Several weekends back, we headed up to Kansas City to participate in a campout in a mine that the KC Urbex crew was putting on.
Hiccup and I started off the day by heading to Wal-mart and buying a bunch of camping food like soda, hot dogs, and smores ingredients. When we had our goodies, we headed back to her place and loaded all that and a bunch of gear into the car. Then, we headed out of town to pick up Sertile, the only other Springfield area explorer that was going with us, and headed toward Kansas City.
Once we were there, we had some minor trouble locating the meetup spot. I couldn't find the right road and we ended up driving to the Kansas border and turning around to call them. They gave me a better idea of where it was located, and we started back on track, although I ended up missing the turn once more before we found a way there.
Eventually, though, we pulled into the parking lot of our meetup spot. The long list of people that were already there: S1L3N7B0B, LostLenore, Slim Jim, Peterbillionaire, WhisperingLament, Gothstone and his wife, youthsonic and his wife, and KansasCity. They were waiting on a few more people to show up, but they never did. So, we loaded up and started heading over to our parking spot near the mine.
Once there, we started loading up all our tons of gear into two different vehicles. Then, people started getting shuttled to the mine and dropped off near the entrance. When our turn came around we loaded up into one of the vehicles and got dropped off with everyone else, and when everyone was there, we started tromping up the hill toward the entrance.
Getting up the hill with our gear turned out to be a major pain, and getting the stuff down through the opening in the mine was a little awkward. But that was nothing compared to what a painful walk it was back through the mine into the room we were camping in. I thought my arms were going to fall off carrying the cooler.
Halfway into the mine, we saw a bunch of people with flashlights in the distance. Some of the guys veered off to see who it was. It ended up being the guys they had been waiting for earlier, 816customshop and his friends. They had been there for a while, apparently.
The mine was your typical modern underground quarry, with the pillars holding the ceiling laid out in a grid fashion. The only thing that distinguished it from the other mines I'd been in was that the ceiling was quite a bit lower. It was still tall enough to drive heavy equipment around in, but it was definitely lower than others I'd seen.
The section of the mine we were camping in was pretty much the only part of the mine that had significant graffiti. People had painted strange stuff in Greek on the walls as well as other random things. Someone had also already made a firepit and put in a toilet around the corner for everyone to use. It was pretty cozy.
The guys set about starting the fire right off the bat, and everyone started setting up their little sections. I laid out a tarp that I'd brought for the three of us and put our junk out. Then I lit the propane lantern I'd brought, which illuminated the entire campsite. Some people set up their chairs, and everyone else dragged some rocks around the firepit.
When the fire was lit, I realized I'd left our cooking forks back in the car. Since it was almost as far to exit the mine and cut some real sticks as it was to the car, we decided just to walk back to where the cars were parked and get them. So, we did that, which did take a little while, but the fire was going great by the time we got back. And I then proceeded to cook and eat five delicious hot dogs.
While I was eating, Slim Jim and a few of the other guys were taping off two huge sections of the mine for boundries. We were going to play a game of Capture the Fish, which was Jim's modified version of Capture the Flag. Basically, we were going to be sneaking and running around in a darkened mine full of boulders trying to steal each other's flags and not get tagged in the process. I was sure people were going to get hurt (and I was right), but I wanted to play anyway.
At some point, while I was watching Sertile get pretty tipsy, we had some glowsticks out which were going to be used for our game. Sertile started talking about how he had once cut open a glowstick in a theater and rubbed it on his face. I decided I had to try it, so I went and got one of my glowsticks, snapped it, and then cut it open and poured it in an empty bottle. That looked pretty cool, so I started rubbing it on my hands and arms. It made me glow like a mutant.
Then, with a little egging from the others, I poured a bunch in my hands and slapped it on my face. And that was a really, really bad idea. It was pretty awesome for about five seconds, with my face glowing like a ghost, and then it started to burn like I'd poured acid on myself.
I told everyone that wanted pictures to hurry up and take them, then a couple people started wiping at my face with diaper wipes because I was obviously in pain. That seemed to make it hurt worse, so I had Hiccup get the hand soap we'd brought and a bottle of water. I scrubbed at my face a few times and wasted about three bottles of water, but I finally got enough off that it stopped burning.
At that point, Sertile was just about running out of alcohol. Since Hiccup and I were enjoying seeing him get drunk and wanted to see it get worse, we offered to go with WhisperingLament to his truck and get a case of beer he had to keep Sertile going. So, we went and did that, which killed enough time that Capture the Fish was ready to go when we returned.
We split up into two teams of four people, since that was all the people that wanted to play at that point. Somehow, I ended up on the team with the two drunkest people, but I didn't really mind. We took our sides and started playing.
Right off the bat, I killed my light and snuck around until I saw the glowstick attached to the enemy fish. I grabbed it as WhisperingLament, who was on the opposite team, turned on his light and started chasing me. He ran right into an uneven place in the mine and went down like a ton of bricks, while I kept going and crossed the line. I won the first game, and we had our first injury of the evening, although he was just cut and bruised.
The next game, we switched sides. I knew the guys would be guarding their inflatable fish better this time. So, I just ran in there with my light off. Youthsonic and Slim Jim spotted me and turned on their lights, but I managed to grab the fish and take off for our side of the boundary. I saw flashlights up there and thought they were from my team, but they weren't and KansasCity tagged me five feet from the line. I pretty much collapsed on the ground at that point, realizing I really needed to start running or something, because my endurance was sucking.
We played until about two in the morning, until Slim Jim's team won a game. There were many injuries, mostly bruises and cuts from people tripping over things in the dark. I was so exhausted by that point that I was ready to collapse. When we walked back to camp, Hiccup and several others had already gone to bed. A few of us sat around the campfire for about another hour or so, then we all agreed it was bedtime.
When I laid down with Hiccup, I realized I made a huge mistake. I had stupidly thought that my sleeping bag would be big enough for Hiccup and myself to sleep in. I thought it would be cozy even. I was very, very wrong. It wouldn't even zip shut around us. We tried to make the best of it, but it ended up being a miserable sleepless night. A few people had extra sleeping bags, but by the time I was ready to break down and ask for one, everyone had been asleep long enough that I didn't want to wake them up. All told, I think I ended up getting about an hour of sleep.
We stayed in the bag a little longer than everyone else in the morning, even though we weren't sleeping. But at some point, we got up and I cooked myself four breakfast hot dogs. Everyone sat around and chatted for a few hours and got the fire going when 816customshop and his friends returned with more firewood.
Sometime that morning, Gothstone got out the video camera and positioned us all so he could shoot a commercial for a contest he was entering. He put on a strange druid-type robe, did a little fake prayer on camera, and had us chant "rock on" at the end as if we were saying amen. We looked like a bunch of cultists down in a cave somewhere around a fire. It was for a radio station, and it looked like it would be pretty good.
Not long after that, we decided we were ready to head out. Everyone was pretty much loading up to leave anyway. So, we gathered up our stuff, said our goodbyes, and started making the long walk back to the entrance. We had a little trouble finding it and ended up leaving out of a different entrance. Outside the mine, we dropped the stuff near the road and left Sertile to watch it, while Hiccup and I went back to get the car.
Once we were loaded up, we headed into town to get a bite to eat and then we started making the drive back to Springfield.
Here you can read about White Rabbit's day-to-day explorations and adventures.
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