Sunday, June 03, 2007

Digging Up The Past

I needed to get to a motor vehicle department Saturday morning. The road to get there was one that I rarely use over the past few years, I'd occasionally use the route to go visit friends in Hartford. Years before that, I would use this route (and sometimes alternate ones) to get out mineral collecting at some of my former favorite spots.

It was almost noon, by the time my errands were done, and then the idea drops into my head to revisit that former stomping ground. I called a friend, telling him of my plans to see if he wanted to join me. We were soon on our way.

First stop was McDonald's. We were both hungry and looking for something quick on route. It was nice too, as family was there, so it gave us a chance to say hello. I use a cardboard drink tray to hold my drinks in the car as it seems to work perfectly as my morning coffee holder during the work commute, but today was more different. I found out that sticking it between the two of us and dealing with the food was a bit more of a challenge. We dealt with the minor nuisance.

The road was dotted with yards sales. I'm sorry, they are called tag sales out there (**smiling**). We only stopped at one. It was rather large and had a lot of varied things to look at. There were a lot of religious paraphernalia and a lot of electronics. Problem was a lot of it looked downright nasty, in need a good cleaning.

Next came a pit stop at a Dunkin Donuts. Years back that site was home to a Dairy Queen. The Dairy Queen remains, but now is part of a small strip mall that included the Dunkin Donuts.

Refreshed and ready to go, we drove up to the Quarry Ridge Golf Course in Portland, Connecticut. The grounds of the golf course cover where were once the mine dumps from the Strickland Quarry. You'd never think it, looking at the beautiful grassy courses, except for an occasionally out cropping of white rock with mica glimmering. The building housing the pro shop did have a small display case with some of the minerals once found there. The quarry pit remains, fenced off for safety. I asked one of the owners for permission to go and take a few pictures. He gave me permission, and also suggested I walk a particular trail if I want to try and find anything. He was very pleasant and helpful. We went along the quarry ridge to get a look at the quarry. It still sports quite an impressive view. We next walked the trail. There really wasn't much to see on the trail, but we offered a fine meal to a lot of mosquitoes.

Though tired and overheated at that point, we proceeded over to the Case Quarry. I used to alway come home with some nice beryl crystals from there, but it has been very picked over through the years. I saw just a few tiny bits of beryl, nothing noteworthy. Some of the quartz there, though nothing of any value or quantity, has a particular glassy luster. It's pretty to look at, but I imagine that few people would even justify the walk there for what you would find anymore. It's a bit of a walk to get to the quarry area, walking near power lines. We enjoyed the walk to get there anyway as we saw a lot of plants, a ton of tadpoles in the water, and my friend even saw a rabbit in the woods. Perhaps years from now, though, someone will dig and hit a vein of something interesting, and the process will start all over again.

We stopped at Dairy Queen to get a meal before heading home. I wanted to try one of those Blizzard desserts.

Along the roadside, on the way home there are two big boulders painted brightly. One was painted to look like a snake, and one to look like an eagle. We stopped to look at the eagle. It was probably about ten feet long, and five feet high (not counting the rock it rested on). We took a side street behind the attraction. and walked a path thinking it was an easy way to avoid the traffic of the main route. The path turned out to be a dry drainage stream bed. When we neared the street me had to climb up to the road (LOL). We did make it there, though.

Continuing down the road, my friend spots a turtle on the side of the road. We turn back to look at it. He's huge! He was close to two feet long! An older gentleman pulls up too, and next thing you know a young lady shows up with a camera. The older guy tried to move the turtle off the road. Yay!

Stopped and looked at a building that had to have formerly housed a carousel. From there went home.

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