Today the Trekies said goodbye to Dick & Gail & and Rocky the Wonderdog and went seperate ways. Dick and Gail heading southwest to Arizona, and Larry & Diane and Don and Bonnie off to Branson Mo. Kind of a sad day as we have been together for some 127 days now, but family has stronger bonds and must be dealt with. It will only be a couple of more weeks before We also split and the Trekies will be scattered throughout the West on their way home once again.
Crater of Diamonds State Park: Arkansas has a state park that is a real diamond mine - the only one in the United States. It is open to the public - for a fee - and any diamonds you find you can keep. The campground is definitely a "Bonnie camp" and Rockie was sure he would find her there. Every stop we make he is out looking for the guys. Back to the diamonds. The ten acre field is plowed about once a month to keep the soil loose and turn up more rocks. We were surprised that the field was not very muddy since big rains had gone through just days before. The diamonds are formed deep in the earth - something to do with a volcano - and because they are lighter than dirt they work their way to to surface. So diamonds keep coming up. You dig a bucket of dirt and gravel and then take it to a pavillion with big tanks of water to sluice the dirt away in screen boxes. This is the muddy part, since you tend to sluice muddy water all over. We talked with a mother and daughter from Phoenix who showed us the ropes. It was mom's birthday and going to the diamond field was her present. She was determined to find one. Another man sluicing by me was back for his forth time with no diamond. I had visions of coming away with four or five little diamonds. Employees at the park will help you identify your stones and advise places to have them cut or set. Whenever a diamond is found they blow a loud whistle to celebrate. Two diamonds were found the day we were there. Neither was found by the Pellegrinis. But it was an interesting experience. Think from now on I'll get my gems the old fashioned way - buy them.