Trip Start Feb 15, 2010
77Trip End Feb 14, 2011
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Where I stayed
My four wheel drive flat
can get a basic automatic car wash for $3 or less. Maybe next time I wash my car I'll
just throw on my swim trunks and stand alongside the car. I wonder what spot-free rinse will do to my hair?
After the morning routine was finished I make a quick jaunt over to Meramec Caverns
After some chatting about different caves we've seen and various other points of life with Lee, I made my way to Bonne Terre, Missouri. Home of the Bonne Terre Mines. They were in the business of mining lead, and prior to the 1960's, business was good. The mines opened around 1871 and generations of Bonne Terre men worked for 91 years creating a "room and pillar" mine that extended five levels into the ground covering around 80 square miles. When the mine closed in 1962 the pumps that had kept the spring water at bay were turned off and the lower three levels of the mine filled in with crystal clear waters. In the 80's, an enterprising couple purchased the mine and began leading tours into the dry areas and SCUBA expeditions into the deeper water-filled passages. It was truly like visiting another world, and I would urge anyone reading this to check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EI7FxbdsUE
At the end of our tour I asked my guide what was necessary to go diving in the mines since there were about 40 people going in and out of the water while we were touring the mine. He said usually dives need to be booked about a week in advance, but the guide and site manager got me the number for the company in charge of SCUBA activities at the mine. I gave him a call and I guess it was meant to be because he told me there was one open slot left for tomorrow's dive. It's been a few years since I last went diving and I certainly didn't plan on doing it in Missouri, but the experience is far too interesting to pass up. So, tomorrow I will be dropping down into the sunken (54 degree) depths of an abandoned Missouri mine.
I spent the rest of the day getting a haircut, driving the highway a little bit looking for scenery during the sunset, and stopping for dinner at Blake's BBQ House, a family-owned restaurant that was inside of a converted (and rather new looking) house. I had some ribs, beef brisket, parmesan mashed potatoes, texas toast, and sweet tea. All of it was homemade, authentic, and really hit the spot....even though I couldn't finish it all. They even handed me a 48oz. cup of sweet tea to go on my way out. Nice folks.
The nearest Wal-Mart is about 3 1/2 miles away from Bonne Terre, so I am currently set up there and using the free wi-fi from a McDonald's next door. Isn't technology great?