When we started the beginning plans of our Big Trip we sat down with the kids and asked them where they wanted to visit in the USA. When Vincent was turning 5 (5.5 years ago) he requested a trip to the Statue of Liberty for his birthday. Even as an adventurous woman, I was not ready to brave that solo with 4 kids age 5 and under (two of those being 1 year old by the way). Brian was deployed, and at the time we had already planned to travel from WA to TX, then onto IN, back to CO, MT, and back to our then home of WA. Visiting 12 states in 12 weeks was a bit nutty, but it was a way to cope (remember this post?).
Anyway, fast forward to the planning of this trip. When asked where he wanted to go, Vincent replied again that he wanted to see The Statue of Liberty. We obviously added it to our itinerary. Kenniston immediately answered, “China Town.” That was added to our list. Jack answered “a volcano,” but that wasn’t entirely possible (we are staying on the mainland dude, it just isn’t happening during this trip). Since he got to choose a stop to see Mount Rushmore last year we didn’t really worry too much about his request at this time.

Ruby, however, put a lot of thought into her choice. She and I read our variety of state books to see what might be of interest to her. She loves animals and the outdoors. When we read about rocks and minerals found in the mid section of the US she was interested in hearing more. Eventually we learned that geodes were commonly found in Iowa and Illinois. After further investigation we found a very popular spot for digging geodes. She was hooked. That was her destination.

On our way to Hamilton, Illinois we stopped by Walmart (my favorite place) to pick up a few supplies – some garden shovels, picks, and rakes all found on clearance. Score. I also found a kid’s garden shovel that I thought may be very useful, it turns out it was.

Ruby proudly carried the red kid’s shovel out of the store.




When we arrived at Jacob’s Geodes I found my suspicions to be true. This was a little bitty family run establishment. There was a small house surrounded by piles of scrap metal. A sign on the door told us to leave $20 (the cost for a 5-gallon bucket of geodes) “in the seat of the blue truck across from the house.” A map was drawn so we knew where to go.

As we checked the property to see if our travel trailer could be driven to the dig sites (there were 2) Jacob came down the main gravel road, on his tractor. He explained where to take our van and trailer and where to dig for the geodes.

After some navigating we made it to the dig site. Right away we found geodes that had likely be recently unearthed by Jacob. The kids were thrilled. They dug even further in hopes of finding more goodies. Every where we dug we found geodes. Some were already broken for us (thankfully, we don’t have the tools to break them open…we will figure that out later) while others need to be opened. It was so much fun to watch the kids run up the hill in search of a sparkle in the dirt. We filled our 2 gallon bin (I didn’t think we needed an entire 5 gallons of rocks) and the kids put a few of their favorites in their back packs. It was so much fun.

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And Ruby loved every minute of it.


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I came close to shedding a tear. This. This is one of the reasons we have decided to embark of this adventure. This desire to find something out there that you enjoy and explore it. Embrace the beauty and fun that God has created. He has created such an amazing place, why not explore it? Why not go out there and enjoy it when you can?

Updated: October 30, 2014 — 10:35 pm
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