Camping at the KOA Diamond MinesPosted: August 10, 2009
This weekend, my parents came up to our crib to go camping and the chance to mine some diamonds. We reserved a campsite at the KOA campground in Herkimer, NY. We arrived around 11am and were told the campsite was not ready, and we should come back at 2:30. No problem, we wanted to strike it rich in the diamond mines located across the street.
We arrived at the Mine’s welcome center and were greeted by a short line to sign in. When it was our turn to sign in we were greeted by two nice old ladies that probably have been there before any of the diamonds formed. They found the new fangled computer (with green screen) difficult to use. Not sure what kind of training program Herkimer Diamond Mines have for their employees but they might want to revamp it. Dad plunked down some money, and the ladies handed us 3 hammers.Dad also bought one chisel. No need for safety googles,Dad bought a couple of pairs from home. We were ready.
A short walk later and we were at the mines. Essentially, it is an open pit with alot of rocks strewn about:
You pick one up, hammer it, split it, see if there is a diamond in it, rinse, wash, repeat. It gets addicting. Pretty much anything goes here, even spotted a family having a lunch break amongst the rocks. Like I said it is addicting. I felt like an old lady with my cup o’ nickles at an Atantic City slot machine. “Just one more pull…gonna hit the big one.” I kept saying “Maybe this rock…just one more..gonna hit the big one.” It is hard work to break a rock.
That’s because they are hard as rocks!!
Yes, Capt. Obvious, they are. Thank You for your useless input. Where was I? Oh…The hammers that Herkimer Diamond Mines give to you perform well. After a few hard hits the rock splits. Mom found a very nice diamond with no hammering needed, she found it right on the ground. Here are some more pics of us mining:
Around 1:30, we stopped, had some lunch at there cafe (try the chicken fingers!) and noticed Maddie was getting restless. We could tell she was tired and cranky, and so could everyone else in the mine. Mom went inside to check on what her loot is worth. Bet you are wondering how much the diamonds we found are worth?
After putting in an honest days work in the mines, it was time to check in. At 2:30, Laurie went into the office to see if the campsite was ready. We grabbed our suits and changed in the bathroom and threw Madaghan into the pool to chill her out. She was tired, hungry, and ready for a nap and so was I. The pool did the trick. It took her mind off how tired she was. We swam in the cold pool for a good half hour and my parents got to see how much Maddie is learning with her swimming lessons.
At 3:00, Laurie got the go ahead and up to the campsite we went. Sorry, Kampsite. Spelt with a K, because of KOA get it? Silly marketers at KOA.
We unpacked and settled in. I grilled the shishkabobs Laurie prepared the night before and boiled some water for Maddie’s noodles.
After dinner, we took a walk down a few campsite to visit or friends Martiza and Mickey. Mickey made me a nice drink of Captain Morgan’s Parrot Bay Coconut Rum mixed with Pineapple Juice. Yum. I say Yum again. It was delicious. So good in fact that tonight after work I am stopping at the liquor store and picking up some Capt. Morgan’s Coconut Rum and pineapple juice. In exchange for the drink, I introduced them to Doughboys. Click here for the recipe. They were sooo good, I could probably sell them like Crack or Heroine. Just offer the first one for free, get ’em hooked. After a few drinks, and a nice visit, it was time for showers and bed.
The next day brought with it clouds and some chill. But that did not stop us from trying to drown ourselves in the fast moving “lazy” river. After breakfast, we hopped on our inflatable tubes. Me, Mom, Laure & Maddie all hoped onto our own tubes, Maddie on Laurie’s lap:
The river was a bit faster than we anticipated. The first giant rock in the water came at us pretty quick and under went Mom. Sweet Jesus, I grabbed her to ya know..make sure she can breath. With a little help from her friends, she was able to climb back onto the tube and continue on. The rapids subsided and we were at the lazy part. We could have stayed there all day.
We continued down the river to the end of the campground. This is where things got a little out of hand and for once I was glad I weighed 250 lbs. I jumped off the tube and started to pull everyone to the side of the river and lost my footing thanks to the sandals I was wearing.
Should ‘ve been barefoot, probably would have gotten more traction-anyway-I flung my self into a boulder and hugged it. Oh what a site I must have been-hilarity ensued. Can you picture it? A fat guy hugging a rock with his right hand and family held on by a rope in his left hand.
At this point, things got a little serious. I could not hold on much longer against the strength of the water pushing the family in the tubes, and the rope burning and digging into my hand. I screamed at Laurie to hop out of the tube with the baby (she was already doing so), thanking the lord that Laurie is strong as hell and the water is only knee deep. While Laurie was headed toward shore, Mom got out, making the task of holding the tubes easier. I dragged the tubes while helping Mom to the shore all the while keeping a watchful concerned eye on Laurie and MAdaghan making sure they made it to the shore. Once they made it to the shore, Mom and I were not far behind them. We all had a good, Gallows Humor chuckle.
I saved the day!
You too? What is with both of you? Get back to your honey due list.
Not the smartest of moves in our parental adventure. Maddie should have been wearing a water skiing jacket at the least. I hate to think what would have happened if Laurie dropped her when she hopped out of the tube. I am also glad this fatty McButterpants can still swim. Next time, water ski jacket for Maddie, barefoot for me, and during the ‘lazy’ part of the river, we head toward the shore to make exiting easier. We’ll even spend sometime at the exit point to see how the more experienced people do it. We were lulled into a false sense of security from watching the young kids pass our cabin on their way to the river access. We severely underestimated the power and speed of the river. River: 1 Me: 0. Damn.