Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Going Underground

I probably need to clarify my title to any one that is snooping around online looking for infidels.  When I say going "underground" I don't mean in the subversive kind of way...I am talking about "under the earth" kind of way.  This week I have caves on my mind. Yes.....I realize there is no logical pattern to my thoughts. Anyway...as I was saying....caves are what I am talking about.  Here in the middle of the country we have lots and lots of caves. Missouri has the lion's share of natural caves with around 6300 caves.  Here in Kansas many of the caves are man-made as a result of removing limestone or mining salt.

Right here  in  Kansas City, many of  those underground  spaces  contain businesses.  A huge amount business is housed underground. There are underground warehouses, storage facilities, retailers, and various other businesses that prefer to be subterranean.  More than 10 percent of all the industrial businesses in our area are housed underground.  It's not just limited to industrial and storage, there are also, retailers and the government stores historical materials in the National Historical Archives as well.  I am talking about more than 20 MILLION square feet of space.

company loading dock

some  underground roads are lighter and brighter than others
One of the first caves in Kansas City was developed by A.N. Brunson, founder of Brunson Instrument Company. The complex he started in 1955 and finished in 1960.  This complex is still operating.

Two of the biggest underground complexes in KC are Geospace  and Hunt's Subtropolis in north Kansas City, with the Subtropolis being the largest in the world at 5000+ acres.

Thought Number One:  Shopping Underground

Most of my regular readers are aware of my disdain of shopping. Typically, I don't shop much...unless, I am desperate...as when I am  in dire need of food or any of  life's necessities. (including but not limited to, in no particular order, allergy medicine, toilet paper, Diet Coke, cleaning supplies and tea bags)

As far as my list goes, did you notice the blaring absence of  floral supplies? Yep, botanical supplies or orchids normally wouldn't entice me to go shopping but some friends thought it would be fun to go shopping in the caves.  I admit that part of my reasoning was due to the fact that it has been consistently hotter than the surface of the sun here as of late, so I was a little more inclined to go just for the "cool".  One of the wonderful things about cave shopping is  it hovers around 68 degrees any time of the year.  Doesn't matter what the weather is doing "up top". 
First impressions aren't always an indicator of what lies ahead

So, a group of my gal-pals and I go over to Bird's Botanicals to see the 10,000 or so orchids that David Bird has growing in his shop.  Bonnie Anderson, the company's biologist gave us a tour and told us why orchids thrive in an underground habitat.  Pretty interesting that such gorgeous flowers grow in a place with no sun, no heat and no air conditioning.  There are overhead lights to provide the 12 hours of light and fans to control the humidity. Additionally, the orchids there are dirt cheap.  Considering an orchid takes about 10 years before it blooms the first time, it seems like it should cost more than $14.00-$24.00 (depending on the variety and sizes, of course, they can cost more)

Entrance to Bird's Botanicals

just one of the many orchid varieties

a grow room for orchids...remember this is underground

 Thought Number Two:  Compared to This Guy, I Am an Optimist

What goes around, comes around. 

I had hardly gotten out of the flower-shop-in-a-cave, when I see an article in the Kansas City Star talking about a business that is getting ready to open in one of the cave systems about an hour from here.  A California man, Robert Vicino has purchased a large portion of an old U.S Army storage facility in Atchison, Kansas.   He is creating what he calls the largest private underground survivor shelter utilizing a complex of limestone caves that were dug more than a 100 years ago beneath the rolling hills overlooking the Missouri River. 

According to Robert this would be a perfect place to ride out Armageddon.  BUT, before any global catastrophes or world-wide pandemics strike, you can buy a spot in Vivos Survival Shelter and Resort.
Again according to Robert....you can vacation and learn survival skills while you are waiting around for whatever world-wide doomsday that awaits.
A resort??? 
The Kansas caverns are 100 feet to 150 feet below the surface and have a constant natural temperature in the low 70s. They are supported by thick limestone pillars six times stronger than concrete and will have blast doors built to withstand a one-megaton nuclear explosion as close as 10 miles away, Vicino said.

Other than being surrounded by more than a mile and a half of 6-foot-high chain-link fence topped with sharp rows of barbed wire, the land above ground isn't distinguishable from expanses of hills and trees that surround it. The proposed shelter's entrances — nondescript concrete loading docks tucked discretely into the wooded hillside — are easily defensible against any potential intruders provided there's not a full-scale military attack, Vicino said.

The shelter will have enough space for more than 1,000 RVs and up to about 5,000 people. Members will be charged $1,000 for every lineal foot of their RV to purchase their space, plus $1,500 per person for food. That means a person who plans to park a 30-foot vehicle in the shelter with four people inside will pay $30,000 for the space and $6,000 for food.

According to a  press release there will be a host of amenities such as spas, gyms, kitchens, lounges, hair salons, bakeries, and theaters and a variety of activities such as golfing and rock climbing.

But don't get ahead of yourself, actual sales won't begin until a "critical mass" of reservations are received and processed, Vicino said, which hasn't happened yet at the Kansas shelter.  Vicino  is cautioning people, though..."I've heard people say, `I will just show up at the door,'" he said. "Our response is, `great, where is the door?' At our secret shelters, you don't know where to go, and your cash will be worthless at that time."

So now that you have the scoop on "the resort"...here's the 2nd thought part....

Call me a skeptic. I can't believe this is the way to ride out Armageddon.  I would need to know where the food, I am paying for is going to come from.  I am assuming if everyone at ground level is not able to survive,
better pick out your spot..space is limited
we won't be able to count on them for home delivery.  I remain hopeful that Papa John's is working on his Doomsday Survival Plan.   As for the $1499 package of  survivalist's food you can purchase from Costco, I am not aware of any subterranean Costcos.

Oh...and how does Robert plan on handling dumping stations for those RV's?    I would prefer not to spend my time in a sewer waiting for our little band of survivalists to repopulate the earth.  Which brings up a whole host of other problems...for  me.  As I am not, personally, capable of doing any of the repopulating, does that make me the "bad neighbor" down there.  Perhaps, they won't write me off entirely as I can be the resort's babysitter. 

OOPS...I had an after thought...Does this count as 3 thoughts for Tuesday?  Are there penalties for that?

Speaking of the END...reminded me of the old Tom Lehrer song...We'll All Go Together When We Go...of course, that would be with the exception of the people at the Vivos Resort residents

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Rock Chef said...

I love the idea of living in a tunnel system like that - and I had no idea that so much stuff was already underground! Thanks for a very interesting post!

Cheryl P. said...

I am fascinated by caves and have gone through tons of them in Missouri and Arkansas. I am not opposed to living in a cave as they seem fairly comfortable and safe. I just don't like the idea of sharing it with 5000 others and having limited sewer and water supplies. Maybe Vicino has all that worked out. I will never know as, if Doomsday arrives, I will be one of those kissing their butt goodbye.

lisleman said...

Did you know orchids practice sexual deception?

I did a post on that back in 09.


That is a huge underground business. Most my underground time has been enjoying cave tours.

"the resort's babysitter" - ha you could be the official blogger. Of course the internet will have been eaten by zombies (I suspect that part has started already).

I'm glad to see you ask yourself some very good questions about this doomsday scheme. Being in Kansas don't you always have the Emerald City to fall back on? I guess the yellow brick road will be packed that day.

Just Keepin' It Real Folks said...

Dang, you learn somethin' new everyday. I had no idea about all of these caves. I'm with you, I'll stay above ground and leave the underground RV "resort" to the trailblazers.

Cheryl P. said...

I had to stop for a minute and go over to your post. Yes, the biologist talked about how that particular orchid tricks bees into "mating" by acting and even smelling like a queen bee. Now that is just devious.

Yes, if I were willing to fork over thousands of dollars to be included into this "resort" I would make my self invaluable...ya never know when they might run out of food. I am going on the assumption that they really wouldn't want to have to be cooped up 24/7 with their own brats so maybe it would keep me from being the first on the menu.

I like the idea of me being the resident blogger. With 5000 people ensconced in a small space, I probably would have more readers than I currently do. Captive audience so to speak.

Yeah, there is the Emerald City angle but you have to remember that the wizard turned out to be a con man. HHHMMMMM...seems there are several con men in Kansas.

Cheryl P. said...

Yah, I am not willing to concede that I am going to live underground with 4999 people that may or may not find me funny...and I have concerns about how long the Diet Coke would hold out. God forbid that they try to ration it..that would knock the population down to 4998...oops...4997....oh wait...4996. Did I mention the press release said he is planning on a jail down there. Isn't it bad enough that a person would be living underground because the world was ending and THEN you get put in jail underground while the world is ending????

Debra She Who Seeks said...

The crazy Survivalists Resort reminds me of those crazy National Lampoon Vacation movies -- "Shitter's full!" Yup. Good times.

Liggybee said...

That is amazing!! You know, I always thought those underground businesses and structures existed only in the movies! (Maybe they were filmed there?!!!) WOW! I learn so much when I read your posts like this.

I didn't prepare a post for TST this week but I thought I'd take a short break and see what's up with everyone...have a great week!!! (Click! )

Cheryl P. said...

Debra...you have the most awesome memory. I hadn't thought of that. At least Eddie had a storm sewer to pour his shit into. I can't imagine how aweful sewer gas would be in a cave...oops...I mean a resort.

lisleman said...

devious flowers, wizard con men - you could keep the cave group entertained for hours. Maybe not days. This gave me a thought which is often dangerous. Since these people would need to be cooped up for a long period, I think they should screen the ones addicted to the internet and its gadgets from getting in. There are people today who go nuts when their smartphone goes dead. Can you imagine those people in this cave situation?

Cheryl P. said...

I am so glad you stopped by. I hadn't made my way over to Blogdumps yet to see who all had posts today. I am so far behind on my blog reading it's ridiculous.
When we first moved here, I kept seeing this entrances into the sides of bluffs and was curious about them. Most of them are warehouses or storage because of the stable temperatures but there are other types of businesses as well. The thing that is striking about these are how huge they are. The semi trucks look like toys nearly. The National Archives storage which is a large cave in the suburb Lenexa, KS holds things like the emergency room equipement from the night JFK was shot.

Cheryl P. said...

Good thing that I don't want to drop 30K to get in because if they start screening for people addicted to the Internet, I might not pass the test. Maybe Vicino will have a rehab available.

babs (beetle) said...

I am aware that there is a fairly secret network of caves and tunnels underground in England, for such times as the leaders of the country and top military need to be protected from an attack, but shops and companies? I am amazed at that.

Cheryl P. said...

I am sure there are secret caves and bunkers all over America for saving important politicians. I am, also, sure that no one will ever be telling me where those are for fear I will expect admittance. I am comfortable with my status as a "not important enough" to require a bunker. AHHH such is the way of the world.

babs (beetle) said...

I wouldn't want the problems that go with being that important, so I'm happy with my status too ;)

Wendy said...

Cheryl, you have most definitely given me something I NEVER knew before. I thought you were going to talk about spelunking! Which to me is far far more interesting than shopping. I struggle with anything that makes me feels claustrophobic so for sure I wouldn't be going with you underground. I wonder if this is true up in Canada? We typically just hid terrible for the environment stuff underground (gasp). It never fails to amaze me how people find a way to profit from the worst of disasters and suffering. Hey- Armageddon- no worries- as long as you got money, doesn't matter- we got you covered, just give us money money money. Is there any wonder why there is talk about the end of the world so often.

That song is HOW old? Too bad you won't be in the resort because they will indeed need some comic relief. Maybe Robert Vicino will offer you a special package ....

Agent 54 said...

Do we really want to survive Armageddon?

Trina said...

First... The idea of shopping underground is a little spooky. I think shopping stinks but shopping in a cave could be kind of cool ;)
Can't tell you how much I enjoyed your final thought. I love that song - it's catchy and now stuck in my head.

Wolfbernz said...

Hi Cheryl,
I think I see a road trip to KC soon. I never thought about how many businesses would operate underground, let alone how big those cave are to have such big operations!
The underground armeggon safehouse sounds... ummm... nice. But really, how big is this cave?!?!? Amazing!
Clicks for you!

Jo-Anne said...

Why are so many people fascinated in the end of the world...........really why..........I have children and grandchildren and want to see the world continue for them and for future grandchildren...........that said the underground shelter sounds kind of cool.....

Next who would had thought there were shops in caves and flower shops at that........

Chubby Chatterbox said...

I'm not sure i really want to survive Armageddon. I have problems with the world the way it is and I don't think it will be better when the dust settles after a major cataclysm.

Cheryl P. said...

I agree that spelunking would be way more interesting than shopping. I love going through caves and never tend to feel claustrophobic because most are so...well...you know...cavernous.
I doubt that Canada is alone by putting evirnomentally hazardous stuff underground. I doubt that we are informed about this type of thing as I think information is on a need to know basis unless it's on a reality show or the morning news/entertainment shows.
You and I are so on the same page as far as my disdain for people that are trying to capitalize on putting fear into people. I, even, hate watching home alarm companies trying to sell the idea that if you don't have a home alarm you are putting your family at risk. Fear shouldn't be a selling tool.
Tom Lehrer's albums came out in the late 50s through the 60s. It's interesting that so many of them are still quite relavent.
I bet Robert wouldn't think I am funny. He isn't alone, I am sure. He might like Crabby Pants though.

Cheryl P. said...

No, you are so right...in the event of Armageddon why would anyone want to stick around to see the dispair. When it's time, it's time.

Cheryl P. said...

I will admit when we drove up to the bunker looking entrance, I had my doubts. But the people at Bird's Botanicals were so nice and the tour was interesting, so I am glad I went. Also, I was surprised how large the area under there is. Semi trucks look minature in relationship to the caverns.
All of Tom Lehrer's songs are so catchy and surprisingly so many of them are still topical. I guess in 1959 there were some Doomsdayers as well.

Cheryl P. said...

It is amazing at the subteranean operations here. Subtropolis alone is more than 5000 acres. It's hard to even comprehend that much space, let alone in one developement.
Yeh, that guy sounds "interesting" I can't think that people are all that eager to part with their money for securing a spot for the end of the earth but...a different guy bought up some old missle silos (also underground) and turned them into luxury condos and sold them all. (and they were super expensive condos at that)
There is just a certain segment of the poplulation that will buy anything...oh and some of that segment are idiots.

Cheryl P. said...

I agree, Jo-Anne, I don't get why there is such a current fascination with zombies, and the apocolypse talk. Morbid but then I am not really believing in any of it anyway.
I do find caves interesting. It's just amazing to me all the businesses that are in local caves. The fact they don't have to air condition or heat them has got to make for a pretty cheap way to maintain their products.

Cheryl P. said...

I am certain that I wouldn't want to be left standing if a lot of my friends and family were faced with some sort of catastrophe. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I cry when I see an animal that has been hit on the roadside. I am a mess when I see someone or something that has been hurt. In the event of a major crisis, someone needs to just "accidently" push me over a cliff.

oldereyes said...

I find it very interesting that KC's huge caves are man made, not to mention that they are actually used for commerce. The few times I've been in caves, it sort of gave me the willies to know I was underground, so I'm not sure I'd like shopping there. As far as Armageddon (I had to check your post for spelling), I think the last thing I'd want is to be trapped underground with 5,000 people whose biggest concern before Armageddon was surviving it.


Cheryl P. said...

I, too find it interesting how big companies are working out of underground facilities. I don't even know how they refer to their workplaces. Do they ask customers to stop by the office or the cave?

I would of been happy being a geologist, I think. Hubby and I went through Marvel Cave just a few months ago. Super rough terrain going down the equivalent of 35 stories. Once you are down as far as the tour goes it takes 600 stairs to get back out. But still great fun to see all the rock formations and hear about all the history related to the cave.

You make a great point about being surrounded by the type of people that spent their pre-Armageddon time worrying about how to avoid dying in a cataclysmic event. They probably aren't a crowd that is heavy with optimistic, carefree type of folks. I, also, find it interesting that these people don't realize the their dying is a fact...it's a for sure going to happen think. Kind of the same mind set as a 105 year old paying for a heart transplant. A lesson in futility.

Linda R. said...

This is fascinating. I had no idea there was so much going on below ground that is outside of the Subways and the homeless who inhabit the tunnels. I would say that the resort is a bit pricey for me so I guess I'll have to take my chances above-ground. Let me know if you get in and I'll send you a case of Lysol.

Seriously, I'd love to see some of those shopping caves sometime. Oh, and I bet they save on electricity with no need for heat or A/C. But then they do use lots of lights.

meleahrebeccah said...

"Right here in Kansas City, many of those underground spaces contain businesses. A huge amount business is housed underground."

Wow. That's so interesting. I had no idea.

Okay - I really HATE shopping too - but cave shopping? Oh I have to do that, at least ONCE in my lifetime. That looks incredibly awesome.

"according to Robert....you can vacation and learn survival skills while you are waiting around for whatever world-wide doomsday that awaits."

Personally, if doomsday does arrive - I'd rather be taken out or killed right away rather than spending the rest of my life fighting to survive.

Cheryl P. said...

Oddly, (and sadly) enough there are no subways in KC. This is really a hard city to live in if you relied on public transportation. We do have a lot of homeless though and considering our extreme heat in the summer and freezing in the winter, it's a dangerous situation,
I am like you...I will take my chances without resorting to paying for my spot in a cave. Not that I am a skeptic (OK,,,yes I am) I don't trust this guy to do all that he promises. I guess since he is counting on not having to come through until the end of the world, he probably is counting on his disatisified customers being in no position to complain.

Cheryl P. said...

As always, you and I are on the same page. I hate shopping but once in awhile if the venue is kind of unusual or interesting, I will give it a go for the experience of it.
I don't want to be the last woman standing at the end of time. I would hate to live past any of the people I care about. What is life worth if you are living in complete sadness?

meleahrebeccah said...


Robyn Engel said...

I think that is very cool that there are all sorts of underground worlds in caves. I get claustrophobic, though, so I'll enjoy it from my computer desk chair. Thanks for the tour, Cheryl.

Be well.

Nicky said...

Hey, how's this for a coincidence: Montreal has an underground city - although we don't have the caves. It's over 20 miles of tunnels with all kinds of boutiques and businesses. It also connects with above-ground shopping malls, hotels, apartments, museums, universities, subways and a whole whack of other things. Nowhere to park an RV, though.

Oh, and maybe somebody should tell that guy that in the event the end of the Earth actually happens, I'm not sure underground is the place to be. Every end of the world movie I've ever seen includes massive earthquakes resulting in bottomless chasms opening and lava spitting up from the center of the planet. Just saying.

AletaObrien said...

Oh Wow! I didn't know they had STORES underground. How cool is that! We can't do that in New Orleans - you did too far and you get swamp water. Seriously. We're built on a swamp :) In fact, it's very typical that during the summer months you see massive loads of dirt in a person's front yard. Home owners shovel the dirt in their front and back yard to keep "building up the property" - because we sink.

Riot Kitty said...

I had no idea about the underground businesses - where I come from, that means "illegal" - that's actually pretty fascinating.

So do you expect an influx of right-wing nuts with this survivalist place?

Rock Chef said...

Me too.
Kissing my own butt, that is, not yours :-)

abeerfortheshower said...

I'm with Riot Kitty, when I hear underground I think black market, not literal underground. That sounds kind of cool. I think it'd be fun to try once, but I don't know if I'd like to go "cave shopping" on the regular. That's why I have Amazon.com, so I don't have to go ANYWHERE to buy what I want.

Cheryl P. said...

These types of caves here are very industrial looking, more suited for warehouses and such so they wouldn't be of much interest to hang out in unless you were some survivalist nut who thought you could wait out the end of the earth. I think everyone would become claustrophobic if we knew we had to stay in a cave.

Cheryl P. said...

Yeah, I agree...even the phrase "going underground" sounds shady. I am sure there is some of that here as well.

I am very curious if this Robert can sell anyone on the idea of buying into his resort. Are there people this nutty that have a lot of spare cash laying around? I guess Kansas must already have a bunch of right-wing nuts (OK we all knew that didn't we?) because a different guy turned a bunch of old missile silos into condos and they sold out.

Cheryl P. said...

There isn't much down in those caves unless you are a trucker that would be of interest. I wouldn't be surprised if the local Amazon warehouses aren't down there, though,

I am totally with you about Amazon. I hate to shop..with a passion but Amazon Prime is my "go to" spot for just about everything but weekly food shopping. If any of my friends or relatives need a gift the box comes to their door step with a :) on the box.

Cheryl P. said...

Yep, I totally understand.

Dexter Klemperer said...

Cool pictures! Who would have thought of underground gardens? I'm very much excited to see the golf course at the survivor resort. $1500 for food? Not a bad deal if you're staying down there for eternity. And what happens if someone signs up for a spot, pays all applicable fees but turns into a zombie before he/she gets his/her RV parked there?

Cheryl P. said...

I, too am plagued with questions, Dexter. I want to see the menus and determine where this food is coming from if the world above is closed for business. I plan of living a long time so I need some assurances that there is enough freeze dried grub to sustain me into my centenarian years. Are there going to be hydroponic gardens so we can grow the same tomatoes I get at the Walmart? I am not sure I can give up tasteless tomatoes that have those rubbery skins. It's what I am used to and change is hard.

And about the activities...I agree...how are the greens going to stay green? I did find it a tad amusing that "rock climbing" was on the list of activities. I really think they needed to put "duh" in parenthesis next to it.

Robert also says the bunker doors will withstand a one-megaton nuclear explosion as close as 10 miles away...I want proof.

I am less worried about zombies as I am pretty sure no one wants my brain, but I am concerned about having a bad neighbor. Living out the rest of my very long life next to a nut bag, without the possibility of being able to sell my property is a daunting thought.

KatheW said...

I am fascinated by these caves! Never had heard of them in Kansas!!! Great for when you have tornados...."Oh! Look Dorothy....a tornado is coming- time to shop!"
Have a great day!!!
ps finally got rid of the "Rusty" moniker and got back to my name!

Cheryl P. said...

Hi Kathe, That is a great idea for people to use all these caves for emergency shelters but most of them are huge trucking and storage facilites that have huge gates over the entrance. They wouldn't be open to the general public. The only thing these caves have going for them they are huge. Luckily for the rest of us nearly all of our homes have basements and many of those basements even have tornado rooms.
BTW...I really like your avatar. That is so cute.