Saturday, June 28, 2003

Back from our vacation, but showing signs of wear for it........the tranny on our 99 Intrepid pooped on us, albeit 5 miles from Cathy's mother's house at 330 am on the way down. Seemed it preferred locking into 1st gear........quite an experience limping down the road at 30 mph and 4000 rpm's. So we scrambled on the day we were supposed to leave trying to find alternative transportation. We got Cathy's mom's truck, re-packed everything in plastic boxes, arranged for the car repair and left late that Monday night and finally arrived in Nantahala and set up camp at 12 midnight.

It rained every day but one but I had a good time. Cathy thought she saw a bobcat at at our camp. It looked like a fat housecat to me but I won't deprive her of the experience. I also managed to soak in rain all our clothes that I thought my double-wrapped suitcase would avoid. So our last day at camp was spent in the next town's laundry mat.

BUT..........we found over 150 carats of rubies/sapphires..........the largest I found was only 24 carats. Granted, most of the rubies I found are only of specimen quality but a few are going to cut down really nice it appears. So far, in the past three years, our total has topped 600 carats of rubies/sapphires found. My dad and stepmother came to the mine with us and within the first hour and one-half, my dad found a 40 carat ruby on his first day there and instantly became a member of the Sheffield Mine Honker Club (free bucket o' dirt for life) for the find.

Sheffield Mine is the last one of it's kind in that part of North Carolina. No other lode mine produces the native rubies and sapphires of such quality and abundance. Tiffany's actually owned the mine property there in the Cowee Valley for a while in the last century. Now it is privately owned and operated as a recreational mining venue. When I get my blog capable, I will post pikchers. It's a great spot to hang out for the family