Saturday, June 9, 2007

In A Crater Without A Paddle

We arrived in Murfreesboro between 2:00 and 3:00. After checking into the Queen of Diamonds Inn, we unloaded our stuff and took off for the Crater of Diamonds State Park. It was only 2 miles away. We mainly wanted to get a look at it to see if we were coming back to dig, and also to see the water park. A guy at the motel said he'd been out there, and the water park was packed. It was pretty crowded. HH decided to go back to the motel pool and swim for an hour, then come back for a mining expedition.

Before leaving, though, we toured the visitor's center to see examples of what rough diamonds look like. They had them in all colors and sizes, and even told about how much the different ones were worth. There was some kind of movie, but nobody was operating it, so we didn't bother. The boys made a fifty cent penny in one of those machine penny-squeezer thingies. #2 son bought a large chunk of amethyst for $5 in the gift shop. We saw that the price to enter the mine field would be $20 for the whole passel of us, and decided to go swimming and come back around 4:30. If we had waited until 6:00, the next day was free. But since we are made of money, and had already spent so much on other parts of this little vacation, we figured $20 was cheap enough to spend on two different days. Heh, heh. It was the tip we didn't leave the server at the Pitiot Stampede.

Back at the motel, HH took the boys swimming while I rested up. I was sick as a dog, remember. The heat sapped the strength right out of me. I drank some water and laid down to read for a while. When the boys came back, we made sure we had brought our screens and buckets and spades, donned our caps, and hit the road. We paid at the visitor's center, and got our arms stamped. That way, you can leave and enter again. I don't know if that stuff holds up in the water park, though. I think the water park is fairly cheap as water parks go. $3 or $6 or something. But the guy who stamped us said he put it up on our arms instead of our hands so we wouldn't wash it off while rinsing the screens full of dirt in the giant green dumpster-like-water-holding thingies. Those were my words, not his.

We headed down the concrete path to the pavillion area overlooking the water park, where you can attend some lectures about various rock subjects from the park rangers. They have the times posted. We didn't want no learnin', so we proceeded down the concrete ramp, because old folks like us don't like the stairs. On the ground level, HH rented a small-holed screen thingy, which we didn't have. Ours were custom-made by HH to sift for quartz and stuff in the creek. Then we gathered up our gear and headed to the mine. None of us whistled "Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work we go...".

Here's the entrance.

Some of those trees are gone now, and the rows were plowed the other way, but that's basically what it looks like. A big ol' field of dirt. We didn't go too far in. On the right, we saw a hole somebody had started, so I sat down there with my feet in it and dug some of it, and some dirt from around the top of the rows. There were some tiny sparkles in it. I thought I might uncover some bigger sparkles. #2 roamed around to where there were signs declaring which big diamonds had been found there. HH and #1 son took off for the upper field, and washed and rinsed sceens of dirt in the dirty water dumpsters.

Wouldn't you know it...people came in and started digging right on top of me!!! I wondered if they were the mini golf people from Branson. A whole giant 35-acre field, and they had to stop right on top of me. I'm surprised I didn't have shoe marks on my forehead. I had been tossing big chunks of jasper over my shoulder. It's a wonder I didn't brain one of them with it. I guess I should have aimed better. It's not like we were waiting in a cram-packed line for the log flume at Silver Dollar City. It was evening. Not many people were digging. And they had to get right on top of me. People piss me off! Those folks needed a good spanking, and a lecture on personal space.

At the end of the day, we'd found a nice sliver of amethyst (#1 son), some quartz stained red on one end by iron ore, and a chunk of broken-off agate. We kept them for sentimental reasons, except for the amethyst, which was lost between the water trough and the rock-checker people. Too darn bad. It was pretty. He found it right on top of the ground, in a pile of stuff somebody had dumped out. We headed back to the Queen of Diamonds, with plans to try, try again the next day.

HH topped off the perfect day by clipping his toenails and leaving them on the nightstand. Uhhggg! I hate feet. We reminded him several times, until he finally threw them away. Good thing. #1 slept on that side of the bed. He's a bit restless. I looked up to see him diving under the bed like a snake eating its tail. Except that he doesn't have scales, and doesn't have a tail, though he does have a butt hole, which his brother announced to Grandma during our stay at her house during the wicked ice storm last November. Anyhoo...the next time I looked, the boy had his cheek lying on the nightstand right where those toenails had been. Yuuuucckkk!

The next morning, we put on our diggin' clothes again and headed to the mine bright and early. It's open 8:00 to 8:00. #2 and I went down on the back part, and HH got mad at both boys and stomped around not helping, and #1 and I rinsed a bunch of buckets of dirt. There was a girl there telling how she'd found a stone on the road at the campground. She showed some regular there at the water troughs, and he said it looked like a crystal to him, but he couldn't scratch it with his knife, so she ought to have it checked out by the rock-checkers. She said she would keep it anyway, because it was pretty. I didn't get a good look at it. I don't think it was that 2.9 carat yellow diamond found the day after we left, because she was about 16-17, not 13 like the girl who found that, but she DID have a younger sister with her. Anyhoo...we didn't find much more than some pretty quartz and jasper, so we called it a half-day and went to check out of the Inn.

And then commenced our trail-of-tears journey home, which you will hear about tomorrow.

See? I told you I could get a whole month's worth of blogging out of this vacation. You haven't even heard about the gambling trip yet (no, I'm not rich), or the Throwed Roll Restaurant, or the Rock Show back home.


Redneck. Diva. said...

Man, now I am totally thinking we need to take a trip to the mine field!

That sounds like too much fun!

Hillbilly Mom said...

And it was just on Best Places to Find Cash and Treasures on Sunday night. I hope you saw it. But that lady didn't find anything, either. Except for an old man with a collection of 250 diamonds he had found there. HOG! No wonder us commoners can't find anything. She asked if he was going to sell any of them, and he said, "No. I don't need the money."

I hate people like that, by cracky!

I bet he didn't even name one 'The Diva Diamond'.