Friday, May 2, 2014

DESTINATION: Diamond Digging in Arkansas

What is it about digging in the dirt?  This road trip lead us to Crater of Diamonds State Park near Murfreesboro, Arkansas.  The night before our dig we stayed in Texarkana, Texas, or was it Arkansas?  The next morning we took the scenic (beautiful country) route to Crater of Diamonds State Park.  G-man had prepared us for our dig by making several sluice boxes, packing a shovel, an including a bucket so we didn't have to rent any equipment at the park.  G-man was also the only one to find anything, resembling a diamond, when he broke the rules and ventured down the creek and out of park property.  There he found the small piece of quartz pictured below.  About three hours later, with no diamonds and NO MORE quartz in sight, we gave up and decided to drive on to the Cossatot State Park- National Area.  We did a short hike down to the river where I stole a few rocks for my garden.  (Yes, I admit it - I'm a petro-klepto...I'm seeking help!)   From there we drove on to the quaint town of Mena, Arkansas,the gateway to the Talimena National Scenic By-way.  We spent the afternoon in search of, yes, you guessed it, BEER but found Arkansas to be dry - so very dry :(.  We did, however, find one restaurant, The Branding Iron BBQ and Steak House, that had something to quench our thirst.  After what seemed like an hour wait we finally had two cold beers and the best smoked chicken, chicken friend steak and mashed potatoes we've ever eaten!  The next day we drove through the beautiful Talimena Mountains.  We stopped to look at the Queen Wilhelmina Lodge located in the Queen Wilhelmina State Park but found it was closed for renovation.  The park rangers at the state park stopped to give us a warning about the bears and to take our picture.  (Why do park rangers make us so nervous...hmmm?)  After leaving Arkansas we drove through the Okahoma side of the Talimena mountains and on through Honobia, Oklahoma, home of Bigfoot Highway and the Bigfoot Festival. (Guess where I'll be next year?)

Entrance to Crater of Diamonds State Park


G-man's big find!

Dirt!!!!
Selfie at over-look on Talimena Scenic By-way.

Early morning smoke/fog sitting in the valley, looking towards Mena, Ak.

Look out!  The bears are awake!
Bigfoot has to exist of Native Americans name a highway after him!