From the 1992 SERA Cave Carnival Guidebook
MEMO TO: SERA CAVERS
MEMO FROM: ROBERT CRUMLEY
SUBJECT: RECENT DEVELOPMENT IN CAVE LIGHTING
Always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to improve this sport we call caving, I recently ran across something that may be the greatest aid to the caver since Cole invented the rappel rack.
My introduction to this system came about on our most recent grotto excursion into Steward Springs Cave. We had made it to Destination Falls and were on the way out when I noticed a lot of ash on the cave floor. Upon closer inspection, we found that along with the ash, there remained material that had not burned. The material was a blue and white plaid, reminiscent of the shirts worn by Larry, Darrell and Darrell's friend George Utley, who by the way, is not related to Garrett Utley. After several hundred feet of yo-yo (up-down) passage, the color of the fabric left behind in the ash changed from blue and white to red and white. A startling development. I commented on the sudden change of color to Lin Guy, who didn't seem to be listening. He was busy trying to keep his boots clean. We had progressed through the water crawl to Lin's Breakdown Climb, when all at once the ash trail we were following suddenly changed colors again. This time to just plain white. Ah, the plot was thickening, the suspense was so thick you could almost cut it with Torode's machete. What happened to the ash? Would this mystery ever be solved? Lin and I and the other two intrepid cavers, David Lee, and Harle Eddie Jones, made our way to the entrance and went our separate ways, forgetting about the mystery left behind.
One month after the Stewart Springs trip, I was sitting in the breakroom at work, breaking, when a new employee, Robert Jackson, came up and started a conversation. He related how much he enjoyed caving and he heard that I was a "spelunker", and he would like to "spelunk" with our grotto. As our conversation progressed he asked if I had ever been to the "water cave", which, according to the directions he gave, was Steward Springs. The mention of Steward Springs brought back to memory the mystery we left behind the last time we were there. I told Robert the story of our most recent trip, and the mystery still unsolved. With break at an end, and our conversation halted, Steward Springs once again slipped its way into the back of my mind and was forgotten.
About two weeks after our first talk, I was again approached by Robert Jackson with the news that he had found out what had taken place in Steward Springs. Our mystery was solved. Here, in paraphrase, is the story Robert related to me.
Robert's nephew and another boy, both around eighteen years old,
speleo-novices, who shall henceforth be referred to by the acronym A.C.O.R.N, which means
A Couple Of Red Necks, heard about the cave from a friend, and decided they wanted to
explore it. Leaving out early one morning with two flashlights they bought, especially for
this trip, at K-Mart, the ACORNS entered the cave and made their way through Compulsory
Pool and into the cave a half mile or so. A short time later one of the blue light
specials died and the other one began to get real dim. According to Robert the
conversation at that point went something like this:
ACORN #1 "give me the spar batrees will ya, ma lite jus went out".
ACORN #2 "whacha talkin bout, ah thought you brung the batrees".
ACORN #1 "no, ah brung the string, you were sposed to bring the batrees"
ACORN #2 "Ah brung the sardines and the can of spray paint, you were sposed ta bring them batrees".
As you can see a bad situation was developing. A few minutes
later the second blue light special went out, leaving the ACORNS in total darkness. Their
ACORN #2 "look at the mess you got us inta, well at least we've got the matches, give me them matches".
ACORN #1 "what matches? you were sposed to bring the matches".
ACORN #2 "ah brung the Redman and a coupla cans of"Ole Millwalkee" you were sposed to bring the matches".
ACORN #1 "you dum I"&~%"&"~g~EI%&@~,#(*)*&~ if ah could find ya, ah'd wrup yer butt".
Looks like the bad situation was getting worse. The ACORNS were
sitting there in the dark, in silence, when a light flickered and the smell of a cigarette
filled the cave air.
ACORN #1 "ah thought ya didn't have no matches, how'dya light that ther cigarette?"
ACORN #2 "ah didn't have no matches, ah lit it with ma Bic".
ACORN #1 "if ignorance was gold yud be a millenaire, give me that ther lighter and yer shirt".
ACORN #2 "whatcha want ma shirt fer?"
ACORN #1 "ima gonna set it on far sews we can find our way outta here".
So with their Bic and by burning their clothes, the ACORNS
managed to make considerable progress toward the entrance. But there was still a slight
problem, the entrance was to far away and their supply of clothes to small to make it out.
ACORN #l "give me yer underware".
ACORN #2 "ya ant gittin ma underware burn yers first".
ACORN #1 "ah said ta give me yer underware, hits ure falt we's in this mess, now take Off yer shorts and shut yer mouth".
So with a little luck and a lot of ingenuity, the ACORNS made
their way out of the cave and into history with the new alternative light source, the
Bright View Diffusion System or B.V.D.S. for short. This could revolutionize caving as we
know it. Just think of the various applications where it can be used. It has many
advantages, it's compact size, even it's price is an ASSet. It would be especially
advantageous to the large caver because his would last longer than the smaller caver's.
There are drawbacks to this system to be sure, such as not washing them between caving
trips, and there is sometimes an odor to deal with, but all the disadvantages can he
Extensive tests are now being conducted by members of Northeast Alabama Grotto. A list of the tests and the cavers doing the testing are as follows:
1. David Teal is now testing the different types of material
available i.e. cotton, nylon, wool, polypro etc., and the amount of light and btu's given
off by each. Rumor has it he is spending a hugh amount of time in leather.
2. Lin Guy is testing the different styles available i.e. boxer, jockey, bikini Etc
3. Tests have, up to this point, been conducted in horizontal caves. Tim "Choo Choo" Pope and Jerry "Old Rockeater" Reeves are currently studying this light system in vertical caves, doing a tremendous amount of testing on rope in Fantastic Pit.
If anyone has any personal test results on this new lighting system please forward them to the appropriate person. Test results will be published soon.
We'll leave the light on for you.
Your SERA Chairman
Robert CrumleySign My Guestbook
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