Sunday, August 23, 2009

Going Underground

Greetings from Roanoke, Virginia! It's after midnight on Sunday (technically Monday), and we've already been in the hotel for a few hours now... along with some very special guests:

The Hotel Helix it is not.

After last night's series of unfortunate incidents, Jon and I decided to take it easy. We have to get up super-early in order to make it to Dollywood at a decent hour--and besides, we packed a lot of stuff in on Day 2 of the Country Fried Road Trip!

After a mere five hours of drunken hobo sleep, Jon and I awoke this morning and headed to the "International Spy Museum" in downtown DC.

They wouldn't let us take photos while inside, so instead, I'll try to paint a fair and accurate description using my words:

"It was neat."

Truth be told, it was actually very cool. They gave us code names and showed us how to pick locks and crawl through air ducts. I'm pretty sure I would have learned a thing or two had I not still been in a vanilla vodka-flavored haze.

After the museum, Jon and I headed into the best yogurt shop ever, Mr. Yogato, to blog for a bit before heading into Virginia to stop at the Shenandoah Caverns...

...which were nestled in a terrifying little Twilight Zone-esque town. We initially became suspicious when we saw the gigantic "Cootie" welcoming us as we drove up to the entrance:

We got inside just a few minutes after the final tour of the day started, so the little old lady cashier sent us down into the caves with a surly kid to catch us up to the tour that was already in progress.

Our guide, 15 year old Dylan, spent his time with us mumbling his way through the speech he's been forced to give probably since the day he learned to speak all while trying to rush us through interesting things like the wall of bacon...
...and general Stalactite-ness:
He'd explain things in one long run-on word before running away from us impatiently in a misguided attempt to hurry us to the rest of the group.
Jon is endlessly amused by this kid's determination to spend as little time with us as possible.

Dylan finally lead us to Matt...
...who took us through the rest of the tour at a normal pace, showing us some of the cooler sights:
The underground has pretty lights!

Of course, these were all pretty much things you'd expect to see in caves... nothing really out of the ordinary.

The caves were great--but what really attracted us to this section of the earth was the "American Celebration on Parade," featuring retired Parade Floats... which, as it turns out, are actually the most frightening things on the planet:

I want to post about the things we saw there tonight--but it is nearly 2AM and we need to be semi-alert for Dollywood tomorrow. And reliving the horror that is the Parade Float Museum and its equally terrifying "Main Street" companion exhibit is not a good recipe for sleep. So... I'm going to try and put the images out of my mind to get some shut-eye... although these things will clearly be haunting my dreams...
...for a long, long time to come.

You'll see them all in their evil glory in my next post. Promise.


  1. The Yogurt place sounds like a lot of fun, but the parade floats really are scary!! Caves are really creepy anyway. I've been in some with prehistoric paintings in and thats really odd.. you feel like youre being watched (and not by the tour guide)

  2. I nearly pooped! (Jon + cave creature)
    ~ sandyago nik