Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Herkimer Diamond Mining at the Ace of Diamonds

We had about a week in between Phish tour and their festival so we decided to go up to Herkimer to dig for some crystals. It's really cool mining for your own rocks. I was breaking boulders and pulling out nice crystals. If you pick the right rock that starts producing, you can get a handful of nice Herkimers pretty quickly. It's all about finding the rocks that have black pockets calked vugs in them. The more holes the better. Here is a small herkimer in matrix. It was my pocket rock.

The first afternoon we pulled in and recognized a couple of the workers and the mine owner knew our van. I don't know if it was good timing or if he likes us because that first evening, he brought out a whole bunch of new material to work with.

We had a squirrel that would raid our camps at night. He must have liked the smell of coffee, cause he chewed on the lid to my coffee grounds.

It was a great time at the Ace of Diamonds. We got lotsa nice rocks and Flowski took some time and got our nice Kenwood car stereo installed and got the whole van cleaned and organized.

I am really stoked on the new head unit. We can use the iPod and have hundreds of hours of music at our fingertips.

Definitely coming back to Herkimer after Phish Superball in Watkins Glen NY.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Good place to hangout before Phish Superball

It's Friday today and a little less than a week from Phish's big festival Superball. It's their 9th festival and we are definitely going.

But we have a little time so we are going up to the Ace of Diamonds Mine in Herkimer county NY. It's right in Middleville a little over 2 hours away from Watkins Glen where the festival will be.

We are gonna mine some Herkimer Diamonds. Right now it is raining at the Wal-Mart right down the street so I am sure it's raining on the mine. It washes off all the mud from the crystals so you can just walk around and pickup handfuls of them. There are a bunch of ways to mine and it's only $8 a day to mine some beautiful crystals and $1 a tool to rent small tools right at the mine.

It's a lot of fun and it's awesome when you start finding them. If you have some time before Superball and like crystals, then the Ace of Diamond is the place to be.

- Posted by Jack using BlogPress from my iPhone

Trip Log 5604 Welcome to Pennsylvaniaw

Just passed into Pennsylvania headed North after visiting my brother Paul and his wife Bia. I had a great time visiting. We had a nice dinner at Outback Steakhouse the night we got to Morgantown. The steak was great, but they got our orders mixed up and didn't have my side dish. It all worked out, we got a meal free and an extra steak to take home. Here's the blooming onion from the dinner.
I should have taken it when it was served but we were hungry.

My brother Paul is totally a rock hound. He is the one that got me into rocks years ago when I was growing up. So we spent half the time looking at rocks and specimens. It was really cool.

Now we are off to Herkimer NY to go dig and mine some rocks at the Ace of Diamonds Mine. It should be easy pickings with the recent rain.

We stopped for dinner after getting halfway to Herk and grabbed some Johnny Rockets burgers. Good stuff.

- Posted by Jack using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Shenandoah National Park

We had a fun day driving through the national park. The weather ended up nicer than we expected. There are a whole bunch of nice pull offs and hiking trails in the Shenandoah National Park. We stopped a bunch of times for pictures. Here are some of them.

I convinced Flowski to let me drive for a while. It was fun on the windy curvy roads.

It's unusual to catch Flowski in the passenger seat.

We are off to visit my brother Paul in WV before heading up to Herkimer NY before the Phish festival Superball.

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Trip Log 5190 - Shenandoah National Park - Blue Ridge Pkwy

We spent the night last night in Waynesboro, VA at the Best Western. It was definitely the best hotel we have stayed at this summer. King size bed, comfy chairs and pillows, and a full hot breakfast downstairs. It was only about $20 more than we usually pay and it was well worth it.

Today is the first day of summer and we lucked out. The national park is free today! So we are going on a beautiful scenic drive through the Appalachians up into Shenandoah National Park.

Right now we are driving on Skyline Drive. Here's a shot from the 1st scenic overlook.

Looking back over Waynesboro above and overlooking the McCormick Gap below.

This is cool driving up along the mountain ridge. It is looking like a beautiful day today. It is supposed to start storming this afternoon and rain for a few days so we are gonna sightsee while we can.

Just about a week to kill time between now and Superball. I think after the park, we are gonna go mine some Herkimers for a few days up in Herkimer NY ad probably visit our friends Jay and Carrie.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Finished 1st leg of Phish.

We wrapped up a fun tour leg with a stop in Portsmouth, VA yesterday for Phish at the NTELOS Wireless Pavilion. It was only the 2nd or 3rd stop that let us in nice and early. We pulled in at about 1:30 and people were already setting up Easy Ups and claiming their spots.

It's always good when they ask if you are vending and tell you where to go. We got a nice spot near the middle of shakedown and setup. It was still super early, so no customers were even there yet, so I didn't pull out my rock cases for a while. It ended up raining on us a couple times during the day but cleared up before most of the people got there. Here is everybody hiding from the short downpour.

It was a really fun time. We were making sales right through the start of the show, then packed up and went in.

It was a cool venue because it was all general admission and it was a small venue so it was easy to get close.

I wandered up closer a couple times but it was a small lawn and I was pretty tired from running the booth all day so we relaxed and danced on the lawn.

I was a little worried when we got back out to shakedown because there were rumors circling around that there wouldn't be a blowout. Well rumors are not always true. A staff member stopped in and said, "U guys need to be out of here by 6 AM". Every other venue is usually chasing us out with cops and sirens before 1 AM so it was really nice to be able to pack up and organize everything without felling rushed and pressured.

Thanks Porthsmouth for an awesome finish to the first leg of tour.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Trip Log 4429 Welcome to South Carolina - Phish 2011

We just passed into SC.

I looked up at the clock and realized it's about 4:27 and we are just passing 4429 miles. Awesome timing for a blog post.

We had 2 fun nights in Alpharetta GA. The rain was super crazy the second night. Phish had to stop mid-song because of the strong lightning really close and intense wind.

It rained the whole second set. We lucked out and got Pavilion seats in the Phish lottery, and got a little break from the rain for blowout so I was almost dry from the pre-show mini typhoon, but it still drizzled until we were trying to pack up then it opened up on us again with a heavy downpour which soaked me again.

OMG! Thank goodness for South Carolina. This is the cheapest gas I have seen yet on our journey across the country.

- Posted by Jack using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, June 13, 2011

Trip Log 4132 After Bonnaroo Visiting the Murray Family

What an amazing weekend that I had at Bonnaroo. I got my serving of String Cheese that I was craving and caught Eminem's return show. It's his first since 2005 and it was sick! I had a really good time.

It would have been even better if I hadn't been worrying about my iPhone all weekend.

We are driving down to my parents house to visit for the one day off in between Bonnaroo and Phish.

I am really excited to see my family, it has been about a year since I last got to see them and spend time together. It's gonna be sweet!

We decided to go VIP to Bonnaroo this year and it was definitely the way to go. It was an extra couple hundred a person for the food program, which was a little much. You kinda had to catch every meal to make it worth it and we never have great timing for the scheduled meals. But Thursday night was the pre-party where all the VIP got one free dinner and free beer! You could walk up and get two beers every time through the line. It was Magic Hat #9. I had already had about 4 fat tires when we stumbled onto the beer. Needless to say I got a little schwilly and somehow turned off the phone and managed to set it down, I thought I left it on the table but it ended up in the van at the end of the weekend. Thank goodness.

All in all it was an awesome weekend and we have another amazing week of Phish ahead of us. Alpharetta, 2 nights, Raleigh, Charlotte NC, and Portsmouth VA. We have tickets for every night!!

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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Cuyahoga Falls Phish

We made it to the Cuyahoga Falls Phish concert last night, it was really awesome. We pulled up around 12:30 and it was perfect timing to get into the parking lot.

They wanted to park us all the way down in the far corner of the grassy field, but last year everybody setup along the wood lined walkway. So we pulled up into the corner spot, let them pull a couple other cars in then busted a move while the parking guys were busy elsewhere. They were really chill anyways. We pulled up and parked on Shakedown, the parking people were headed over to talk to a couple of kids and they told them, "Only vendors can park here" which is perfect for us it means they are letting us do our thing.

This is a shot of Dwight standing on Shakedown in Cuyahoga. It's still early, not too crowded.

We ended up next to RJ which is always fun, and entertaining. He cooks Falafel with a Pickle. It's a performance as much as food preparation. He draws a large crowd with his show.

It was really awesome to make it to Cuyahoga and see all of our friends. Most of the tour phamily started in Bethel, NY and caught the Homdel, NJ shows before Cuyahoga. We came from Summer Camp so it was way out of the way to drive to NJ from Peoria IL before the Detroit Phish show. So everybody came together at Cuyahoga it was a big phamily reunion of all the vendors and kids on Phish tour.

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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Phish Cincinnati Show

There were a few vendors who were skipping Cincinnati, but we could only catch a few Phish shows before Bonnaroo and needed to generate some income to get Dwight home so we took our chances since it was on the way towards Tennessee.

It was at an amusement park so it took a few minutes of driving around through the inside venue parking lots before we spotted everybody across the street. It was a gravel lot across from the pool on a super hot day. I heard a friend say that if they didn't let us vend we were gonna go hippie out the pool. But it ended up being a chill scene.

Everybody was not sure what was up when we got there, so there were no EZ-Ups setup or really any tables out. But eventually we tested the waters and got a couple 10x10's up.

I heard rumors that the lawns were sold out, but that didn't end up being the case. We walked up to the gates and got 2 tickets for $45 each and headed into the venue after a fun lot scene.

There were some really cool statues on top of the pavilion awning. There were not a lot of good view corridors from the lawn. I wandered around some during the show and it seemed like every 50-60 feet I would look up and there was something else blocking the stage view. They had some decent screens for the lawn but I would rather have a view of the real thing.

Overall it was a good show, but they Blew me away in Cuyahoga with the epic Lizards and an awesome possum. It's hard to top that for me.

- Posted by Jack using BlogPress from my iPhone

Trip Log 3645 Bonnaroo Bound

We are 3645 miles into this summers adventures. We caught 3 awesome Phish shows in Detroit, Cuyahoga Falls, and Cincinatti, but Phish is headed towards Mansfield and they have never been very chill, and we have VIP Bonnaroo tickets in Tennessee so we are headed south on I-65 through Kentucky right now.

We dropped off Dwight at the greyhound station in Cinci today before headed out to the Roo. It was only $200 to get him all the way to Reno from Cincinnati.

We are stopping for dinner at a Cracker Barrel and I had to snap a quick shot of the sunset here in Elizabethtown KY.

I think we are gonna get a hotel room for one more night to rest up and get ready for 4 days of craziness with over 100,000 people at Bonnaroo this year it's gonna be nuts!

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Van Repairs

We stopped into a Napa Auto Care center to get a couple things done. Our exhaust pipe, slid back or something because there is a gap in the piping before the catalytic converter so we were totally losing a bunch of power. So we are getting that fixed and an oil change, which we are probably about 3,000 miles behind on. I think we needed an oil change before we left Tahoe.

There's Flowski sitting in the waiting room. Hopefully they can get this done quickly and we will be on the way down to Bonnaroo after dropping Dwight off at the bus stop to go home.

- Posted by Jack using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Summer Camp Music Festival

We made it to the first festival of the summer! We drove all the way from Lake Tahoe, CA to start things of right. Moe., Widespread Panic, and Bassnectar were a few of the headliners for the weekend.

We got There and realize that there was no car camping and the gates must have opened really early in the morning, because there were at least 5,000 people already there claiming all the close spots.

We lucked out and squeezed in right by the side of the sunshine stage. It took at least 5 trips back and forth from the van to get everything we need. I tried to make lists but you always miss or can't find something. Or it's not needed yet so not thought of.
At least the walk isn't too far, this is the entranceway where they search your stuff as seen from the van. He squeezed right onto the end of a row.

After we got the majority of the stuff over and the EZ-UP setup it was just about sunset.

The staff running the festival actually had a very chill attitude. They were nice and polite for the most part.

We actually met a couple really cool locals named Mitch and JD. We hung out all weekend it was great. Mitch was our parking attendant at the beginning of the weekend. We kept him company while at the van getting supplies. It ended up working out for all of us, because they needed a place to crash and we needed someone in the tent to watch our stuff. We have the nice memory foam mattress in the van and it was dry.

Overall we had a really fun weekend. Lots of music, Moe. had really cool lasers.

I will definitely be attending Summer Camp Music Festival next year!

- Posted by Jack using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Chillicothe, IL