We went back out to the bus to go down around to the other side of the quarry where the magic really happens. The bus pulled up to the lower entrance, and I think most everyone expected we'd be getting out to walk in like we had at the top. Instead the bus backed up and drove into the quarry. It's completely pitch black, and we're descending a remarkably steep incline around a bend. The nice woman sitting behind me was kind of freaking out saying, "I'd rather walk! No, really, I'd rather walk!" I said it was sort of like being on a ride at Disneyland. Once we were in she explained she wasn't having a panic attack or anything but was just being dramatic.
I thought it was kind of fun. Later it occurred to me that this place has to be accessible to those gigantic trucks for bringing machinery in and taking huge blocks of marble out. So of course it should be able to accommodate a bus.
It dawned on me around this time how lucky we were to be able to get so very close to everything. Not once did I ever hear anyone being reprimanded for exploring or getting a closer look at these things. I mean, certainly we were all mostly mature adults unlikely to stick our hand into a saw. But I'm used to trying to show people around Lincoln Center--a far, far less potentially dangerous location--where every last place I go has at least 500 regulations and restrictions that I have to enforce. Don't go up there. Don't go down there. Don't do this. You can't do that. We were entrusted with such freedom at the quarry, and I'll have to say it made it an infinitely more rewarding experience to be able to explore it like that and really take it all in.
That's about all there was to see there. We milled around for a little while longer and asked a few remaining questions, and then got back on the bus. The trip back up the Disneyland ride was even more interesting than the way down, because at one point the bus kind of stalled or something and rolled backwards down the hill before carrying us on up and out of the quarry. I think it was at this point that the Apple Barn apples the woman behind me had purchased spilled out of their bag and began rolling around on the floor of the bus. Someone suggested that she'd likely be peeling them, anyway, so no harm done.
All text and images ©2010, Ryan Witte.