True to his word, Ray Roth came up to see me on his way to Keokuk, Iowa last week, and stopped off for a few days to go rockhunting with me.
I had a rough week before he arrived, tooth pulled on Tuesday, thought it was gonna be cut out but the oral surgeon was able to get ahold of it and it came right out…or at least it felt that way…after all I was very numbed up and could only feel the pressure thankfully. The week before that, somehow, I re-injured my right arm…yes the arm that I injured in a fall while rockhunting earlier this year, but also injured it thirty some odd years ago as well while at college, and still have no idea how I re-injured it two weeks ago..memory isnt what it used to be any longer. Original injury was a tendon injury, from helping a trooper friend chip out his ice covered driveway so he could get his patrol car out, treated back then with a sling and tylenol, and doctors orders to rest as much as possible for two weeks…so I treated it this time with pain meds, arnicare salve, a tens unit, and lots of rest when possible…I say possible because the tendons are in my elbow joint and I have to use my arm everyday, and no matter what you do with your right hand or arm, the tendons come into play no matter what you are doing, whether you are moving your fingers like typing, or moving your wrist or arm. Between the arnicare and pain meds alone tho, if I had something I had to do with it, both products sure made it feel quite normal….course when they wore off, it was quite a different story.
Ray was on the road most of Saturday and stopped off in Van Buren for the night…he told me he would be off the road by 6 pm and eating supper while watching the LSU football game, lol….so we made plans to meet in Eminence on Sunday morning around 8 am. St Louis Ray and I got up early Sunday morning and drove down to meet Ray at the junction of Hwy 19 and 106 in downtown Eminence, and led him to the quarry. It was a little froggy when we arrived….
…but it soon burned off and we were left with a gloriously beautiful day of normal temperatures and sunshine all day long, with nice cool breezes as well. As we pulled into the cove area, we discovered the knob that we had been working the past several weeks, was all but gone…..
……now just a few piles of rocks left at the bottom of the wall…we checked the piles first and found a few remnants of clusters, then checked the wall pockets and St Louis Ray spotted a pretty crystal cluster sitting about ten feet up in situ matrix…and was able to climb up and retrieve it without any problem. For the next couple of hours, we scraped along the wall and found a few pockets of small clusters….
After checking this wall, we moved on down to the east to the other blast zone and while St Louis Ray wandered down to his special place further east, to find more vugs in boulders, Ray and I searched the remainder of the blast pile and found some goodies…Ray checked along the edge and I up the slope a bit, found a pocket that had apparently blasted down from the high wall intact, and buried near the top of the pile. After pulling half a dozen small clusters out from under some small boulders, I went back to retrieve a few bags and wound up filling two with wrapped goodies alone ! After another hour of this, we decided to head to the secret spot and see if we could find anything there…Ray had never been there but had heard about it from several of my posts. It hasn`t been blasted in a while there now, but we were able to liberate some goodies from some older pockets there and found some vugs in some boulders that had some nice druse and poker chip combos as well. The water spots there made for some great reflections late in the day there, too….
After digging all morning and into the afternoon a bit at Eminence and then a few hours at the secret spot, Ray and I wore out by 4:30 pm and decided to call it quits….my right arm was ordering me to stop now….I hadn`t overdone it again yet, but it was telling me it was time to stop for the day and I decided to listen. We were covered in dirt and dust, and had several goodies to clean up yet from our digs, plus Ray needed to check in at the Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba and get cleaned up for supper. We checked with St Louis Ray and he was ready to call it a day as well, so we loaded up and headed home.
After taking St Louis Ray back to his truck at my place, I cleaned up quickly and headed back to meet Ray at Mo Hick for some fantastic BBQ in Cuba. I had to stop off at my parents house and drop off some goodies that Ray had brought up with him for them…cooking goodies and some great brownies from a company in Louisiana too. When I got to MO Hick, he was already sitting inside admiring the beautiful cedar wood interior that the owner had made on his own.
The next morning, Ray drove down to my place to get one of his tires fixed, he had picked up a nail somewhere along the road up to Missouri and while it wasn`t leaking, he wanted to get it repaired before driving on up to Keokuk and then back home. I took him over to Harry`s Tire Service in Sullivan, where I always get my tires serviced at, and after about 20 minutes, the guys there had him in good shape once again and ready to travel. We decided to head to my house so he could see my collection and while there, decided to have breakfast at Cracker Barrel before heading out to hunt more. My parents met us at CB and paid Ray back for the cajun cooking goodies that he had brought up with him and given to them the day before. After a great brunch, Ray and I headed to the new druse spot to check it out…it had rained pretty good a few days before and as I told Ray, that`s the best time to search there.
We walked up to the top of the hill as seen in the photo above, first…as I explained to Ray after arriving and getting our boots on…I have had better luck finding beautiful bubbles up there. We each grabbed a couple of bags and tools and headed up the hill with Missy in hot pursuit. I stayed to the left and walked up a trail that had been drastically eroded by heavy rainfall and Ray went up the little road going up the hill to the right….within thirty minutes, I spotted a pile of dirt and on closer inspection, found several plates of smokey colored druse quartz…one of my favorite colors there…I walked back to the truck to get more bags and wraps and returned to wrap them up.
About two hours later, we both had three or four full bags each and were a bit tired, but we managed to take a water break, then walk over to the other side and check the drainage ditches and filled yet another bag each. By this time, we were both done in for the day, and we headed back to town. After cleaning up, I met Ray over at our Chinese Buffet Restaurant and we had a great meal there…Ray topping off his meal with two huge dips of ice cream. Here are some neat sunbeams I shot on the way to the restaurant….
We were gonna go horseback riding the next morning, but my friend who has the horses, got called into St Louis Tuesday morning so we postponed to Wed morning instead and spent the day goofing off and cleaning up our finds from previous days. Ray decided to also give his suv a good wash and then re-arranged the rock load so that he would be sure to have some room for geodes once he got to Iowa.
Ray came over to my house bright and early on Wed morning…ready to go horseback riding…..I asked him where his jeans were cause he was wearing shorts, and he said he figured he would be okay in shorts…lol…he rode with me up to my friend`s horse farm out of Bourbon, the Meramac Farm Bed and Breakfast Horse Farm….its a Century Farm, over 100 years old, they have a few horsebarns there, one is over 125 years old and built with wooden pegs instead of nails…you can see them in the huge loft beams. They have several horses there and easily accomodate groups for trail rides with over 900 acres of farmland and forested hills. This is a view of their farm back in 2009 from one of their hilltop views….
...and it shows both barns and the original farm house where my friend Carol, has lived much of her life, the farm in her family for many generations. Tragically in 2010, during a severe storm, the farmhouse was struck by lightning and burned to the ground despite the best efforts of several fire departments who responded. Despite the tremendous loss, Carol and her family and staff, bounced back from it and built a new farmhouse, a North Carolina style farmhouse, complete with a bright copper colored metal roof…
…and a beautiful white picket fence surrounding it….it`s like a bright beacon from the roadway and is just as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside. We arrived at the farm a little after 10 am and found Carol and Jerry saddling up horses for us…Ray was no sooner out of my truck and walking across to meet Carol…..
….when she asked Ray, if he had any jeans to ride in….I just chuckled when he gave them his answer…they shook their heads and said, okay…they were waiting on a lady that wanted to go riding that morning as well and she was running late, having trouble finding their farm. Carol pointed out an Eagle perched high in a dead tree top way across their north field, about three hundred yards…I put my camera lens on it, but it was still way over there…
and my lens wasn`t able to pull it in sharply at all….
We signed the releases and got saddled up while waiting for her to arrive. Here you see Jerry adjusting the stirrups for Ray as he is sitting on his horse….
…and soon after, we were on the way…we rode down into that north field first, as Carol wanted to see if we could get closer to the Eagle, but as soon as we got into the bottom of the field, we saw that the Eagle had flown off. This is a pretty pasture, I go there often in the spring when bluebell flowers bloom all over the place on the river side….
…and we soon were up on the main road, on our way to the back side of the farm where more pretty trails awaited our arrival…here you see Ray and Jerry bringing up the rear of the trail ride….
…all in all, we had a great two hour ride…it had been ten years since Ray had gone horseback riding and only four years for me. He texted me the next day to let me know he was out looking around and finding geodes, but was being picky as to what he was going to take home with him due to the restrictions on space. He was a bit sore while up in Iowa geode hunting, but had a great time while here.