Clement Mineral Museum Annual Show 2014

I had stayed in touch with Tina at the BE Clement Mineral Museum once again this year and volunteered to come help them get the show set up this year and host the Eureka Mine again as well.  

Throughout the years, I have had alot of artist friends suggest to me that I stop off at various places and do some sighteeing, but I had never done so. This year I decided I would drive down a day early and see the sights that everyone suggested in years past. I picked up a friend of mine on the way down, and Rob rode with me to the museum in Marion, Kentucky, and helped me unload the seven buckets of grab bag material that I always take to them for their show and museum sales as well through the remainder of the year. Tina had some extra muscle this year, in the form of a young man named Brandon, who also helped us unload the truck. This year they are trying to raise money to build a better roof on the building housing the museum. I also had some druse plates and combos of druse and poker chips for their silent auction during the Show, as well as some dogtooths and special pieces for Tina, including some of the black dogtooth crystals I had found earlier this year. I always try to take them a variety of material, but I seem to be known down there as Mr. Poker Chip by a few people. I visited with Tina, BJ, and Sherry, as well as some newer people, before heading on north on Hwy 91 to cross the Ohio River at Cave in Rock. Rob and I met another friend at Garden of the Gods and then Rim Rock Trail, and were able to do some hiking over there while seeing the sights. Great places for one to go if you have some spare time.

I returned to the hotel by 7 pm and headed to the Oasis Southwest Grill Steakhouse shortly after. They have a great atmosphere and really know how to cook good food, whether it be seafood or steaks that you are after…I have been eating there for several years now and always like the grilled porkchops marinated with a light bbq sauce, one inch thick and cooked to perfection each time. I ate there all three nights and had the same meal each night, perfectly cooked each night and always just right.

I was up by 8 am Friday morning, having called Bill Frazer the evening before to see what time I needed to be at the museum to help them out…we agreed on 10 am and after stopping off at Ms. Neda`s Donut Shop in nearby Eddyville, I headed that way. I passed by the red horse barn that I have photographed in the past….

Barns and Horses north of Eddyville

…and noticed this year that the owners are building a beautiful new home just up the hill to the right of the barn….and had constructed a large metal garage and workshop a bit further down from the house…thought it was nice that they had kept the old wood barn, perhaps they realize how well loved and appreciated it is by folks like me who drive by. Speaking of horses, one of my other favorite places along Hwy 641 on the way to the Museum, is a field of horses on the west side of the road just before you get to the right hand curve entering Fredonia….

25 Pretty Horses Sat PM Sunlight

27 Pretty Horses Sat PM Sunlight

…never fails, there are always several horses in that field. I drove on over to the museum at Marion…they have the annual gem show in the Fohs Hall, a stately and elegant old building that used to house a school there….

County Museum Marion KY

…I walked in and found several familiar faces already hard at work on various jobs that Tina had asked them to do, and Brandon, a local young man that Bill had enlisted the help of recently with several projects, already hard at work there as well. I met Brandon the day before when Rob and I arrived, and Tina asked him to help us unload the several buckets of grab bag material…found out that he was a football player, defensive end and offensive line, he def had the size and muscle for both positions. Tina showed me a vast collection from an estate sale that the museum had recently purchased…many specimens from the southern Illinois and western Kentucky fluorite mines as well as many other items too many to mention. She asked me to sort through the multiple boxes to see what all was there, they were trying to find certain items to get appraised for future sales. While doing so, I found out there were many fossils in the estate collection as well as some local minerals and even some slabs of lapidary interests, seashells of every type imagineable, and a few minerals and crystals from everywhere in the USA. 

Ed Clements and Tina`s husband Brad showed up about lunch time, and after a brief lunch with them, Brad and I walked over to the museum where Brad helped Brandon move some tables down from the upper floor to the dealers room and then we walked through the rooms to see what all was set up for the show, while Brandon went outside to help dealers move their tables and crates of minerals inside. Soon after, Bill Frazer showed up and we drove down to the Eureka Mine where he showed me the tailing piles turned over, the area looked ready for collectors the next day….

02 Ready for Collectors

03 Tailing Piles

04 Tailing Piles

and we discussed some areas that could be dug out to search for new material. He told me that he had some exploratory digging done earlier this spring and nothing so far, had been found, yet he was definitely wanting to find some additional areas of resources, so folks could continue to come dig and have fun doing so. Bill decided to head back down there and bushhog the field where folks would be parking and the sides of the road down to the mine, after dropping me off at the museum. Brad and I drove down to the mine about thirty minutes later to contact Bill, some folks from the city were looking for him and he wasn`t answering his phone. We found him at the gate, having problems raising the mower deck behind his tractor. We stuck around a while and nosed around the tailing piles to make sure there was some good material to be found there, tried unsuccessfully, to pull the suction hose out of the mud,  and then started back toward the museum…..yet when we got back to the gate, we found ourselves locked in by persons unknown. We drove back down to let Bill know, and he drove up to the gate to let us out, and told me that he would unlock the gate for me the next morning and take the lock with him, so that wouldn`t happen again, seems it had been happening alot lately. I had a good chat with Ed back at the museum before heading back to the hotel and supper at the Oasis once again.

Saturday morning I got up early, stopped by the donut shop to grab a few donuts and chocolate milk, then headed to the Eureka Mine, to host there all day. Bill met me at the gate at 8:20 am and then headed to some more gates to unlock them as well, and I drove on down to the mine. He had made some improvements to the road leading down to the mine, with some larger gravel and it was a much smoother ride now….

01 Road to Mine Improved


I drove on down and changed into my boots, made sure the gate to the parking area was open, then walked around the tailing piles to see if I could see any purple so I would know where to direct people to dig at….I had found a few places the day before when Brad and I were down there and made a mental note of them once again. I also found the bad hole that Bill had referred to someone digging out into the top of the creek bank, which could compromise the creek bank, which is the only thing keeping the creek water from spilling into the pit…why someone would have dug down there is beyond me, they certainly didn`t think about how that could affect things.

05 Bad Hole Dug Here

Bill was concerned about folks digging into the bank there and further adding to any compromise, so I made a mental note to keep that from happening as well as a few danger spots that I have become familiar with over the years. Some folks enter a site and look for the host and ask questions about what they are looking for as well as where to look, while others just get so excited on arrival that they just walk in and start digging…sometimes having no clue about any spots that might have hidden hazards. Take for example, the north side of the pit…

07 North Bank of Pit

…it`s mainly made up of fill from tailing piles, so probably has some nice material in it, but several people have heard so much about the pit itself over the years, harvesting so much nice plates of cubes, that many want to go right down into the pit…this year the museum staff was unable to pump the pit down so everyone decided to walk right down to the waters edge and look around…not realizing that the mud at the very edge was extremely soft and one could sink to their knees very quickly. I was able to warn some and others found out the hard way. In the area to the right of that fill, there used to be a vertical shaft of an unknown depth, so we have always told folks to avoid that area, and I had to run a few out of there Saturday as well, for safetys sake. We had tried to get that area filled in last spring, yet the trackhoe operator was unable to reach that far to dump the fill dirt in there on top of it…it would have effectively sealed off the waterfall from the creek there as well.

I also bring a box of fluorite pieces with me, to show folks what they are looking for and to give to them, children especially, when they can`t find something nice to take home with them. Tina usually makes it a point to let folks know that when she knows they are coming to the Eureka Mine and I am there. There were several children there Saturday, that were working on their 4H projects, so I made a point of helping them look for some fluorite and giving them some extra pieces too. Their faces always light up when they get to pick out some nicer ones to take home with them. Well worth it right there. There was one visitor that I wasn`t able to help much on Saturday….

08 Natural Fan


…he moved way too fast for me, but he did have some younger fans there for him. 🙂

Mary who is one of the regulars like me, was the first one to show up Saturday morning, she is one of the nicest members of the Magma Club that I know and she drives up there each year to dig and sometimes I see her at some of the public digs that the Museum staff host each month as well, seen here on the left side on the back of the tailing pile, doing a surface search for fluorite…

10 Mary Checks Back Side of Pile


..and soon after she showed up, others showed up in small groups…

09 First Few Diggers Sat Morning


11 Diggers In the Pit

12 More Diggers Show Up

13 Washing Some Off


…you see that little guy in the photo above in green shorts and shoes ? talk about a fearless guy…he wasn`t afraid of the mud or water either one, he was here to have fun whether he found anything or not…enjoyed throwing rocks into the creek and splashing Phillip who was trying to find some fluorite in the vein that runs under the creek. Phillip is another Magma member that is very nice…he and his wife Shirley drive up there frequently from the Danville area…Phillip told him that if he kept throwing rocks, he was going to to dunk him a few times in the water and see how much he enjoyed that…that`s his mom washing off some finds in the pit above in the blue shirt…when she found out what he was doing, she threatened him with a spanking and then we found out that he wasn`t so fearless afterall and he behaved a lot better after that…he sure had more energy than anyone I know of. I made sure he had a nice piece of fluorite when they left, too. 

15  Fearless Guy in Green


20 Fearless

16 Kids Having Fun

…his mom and a friend found some nice material digging down into the north bank of tailings used for fill on the edge of the pit…

17 Comparing Finds

..and for the most part, everywhere I looked, people seemed to be happy with their finds and enjoying their time digging there, young and older alike….

18 Hard At Work

Around mid morning there was a young father that walked up with his dad and his three young boys and I gave them some tips on where to dig at, and told them if they struck out, be sure to come see me before they left…they set out to look in my favorite corner of the pit…

19 Dad, Kids & Grandpa Hard At It

…and while they probably didn`t find alot while there, I made sure they left with a couple of pieces of nice fluorite, they were a nice group of diggers there that day. There was a couple of guys from the Bloomington area that showed up late morning, arriving with family but they were the only two that stuck around to dig…they came over to me and asked for a good location to dig at…I could tell they were serious about finding some nice stuff, so I told them about my favorite corner and told them how to get to the good stuff…

06 My Favorite Corner

….and they wasted no time in getting down into the pit and getting muddy to look for some good cubes….

22 Bloomington Guys Work Hole

..and still more diggers showed up to dig for cubes on the other side of the pit….

23 More Diggers in Afternoon

…I was keeping an eye on the Bloomington diggers, they soon got down to the right level and found some nice cubes…

24 Bloomington Guys Work Hole

…one with a touch of purple on one end and yellow and white color on the other end, in the hopper style of cubes, which looks like a stair step cube formation that is pretty neat to look at….Bill Frazer stopped by about that time on one of his many visits down to see us and I suggested that he take a look at their neat find….

21 Bill Visits With Bloomington Bunch


…I happened to find a few diggers from the state of Missouri there as well…Columbia area…Heinrich and two young ladies decided to dig into the west wall of the pit and try their luck….

25 Heinrich Digs Into West Wall

26 Heinrich Digs Into West Wall

…for awhile there, I thought he was digging down to China, but assured me that he was just trying to get down to a better level for finding stuff. By mid afternoon, we were all beginning to see signs of storms approaching…the forecast was that storms would hold off til about 6 pm, but it was looking more and more like we were going to see some sooner. I called Tina to have her check the radar on her computer at the Museum and she said there was a line of storms moving thru Paducah about that time, so we figured we had about thirty extra minutes of digging time and I made that known to everyone there. The Bloomington boys were still digging down and pulling some stuff out….

27 Ryan Takes a Turn in Hole

…..and pretty soon they decided to change out in the pit…

29 Ryans Turn to Get Muddy

…the second young man, I believe his name is Ryan, had a bit of a hearing disability, and he had removed his hearing aids before getting down into the pit because he said they were not waterproof…he was still down there when this loud clap of thunder rumbled overhead and then a strong bolt of lightning struck very close, possibly right across the creek from us and there was a very bright flash of white light with it, like a huge roman candle !!!  While Ryan didn`t hear the thunder or lightning, he jumped straight up from the mud and told us that he had felt the energy from the lightning travel up both of his arms which were extended down into the hole, and up into his chest !!  He then told us ” I`m done !! ”  Everyone was pretty much in evacuation mode by then, heading for their cars as the rain was starting to fall as well. For most everyone, it was the end of a long day of digging and most headed back to the museum to get in a bit of the gem show before it closed. I stuck around til everyone left and then closed the gate, calling Bill to let him know I had closed it and everyone was out for the day, run off by the lightning.

I drove up to the museum as well, wanting to visit with Lamon Flynn, the Kentucky Agate King, at the show. I met Mr. Flynn a few years back in his neck of the woods, he took some friends who joined me there, on a hunt one day for the elusive Kentucky Agate. You can find that story and photos by looking in the column on the right side of my page for Kentucky Agate. I had a great chat with him, they had him up on the stage at the show, and I purchased some more agate from him as well…I have a lot of friends that cannot travel to Kentucky to find it themselves, and picked some up to share with them. He had some of his expensive pieces with him as well, the orange and black banded nodules and a few of the red and black banded nodules too. He also had alot of his belt buckles there and Heinrich came over and looked them over as well.

Heinrich was about to head home that evening, and I gave him directions to a good druse quartz spot in south central Missouri that I like to go to. He was undecided if he was going to stick around for the dinner that was being hosted by the Mineral Museum at the local Italian Restaurant on Main Street later that evening, or simply head home….the girls were telling him there was a tornado warning up in the St Louis area at that time, but by the time they reached St Louis it would likely be long over. I told him to email me if he ever wanted to go rockhunting with me as well, since he isn`t too far from me. I decided not to wait around for the Italian dinner as well and headed back to the hotel to clean up and then walked over to the Oasis for yet another grilled porkchop supper. After supper there, I drove down to the lake just south of there and snapped a few photos of the sunset….

30 Sunset Over Lake Barkley

..and then back up to the intersection in front of the Oasis Grill for another photo of the beautiful colorful skies….

31 Sunset at Kuttawa


The next morning, after a good sleep aided by a couple of alleves, I was on the road by 8 am after checking out of the hotel, and called Tina to let her know I could host at the Eureka again til noon, if she needed some help…she said she had a new member there already but suggested that I go and see if he needed any help as he had never hosted there before. I drove over to the mine and met up with Dave there…Bill Frazer showed up soon after and then a few diggers started showing up. Mary showed up again early on and decided she was going to take over Heinrich`s spot in the west wall from the day before and see if she could dig down to the location where David found some calcite dogtooth crystals two years before….

33 David With Plate of Dogtooths


32 Plate Dogtooth Crystals David Found

In the meantime, I decided to dig down into the hole left by the Bloomington boys and see if I could find anything else in it…and a guy showed up a few minutes later from the state of West Virginia and decided to dig down into the hole that the Bloomington boys had originally started out with, about four feet to the right of me. In about an hour, using the long handled spade shovel that someone had left there, I got down to the top of the vein and laid down a gunny sack to lay down on, then reached down and started feeling around in the mud to find some crystals…I never can do that with gloves on, can`t feel the cubes except with my bare hands. I didn`t feel any pockets in the vein, so I started feeling around the mud on top of the vein and pretty soon I was pulling out some cubes…I haven`t cleaned mine up yet, but will post some photos of my finds soon. The guy next to me found a small round plate of nice cubes about 90 minutes after he began digging down…he was a bit up hill from me and had to dig down a bit further to get to my level, but seemed content with what he found. He left by noon to go check out another mine in the area. Mary was still digging when I decided to head for home about 45 minutes later. I was going to meet a friend at Garden of the Gods at 2 pm, so by the time I got out of there and cleaned up a bit, I had about an hour to get there, so I headed to the ferry crossing at Cave in Rock. We had a good hike there and then went to Rim Rock Trail, even met up with the Bloomington boys and their family down at the foot of the escarpment as they were walking out…stopped and visited with them a bit and told them both to give me a shout if they wanted to do some rockhunting in Missouri sometime.

I got home later that evening, tired but happy, having had a great four day vacation, nothing better than good friends, good food, and good fun.

The only problem I had with the entire trip should be noted here, as I would not want anyone else to experience this on future trips down there. I usually stay at the Days Inn hotel in Kuttawa when I am down there for my rockhunting trips….when I made my reservations a few weeks before, I was quoted a certain rate and told that the Days Inn gives rockhounds a ten percent discount on their rates…I told one of my Memphis rockhound friends about that and he made a call after me and was told the same thing as he made his reservations there too. It has always been a clean and friendly place to stay at and their rates have always been affordable and as quoted by staff.

The second night there, I discovered fleas in bed with me, biting my legs,  and I was constantly getting up and pulling the covers back and killing fleas by snuffing them out. I prob had about four hours rest total that night and when I told the night clerk about it at 7 am the next morning, his answer was to ask if I had a dog with me. I told him not only was my dog not with me this trip, I would never take my dog to a hotel knowing she had fleas and I protect my dog`s health with the flea and tick killer chewy tablets all the time anyway. I asked him to have the housecleaning crew change out the linens on my bed completely and he did so right then and there, and said he would have them spray the room as well.

I returned that evening to the room and could def smell a different odor in there, such as if they had sprayed it and I slept alot better Saturday night with no fleas in bed with me. However, the next morning when I checked my bank records online, I discovered that not only had they charged my account while I was there…. they usually wait a few days after you check out… they had also overcharged me. I talked to the day clerk, who was also the Assistant Manager, she asked how my stay had been and I told her about Friday night, and then told her that I had been charged fifteen dollars a night more than the rate I had been quoted, and let me tell you, she got a defensive attitude about it real quick and did not care one bit, referred me to call the Manager about it on Monday and take it up with him. I saw that he had an email address on the business card she handed me and so I emailed him when I got home. After no response for a week, I emailed the corporate headquarters of the Wyndham Group, who now owns and operates the Days Inn Hotels, and within a day, I had a message from the manager….I returned his call and told him of my ” not so great ” experience at his hotel recently, after having stayed at his hotel several times over the course of seven years. He promised that he would look into it and get back to me…however,  I never did hear from him again, so needless to say, I wont be staying there again. Just saying. 

James 🙂 

Kentucky Fluorite, Agate, and Geodes in September

A few months back, some of my rockhound friends from all over the country, suggested to me that we should make a run to south central Kentucky for some geodes, so I began looking at my calendar and seeing when I could fit a trip in for a week, and came up with a plan to start out with a public dig at the Eureka Mine in western Kentucky at Marion, then drive over to the Danville area and hunt for agate and geodes in the same area. I decided on September since I seem to be the only one that takes vacations in the fall where I work at and made the suggestion to the others.
They were all bent on going to the Keokuk Geodefest until I did some research and found a couple of farms in the Eubank area that had lots of geodes in all sizes to pick from. I was also able to arrange an agate hunt with a state renowned agate master in the area with several years of experience of successful hunts for nice looking Kentucky agate. After announcing those plans, they all decided to drop their plans to attend the Geodefest and concentrate instead on agate and geodes in Kentucky.
I posted our intentions on the McRocks board and had a few extra people express an interest in joining us. Brian Danzer is a research biologist in the Chicago area and he decided to drive down and join me at the Eureka Mine in Marion on Saturday morning, September 24th. He started his drive at midnight, while Missy and I got up at 3 am and headed toward Marion…we were met with a nice sunrise just west of Eddyville….
1 Sunrise Approaching Eddyville
…we made a quick pit stop at Ms Neda`s Donut Shop there and then headed on to the museum to get registered and meet up with the other diggers. As it was, I arrived at the museum just ahead of Brian and we were able to chat a few minutes before several others started arriving.  A few minutes later, two guys from Pennsylvania showed up, Nick and Pete, having made  a sixteen hour drive down to dig for beautiful purple fluorite cubes…cant say as I blame them. Soon after, Bill Frazer showed up and opened the doors and we all went inside to register and tour the museum. I never get tired of looking at the fantastic collection of crystals and cubes in the museum, a lifetime of collection by Mr. Clement and passed on to his son Ed, who allows all of us to enjoy and admire the beautiful specimens as well. It also inspires and motivates one to go out and look for something similar in the mine as well.
Soon enough we were driving out to the Eureka Mine after Bill gave a talk on safety and what to look for, as well as the hazards of mud and falls…and we began to dig in the thick oozy mud, resulting from three prior days of rainfall there. I decided to dig down next to a deep hole, now filled with that oozy mud, and see if I could locate the vein and hunt from there…Brian decided to dig a couple feet from me, and Nick and Pete were a few feet away as well, Pete around the corner from us and after letting Nick know he was standing on top of a saddle lined with pockets, he wasted no time in digging down to it and hunting for cubes.  I didnt take my camera down there with me, due to the very muddy and slick conditions, but I do have photos of what I found and will post them later in here. We started out digging in a light rain which after a few hours, gave way to sunny skies that warmed up quickly. Within minutes of digging down in the sloppy mud, I was able to find the vein about ten inches down and carved out a nice sized hole to start in soon after.  Brian started finding little clusters and cubes in his hole right away, and eventually as he dug deeper, he started finding medium and then larger clusters and cubes as well. I was pulling out a lot of clear chunks, and a few small clusters, and it continued that way all morning til I struck the bottom plate of the vein…Nick was finding pockets of cubes similar to those that Bruce S had encountered when he dug into the saddle earlier this year. I`m pretty sure Nick went home a very happy guy. I never did see what Pete found around the other side but he seemed pretty happy when we parted ways later that afternoon.
I wound up trying to pry my bottomplate out but it wouldnt budge, attached way too firmly to the base of the pocket and solid rock, so I wound up chipping out two football sized chunks instead. I could see the outline of cubes on both pieces and was confident I had some nice stuff.
One of the Vein Chunks
After five hours, Brian and I decided to call it a day as we still had to drive three hours east to Danville. We cleaned up and bid goodbyes to everyone and headed south to Princeton to gas up, and then east on the Parkway to Danville.  I was a bit amazed at the price of gasoline down there…when I filled up at St Louis County that morning, it was 2.93 a gallon and when I stopped in Princeton, it was still 3.49 a gallon. Yikes !! 
I did have a pretty good load of rocks with me when I left Missouri though, bringing some nice poker chip and druse combos to Debra and Denise from Indy, and gave some to Brian as well…I also donated some nice Arkansas quartz plates and druse quartz to the museum, to help them further their cause and continue to provide rockhounds a great place to dig and hunt at. I`m sure that is what was eating up my gas mileage this trip, as I normally get about 25 mpg with my Tonka truck. 🙂
As Brian and I approached the turnoff south to Harrodsburg from the Parkway, I looked back in my rearview mirror and saw a nice sunset…since I couldn`t find a nice place to shoot in front of it, I decided to try for a mirror shot instead…
2 Brian Follows Me to Danville
….but then as it was, soon after turning south on Hwy 127, it turned out the sunset just hung up in the sky and I was able to shoot a horse farm in front of the setting sun….
3 Sunsets Near Harrodsburg
…we arrived a few minutes later in Danville and Brian decided he was too tired after drinking six redbulls, to go eat and just wanted to find his hotel and get some good rest…so I drove over to Cracker Barrel and met a couple of friends there and had a good dinner.  I was tired, but I was hungry too…gotta take care of your priorities. 🙂
After dinner Missy and I followed my good friend John to his home in Stanford, where I crashed shortly after for the night.  I slept soundly and got up about 7 am,  and drove over to McDonalds Restaurant to meet up with Brian…we then drove to Irvine, passing through Lancaster, where I shot this pretty sunrise….
4 Sunrise Sunday at Lancaster
6 Sunrises S of Lancaster
We arrived at the Hardees Restaurant in West Irvine about 8:15 am, scheduled to meet everyone there at 9 am and then carpool to the Agate Hunt locations.  Debra and Denise were already there when we arrived and we soon joined them inside as they were getting something to eat.  We talked about our adventures at the Eureka Mine the day before as we waited for the others to join us…Josh from Richmond, Kentucky, Peggy from South Carolina, and met up with our guide for the agate hunt, Lamon Flynn, from Irvine, Kentucky, the heart of Estill County and Agate Country.
Mr Flynn came in after the others arrived and introduced us to a couple from Michigan who drove down to join us, and his wife, Rebecca,  as well. I had talked with her several times by phone in setting the agate hunt up and it was nice to finally meet her as well. We had some breakfast and then drove over to the Fairgrounds parking lot and narrowed down to three vehicles from several. Mr. Flynn stated the road we were going to was narrow and parking would be at a premium…I opted to take my truck since I had Missy with me, and Brian rode with me, Josh took his truck, and several piled in with Peggy in her Suburban.
We drove south on Hwy 89 to a valley and turned off the highway and drove down a country road, down through the valley, crossing the creek several times….
13 Drive Out Thru Creekbed
….now this was my idea of fun driving on country roads….and finally arrived at our destination…a logging operation with a lot of dirt clearing around it, next to the creek….we parked, removed our buckets, bags and tools…then Mr. Flynn showed us what to look for….and how to chip the corner of them to reveal the inside colors….
9 Mr Flynn Tells Us What To Look For
10 Peggy Attempts To Chip
…..we fanned out to search all around, some going up the road, some going to the creek, some of us to the dirt around the logs, looking for the elusive Kentucky agate….
7 Looking For Agates Near Irvine
….Debra, Denise, Brian, and I wandered around the logs and up into a clearing above the logs….
8 Searching Clearing For Agates
….I found the first one, a half geode of green and blue banded agate, and naturally had to let everyone know with a loud ” EUREKA ” …. and as it turned out, the area we were hunting in was right where Mr. Flynn started finding the black and red banded agates the previous year….and some of the pretty orange and black banded agates too.



Blue and Green Agate I Found

…we looked all morning there, finding a few small odds and ends, but nothing big and obvious…so packed up and relocated downstream to another location after a few more creek crossings that looked like this much of the time….
14 Drive Out Bumpy
Brian spotted a red geode as we were driving out, so I pulled over and he got down in the creek to pick it up….
12 Brian Spots One in Creek
…we parked in a field at the top of the hill, above the creek, and then walked down through a field to get to the creek…private land that Mr. Flynn has access to…he explained to us that we were really there at a bad time of year, due to the leaves being down and making it hard to see good agate rocks. He stated it was better to come hunt in March or April…easier to find things then…specially in the creeks…the drive in and out was fun, specially that one spot where we drove a quarter mile down the creekbed alone. 🙂
Here Denise looks happy in the creek with one of her finds….
16 Denise Inspects Potential Agate
17 Denise Happy With Find in Creek Mr. Flynn and Josh walk along behind her coming back the other way….we walked as far as we could…
19 Searching Creek Bed
coming upon a beaver dam that was as wide as the creek and prevented us from going any further….
18 Wide Beaver Dam
so at that point, we decided to drive over to Mr. Flynn`s home and take a look at his vast collection of Kentucky Agate and his jewelry with agate as well….little did we know we were in for a REAL TREAT !!!  
here he is showing us some of his beautiful agates….
30 Mr Flynn With Some of HIs Agates
32 Mr Flynn With a Orange and Blk Agate
33 Agates Mr Flynn Has Found
….and some of his beautiful horses as well….
34 Mr Flynns Horses
44 New Colt With Mare
..and here Denise shows one of the agates she likes….
35 Denise Displays Another Agate
….and Josh shows off a red and black banded agate…..
36 Josh Displays An Agate
….and here Debra shows off one in the sunlight….
38 Debra Displays Red & Blk Agate
…and here she is going through the discard pile…Mr. Flynn allowed us to go through this pile and take anything we liked the looks of….I found a couple of nice agates in there…
39 Debra Goes Thru Selection Garden
Mr. Flynn then showed us some of his prized agates, the black and red banded agates and the orange and black banded agates….
40 One of His Prized Agates
….and here are some photos of his jewelry as well….again with Kentucky agates….
46 Debra Displays An Agate Pendant
….an agate pendant, and here is the other side of it….
47 Other Side of Pendant
….and an agate ring…..
48 An Agate Ring
….and a  Case Knife Handle… side shown….
49 Agate Handle Case Knife
….and here is the other side shown….
50 Other Side Knife Handle
….and belt buckles golore…..
51 Belt Buckle
52 Belt Buckle
54 Belt Buckle
55 Dragon Belt Buckle
….the one above the dragons head buckle…..
56 Belt Buckle
Needless to say, we enjoyed our day with Mr. Flynn hunting for agate and enjoying his collection of agate and jewelry as well….
We drove back to the Fairgrounds Parking Lot to retrieve our vehicles, some had to head home and some were returning to the creek to look for more agates. I had brought some Missouri druse and poker chips with me, as well as some Eureka Fluorite, so gave that to anyone who wanted some, and gave Debra and Denise some nice clusters from one of the Amazing Pockets Docia and I had discovered earlier this year.  Mr. Flynn collected a few pieces for his nephew who  also collects rocks and minerals, and gave me a few more agates that he had found recently on some hunting trips.  Debra and Denise headed home to Indy while Brian and I headed back to Danville for a nice dinner and rest. We made plans to meet Peggy at Stanford the next morning at 9 am to go geode hunting in Eubank.
Peggy was running a little late the next morning, we had decided to sleep in a bit…I was sleeping so well that I dozed right through a tornado siren located just a block from John`s house about 6 am…Brian heard the tornado sirens in Danville though…and Peggy spotted a wall cloud as she drove to Stanford from Berea….it was raining steady when she arrived at McDonalds there and we headed south on Hwy 27 to Eubank shortly afterward.  I called Sharon at the farm to see how the weather was there and let her know we were on the way, and her husband, Richard,  said it was sprinkling but hoped it would clear soon. We arrived about twenty minutes later and saw geodes in the driveway as we drove up the hill into the farm, parking by the corrals on the right side of the drive. He met us as we got out of our vehicles and pointed out a pile of dirt and manure in front of us and told us there were several geodes in it if we wanted to check them out first. So we pulled a few out and took them up to one of the covered corrals and cracked them open…a couple were beach ball sized and were full of narrow pockets of pinkish/orange colored quartz crystals…the weight of them was a fooler though…we thought they were solids and turned out they were not, quite a surprise.  After cracking a few of them open, we decided to get our rain gear on and head up to the fields, after he and Sharon moved the mares to another field for us….
57 Kaleidoscope Farm near Eubank
….it was still raining, from light showers to heavy downpours at times…and muddy as could be in some places…but there were definitely geodes all over the place and full of pretty crystals too. A little rain never hurt no one, certainly not a rockhound.
In the photo above, there are three fields between the road and the barn up on the hill…the field where that barn is located is a much larger field, a few hundred acres, and we didnt get that far that morning. We did search the three smaller fields and found and cracked open and took home, many geodes from those three fields…many with smokey quartz crystals inside them…some with lavendar or amethyst colored crystals, some with large cacite crystals inside them… is a photo of Brian with one he cracked open….
59 Brian Holds Geode Halves
….and the two halves up closer…..
60 Geodes Brian is Holding

…the rain, rain, go away chant didnt work at all that day….but soon after we returned to Stanford, the skies did clear off and the sun came out to stay….Brian headed south from there and drove to Asheville, North Carolina, to meet up the next day with a South Carolina friend of his and they went to the Diamond Hill Quartz Mine near Anderson, South Carolina…Peggy returned to Berea to do some shopping, and then home the next day….I returned to Stanford to photograph some horses for a friend….and a good steak dinner at Applebees that evening with local friends.

The next day, John and I drove south to Lake Cumberland…he had a nice painting of an old grist mill hanging in his house, turned out to be a restored mill down on the south shores of Lake Cumberland…I have always been fascinated by old water mills and so we drove down there so I could photograph it…Mill Springs Mill, which dates back to 1834 and is a two story grist mill that was completely restored and still grinds flour and corn today on the weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day…

63 Mill Springs Mill sits down in a beautiful hollow surrounded by lush vegetation and flowers on one side, and spring fed waterfalls on the up hill side….


65 Waterfall At Mill Spring Mill


66 Waterfalls At Mill Spring Mill

…located near the back of the mill, which is even more interesting looking than the front side to me…nice stone steps and stone columns supporting the heavy timber construction, are more visible…….


67 Back Side of Mill With Wheel

…along with the heavy steel forty foot high water wheel that powers the grinding stones inside the structure of the mill….


68 Large Metal Wheel

We headed back toward Stanford and John took me through Halls Gap, which has changed alot since I was down there the last time…the road is better for one thing, but its still a narrow gap, made even narrower by the rock walls and amount of vegetation that seems to close in on you from both sides…he also took me up to the old road, old Hwy 27, that travels up Halls Gap in a windy manner to a neat overlook near the top, where one can see for fifteen miles……



61 View From Halls Gap Overlook

…to the north and northeast….high points in Danville can be seen from here and the red water towers in the upper right hand corner of the photos are in the town of Lancaster, which is 12 miles northeast of Stanford and 15 miles northeast of this overlook….

62 15 Mile View From Halls Gap Overlook



From here, we drove east into the countryside and John took me by a few tobacco farms, which was being harvested this time of year by the farmers…..


69 Harvesting Tobacco

..and took me over to a neat Amish farm where the folks there grow all sorts of veggies and pumpkins and flowers in a couple of big greenhouses…however they have no electricity in their modern looking homes, nor do they have a phone in the home…its in a phone shed halfway down the driveway….I suppose their home is much quieter because of it, but in case of an emergency, that is a long ways to run to get to a phone….

72B  Amish Farm Phone House



…and they have corn shocks standing alongside the road as well….



73 Amish Corn Shocks

…we drove on over to the house where the greenhouses were located, no electric there either, and saw a mass of pumpkins and gourds sitting outside that were recently harvested….



74 Amish Grown Pumpkins

The next day, we drove back down to Lake Cumberland to meet up with a buddy of mine, who also enjoys old mills and we visited Mill Springs Mill again…on the way down, as we approached Halls Gap on New Hwy 27, we were passed by several police cars and a rescue truck, there was a bad motor vehicle accident on the hill up Halls Gap, so we again took Old Hwy 27 and went around it to continue south….



75 Bad MVA Halls Gap Hill

Later that evening, I captured some nice sunbeams in Stanford before heading to dinner with friends again….



76 Sunbeams Outside Johns House



77 Sunbeams on Johns Street

…we enjoyed a nice Angus steakburger at Eddie Montgomery`s log built restaurant in Harrodsburg….



78 Dinner Wed Nite Eddie Montgomerys

I should say a massive log structure, two stories high, with a beautiful interior containing a restaurant on the right side where all the glass windows can be seen, a stage in the middle, and a bar on the far side, with a large foyer entrance under those huge columns you see on the left…apparently he is a country western singer from the local area and he built a restaurant there last year…great place to eat with delicious food and we happened to be there on Kareoke night, so had some entertainment as well.

The next morning, Missy and I bid farewell to John and headed home…passing by some pretty horse farms north of Danville….


79 Horse Farm near Harrodsburg

We had to detour through Jeffersontown on the way home to cross the Ohio River, as the bridges over I-64 are shut down for safety reasons, a major crack discovered in a load bearing beam last month, so traffic is now re-routed across I-65 and then you take I-265 back over to I-64 north of New Albany to continue westbound. I decided to stop and check out a beautiful old railroad bridge along the way, it has a great stonework support structure under it and waterfalls in the Ohio River underneath it….

80 Falls of the Ohio Bridge



Its called the Falls of the Ohio Bridge, this view taken looking south to the Kentucky side from the Indiana side…

82 Falls of the Ohio Bridge West Side



and this one from the west side looking across to the city of Louisville….there are also fossil beds located down by the river and the falls….


83 Good Advice


…with some good advice posted near the bridge for those that want to walk down and admire the fossils…heed the advice and dont become a fossil yourself….



85 Falls of the Ohio Bridge Support

this is the support structure on the north side of the bridge, looks like a little castle type building…



86 Bridge Support North Side

with some neat doorways and windows in it….



87 Bridge Support High Window

and as I was leaving, to head west and home, I was lucky enough to spot a CSX train motoring south across the bridge….

89 CSX Train Crosses Bridge



I drove on down the river to find Spring Street to make my way back to I-65 and came upon these murals painted on the floodwall….

90 Flood Wall Mural




91 Flood Wall Mural

and took one last look at Louisville`s skyline before heading home…



92 Skyline of Louisville and Ohio River

..the next bridge I photographed was four hours later as I crossed the Mississippi River into St Louis….the historic Eads Bridge….



93 Eads Bridge and Mississippi River

The following photos are some of the geodes I collected at the Kaleidoscope Farm in Eubank….Sharon welcomes anyone to come down and take home as many as you want…they get a new bumper crop each year…just give them a call and make the arrangements with them, and they welcome groups as well.



Geodes Dont Always Crack Like You Want Them to


Litter of Geodes Found


Smokey Quartz Crystals


Some of My Finds Eubank Farm



Some of My Finds



and that wraps up my Kentucky trip this fall…hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. 🙂