Sunday, April 02, 2006

Oh great tunnel-spirit-guide....

Thin and Gnarly, Burro Schmidt was not your everyday joe. He could have been your everyday california miner, except for one thing: his tunnel. Over the course of thirty-two years this small man dug a 2000 ft. tunnel through a mountain. The tunnel is a testament to an obsession. This, according to our tunnel-spirit-guide, is how you get there.

It is, apparently, very important to know where you're going on the way to the tunnel, because the whole trail is almost littered with signs. "Of course there are many signs to guide you to the tunnel," intones the tunnel-spirit-guide.
Do you see the little arrow? That's the direction to go. I don't recall how far it is after that, but you should be sure to settle in for a long ride: it's not close. I wish I could take credit for this shot, but I was driving and had a photography-major friend taking the pictures.

The sign on the right is not where you want to go. "No Motor Vehicles" means Baby is not allowed on that trail. "It is tempting to venture into closed areas and precarious roads, but the true way of the tunnel lies always within reach of the motorized vehicle," intones the tunnel-spirit-guide.

After a long while driving around, there is apparently somewhere you're not supposed to go. Or at least, there is somewhere that many intrepid tunnel-seekers have gone that did not lead to their goal. I believe that one of these adventureres, a pioneer in his own right, left a mark to guide the rest of us on our way. What became clear over the rest of the trail was that we had ventured into a land where paper-plates guide your way (see first image) and where fallen-tower-thingies are an acceptable medium for spray. "The land you have entered is the domain of The Tunnel! Do not belittle those who have left their mark to guide you on the path to the tunnel!"

"I'm sorry, oh wise tunnel-spirit-guide."

Two more signs....At least we're all still pointing in the same direction. "Do not be lulled into complacency my child. Tunnel seeking is full of danger and misdirection, though these signs will truly lead you to the tunnel you seek."

Of course, just like the rocky road of life, all tunnel seekers will encounter temptations along the way. Bickle Camp is actually visible from this sign (If I recall correctly). "Should I go see Bickle Camp? I've been driving forever. I don't think there really is a tunnel. I think it's just a myth."

"No my child," intones the tunnel-spirit guide, "you mush continue your quesht for the tunnel of burro schmidt! Do not be Desheived!

Oh NO!!! What have we done?!?!?! The signs are pointing the other direction. "Calm yourself little traveler," intones the tunnel-spirit-guide, "we have only turned a corner on the long road to tunnel nirvanah. There is yet much driving to do."

Apparently, the intrepid adventure seekers were not the only ones frustrated by the elusive tunnel and it's ever-mocking signage. "It is truly sad to see the way to the tunnel treated with such violence," intones the tunnel-spirit-guide.

The tunnel-spirit-guide says, "do not be fooled by the false signs my young tunnel-seeker. Follow the way of the true signs and you will not be led astray..."

"You see, my child," intones the tunnel-spirit-guide, "the way of the tunnel is no easy path. The road to the tunnel is full of turns and ruts and holes. You will only recognize the true signs of the tunnel by their visage." Ah, now that's more like it...

"Do you understand now the way of the sign of the tunnel? Will you believe that the tunnel exists and that these signs were left here by others? Will you not open your eyes and see the tunnel before you?!? Is there no Spam to eat in this truck?!?!?!

And so it was that the adventure-seekers and their tunnel-spirit-guide arrived at the tunnel after having followed the signs of it's hiding in the hills. We thank every spray-can-wielding barrell-dumping tunnel-seeker before us for the clues and signs of the tunnel that led us to our ultimate adventure.

(of the tunnel seeking adventure)

(what!?!?! you wanted pictures in the tunnel? It's over a mile long for heck's sake. It's pitch black in there. How did you think I was going to take pictures?)


Anonymous said...

Fun story....who were you with? Your scouting experiences come through in the great spirit of the tunnel...

Ricky Fielding said...

These were friends from College. Same people I did everything with.