Saturday, March 22, 2008

Day Seven

We drove out to Endless Caverns, near New Market, VA, and met Brice at around 11. Virginia had some pretty scenery, of course, but Lisbit and I were mostly too excited about seeing our friend to care. She pounced on him about 3 seconds after we saw him, and pulled him in for what must have been a minute-long, massive hug. We exchanged our "Hello, whores" and "Hello, tramps," and started our tour. Dylan was blissfully silent and ill, so I didn't have to listen to inane chatter about whatever blatantly obvious topic he'd latched onto for the day and was free to break into the normal rounds of banter with my Tramp. It was a lot of fun, and the cave was pretty sweet too. It was completely different from all the caves we've seen so far, with a lot more formations and color than the caverns at Mammoth and Organ.

Our next stop -- Luray Caverns -- stole the show, though. There wasn't a dull or ugly moment on the entire tour; we saw more stalactites and stalagmites than I (or anyone else) could possibly count, along with water formations, columns, and a really massive drapery that put the one at Mammoth called "Frozen Niagara" to shame. I'll try to post some pictures later, but if any of you ever want a quick, kind of cheap day-trip from around the Messiah College area, I really recommend driving down and seeing Luray for yourselves. The Stalacpipe Organ was interesting, but not exactly what I was expecting. The keys on the organ triggered small hammers on the surrounding stalactites, cut off at the correct length to produce the desired notes. It played a quick, and beautiful rendition of "A Mighty Fortress is our God" with a quality of sound not unlike that of a xylophone. The acoustics really made the notes melt together, but the actual organ itself wasn't all that impressive.

Then we watched a bumbling attendant light an ashtray (one of the large, industrial sized ones shaped like a cone and located in public places) on fire and scramble around trying to extinguish it. It resembled a cancer-scented volcano, I suppose. Next was a quick lunch at an above average Mexican restaurant, and then we made our way to Skyline Caverns. This was yet again an entirely different sort of cave. It really resembled a canyon with a ceiling. In fact, if you ask Brice about RIVERS, CAVES, and CANYONS versus STREAMS and HOLES IN THE GROUND, you might get an entertaining response. Or he'll have forgot and not know what you're talking about. Needless to say, that was the stupid argument of the day. Twas quite fun.

While in Skyline Caverns, we saw several rooms of diaphanous, snow-white Anthodites, which I recommend googling or wikipedia searching, because the theories about their formation are interesting to say the least. Anyways, Skyline Caverns is the only place in the whole world where they have been found, and that was due to the vacuum seal created by the mud that filled the cave before exploration. I have it on good authority that they take about 7,000 years to grow an inch, so the 12 and 18 inch-long specimens were greatly appreciated.

After that, Brice and Lisbit headed back to Maryland and I drove Dylan back to Messiah. I was sorry to see them go, but I behaved myself beautifully in the car and staved off my normal levels of annoyance by talking about things that I like: Shakespeare, Calvinism, and a healthy round of "this is what I think about you" from Dylan in which I DID NOT reduce anyone to tears. You should all be proud. Very, very proud. Well, I've still got a six hour drive ahead of me and a delicious prime rib dinner (probably complete with grandparents) when I get home, so I'm off for the last leg of the journey. Thanks for reading, we all really appreciated it. I'll try to have some more photos up here in a day or two, and I'm sure an album or three will pop up on Facebook. I'll see most of you on Monday night, so toodles until then!


Dylan said...

Hey, I left my poster in your car. Sorry. Just give it to Liz please and she'll give it to me next time she sees me. Thanks.

P.S. Your check's in the mail.

msb42 said...

I completely forgot to check on this last week, but it sounds like y'all had a great trip. I remember seeing the 'Stalacpipe Organ' a few years ago when I went there; it's an interesting effect, partially from the stalactites being spread out throughout several caverns.