Monday, September 10, 2007

Cooper's, Inner Space Cavern, and Cannibal Corpse

Saturday morning I led a chapter ride to Cooper's BBQ. I realized late the night before that I had left the maps of the route I'd printed at my office. So after breakfast I rushed over to my office, grabbed the maps and rushed to the dealership, where there were already a number of bikes. Fortunately Joe was already there and had everything under control. The turnout was pretty good- 11 bikes, 12 people. The ride was nice except for a few sections of construction where it was one lane and we had to wait our turn. After the last one, we were stuck behind this slow moving SUV for a long time. There was no line when we got there about noon. I got a half chicken, which I don't think I'd ever had there before. I didn't realize, but it is clearly the best deal they have there- only $5 for a half a chicken (and it wasn't like it was game-bird sized). I ate the leg, wing, thigh, and had most of the breast left over for dinner. It was tasty and juicy, but very messy.

From Cooper's I decided that rather than head home, I would head across 29 to Georgetown and see Inner Space Caverns. I got there just before the 2 o'clock regular tour left, but I was interested in the "wading tour" which went into three more rooms that the regular tour wasn't going on because of some flooding that left a section of water you had to walk through. Largely to avoid the tons of rugrats, I opted to wait the 40 minutes and pay extra to do the wading tour. It turned out to be the best tour I've probably ever been on. I was the only one to buy a ticket for that wading tour, so it was me and the guide and a photojournalism student from St. Ed's who needed a special tour because she had a tripod to take pictures. We had to bring flashlights because some of the lights still weren't working from the flooding. When we got to the wading portion, it really wasn't bad, it wasn't even deeper than my boots and was only about 50 feet long. I was most amazed by the amount of formation growth that occurred since the cave was discovered and developed 44 years ago, due to high water flow. There was a stalactite hanging from one of the original bore holes that looked to be almost a foot long. That's compared to Carlsbad Cavern where they have some one inch stalactites that have grown in the 100 years since it was developed.

After going home and cooling off for a little while, I got on the Night Train and rode down to San Antonio to go see the "Metal Blade 25th Anniversary" show at the White Rabbit. I had heard of a number of shows at the White Rabbit, but I'd never been. It wasn't hard to find, and I parked right in front. It reminded me a bit of the Back Room, but it also had a courtyard outside with picnic tables and the band merchandise. At first, while the sun was still out, it was pretty warm outside and not too bad inside. As the night went on, it got sweltering hot inside, it felt like 95 degrees and 100% humidity. There were lots of fans on full blast and they opened up some doors, but it was really hot all night inside. There was a huge rush between bands to cool off outside.
The supporting acts- The Absence, Goatwhore, The Red Chord, and The Black Dahlia Murder were all pretty good, they got about a half hour each. Apparently none of them had roadies, so they were doing their own sound setup. Cannibal Corpse came on about 11:15 (they had 2 roadies setting up the stage). They played quite a few songs I wasn't familiar with and about as many that I did know. They did several off of their latest, Kill- including Make Them Suffer, Five Nails Through the Neck, and The Time to Kill is Now. The singer "Corpsegrinder" elevates headbanging to a high art in my mind. Unfortunately the stage height was such that it was hard to see much of him other than his hair when he bent over to do the windmill. He often did a move where he would do a few whips, and then start windmilling. Toward the end there was a mosh pit almost the size of the whole club. They played until almost 1am. The singer from Black Dahlia joined them onstage for the last song.
I had a much harder time getting back on the interstate that I would have thought. There were no signs directing me as to how to get back on. I could clearly see the massive elevated highway, but it didn't have a frontage road like everywhere else in Texas. I weaved back and forth under the road until I finally saw a sign for a ramp to get on I37 (I was apparently following it south instead of I35 north). I jumped on and was on my way. I stopped for a caffeine and sugar boost in New Braunfels and finally got home at 2:30, making for a very long and varied day.

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