Oh my goodness, what an adventure…
Driving nearly 8 hours to get to the high desert. 5yo asking every 12 minutes “are we at the mine, yet?”. My standard response was just like Mr Incredible when they are literally rocketing to the city in a minivan held together by Mrs Incredible – “We get there WHEN WE GET THERE!”
Eventually we did get there, and we saw the tipi from the distance. It was exciting to see it get closer and closer by every rut and bump in the road. It was big enough for 2 air mattresses and a table at one end, and probably another mattress if we really wanted. We managed a dinner of canned vienna sausage franks and a bit of this and a bit of that. Everyone was excited about the franks but only the under 8s were impressed with them. I thought they tasted like super soft, fluffy, meat marshmallows. Barely palatable.
Cut to bed time and a standard amount of mayhem ensued. Husband and I stopped trying to unwind and just got into our own sleeping bags in there, too. It was super windy for ages (not from the vienna sausage), so there was flap, flap, flappingaroo from the top of the tipi canvas, and the poles were creaking like the mast on an old ship at sea. Eventually I woke up and could see the stars through the gap in the canvas. They would have been so bright and twinkly if my eyes were not sleepy and trying not to wake up. 3.5yo hopped in and out of our bed a few times before eventually staying on the other mattress and being zipped back up into his sleeping bag.
I knew the tipi would not be a seal against the creatures of the desert, but I didn’t know that those creatures would seem so big and loud when my brain stopped me from going back to sleep in the middle of the night. Something was on the canvas – right near my head – and was scratching or climbing or something noisy for a long time. And 3.5yo kept pushing me closer to the edge, egad! Husband, apparently, couldn’t sleep much and was sure there was a mouse running around – it sounded like a herd of them – but it was merely a single beetle.
We eventually went back to sleep, only to be awoken by the boys complaining of the cold.
We ate beans for breakfast – g r e a t – and tried to wait until a decent hour so we could harass the locals about the crystal mining.
We stood around in the already hot sun and got sand in our shoes and shorts until the bulldozer dumped a pile of ore for us to sort through. We had shovels and picks and screens and a hose, 2 moderately helpful kids, a whiny monkey and a mediocre amount of optimisim. It was enough to get us through the ENTIRE day – with breaks, of course – and through the entire pile of ore, which was way bigger than it looked.
It was a tough day – my nails would be ruined if I were in the habit of keeping them purdy – but we found a few pounds of Oregon Sunstone, and Husband said he would be keen to do it again, but probably not for 2 years.
On the (l o n g) drive home, we stopped for lunch and there was the obligatory cabinet of polished up rocks with some very nice jewellery made from the sunstones, so we will see how we go with getting ours cut and polished and what have you.
We also split our drive in half by staying with friends, which was much appreciated and a nice rest, but after doodling in the dusty desert for 2 days, I was not prepared for company, and Husband discreetly pointed out the mess I had made of my Dutch Bros and my shirt. Ho hum.
We had a hot day in Bend while the boys raced at the local BMX track, and then on the road again. The house was nice and tidy, just like we left it, for about 9 minutes after we got home, and then we went to bed. The end.
I highly recommend these oft annoying activities to make shit real for your family.
Oh my goodness, what an adventure…