The Rat Race
Dani and I found this tunnel (or tunnels, as it turned out) while scouting downtown Dallas some months earlier.  However, we hadn't gotten around to it in all this time, so Ben and I checked it out.  Aside from the obvious reference to urban life, the tunnel derives its name from another source to be covered shortly.  Read on!

I probably should have gotten a photo from a distance, but just above and behind Ben is the parking lot of the convention center, with the downtown skyline just beyond the center itself.

It's hard to tell just how large this one is, but you could just about drive a train through this part of the tunnel.  I have no idea why it's this large right here since it ends up smaller downstream.

Both the tunnels mimicked one another along here in changing from square to round (shown above), then back to square again (below).

At a couple points along the way in this section we were able to climb up to see the surface.

I couldn't get a GPS reading here, but we were right up against the convention center itself.

Here is where things started to get interesting!  Apparently this used to be the end of the much, much older system that runs beneath downtown Dallas.  Presumably, the section we just passed through was built to extend the real estate that the convention center sits on.

Note the stairway to nowhere to the right.  Interesting!

I should point out here that the parallel tunnel at this point went its own way.  I will cover that portion a little later.

To give you an idea how old this system is, these "stalactites" formed in any number of places where water was able to seep through small (and even large) spaces for what was clearly a period of decades.  The area in the photo was between two culverts.

Note that there were many, many other such formations, but none of my photos do justice to the sights.  Honestly, the trip would have been worth it just to see some of these formations.

At this point the tunnel seemed to get pretty low.  I was kind of despondent when I saw this, but you never know how things are going to turn out, so we pressed on.

Note that this is the same style architecture as that found in most sections of Three Way tunnel as well as several other tunnels around Dallas.  Surprisingly, I haven't seen this configuration anywhere outside of the city.

Very quickly, the tunnel changed into this somewhat larger and rounded style, the entire circumference of which was composed of old fashioned solid red bricks.

You can see the deposition of all the minerals (calcium?) along the walls in this area.  As I alluded to above, some of these formations were absolutely huge!

Continue to Part II