Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Lost Sea

(I had to edit this because I published it the first time as "The Lost Seat" . . . which is an entirely different story about an embarrassing movie theater incident that I'll save for another day. Don't worry; I have plenty. Of embarrassing stories, that is, not days. Though I certainly hope to have plenty of those, too.

Aren't you glad I wasted so much of your precious reading time with that irrelevant information at the beginning of this entry? I know you're probably all like, "She should have just left it as 'The Lost Seat' and saved me this ridiculously long introduction." I thought that, too. And, just so you know, I've never used the phrase "all like" instead of "said" or "thinking" before. First time for everything.)

Here is the last set of pictures from last weekend's trip to Tennessee. While driving to Knoxville, my mom and I were reminscing about when my brothers and I were kids and we used to travel up and down I-75 and I-65 all the time due to my dad's business. He was the type to take the whole family along and make a vacation of things instead of just going away on a business trip. One of the many things I love about my dad. So, we were remembering all these tourist places we went to back then and I said, "Do you remember The Lost Sea? Where was that?" My mom, with her acute memory skills, said, "I think it was on the way to Lexington [KY]." Lo and behold (or "yo and behold" as a very dear friend of mine would say :)), not 10 minutes later we passed a sign saying "Lost Sea Next Exit." Turns out it's in Sweetwater, TN about an hour outside of Knoxville. (Which, if you're wondering, is nowhere near Lexington, KY) So, on the way home we decided to stop and do the tourist thing.

Of course, since there were 13 of us on the trip and 2 vehicles we had spent a lot of time trying to buckle 3 kids into carseats/boosters across the back of my van. Not an easy task. I jokingly told my brother (whose family had decided not to stop at The Lost Sea because they're really not very much fun - total sticks-in-the-mud) that he could make things easier for us by just taking Lauren home with them. Later this somehow got misconstrued as an offer to trade Lauren (who is 2 and not the world's quietest or most helpful passenger) for my niece Mallory (who is 13 and totally knows how to shut up when I'm trying to listen to talk-radio). I told Ben that I had not suggested this at all . . . but, if that's what he REALLY wanted to do, how could I say no? And so it was that the Lost Sea Adventure travelers were me, David, my mom, Josh, Ethan, my niece Lesey, and my niece Mallory. (I have to note here that the great thing about having kids several years after Ben's family had their last child is that he is far enough removed from that whole stage that he totally enjoys having Lauren around. Lest you think this was really burdensome for him and Renae - Ben adores Lauren. I have great brothers.)

By this point, if you're still reading at all, you're probably thinking (or all like), "What the heck is the Lost Sea?" (Unless, of course, you actually clicked on the link earlier, but who really does that? Not me.) So, let me tell you. The Lost Sea is a giant cave inside the side of a mountain in TN. This HUGE cave contains the country's largest underground lake, which is pretty cool. (The tour gude said it "used to be the world's largest" until they recently discovered a bigger one in Malaysia or Africa or somewhere. I resisted the urge to tell him that, no, even then it wasn't the world's largest; everyone just thought it was. That's what the whole "discovery" thing is all about, dude. Well, actually, it was a girl, but whatever, dude.)

Without further adude (sorry . . . I'm so tired, and I get a little punny when I'm tired), here are some pics:

This one is in the giant yellow tube that is the only one of its kind east of the Missippi. (At least we think it is, but maybe they'll discover another one in the Smokies someday.) Note the screw-shaped rock formations along the sides. Okay, it's actually the man-made entrance into the cave because the natural entrance was becoming too dangerous (translation probably: they got sued) for tourists. I include this picture because it's the only one that shows how my mom, my niece, and I all unknowingly wore almost identical outfits that day. Don't you think that's blog-worthy?

David and Josh just inside the cave (sorry it did not occur to me until about 200 miles farther down I-75 that I should have increased my ISO for taking pictures inside a freakin' cave):


The kids near a stalagtite called "Black Cat:"

Me and the boys, included only because I love how much Ethan was digging getting his picture taken:

A large "meeting room" inside the cave where Indians used to live and hold, well, meetings:

The boats on the lake (I tried to adjust the lighting a bit on photoshop so you could tell that it's actually water, but it didn't work very well):

On the boat ride (during which you could reach over the side of the boat and touch the water and see tons of trout) (Ethan's wearing a girly white sweater because it was all my mom had with her for Lesey, and we all know I'm not a prepared enough mom to have thought to carry along a jacket when going to a cave that's a steady 58 degrees year-round):


Jawan said...

I like how you spelled Mississippi. You really must be tired.

beck'sthree said...

I thought that's how it was pronounced in the South.