Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Caves 'n' Cars

On Saturday I met up with Steve from DCUE and we trekked down to Luray Caverns near Front Royal, VA. The weather wasn't looking promising but we were going to be underground so weren't concerned. These caves are more commercialized than Skyline Caverns with perfect walkways, railings and bigger groups but were better in that they didn't light up the formations like Vegas with colored bulbs.The formations were huge with fabulous textures, it was very difficult not being allowed to touch them.
We walked the tour with a guide who didn't need to explain anything as we were rigged out with headphones and receivers and simply needed to tap a number in at each stop to hear a description of what we were viewing. A member of the group noted that the kids' version was more fun to listen to and she was right.The photo above is looking up at the stalactites. We often lagged behind taking our photos and found ourselves suddenly clothed in black darkness as the lights went out. A bit daunting at first but we got used to it.
There was an organ at the end of the tour which was connected to a few of the stalactite pipes and we listened to a couple of notes as they were gently tapped. A little bit disappointed there as I'd been expecting a rendition of Greensleeves or something.
After the tour we drove into the town of Luray to eat lunch at the Station Diner. The menu had 3 different prayers to recite before our meal so to cover all bases Steve said all of them.
This guy was plugging the local tax help office and happily posed for a photo.
We decided to continue exploring so we took the long way back to NOVA down a road I'd not traveled before.
We saw this old garage covered in signs which raised a smile and then further along we came across an old car outside a workshop with hubcaps, spare parts and a cherub adorning the front. Curiosity was definitely piqued here so we stopped for a visit.
I went inside and stepped back in time to a dusty, dim but amazing office filled with ledgers, parts and memorabilia. I noticed people inside eventually and asked if it would be OK to take some photos of the junkyard known as HillBilly's in Bentonville. They were wonderfully accommodating and waved me up the hill stating that there were some cool old cars at the top. I could've stayed in there for ages looking around but the cars were calling.
Steve and I had barely crested the hilltop when we spotted a guy and girl from the office walking towards us. They chatted to me asking where I was from and then handed over a calender, some bumper stickers and a shot glass. I was chuffed. I've just started my shot glass collection and this would be a supreme addition.
There were so many old cars to photograph that I was initially overwhelmed and simply walked around just clicking aimlessly before I could start focusing.
This junkyard was the jewel of the afternoon as far as I was concerned and seemed to have parts for every vehicle under the sun; even an old Lincoln limo lay stretched out in the long grass and old school buses had new lives as stores for engines and lights.  We left with a few more gigs filled on our camera cards and I thanked the owner before we left.
We finished with a quick drive around the edge of Front Royal finding this old water tower and building which we were disappointed to learn was not abandoned. Oh well, it was time to head home anyway and christen that new shot glass with a tot of whiskey.

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