Our second day started with a trip to Scottsboro, Alabama's main attraction, the Unclaimed Baggage Center. Yes, this is where all of that unclaimed luggage from the airlines eventually winds up. And since I spent about 30 years with American Airlines, most of it in baggage services, I just had to see where all of my 'failure to restore' bags wound up.
The pictures I took don't even begin to describe the UBC, mainly because I didn't have a whole day to spend there. To give you an idea of the magnitude of this place, picture in your mind anything and everything that is smaller than a suitcase. Now imagine all that 'stuff' a thousand times over crammed into a warehouse with over 40,000 square feet of space. Then multiply it by at least two and you might be close to imagining how much material is for sale at bargain prices in the Unclaimed Baggage Center.
The sunglasses on these racks are indicative of the huge number of other items
salvaged from unclaimed baggage. It is the ultimate bargain basement.
I didn't purchase anything, but I did make a promise to myself to return to Scottsboro for the express purpose of going through the entire place. I only live about 300 miles away. I estimate it will take me two days, and maybe I'll buy a slightly used Apple laptop computer for $300-400, or maybe a SLR Nikon or Canon camera with telephoto lens for about $300. They've got them there by the hundreds! If you have an hour or so, you might want to read this article about UBC, or even just look at the pictures it contains.
All those unclaimed cameras are for sale
We tore ourselves away from the UBC, because we had two more adventures to enjoy, and the first, Cathedral Caverns, had a tour starting at 10AM and was located 30 miles away. We arrived there at 9:30 and got our tickets ($17.00 apiece) for the tour. Just before we started down into the cavern, a busload of British teens arrived and joined us, so we have about 50 people along.
The cavern tour lasted for two hours and covered about a mile-and-a-half, but it was all on concrete stairs and walkways. If the grade hadn't been steep in many places, it would have been a very comfortable walk. As it was, we were pretty well ready for the exit when we got back to the entrance.
The Frozen Waterfall is 85 feet long - Maybe a cave record!
A small sample of the hundreds of stalactites, stalagmites and
Pillars in Cathedral Caverns
Judy and I have been in well over twenty caves, including Mammoth Cave and Carlsbad Caverns, but we have never seen so much formation and so well formed. Our guide told us that there are three world records in the cave, though further research has disproved that. It does have a huge entrance (128 feet wide by 45 feet high) and a huge flowstone formation called the Frozen Waterfall (85 feet long), plus a very large column/pillar (44.5 feet tall and 240 feet in circumference), but these are not world records. No matter, the caverns are truly wonderful and well worth the price of admission.
If you are not a spelunker (cave explorer), the stalactites hang tight from the ceiling of the cave, while stalagmites might eventually become a pillar that joins with the stalactite above it. That is how to tell the difference. What you see in the picture above are mostly
stalagmites with a pillar on the left side.
We love to tour caverns and this one was a neat one, but you do get claustrophobic knowing that you're several hundred feet underground, so seeing the light at the cave entrance again is always comforting, too.
Aha! Upper earth again - we had a choice of stairs to the left or a steep ramp
on the right side
We left Cathedral Caverns after noon, so our first task was finding a place for lunch, not an easy one, since the nearest sit-down restaurants are in Huntsville, some 60 miles away. (To be continued...)