollywood sends all their storage stuff there as well. From costumes to scripts to reels and reels of films. In the museum part they have props from all kinds of movies, which give you an idea of what is stored down there. I was able to, with just a glance, to name the Clooney Batman suit from Batman III (the nipples are a dead giveaway) they also had some props ranging from the “noisy cricket” in MIB to a shirt for the movie Rebel with James Dean to boxes and boxes of old film from FRIENDS.
Another cool thing was they all got to sign these dynamite boxes that will be used as walls, to direct the air around certain tunnels. So he will be able to bring his kids down to the mine when he is my age and show them his signature from when he was their age.
Finally about 12:30 the tours were done and it was time to hit the sack.
The boy jumps in his bed and leans over to whisper conspiratorially to me.
“I am going to stay up all nighZZZZZZZZZZZZ”
I just grinned.
It was a good sharing this experience with the Boy.

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Thrill me...dripsome brain droppings here.