Convergence of Wonders journey in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rocky Mountains (June 29th). Being only a day from home, we had actually left the PNW and Rockies far behind, and we would be traveling upwards of 500 miles on this day to get as close to home as was practical. We were crossing the vast, mostly barren expanse of the Basin and Range Province in western Utah and eastern Nevada on America's "Loneliest Highway".
People may be forgiven for thinking that "lonely" equates to "uninteresting". I know differently, having gone to college in Reno, and doing some extensive geo-touring across the region. Silver Fox, over at Looking For Detachment, understands this as well, and is a great resource for understanding some of the incredible geology to be found in this unique landscape. Unfortunately, it had been two weeks of hard traveling, and it was getting harder to rouse the troops! But two stops caught everyone's attention.
that we found in Utah the previous day. The federal Bureau of Land Management set aside the site from mineral claims to keep it accessible to casual collectors like ourselves. It's at the end of a three mile dirt road which is usually passable for passenger cars.
There were different strategies for finding deep red garnet crystals...one could pound rocks open with a rock hammer, and use a lot of calories and sweat, or one could let the car traffic do the work for us. There are enough crystals that car tires break the gems out and they can be discovered by simply walking along the road watching for dark spots.
It wasn't our accident, but some motorcyclists lost control in the heavy winds that were buffeting the highway and crashed, and we had to wait for ambulances to come and clear the scene. Apparently no one was dead, but the traffic was blocked in both directions for well over an hour, so we were suddenly grievously behind schedule