Archives for: January 2005

01/31/05

Permalink 04:12:57 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 787 words   English (US)

first hotel infiltration

Since it's possible I won't have anything worth blogging for another week or so, I figured I'd take this opportunity to tell a fun story I've never posted. Plus, if I ever get around to putting a "hotel infiltration" section (or something like that) on the site, I'll have this blog entry to add to it.

A month or two back, I met up with Kid Sparkle, who was down from his city to get a car part. We spent the first part of the night exploring an abandoned mine that we'd stumbled across inside a quarry. Since the night was still young, Kid Sparkle suggested we go by a local hotel, one that's not abandoned and very much in use, and see if we could get on the roof. I was nervous, because we were both muddy and it was already well after dark, but I was also dying to try a hotel infiltration.

We breezed in the front door of the huge hotel, right past the front desk, like we had a reason to be there. We went straight to the elevator, which overlooked the entire inside of the building. We spent the next few hours wandering every inch of that hotel. The first thing we tried was the stairwell that had a door at the top that led to the roof. Sadly, the door was padlocked. We could even see the roof through a crack in the door, but we couldn't get there. It was heartbreaking.

Next we found the exercise room and pool. The pool room was closed while they were repairing the jacuzzi, but we just ignored it and ducked under the yellow tape they'd put up to keep people out. While Kid Sparkle answered a phone call, I couldn't resist the temptation. I stripped down to my undies and bailed into the pool. I swam around for a while while Kid Sparkle talked to his friend (who wanted to know what that loud splash was). Eventually, I got dressed, with wet underwear underneath, and we continued on.

At some point, we decided we wanted to get onto the top floor. Problem was, you needed a key to take the elevator there because it was the VIP floor for private guests. So, we slipped back into the employee area of the hotel, found the employee elevator which didn't need a key, and took it to the top floor.

At the top floor, there was a private lounge for the guests, fully stocked with food and liquor. There had been people inside the lounge earlier, but it was deserted now. Of course, we decided to help ourselves to some grub. I had a bowl of cereal, a cinnamon roll, a blueberry bagel, and lots of fruit, while Kid Sparkle ate most of the same. We spent a good hour up in the lounge just hanging out, enjoying the view and calling our friends from the private phone to brag about where we were.

When we were done there, we decided to explore the employee areas a little further. We had the half-baked idea that maybe we'd spot the key to the roof somewhere and we could borrow it. We checked the only office we could find, but no such luck.

Unfortunately, while we were checking out the employee area around the kitchen, we screwed up. Kid Sparkle was a few yards away poking around one area, while I was looking in a kitchen storage area. I heard someone wheel a cart out from the kitchen, and I ducked behind a door. Kid Sparkle dashed back and jumped in the elevator, but that happened to be where the employee was going as well. I heard the employee shout to Kid Sparkle, "Hold the elevator!"

As I was about to slip out to find Sparkle, I saw a kitchen employee coming out of the kitchen toward my area. I was afraid he was heading to where I was, so I waltzed out in front of him, nodded and said, "Hey." Then I walked alongside him straight out of the employee area. I could tell the employee had been confused about who I was, but thankfully, because I had acted like I was supposed to be there, he didn't ask any questions.

I met Sparkle just as he was coming back down on the guest elevator, and we both decided it was time to flee the scene. As we were heading for the front doors, we saw the employee who had rode the elevator with Sparkle talking to the front desk girl and looking very confused. They both watched us leave suspiciously, but we just headed out the door and left as quickly as we could.

01/25/05

Permalink 06:26:48 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 573 words   English (US)

hell's church? not quite

I met up with Sertile the night before last outside a huge drain in Springfield. We were there to check out a place inside the drain, nicknamed Hell's Church, where you could go from the tunnel into a chamber underneath some nearby buildings. It didn't quite live up to its spooky name.

When we met up, Sertile took me to the canal that led into the drain tunnel and showed me a smaller branch of the canal that I'd never noticed before. It led under a nearby building to a couple of drains I hadn't known were there. While there, Sertile showed me a manhole you could open that went down into a sanitary sewer.

For those of you that don't know, a sanitary sewer is the kind that carries human waste. And this thing was flowing like nobody's business. It was about a foot deep, stinky as hell with pieces of feces hanging off the sides, and running so swiftly that it would've knocked you off your feet if you tried to stand in it. Not that either of us is crazy enough to do that.

After that, we headed into the tunnel, which was a relief because it was freezing outside. We walked about half a mile into the tunnel before we reached the spot. It was a bare ledge set about head high and a dusty chamber beyond that. I boosted Sertile up, handed him my gear, and then crawled up after him.

We were in the cramped crawlspace of a building above us. There was supposed to be a hole knocked in one wall leading to "hell's church," a chamber that was supposed to have stirrups or shackles hanging inside. Sure enough, the hole was there, although it hadn't been necessary for someone to create the hole since they could've just walked farther down the tunnel and climbed up the ledge. The chamber, which was supposed to have "shackles" or "stirrups" hanging inside, was just another crawlspace, although much bigger than the first one. The shackles were actually some type of fixture hanging from the ceiling, probably to support pipes that weren't there any more. There was plenty of graffiti, litter, and other evidence that kids went down there frequently.

Sertile had been here before and had found a window in the crawlspace that led into the basement of a nearby building. We found the window again and slipped into the basement. It was mostly abandoned, except that someone was apparently using it for storage. We spent some time poking around the building, even finding a manhole in the building that led to one of the crawlspaces we'd just been in.

After that, we found that there was a ladder in the elavator shaft above the elavator that led to a small room at roof level. We climbed up the elavator doors, headed up the ladder (with Sertile dropping his flashlight down the elavator shaft in the process), and climbed out a window in the room onto the roof. Sertile and I climbed out different windows, and somehow there was electricity touching the window sill that kept shocking him as he struggled out.

We spent a little time taking pictures from the roof, but it was too cold to stay up there for long. When we'd taken what pictures we wanted, we crawled back down into the building, retrieved Sertile's flashlight, and made our way back out the tunnel.

01/22/05

Permalink 01:25:49 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 996 words   English (US)

mountain inn

I finally made time to go see the Mountain Inn in Fayetteville, Arkansas yesterday. I'd been meaning to see this huge, abandoned hotel for close to two years now. I kept putting it off because Fayetteville's a bit of a drive for me, and I wasn't sure I'd be able to get inside the place anyway. As luck would have it, I was able to find a way in.

It took a little driving around the city to find the hotel, because I wasn't familiar with Fayetteville and the weekend traffic was really nuts. When I finally did find it, I was little disappointed to see that it sat directly next door to the courthouse, a hospital, and a big-ass federal building. Basically, this was not a good place to get caught trespassing, unless your idea of a good time is getting detained for a few hours while they make sure you're not al-Qaeda.

I ended up parking in the visitor parking of the federal building. I was a little uneasy about that, but I couldn't find a spot anywhere else. I made a quick walk around the front of the hotel, but all the entrances I saw were either boarded up or locked, not to mention in plain view of all the restaurants and businesses nearby. The hotel had its own parking garage, but I could see that some cars, probably for the buildings next door, were still using it so I passed by it as well.

There was an alley between the buildings, but all the doors back there appeared to be locked, except for one where I accidently walked into the kitchen of a restaurant. I found a stairwell nearby with an open door that led to the parking garage. I was worried about running into someone going to their car, but I wandered around anyway.

To keep other people from doing it, I won't say exactly how I got in. Suffice to say, in involved me crawling literally inside a wall through insulation until I ended up inside the hotel.

Inside, the hotel was trashed beyond anything I've ever seen. I've seen lots of abandoned buildings and places where kids like to party, but this was light years beyond any of it. It looked like someone had come through with a sledgehammer or some other blunt object and destroyed everything they could. Ceiling tiles were everywhere. Every mirrored wall and column was broken. Chairs and tables were smashed everywhere. It looked like everything that could be broken had been, and then spraypainted on top of it.

I went room to room, floor to floor after that, taking pictures of it all. Every one was the same story: trashed.

Around the second or third story, I found that there was an outdoor patio with a pool. The patio had been spraypainted worse than anything, and the pool was full of furniture, televisions, anything you could throw from the upper floors. You could see the broken windows where people had done just that. I wanted to go down into the pool and take pictures, but it was in plain sight of the federal building next door. I wasn't even able to explore the patio was much as I wanted.

I checked out the upper floors after that, taking well over a hundred pictures. About the sixth or seventh floor I found a section of roof you could walk out on, but I couldn't do it because of the federal building.

The top floor was a little different. There was smoke damage everywhere, and some of the rooms on one side had appeared to have burned. There was a spongy layer of ash on the floor and burnt mattresses and furniture. The walls were black from it all.

I found the door to the roof in the stairwell after that, but it appeared to be bolted shut from the other side. I found another section of roof on a lower floor that I could go onto without being seen, but it didn't have a ladder to the highest section of roof. I spent a little time searching for a way up, and finally found that you could get to the roof from the top floor of the adjacent parking garage. Problem was, you were in plain sight of every building nearby, including the federal building. Add to that, they'd removed the rungs on the ladder to the roof and it was going to be a rough, slow climb up and down.

I decided I'd just have to live without seeing the roof and set out to leave, figuring at this point someone had to have seen me milling around with my camera on the parking garage. Rather than risk being seen leaving the building or finding someone waiting for me, I went to a lower section of the roof, crossed to a nearby building, and opened one of the windows into what seemed to be a vacant office building. I headed downstairs, finding myself in the lobby of a couple restaurants, and casually breezed out the front door like I knew what the hell I was doing.

On the way back to my car, I didn't notice anybody, so I decided to take some pictures of the outside of the building. I headed over next to the federal building to get a better view. As I was taking pictures, I noticed a security guard coming out of the federal building, shaking his head and frowning.

Oh shit, I thought. I'm busted.

"You're on the wrong side of the street," he said, smiling as if he were a little embarassed about it. "You're not allowed to take pictures this close to the federal building anymore."

I apologized, extremely relieved that that was all he'd wanted. He pointed across the street where I could take pictures from. I thanked him, crossed the street to get the last few pictures I needed, and headed back to my car.

01/17/05

Permalink 02:00:25 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 218 words   English (US)

frozen ground

Well, I intended to go back to my father's land and dig up one or two of those mounds today. I even got out the metal detector, figuring I could wander around and see if there was anything in the ground. But then I realized the ground was frozen a foot deep, and I'd have about as much luck digging in a block of concrete.

Instead, I went and got a haircut. While I was in the area, I drove by an abandoned casket factory that we used to sneak into when we were kids. It seems like a weird place to play in, but it was just a huge empty building. We always wished we could sneak our bikes in there and ride around. Apparently, someone's bought the factory and is turning it into something. I'm going to work on tracking down the new owners and ask them if I can take some pictures of the inside before they remodel it.

After that, I drove around for a bit looking for an abandoned skating rink. I thought I knew the highway it was on, but I drove it twice and didn't see it. It may have been torn down or I may have the wrong place, but it's on my long list of things to do now.

01/09/05

Permalink 05:05:56 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 337 words   English (US)

holiday island railroad tunnel

A user on the forum, travcojim, tipped me off about an abandoned railroad tunnel out near Holiday Island, Arkansas. So, this morning I looked the place up on the internet, plugged the coordinates into my GPS, and went for a joyride.

It took me a little while to find the place, even with the GPS. I'd known there was an abandoned railroad line in the area, but I'd never heard about the tunnel. I had to do trial and error with several different dirt roads, but I finally found the one that led in the right direction.

I got out and started walking when I couldn't drive any farther. I didn't know it until I started seeing railroad beams buried in the dirt, but I had driven right onto the old railroad line. Which was nice, because it meant I didn't have to go looking around in the woods.

The tunnel was in about the same shape as the railroad line. Rock had collapsed in front of it and on the sides, but it was still completely accessible. Inside, the floor was covered with mud, and I walked about a hundred yards inside before reaching a massive cave-in. I thought the way was blocked, until I got out my flashlight and saw tha that you could walk over the top of it.

At the other side of the cave-in, there was water as far as I could see. Luckily, travcojim had warned me about that, and I had brought my chest-high waders. I suited up and began slogging through a few feet of water with old railroad beams floating in the water around me.

I reached the other side and dry ground, and it was in even worse shape. The entrance had mostly collapsed, leaving just enough room for a person to walk out of. I went up out of the tunnel, looked around, but didn't see anything remarkable. I slogged back to the other side, finished taking some pictures, and headed back home wet and muddy.

01/01/05

Permalink 06:50:03 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 54 words   English (US)

rooftop new year's eve

They were setting off fireworks at midnight at Jordan Valley Park in Springfield last night. Rather than fight the New Year's Eve crowd, we snuck to the roof of a twelve-story, abandoned mill directly across from the park. We ended up having a better view of the fireworks than anyone at the park did.

Underground Ozarks Blog

Here you can read about White Rabbit's day-to-day explorations and adventures.

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