Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Summertime Speelunking at the Caverns of Sonora

Okay, now we really are back, having caught up on the various things my writer insisted we do before she'd let me back on my blog again. One of them, by the way, was the Muse Online Writers Conference, quite the best source of writing craft and advice we've found yet on the Web. It's over for 2009, but if you're interested in penning your own masterpiece, make sure to mark your calendar for October 2010. The workshops and forums are taught by published writers and industry professionals, and best of all it's free. My author, Barbara Romo, and her fellow author Sherri Godsey, who help Galvistor and I on our joint blog, talked about how they occasionally allow us to blog, too.

On to what we did last summer ~ yes, even aliens get vacations. Hannah and I joined my author and her husband for the UFO Festival and Roswalien Experience 2009. Now I'm a city alien, really. I like the little Earth luxuries like gated mansions, five-star hotels, gourmet get the picture. Hannah, until she had the good fortune to marry me, primarily lived out of an ancient, and temperamental, Chevy van, while she drove all over the Southwest recording the stories of alien abductees. I think sometimes she actually misses those days. And my author and her husband like to "see the sights" on their way to their destination and, believe it or not, they like to camp. Now I generously suggested that my private pilot could pick them up in Laredo and take us all on to Roswell. This is reasonable, I thought; after all, I wasn't suggesting we all take Brost's ship, which would have been much faster. (Brost is a friend of mine I'll talk more about later - he has the most amazing cloaking gadget on his little craft).

Sigh. Sometimes I really don't like democracy. Everyone but me wanted to drive. All 579.96 miles of it. So I spent the first night of my vacation sleeping on the ground in a tiny campground which only a bat or my author could have found in the dark. And I mean dark. We were 15 miles outside of Sonora, in west Texas, the first stop on our trek. Even the moon was gone by the time we made camp.

Then the sun came up, and I have to admit, even to my critical eye it was pretty. Several deer were close enough to watch us watching them. After a breakfast at a local eatery (thank Alwynn my companions didn't demand a cookout as well), we returned to tour the attraction associated with our campground, the Caverns of Sonora. They are well worth a stop.

I'm not much on going underground myself ~ none of us Olam are particularly fond of caves ~ but the decorations were truly beautiful. That's what they call stalactites and stalagmites, and all of the other bacon, flowstone, popcorn and other amazing formations. The cave is "live", still growing, so it's very humid down there, even for someone like me who is used to Houston weather. But I don't know of anywhere else where a visitor can come so close to the wonders that can be created out of mere minerals and water.

Unfortunately, someone did the unthinkable in 2006 and broke off a piece of one of the most ethereal of the cave decorations, the Butterfly. The damage, for which no one has yet been charged, prompted the State of Texas to sign into law stiff penalties for cave vandals. If you'd like to read more about the Butterfly case, go to the Caverns of Sonora website. That's where I borrowed the photograph at the head of this blog. Check out their photographs - this is quite a beautiful place.

Next time: Arriving in Roswell.

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