Saturday, October 18, 2008

Space Mouse (Inner Space)

I don’t think it’s giving away too much to say that some action in Avi’s forthcoming Poppy and Ereth will occur in a cave. A trip to Texas has given me a chance to research those scenes, and to revisit the site of a childhood trip, at Laubach Cave near Georgetown, Texas.

The caves were discovered in 1963 during drilling by the Texas Highway Department. The drill got about 40 feet deep into the ground — and then the bit fell off. A department geologist, the skinniest available, was lowered down the narrow hole into a vast cavern loaded with limestone formations and even some prehistoric remains. The caves were opened to the public as a commercial venture and, in an attempt to connect with the then consuming space race — another segue! — were given the name by which they are now best known, “Inner Space Caverns.”

The sign out front of the caverns, just off Exit 259 on I-35 today, still has that space-age feel. The set of lights inside that big black ball pulse on and off, and when you see the thing as you’re driving by, it lends your trip a strange malevolent Sputnik/Great of Eye of Sauron mood. But if the sign seems dated, the caves (truly dated) hold up. There are spectacular formations in them, and if you’re in the area it’s worth the visit.

More about the caverns at the Inner Space website, here.


Anonymous said...

brilliant illustration

very delicate!!!


Anonymous said...

you inspire me to action my friend!

johanna said...

Wow, that must have been one very brave skinny geologist.