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Waynesville, MO

Rich and I had the "complete experience" at this year's "2105" Missouri Convention. There were
many float trips offered between July 12th and July 12th. (Not my typo - You just had to be a fly
on the wall at registration.)
We arrived in Waynesville, MO the Thursday before convention with the intention of meeting up
with Bill English, his daughter, Ali Chambliss and her husband Terry. Ali and I always work
registration at conventions and it was time to stuff those packets. SCHOOL CLOSED!!! So
we set up campsite which was fabulous - right up until Saturday when the powers that be
decided to change it to noisy camping.
Dinner was at the local bar called Hoppers. We knew it would be good because when you walk
in the door you see an extensive bar with 66 taps. The bar is on Route 66 Unfortunately,
there were only three dark beers but Id still recommend the place. The Shafleys Oatmeal
Stout was really good. The food had to be sent back several times for different reasons but
when it finally arrived the right way it was darn tasty. After a stop at Wal Mart we agreed to meet
at the school at 7 a.m. the next morning.
Ali wanted to set up registration in the main lobby which made sense. Unfortunately, there was
no internet available for registration. The buildings facilities manager didnt think wed need it.
Of course, registration had only been on line for a year. How do you look up someones
registration on line if there is NO LINE??
First job - stuff water bottles into their cases. Four of us stuffed for over an hour and then one
by one the three other left to do other jobs. I did most myself. We stuffed 1044 bottles into
coozies. My hands were so sore when I finished. Things just got worse from there
Registration was a nightmare - thankfully everyone seemed to have a great time at convention,
not knowing what happened behind the scenes.
Welcome to Convention.
After a night no sleep, as Rich and I helped man registration, we left for our geology field trip.
My thanks to Jeffrey Crews who wrote the Geology Field Trip Guidebook for his descriptions that
Im using.
The first stop was an outcrop. Here we saw at least two repeating cycles of deposition. The
lower part of the Jefferson City Dolomite shows burrowed mudstone overlain by algal
laminates. Dolomitization of the carbonates has erased and masked many of the fossils that
would be used for determining biostratigraphy

At the second site we saw a more crystalline dolomite. Stromatolites-laminate with alternating
tidal-flat laminates could easily be seen. Stromatolites are the oldest known fossils on Earth;
dating back 3.5 million years. They are built up from blue-green algae known as cyanobacteria.
These form colonies that trap sediment that reacts to calcium carbonate in the water to form
Next was the Conical Sink which was used as an illegal dump site. The majority of the trash
was pulled out of the sink with the use of a crane. Cavers, locals, and even prisoners worked at
the trash removal. The clean up occurred between 2007-2008 with the removal of 59,000
pounds of trash, 126 tires, and 11,500 pounds of metal.
Across the road was Slaughter Sink, much larger in area than Conical Sink. Both probably
developed from collapse into caverns. The majority of caves in Pulaski County are found in
the upper beds of the Gasconade Dolomite, that includes Slaughter Sink.
At our next stop we walked down to the entrance of Onyx Cave, now closed, one of the earliest
documented caves in Missouri. A mining operation to extract speleothems from the cave didnt
last long.
After lunch at Mill Creek Park we stopped at Yelten Spring. It was amazing. The spring is
variable, at times not flowing at all, but today it was roiling. This due to a week of rain before
Roubidoux Spring was our last stop. It is the longest underwater cave explored in Missouri at
11,528 feet. Because of the rain the spring was impressive. Kids were jumping from the wall
above and from the fence rail. They would bounce right back up, buoyed by the spring.
Just a stones throw from the spring is Hoppers so we asked Rhiann and Marlon to meet us at
the restaurant. Peri and Bill Franz joined us and when the Irvings came in we made room at
the table. We had a grand time, staying for 1 1/2 hours. Then we took Rhi and Marlon to
Roubidoux Spring, which is on the Trail of Tears.
The spring was down a big from earlier so I suggested that if Marlon wanted a fun experience he
should jump in and then swim to the side away from us. When he came up we heard, Holy
S(*&*(&T, thats REALLY cold!!! At night we sat around camp and visited with the Biggers.
I had to be up early for the BOG meeting. We heard convention reports from the 2015, 2016,
and 2017 chairs. The Rio Rancho, NM big was approved by the Board.

As usual, we went through motion by motion to see if any had to be discussed. Those motions
that have no issues are passed together by acclimation.
After lunch the fun began in earnest. We started with a closed session of the directorate by
electing Bill Jackson as our head honcho. We re-elected Geary Shindel as AVP and Curt Harler
as EVP. Dave Luckins was stepping down after four years so we elected Dave Haun to take his
place. That left his spot open so we elected Amos Minson, who received the next most votes in
the last Board election. He was proxying for Allen Maddox so we then voted to have Craig
Hindman replace Amos as proxy. Confused yet???
Adjourning at 5:30 p.m. all of us were very hungry. The wait in line for BBQ dinner was long and
hot. We needled Dave Decker about getting more dark beer for the next two conventions
because there was only one selection this year. Dark beer always runs out first. We sat in the
sauna of the big tent and enjoyed our dinner. The humidity was oppressive - no sign of the
usual Howdy Party rain. Grateful Gary serenaded us until the main band played. We danced
until late
On Wednesday, I got to sleep in and Rich went to see the talk by Phil Lucas on Warm River
Cave. Rich and I caught a few afternoon talks before attending the new member and Fellow
reception in the Shriners building. The idea is for the new to meet the old but there was no
room to mingle. Note to others: more room, more wine
At the campground it was open mic night. Nick Socky sang a few fun caving songs. Rhiann
sang two songs. The female singer from the Terminal Siphons was there and was interested in
having Rhiann sing with them on Wednesday.
Wednesday was international session day, a favorite of ours. Maureen Handler did a
presentation on Bassetts Cave in Bermuda and Pat Kambesis did three talks. One was about
explorations in Haiti, one in Quintana Roo, Mexico and the last about caving in Laos. Bill Steele
had a fantastic talk, Proyecto Espeleologico Systema Huatla 2015. I was very interested in the
talk by Amos Minson, a talk on caving in Romania. His slide presentation showed several
places that Rich and I saw when in Romania in 2013. Erin Lynch talked about more discoveries
in China. It was quite interesting.
We enjoyed the pasta dinner and wine tasting back at camp before the auction. The mayor,
Luge Hardman, helped as an auctioneer. Shes a real hoot. A metal plaque, carved with the
convention logo wasnt getting any bids so the mayor bid $50.00 to get the ball rolling. She
really liked it. Dave Hughes bought it for $200.00 and presented it to the major which made her
a big weepy. The auction made over $5000.00

The Terminal Siphons played several sets. I was very disappointed that Rhiann didnt sing.
They even set up a mike for her but Rhiann went to a burlesque place instead. It was a very,
very, late night.
Thursday Rich and I went to see Bill Steeles luminary talk: 50 Years of Caving History. It
was a great talk with fun pictures. At 2 p.m. we went to see No Place on Earth again,
presented by Chris Nicola. Since we saw his talk at the VPI Banquet in 2013 he has had emails from two other families who escaped the Nazis by living underground. It was good to see
many young people at the session.
The Photo Salon is the highlight of the convention. It didn't disappoint but with several glitches it
lasted a lot longer than expected. We went to a German restaurant at the suggestion of the
Biggers, The Hub. Awesome Food!!! They sold a Russian porter that was fantastic. I was able
to buy a couple of bottles to take back to camp.
There was Ramen Noodle wrestling outside the Green Dragon, near our tent. Not as many
participants as usual but still fun to watch. Too many young kids around though way after
their bedtime.
Friday, it was off to another BOG meeting, which was very, very long. We didnt even get a
break for lunch. Bill Stringfellow presented a report from the Congress of Grottoes. We asked
George Veni some questions about K.I.P. (Karst Information Portal). There has been some
concern among the membership that articles and cave locations are being published that are
meant for members only. The Board felt that it was good to publish the Journal of Cave and
Karst Studies on KIP. The European publications have been open to everyone for research for
years. The discussion took up most of the afternoon and we didnt adjourn until 4:20 p.m.
The banquet was very good. Marlon, Rhiann, Morganna Birkheimer, and Bob and Patti Barns
joined us at the table. The food was really good.
The award portion of the banquet was extremely long. Molly Lucier and Ray Sira (finally) got
their Fellows this year. Dave Luckins got the Wm. J. Stephenson Outstanding Service Award,
the same that Ted Kayes got last year. Erin Lynch garnered the Lew Bicking Award and Bill
Steele received the award for Spelean Arts and Letters.
It was time for the hot tub back at camp. Brad did a good job with the tub, using a new system
this year.
It was a long trip back to Richmond but we definitely had a good time.
Submitted by,

Margot Geisler