Who needs sleep? Never mind I stayed up until 2:30 am looking at planes for sale on trade-a-plane.com. Never mind I had to get up at 7:30. Ben arrived at 8 am and we tossed a few things in the Tacoma and headed south.
South of Midland on 349 is nothing too interesting until you come into Rankin. Straight ahead you see a large mesa as you descend a hill into town, with ramshackle cool old buildings on either side. Now the scenery begins. This is the western edge of the Edwards Plateau, where the mesas are capped with this Cretaceous limestone as far as you can see.
To the topography-starved geologist, these look like pretty substantial mountains. Ben and I drooled a lot on our windows as we drove through this pretty desert country. Castle Gap, which I flew over just a few weeks ago in the Cessna 162.
Nice bike ride/motorcycle territory.
We made it into Iraan, when I pulled out the sketch maps. Whoops, we went past our junction about three miles back.
A bit of driving around on oil lease roads and we found the crew. Bill was the only guy I knew. Everyone else were pilots. I've never seen so many pilots in one place. Most of them flew for pipeline companies.
This area appears to cover an old, shallow oilfield. Lots of itty-bitty pumping units.
Rocks. Not caliche. Real, actual, 70-million-year-old rocks.
Close-up of a rock!
The cave itself was nice enough. After an hour or so of milling around, we entered the cave and climbed down a little awkward 30-foot drop. After than the cave was mostly on one level. We visited Hercules and the end of the cave where climbing ropes dangle down from an upper level. Ess Cave was known locally as "party cave" before being gated; it was filled with a bunch of junk. There is a lot of spray paint and damage to formations, but it's still really cool and nicely decorated. My expectations were low, and this cave exceeded them nicely.
Back to Midland, about 1:20 drive. A nice little cave but next time I'll camp overnight, do the cave and be out and home by noon.
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