Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Where the road ends and the gemstone trail begins


Have you ever thought to yourself, where exactly does the road end?  Well this weekend on what seemed like a never ending road trip, we found it in the middle of the Oregon desert.

We wanted to get in one last adventure before the weather changes, Hot Dog Dude, myself, our daughter, and two wiener dogs piled into his pick-up.  We set off to go mining for sunstones and opals in the desert.  Hot Dog Dude had the brilliant idea to leave after work on Friday, I was thinking my bed sounded better, but I was in.

Hot Dog Dude is a professional driver, to him what's another 8 hours on the road; but I myself the professional back seat driver I am, demanded we stop when not even toothpicks could hold up my eyelids any longer. 

It was so late and we couldn't find an actual town, most of the motels we saw were closed.  The one we did find open, well let's put it this way, you know those horror movies where people stay at a motel with no other people around and end up getting tortured and killed.  I was convinced that was the one we had found.  Just in case I had to make a run for it in the middle of the night, I decided to sleep on top of the bed with my clothes on.  Hot Dog Dude gave me that "really" look from underneath the covers, but I didn't care.

When first light arrived, I grabbed my daughter and the dogs and took them for a walk.  When we came back to the room, the door was locked and Hot Dog Dude was in the shower.  As I stood there imagining the worst, a woman walked out of the room next to us and sat on a bench, she proceeded to tell us she has stage 4 cancer and three months to live.  My heart sank, I sat down and listened to her story, instead of being sad, she smiled as she told me about her family and her beloved dog Willis.   How her son came home from college to be with her and how Willis rides on her Harley with her.  She was here to see Burney Falls and she convinced me I must too.  All my irrational fears slipped away, this motel, sitting on this bench was exactly where I was supposed to be and I'll never forget her. 

Burney Falls was a feast for the eyes, aside from the spectacular scenery; there were miles of trails to explore.  


As we snaked back up the trail, I peered over my shoulder at the falls and caught a glimpse of a rainbow.  This was where I was supposed to be.


We hopped back in the truck ready to hit the road again.  After what seemed like many hours in the middle of nowhere, I asked my husband, "When will we know we are there"?  He replied, "We take the turn-off where the road ends".  I was looking ahead when I spotted it, a snapshot in my mind, I squealed, "Pull over".  Hot Dog Dude seemed a bit stunned; I need a photo I told him.  After getting a couple shots, I looked over to my right and there was a little sign with writing in marker denoting the trail.  I jumped in the truck and said, "We need to take the road to the right".  I was beginning to sense, I was in the right place at the right time again.


After miles of dirt road and sagebrush as far as the eyes could see we arrived at Spectrum Sunstone Mine.  My husband and daughter were so excited; they hopped in the pit and went to work.  Hot Dog Dude and the girls are rockhounds; they've been collecting specimens for years.  I'm just the cheering section and in charge of making sure we have snacks.


After a long day and with a small bucket of sunstones extracted from the earth we pulled ourselves back up into the truck along with a few extra pounds of dirt stowed away on our clothing.  We headed off further into the desert towards Royal Peacock Opal Mine.  It's a long haul between towns, so be sure and bring an ice chest with drinks and snacks. 

Our journey paid off with a bounty of sunstones and different colored opals.  As precious as the stones are, spending time with Hot Dog Dude and my daugther; that was priceless. 


As we headed out of the desert I couldn't help but notice how fast the sky was changing, just like life I thought.  If you don't slow down and pay attention; you will surely miss all the beautiful changes going on around you.


When I started writing this blog, I figured it was by chance or accident.  I know now it wasn't, I'm right where I'm supposed to be.  I know I want to write a cookbook in the near future; I just need to start carving out the time to do so from my crazy schedule. 

Hope you enjoyed hitting the trail with us.

Gina

22 comments:

  1. What a great post it sounds wonderful. I love those moments that is what life is all about the strangers you meet the time you spend with loved ones.

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  2. Wow...what amazing pictures and a great write up. Love the rainbow!
    Take care...

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  3. Isn't it amazing how rainbows still carry the promises we need right at the moment that we need them. I love rock hunting too and there are plenty of mines in the mountains around here, but I'd love to be in the wide open spaces you visited. Wow, those pictures are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing your trip and thoughts with us. I'm glad you're sticking around. Really glad.

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  4. There's not a morsel of food in here, and yet I find this post incredibly beautiful and moving, Gina. That woman you met at the spooky motel, the glimpse of the rainbow, breathtaking scenery, the quality time spent with your family, your aspirations, this blog... yes, I'd say you were/are right where you're supposed to be!

    And that crazy schedule we all have? Well, it's just a schedule and WE determine what goes into it, so if you should schedule for a cookbook to happen...then by God, it will ;-). Don't forget, it's world domination or nothing, Gina! LOL. Love ya, mwaahs!

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  5. WOW! Spectacular pictures and I love every bit of it. :)

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  6. Life is a journey, and it isn't where you are going, it's how you got there, and your experiences along the way. Sounds like you had some wonderful experiences, and made good memories. Thanks for sharing! love your pics.

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  7. Enjoyed every moment of it and got lost in the splendor of God's magnificent creation! You were right where you were supposed to be to listen to the story of that precious woman (I'm sure you were a blessing to her)... You're also right where you "are" supposed to be now! Your adventure continues and it is such a pleasure to be on this journey with you! I'm sure when that cookbook comes out, it will be a mouthwatering piece of art!
    Thank you for sharing these beautiful moments! xoxo

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  8. What amazing pictures! Great trip - thanks for sharing your stories with us!

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  9. Gina - your photos are fantastic!!! Thank you for sharing your adventures with us. Life is certainly a journey and the way that you decide to tackle it, makes all the difference in the world. That is what bucket lists are for! :)

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  10. Gina, what a beautiful post! I'm so glad you've found the right path. You're destined to do great things! And your photos are amazing!

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  11. o Gina...those photos are amazing! Thanks, my dear, for sharing them. I really love those clicks.

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  12. Lovely post. I never even thought of gemstone collecting before...it looks like fun! And your photos!...STUNNING! Buzzed :)

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  13. You truly went to where the sidewalk ends. Isn't it fascinating how you really seem to be positioned absolutely correctly in a moment in time. You are right, Gina - you are exactly where you need to be. And the beautiful posting states that.

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  14. Oh Gina your post has brought tears to my eyes. But the good kind of tears, because it's touched me. Thank you for writing and sharing these beautiful words and photos. So well written and so full of wisdom. Yes you are right were you should be. Big hugs sweetie and I can't wait to hold your cookbook :)

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  15. Gina, this is very beautiful post..and I loved every picture that you posted! I've been this year in Franklin NC for rock hunting but so need to go there too:))
    I know you can find time to write a cookbook, I know it will be beautiful book if I compare what you have already did here on your blog! Wish you best of luck dear!!

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  16. Gina-your heart and soul are in these magnificent photos. I do hope that you carry through with your great aspirations, and dreams, which you are so deserving of!
    Gorgeous photos, of the waterfall, especially:DDD

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  17. What a beautiful post and road trip...thank you so much for taking us along :)
    Wishing you an amazing weekend!

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  18. Beautiful post Gina, I really thought your gemstones looked like candy. I've always got food on the brain;-) I love the area you visited and have spent some time up there as well, gorgeous photos my dear. I'm ready for our next lunch;-)

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  19. Gina
    what amazing images, what a magnificent country we live in! Your story got me thinking about whats really important in life, and thats spending time with the ones you love, you never really know how much time you have left.
    Thanks for such a wonderful post
    Dennis

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  20. I’m glad you got to spend some quality time with your family and that you took us with you through the wonderful pictures. Talking about pictures, you changed your “about me” picture. You look great!
    I’m sure that cook book will come. Just make sure to tell us when so we can run to the bookstore to get one!

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  21. Thanks everyone, hope you are enjoying your weekend.

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  22. Gina, this post really gets me thinking. Time is so precious that every minute counts. I keep telling myself every single time to not take my love ones for granted. Your photos are so breath taking. The colours of nature really came through and what a great way to spend time with your family. All the best in your book writting. Do let us know when it comes out. I will run out to get it and probably ship to you for your autograph and I get to brag that I know you ;P. Take care now!! Hugs, Jo

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