I have to say, this year`s Geode Fest was the wettest one I can remember and not in terms of wading in the creeks and rivers, but in the form of heavy rainfall…in the form of…well…monsoon type rainfall…with lightning and thunder accompanying the monsoon rainfall !!
I had to place Onyx with my Vet for lodging for a few nights while I went up there, since pets are not allowed to go, and the reasoning is quite simple for that, not all dogs do well in groups that large, nor do all dogs get along with other dogs…if every other person brought their dog and their dogs didn`t get along with other dogs, it could be a nightmare for everyone involved up there. I`ll be the first to say, that Onxy does not get along with every dog out there…I wish he did, but sadly, he does not. Missy, my first Border Collie, got along with most dogs and had a lot less anxiety issues than Onyx seems to have and it seems to be a trait in the breed that I cannot do anything about, so lodging with my Vet was basically his only choice.
I drove up to Keokuk on Thursday, September 26th, arriving early afternoon and got checked into the Super 8 Hotel first thing, then drove over to the Geode Fest grounds to meet up with a friend of John`s, who is a mineral dealer in Iowa, and who was looking for a source of druse quartz. John had let me know a few weeks before about his friend and his search for druse quartz after a bad experience at a local show weeks before. I contacted his friend and we decided on meeting in the parking lot at Geode Fest, with me transporting several specimens up there for him to look through and purchase if he liked what he saw. I had the back seat full of flats of druse in every size and color imagineable, and larger ones in the bed of my truck. I had so much druse with me, that only left me with the front seat for my clothing bag for the weekend.
Soon after arriving, I spotted Charity and Jamey at their booth along the back side of the parking lot, and walked over to visit with them while waiting for the dealer to come back to his truck to see what I brought to show him. Charity told me that they had arrived early and let me know my buddy John Oostenryk was running late again and they figured it would be evening before he arrived.
Soon the dealer spotted me at their booth and came over to introduce himself…after a few minutes of small talk, we walked back to my truck and I started showing him what I had brought. As is often the case, other dealers began walking by, spotted me showing him the druse I had with me, and they began to mill around to see what I was showing him. Word soon spread and the next thing I knew, a few dealers there for the show, some I knew and a few I didn`t know, came over and asked what we were doing. When they found out, one or two ran to a guy there that was assisting the man in charge of the show, and he came over to confirm what he was told. Luckily, he didn`t come with an attitude, but came over with an open mind about it…we straightened him out about what we were doing…that I was there as a collector of druse quartz and brought some druse quartz to show a dealer my wares, so to speak, because he was looking for such wares to resell elsewhere, not at the show that weekend. Like I told the man in charge that day, neither of us were dealers at the show, we just picked that parking lot because it was easy to find and technically, since the show had not started yet, it was a public access parking lot, too. Even if we had gone down to the far end of the parking lot, I guarantee you those other dealers would have wandered down there to see what was going on and still would have found a reason to get upset over it. After hearing our side of the story, he told us he personally had no problem with it, but we should move it to another location, so we packed up and drove over to the Iowa side instead.
Believe me, all of my dealer friends that set up their booths at the Geode Fest Parking Lot, had a problem with the way it was handled, but did not have any problem with what I did nor what John`s dealer friend did in meeting me there. Not One !! In fact, the way it was handled, really pissed quite a few of them off, especially my buddy John. He texted me that evening to let me know he was there and had heard about it, he was pissed off about it and planned to talk to Kurt, the Director of the Event, about it the next morning. Kurt is the Director of Tourism for the City of Keokuk, they took over the Geode Fest Event last year when Mike Shumate retired after building up and successfully running the entire operation for the past 25 years. Last year was Kurt`s first year and I thought he did a great job with it, plus found him to be a very nice guy to talk to and deal with.
The next morning, I was up early and stopped at McDonalds for breakfast, noticing some light rain on the way down there. As soon as I walked back to my truck tho, I spotted a storm moving in from the southwest, with thunder and lightning.
I drove down to the river access on the Illinois side just north of the highway and photographed the storm`s approach, there were a few others doing the same thing, probably due to the dramatic approach of the storm toward the Mississippi River and the color and lightning in the skies. With the highway bridge on the left side and the lock / dam directly across the river, the city of Keokuk still lit up, it made for a great show for sure…
I photographed the first image of the storm above, in program mode, which is why it looks so light given the time of the morning…here below is how it really looked, shot in manual mode….
…and you can clearly see the distinction on the north side between the clouds when I focused on the Lock and Dam building just north of the highway bridge across the river….
…it was about this time that the winds picked up and the drama in the clouds and approaching storm picked up real quick…a couple of the folks watching up river from me about 200 feet, decided they had seen enough and they were getting the flock out of Dodge…about six of us stayed to watch the show, and I decided to stay in my truck and shoot some video of it too…
Seems like everytime I started shooting video, the lightning bolts eluded me, but once I stopped shooting video, that is when they came down hard and intense, so I took a few more photos and then headed over to the Chaney Creek Boat Access Parking Lot to pay my entry fee and get registered for the event, then visit with John and the other dealer friends….
I found the parking area to be about half full when I arrived and I was able to find a pretty good parking spot about the middle of the lot, which is good for that time of the morning on the first day. I would guess and say that the storm coming in may have caught some flat footed and they were waiting it out in their hotel rooms across the river. I always take my laptop and check weather and radar on my trips…you can watch the tv news/weather and see what is going on in a much broader area, but if you aren`t in the immediate area of the news station, then you are just going to get a bigger radar, whereas with my laptop I can go to my favorite weather site, the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center site and zero in pretty tight on radar for the area I am in. www.spc.noaa.gov is their site address if anyone would like to check it out and use it like I do, when the site comes up on your screen, you can put your zip code into the box in the upper right hand corner and get your ten day forecast for your area as well.
…that storm did clip us as we received a good shower soon after I arrived, but the main part clearly passed to the north of us. I heard later at supper in Keokuk that it was a pretty serious thundershower in town that morning. I walked over to visit with my buddy John O, who was setting up his tent booth, getting his geode cracker out and ready to crack geodes later for folks who found them. John is a self taught geologist and has been a tremendous help to the folks who have run Geode Fest each year for the past several years, he donates alot of his free time to help them with location scouting, location prep and physical clean up work to get the locations ready for hundreds of rockhounds to descend upon, and he assists with logical thinking when it comes time to set rules and policies as well, and he never charges them for his time and assistance, either.
Kurt came by John`s booth shortly after and apologized to me for the way it was handled…he let me know that they intended to rope off a section of the parking lot next year so that meetings like that could be better facilitated as they were in favor of that exchange and wanted to fully support it as well. He told me that he had already discussed it with Mike, the guy that approached and asked us to leave, said that should never have happened and he had discussed it with all of the dealers there as well. I let Kurt know that Mike, actually acted in a pretty professional way and while he could have been rude and insensitive about it, he was not, which did not go unnoticed by the dealer I was talking to, or me. I think he was pretty glad to hear that after all the stories he had heard from others the day before. John and I decided to go to the site known for snowball geodes, so he went over and signed us both up for that location and we left soon after with our guide leading the way.
If you have never been to Geode Fest, it is quite an operation to behold. Years ago when I first went there, it was held on the Keokuk side at the Hy-Vee Grocery parking lot, but it soon outgrew their side parking lot and they moved the event to the Chaney Creek Access parking lot under the vision of Mike Shumate who was in charge of the event back then. Mike is a good ol country boy who is also an avid collector of geodes for many years as well as a wealth of information for the area and geodes in general. Rockhounds are allowed to pre-register or bring their paperwork with them to the event and then pay their fee for the entire weekend. Once you register and pay your fee, you then move to another booth tent and sign up for sites/location you want to dig or collect at…in years past there have been six to ten sites available to go and collect at. There are two locations available on Friday and Saturday, Sunday is a morning dig only, so for your entry fee you get the opportunity to go dig and collect at five sites/locations. For each bucket you fill up with geodes to take home, you pay an extra $ 25 to your guide and that money is given to the landowner of the site/location you went to dig/collect at. You sign up for the site/location you want to go to each morning and each afternoon starting at a pre-designated time. Your guide is determined ahead of time and he or she has a certain colored flag on their vehicle, you are notified of the flag color when you sign up for the site/location you want to go to, and then they announce on a public address speaker when that guide is lining up to head out to that site/location…they give you about 10 minutes to line up…and in that parking lot, it can be hard for everyone to line up in a single line, due to the haphazard way that some people park there…some have no respect for rules, no respect for lines, no respect for others….some park out in the open where there is no parking and that can cause folks to be blocked out completely…it can be really frustrating to say the least, in getting into and out of, that parking lot !!
This year, Kurt arranged for the Hamilton, Illinois Police Department to provide all day long protection and traffic control assistance at the event…the access to the parking lot is right off state highway 96, a mile north of Hwy 136, so there are normally three to four officers down there directing traffic all day long, and that has been a tremendous help for the event. It also creates a heavy police presence to most, likely keeps trouble from happening there and provides a great sense of security as well. As far as I know, there have not been any major problems there yet. I met a few of the officers and the Police Chief Friday morning after I pulled in and parked, very nice officers and they had good support from the county for their traffic operation there.
Luckily the guides all know the problems one can encounter getting lined up and out of the parking lot, so they take it easy and travel at a slower pace til they get to the outskirts of Hamilton…everyone including the guide, runs their flashers on their vehicles, so you can see the person in front of you even if you get separated from them by other traffic. I will say that unlike years past, the Police Chief and his officers did do something about the knotheads that parked illegally in the parking lot or blocked others by parking in unmarked areas, and I heard that a few folks who did that were threatened with a ticket and tow of their vehicle if they didn`t move them in a very timely manner as well. For the knotheads that do that on purpose without any respect for others or just plain stupidity, they fully deserve a ticket and their vehicle towed in my humble opinion, it`s about the only thing they will understand and possibly prevent them from doing it again. Repeat offenders simply need to be banished from the event and not allowed to return til they grow up !!
Our mutual friend Abigail from Nashville, was going to try and make it to Geode Fest again this year, but her medical problems got worse and she had to stay home. One of her close female friends however, came down from the Sioux City area with her boyfriend and his son and daughter, along with his daughter`s female friend, to join us. I met them in the parking lot as I was heading to my truck to get in line…introduced myself as a friend of John and Abigail and let them know what I was driving in case they got lost or separated from the rest of the line up. Her name is Shell and her striking good looks reminded me of Joan Jett the rocker/singer. 🙂 Her boyfriend`s name is Grant, I cannot remember the names of the kids, but they were usually very nice as well as enthusiastic, but sometimes a handful as well.
We all followed our guide out to the site known as Rod`s Geode Site, or Rod`s as most of the hard core collectors call it…a couple of miles south of Hamilton, where we turned off on to a nice white chat gravel farm lane that led to a farmhouse and outbuildings at the end of the lane…or so it appeared. However, once we topped the low hill above the highway, we soon turned left and drove down a dirt lane thru a soybean field…I thought to myself as I turned, ” I sure hope we don`t get any rain showers or this will be a lane of pure sloppy mud when we come out “. John told me before we left, to park on the right of the field near the cornfield, which would be the high point of the hill, to avoid getting stuck…his advice was mainly for those driving cars…I have four wheel drive and have never got stuck in my Tacoma yet. Grant and I parked at the bottom of the hill, at John`s direction once we arrived in the right field, he said it would be a much shorter walk with the anticipated number of buckets we would have. Now, remember, it was fairly dry when we arrived there, the grass wasn`t wet because the earlier storm passed way to the north of this farm, so there were no worries when we parked down there. Here is how the sky looked when I pulled over at the top of the field hill by the cornstalks, to allow others to pass me by and park in the next field over…
…our guide knew that a few of us were going to park elsewhere. I also wanted to stop and check to see where John was at in the lineup, because he was a ways behind us..turns out he was a little late getting there and let us know that another storm might be approaching but might also just clip us….
…and the following photo shows the bottom of the hill where we eventually parked our trucks….you can see folks walking down that hill to the trail leading to the creek where the snowball geodes are found…both in the water and in the banks….while John, arriving in his Sable Stationwagon, wisely parked up high on the hill near where I first stopped to check on his location…
…at the time we arrived, there was a storm passing by on our east side and rain could be seen falling from the skies east of the parking area everyone else was going to….
…here is the back of that storm coming right at us, tho, or so it appeared, but didn`t seem to be moving very fast either…
…and some in the parking lot field past us, wisely decided to wait it out and see what was gonna happen as it intensified to the east of us….
I started down the hill to park and looked back to see how John was doing once he parked his car…I saw that he had some help and headed on down to park my truck at the bottom, the wind was picking up at the top of the hill where he was but not at the bottom of the hill yet….
…he had wisely put his blue slicker on and once he reached the bottom of the hill with us, we all headed down the trail to the creek…everyone but Grant and his kids, who were now fighting among each other over tools and buckets…so we just left him to referee and we booked on down the trail to get ahead of others and get to John`s sweet geode spot before anyone else did. I had figured that it was gonna storm on us, after seeing the storm on approach to us, so I had put my raingear on, but did not take my camera with me. By the time I got my gear out and caught up with John, we were at the third crossing for Railroad Creek, and from there we had to wade downstream. I had the wrong boots on for wading, but figured I could always replace them at the Walmart store across from my hotel. We were looking from bank to bank as we waded down the creek, picking up some here and there along the gravel bars until we finally reached a spot where trees were down and crisscrossing the creek in a tightly congested area. This was the sweet spot and just as we started seeing geodes sticking out of the bank on the far side and began to pull some out, the heavens opened up directly overhead and rain began to fall…monsoon style…like someone turned on a fire hose above us…THEN someone turned on the drums of thunder above us and the lightning bolts started zinging all around us. Shell bolted back up the creek to check on the kids and Grant, and another gal joined us looking for geodes. John and I decided to get out of the water while the bolts were flying all around us…the gal stayed right in the water despite our suggestion that she get up on the bank. Turned out to be one of the longest storms I have ever stayed out in…after twenty minutes of intense lightning, thunder, and heavy rainfall, realizing I had a bucket nearly full of geodes, I let John know I was gonna head back to the truck. I trudged back upstream thru the creek, picking up a few geodes along the way…and met a few others that had decided to stop and at least take a break as well. Just as I emerged from the forest to the edge of the field near my truck, I met the guide who asked how many folks were down the trail I had just walked up…I let him know that at least fifteen people were still down the trail and in the creek at least a quarter mile down, including John O. He said he had received text messages from the Event Parking Lot warning us that a huge storm was approaching…I asked him how long ago those messages were sent, he said it appeared that they had been sent before we arrived but the storm apparently bothered the signal and delayed the reception til after the storm hit and hit HARD. At any rate, they were requesting everyone return to the parking lot. Grant came walking down the hill and said folks were trying to leave up above and were getting stuck on the dirt lane of the soybean field, he said it was a real mess. He soon went walking back up the hill. The guide went down the trail to deliver the bad news to the rest of the rockhounders. Shell came out of the woods with the kids and they began to load their tools and geodes into the bed of the truck. I helped her with the heavy stuff and then I drove up to the top of the hill to see what was going on. I paid my bucket fee to the assistant guide and then drove down to the gully before the soybean field…there were folks there that told me how the dirt road was, they had already been up it and back…..
It looked just like I figured it would look after a hard rain…sloppy mud…I was next in line and took off, floored it down thru and across the gully, then when I got to the top of the gully on the far side, I slipslided back and forth across the soybean field a bit, not sure how close I got to the plants at times…hoped the farmer had insurance on his crops tho. I pulled over and waited for John for a bit and shot some video of the others coming out of there….
After shooting the second video on the white chat farm lane, I decided John did not stop hunting so I headed back to the hotel to change from my wet clothes and boots to dry clothes and boots. I then drove to Walmart to get another pair of boots and some boots to wade in as well. Then I drove down to Burger King to get a sandwich before heading back to Chaney Creek Parking Lot. When I arrived, I saw that John had returned as well. I decided not to go out on the afternoon dig after taking a look at the radar…it appeared we were locked into a storm track for the rest of the day, if not the entire weekend. Storms were popping up down around Kirksville, Missouri and tracking to the northeast right up into our area. My buddy Chuck Reed of St Louis County, texted to let me know he was gonna be on the road earlier than he originally thought he would, and should arrive around 3 to 4 pm. John always brings me some Linwood Calcites and Barites from the Buffalo Mine, but this time, he discovered when he was going through his stuff as he was re-setting up his tent, that he had apparently gone off and left them at home once again…first time was during the Central Kentucky trip over Labor Day. 🙂 He dug out what he had brought with him and turns out he had a big egg carton full of some gorgeous agates…so I made a deal with him for those instead…
Throughout the afternoon, I visited with dealer friends, Dennis Kossow, Charity and Jamey, Robert Kuhn from Hot Springs, Arkansas, and met a few new ones as well, and we had rain showers and a few small storms all afternoon and into the evening hours. Chuck arrived about 4 pm and started helping John crack open geodes for folks who were successful finding some big ones earlier that morning and some who braved the afternoon storms to find some as well….
By the time it started to get dark, the crowd had thinned out considerably and we were getting hungry, so the consensus by many was to go up to the Hamilton Cafe and get some supper. Charity and Jamey were the first ones to wrap up and head out, followed by Marv, one of the John`s dealer friends from Cedar Rapids, Robert, Dennis, and John, Chuck, and I. Just as we were getting ready to head out, we heard the tornado sirens going off across the river in Keokuk, then the alerts came across our cellphones for a storm just southwest of Keokuk with a doppler radar indicated tornado. We drove up to the Cafe and most everyone walked inside…I stayed outside to shoot the storm…we were up on a hill and there was a pretty good view to the west and north from the parking lot. There was a local firefighter out in the parking lot with me, he and his family had just finished eating supper at the Cafe and were preparing to leave when they heard the sirens and saw the alert. They decided to stick around with me and watch the storm for a few minutes…he was taking photos of it as well…
What he and I were seeing initially was a HUGE shelf cloud, parked over the top of Hamilton and extending east to the city limits and north at least a mile, at times it looked like a GIANT spaceship parked overhead….here is some video I shot of the storm approaching Hamilton…
…and then my stomach started talking to me, so I took this one from the door of the Cafe before walking inside….
We had a great meal and conversation time together, some of the other dealers were there as well at other tables nearby…the storm outside broke down into a regular thunderstorm and passed over us while we ate. Chuck and I headed back to the Super 8 afterwards…it rained all night long, which raised the river and creek water levels to the point that it would have been unsafe to do any collecting during the morning dig times, so they cancelled the morning digs and stated they would come to a decision regarding the afternoon digs by 11 am. Figuring it would be a long day, I walked over to V`s Restaurant and Pub next door to the hotel for a good breakfast…they have good food all day long there, it used to be a Golden Corral years ago, now more like a bar and grill with good seating and good food. I ate there Thursday evening too. Marv was just finishing up when I walked in Saturday morning…I sat down and talked to him a bit before he headed over to the Chaney Creek Access Parking Lot. He`s a great guy to talk to and deal with, John has known him for years…he has those Tranca Geodes from Mexico that I like alot, he had some bigger ones this year and I was able to get my boss one…they have gorgeous interiors of blue quartz crystals.
Chuck had gotten up earlier and drove over to assist John with cracking open more geodes. so I took my time eating, then filled my gas tank at the Phillips 66 just down the street before leisurely driving over to the parking lot at Chaney Creek. There was a pretty good sized crowd there by then, but i got lucky and found a parking spot on the front row next to the highway when someone pulled out as I was driving in. I walked down the highway side of Dealer Row and stopped to visit with Dennis Kossow a bit more, and purchased some more of his smokey quartz crystals from Hallelujah Junction on the California – Nevada line, a well known location for smoky`s…Dennis always has great prices on his crystals and minerals and he is a great guy to talk to and know. He is a stonemason full time and stays quite busy throughout the year on projects for his clients….
I found him explaining limb casts to a couple of women buyers that morning, he had some exceptionally beautiful limb casts for sale at his booth, too.
I then wandered over to see what the Amish families had brought in on a huge trailer…the high river levels kept rockhounds from going to any of the three Amish sites/locations to rockhound at, so they did the next best thing, they brought in a long trailer full of big and small geodes to the event parking lot to sell !! The Amish folks are some of the nicest people up there to deal with on anything, their womenfolk are some of the best cooks and bakers as well, they had a food booth set up near the highway each day, and a booth near the registration booth where they made and sold home made ice cream. Here is one of the Amish lads cleaning off the grid inside the ice cream bucket….
I talked to him a few minutes between customers about the engine set up…they are part of the Amish community that does not use electricity, and those big ice cream churns are way too big and heavy to turn by hand. One of the other Amish lads there was Amos, he brought the trailer load of geodes up there that morning, said the Fox River, which runs through the property of his farm and the other two Amish farms nearby, was bank full…these were geodes they had previously pulled out of the river and saved for a rainy day….Amos is the big guy in the beautiful blue shirt and straw hat….
…they had some big and beautiful geodes they had collected on their farms..Amos was telling me that he had a set of draft horses to plow his fields with…I went to his brother`s farm last year and his brother has a set of beautiful tan draft horses with yellow manes. Amos told me his horses were a beautiful grey color with black manes, just as pretty, strong, and hard working. He said the Amish men work full time building sheds and small barns that are sold to people like me, and then they work on their farms in their spare time, often from sunrise to sunset. Here is Amos with Kurt, the Director of Geode Fest, and a female customer who bought a few of their geodes….
I wandered back to John`s booth to check on him and Chuck, and found them busy as bees cracking open geodes for folks…
…some of them would often brought buckets full of geodes for them to crack each and every one they thought had potential to be hollow and full of beautiful crystals….this time they were dealing with a couple of young boys and their mother…John is really good with kids, he takes the time to explain things to them in words they can understand and he takes things slow and easy for them so they can watch and learn as they go…
Well shortly after 11 am, it was announced that three sites would be available for everyone who pre-registered to go to in the afternoon and Sunday morning looked like it would be alright for digs as well. There was a break in the weather coming. John, Chuck, and I decided to go to Josh`s site/location on Railroad Creek…this was a site that John had scouted a few times for Geode Fest and put in a tremendous amount of hard work into getting it available for Geode Fest in many ways the past year. We drove out there ahead of the main group to visit with Josh for a bit and see if he was in need of any assistance with traffic control and parking when everyone else arrived, but he said he had plenty of help and we should go on down to the creek and do some hunting…he said the water level was down to a manageable level, but we would be able to see the water mark of how high it had gotten that morning.
We walked down the hill to the creek and he was right, the water had been quite high down there earlier, which would have made it impossible to do any hunting or get within fifty feet of the creek. The water was maybe a foot high and we were able to wade out across the gravels without any problems…
….we went upstream first and found several geodes laying all over the creek bottom, especially in the riffles and exposed gravel bars…many were solids but we found several nice cracked open halves laying around filled with gorgeous crystals…
John was working ahead of me in the creek, checking both side banks for geodes…not finding many around the banks themselves, so we checked the ones in the middle riffle instead. We found a few that felt hollow but many felt solid..keep in mind we were looking for snowball geodes, so some would have a bit of weight to them, but not so much they would be solids, so we were working a fine line here. John has more experience with snowball geodes so he was a good judge of weight of them…needless to say, we didn`t find many that held up to his standards even. From here, with a few geodes in our buckets, we decided to go back toward the entry point and check the long riffle in the middle….
…and here you can see how large some of those geodes were there….
As soon as we reached our entry point to the creek, we started seeing more rockhounds, some who had arrived soon after us and more that arrived with the larger group…they were spread out up and down the creek, some with waders on so they could access the deeper wading pools and some in shorts and tennis shoes to stay cooler…John led Chuck and I down to one of his secret spots where there was a flat grassy area and soft dirt bank to dig into…
….Chuck and I soon discovered why he prefers the dirt banks to dig into…John dug out a couple of basketball sized geodes with big calcite crystals exposed on the outside even, like this one….
So dig into the bank we did and pretty soon, Chuck and I were pulling out some nice geodes as well…I pulled one or two out that resembled the nice calcite geode that John dug out and some other big ones as well…digging there filled a bucket or two pretty quickly…
I had to ask Chuck where he got his firemen`s boots from, figured I should have brought mine with me too…would have made wading in the creeks much safer and easier. After about an hour, Mike, one of the event guides, came rolling down the creek on a four wheeler, he was looking for a section where big rocks could be found…
….someone directed him downstream further and he nearly drove that thing off into a very deep hole during his downstream trek…had it not been for that gal walking down the creek pulling that little boat behind her, warning him of impending doom just ahead…he prob would have drove right off into a ten foot deep hole !!
John had wandered on down to that gravel bar you can see just ahead of Mike, said he had found some nice stuff down there last year when he was there scouting the creek at that location. Chuck and I didn`t make it on down there but we waited for John to return and then we headed back to our vehicles. While we were up there changing out our boots and putting away our buckets and tools, we spotted this mishap…the landowner told us that happened earlier in the year when a tornado struck the area…the carryall remained there because it turned out there was no insurance coverage on it….
I believe they did get some use of the tree, cutting up the wood and burning it over the winter for heat…prob not as much compensation in exchange for the use of the carryall tho. The next morning, Chuck and I opted to go hunt for agates, geodes, and fossils at the gravel plant near Wayland, set up by John for us to join up with the Central Iowa Club, like we did a year or two ago…we were joined this time by Kim and Richard Hill, who were up there for Geode Fest too, from the Memphis Club MAGS, which Chuck and I are members of as well. We drove out there about 8:30 am from the hotel and met up with the Iowa Club members shortly after they arrived. It was a bit froggy out there…
…..but we found a lot of agates in pebble size and form, they were literally all over the place….
This year I walked down to the lower area of the plant along with a couple of the older members to search the dirt and weedy area for geodes…we found a few halves that were pretty, but the whole geodes down there seemed to be mostly solids…like 99 % of them were solids, so we left them right where we found them…the agates we found more than make up for those. 🙂 John had his geodes from Josh`s riverbank cleaned up when I got back over to the parking lot to say my goodbyes and see you later`s to everyone….
…I got back home by evening time and in time to catch the sunset at Cracker Barrel as well…despite all the rain and flooding, it still turned out to be a great weekend up there. Hope everyone else had a great time.