Finally, on Tuesday, July 8th, we were on the road for our RV vacation with our 13-year-old grandson Logan from Jasper, Texas to Dierks, Arkansas and our campground for the next 3 nights - Jefferson Ridge Corps of Engineers (“COE”) Park (Jefferson Ridge COE Park). Since we could not get a reservation at Crater of Diamonds State Park, 30 miles away, we saved lots of money with our Federal Senior Pass. If 62 or older, check it out: http://store.usgs.gov/pass/senior.html.
We had about a 6-hour drive (251+ miles) – at motor home (“MH”) speed – which we determined was way too much for one day (and we will be re-thinking future trips). Logan began the trip riding shotgun and, when there was not much to see, he was on his cell phone; otherwise, while riding up front, he was unplugged and enjoying the scenery. Since a 13-year-old can only get excited about so much scenery, he also spent lots of time building Legos while riding in the MH.
Imagine our surprise when we arrived at our RV site and discovered the water connection was over 50 feet behind our MH! Fortunately, one of the park gate attendants loaned us a hose for our stay. Just one more thing for RVers to add to the checklist when making reservations!
We had a severe thunderstorm the first night at the park, which had me shaking, but it passed quickly. The following morning, Dick and Logan went to the lake to take pictures. Later in the day, when Logan went swimming, we realized that he was sitting on a piece of playground equipment that should have been on dry land! Apparently, we had quite a rainfall!
On Thursday, July 10th, we packed a picnic and drove to Crater of Diamonds State Park (www.craterofdiamondsstatepark.com) for the day. We thought we had done our research but, apparently, we overlooked some vital information. If you ever make this trip, bring your own supplies – shovel, screen, buckets, etc. If you do not have the equipment, you can either rent or purchase what you need to hunt for diamonds, but you can save $$$$ if you bring your own! Definitely watch the video and listen to the park interpretive person, who tells you exactly what to do and what to look for while searching. It was hot, muddy (the day we were there) and hard work, but definitely interesting. We did not find the big one, although some were found, but Logan brought home a bucket of mud, which should now be dirt. One day, he and Michelle will search the dirt, and who knows what they will find. We were told that over 60% of the diamonds are found in the dirt that is brought home, and each person can take a 5-gallon bucket of dirt with them.
Definitely wear old clothes and old shoes good for walking! Before leaving the digging site, there are outdoor sprayers to rinse the equipment and yourself. We finished our day with a picnic and cooled off with a visit to the Diamond Springs Water Park.
After returning to our RV site, we prepared to travel north the following day – Friday, July 11th – for a week-long stay, so I will save those stories and pictures for another day.
Thanks for traveling with us and let us hear from you!