Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lehman Caves & Baker, Nevada's weird and wonderful art!

A trip across Highway 50 and the Great Basin just wouldn't be complete for Ron or me without a stop at Great Basin National Park and a tour of Lehman Caves. Our first tour, on our first wedding anniversary (10/11/04) was a bit of a personal challenge for me - I wanted to see if I could get over some mild claustrophobia (p.s. It worked. I still have problems with huge crowds in small places, but caves are no issue anymore!)

Lehman Caves, Great Basin NP
It seemed appropriate to wear Suzi's Kitty Bat Cupcake shirt into the caves!

Funny, we never see bats, but Ron and I do seem to attract more than our share of small wide-eyed mammals who flutter around us in caves. On each cave tour, we find ourselves, unwittingly though not unwillingly, hanging out with pre-teen types. This time we met a family of eight (five of the 6 exceedingly well-behaved kids were with Mom & Dad), and as usual, the youngest boy and the three tween girls were hanging out with us and the Ranger at the front of the line before the tour was out. Of course, every time this happens, I make a point to tell the folks what a great kids they have (always a big hit with the parents)!

The very first time we went to Great Basin National Park, it was 2004 and we were celebrating our first wedding anniversary (6 years together and about 18 since we met). We spent the night in the little town of Baker, Nevada at the Silver Jack Motel (now "Inn"), and had a great time the next day, roaming the town (3 or so blocks) and taking photos of the public art.

Porchasaurus Wrecks (10/2004) Baker NV
Porchasaurus Wrecks (in his natural habitat - the porch of the SilverJack Motel in October of 2004)

Space is a Vacuum (10/2004) Baker NV
Space is a Vacuum then - 2004 outside the Silver Jack Motel in Baker, NV.

I told Ron, if we were going to the caves again this year, we were going to Baker too (even if only for an hour). Baker is a small town with about 50 to 65 permanent year-round residents (depending on who you ask). Many artists and artisans have chosen Baker as their home and exhibit their work in the Silver Jack Inn's Gallery. The "Post" Impression Art movement began in 1997 when "Doc" Sherman of Baker put a glove on a fence post and proclaimed the "Permanent Wave Society" (get it? 'cause it was waving ... permanently). Since then, Doc and others have added spontaneous contributions of whimsical art on fence posts along roads around Baker. I know you'll ALL be wanting to see this "Post" Impression Art and other roadside weirdities, and I don't disappoint, so get clickin' (on the pic):