Lake Lure, North Carolina Vacation Outline Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10
September 3, 2013
9/3/2013 – Day 5 10 am We are on the road.  By now we had driven over an hour to get into Asheville, had breakfast at a McDs in Asheville and back on the road headed to Franklin, NC.  Franklin has the reputation of the being the “Gem capital of the world”.  If you travel in the right circles you would know this.  I, obviously, don’t travel in those circles. Our ultimate goal is the Cherokee Ruby & Sapphire Mine in Franklin.  After leaving Asheville it appears we entered the Great Smokey Mountains.  The area is beautiful. 10:30 am We are perched on the top of a ridge.  Beautiful views to either side of the road.  We thought Garmin was confused based on the road, switch-backs, one-lane hairpin curves, but it turns out that we might have made it if someone hadn’t put a barricade for a private, gated community right across the road.  All those switch-backs and hairpin turns that I didn’t care for on way the in, I liked even less on the way out.  Very scary. 11:30 am We are at the Cherokee Ruby & Sapphire Mine.  This mine advertises that the dirt they sell is not salted.  That means that what they sell to the customer is the way it came out of the earth.  They don’t add any gems or rocks to the mix.  When you find something here it means it was scooped up out of a local mine into your screen. The method here is similar to what we did at the Broad River Gem Mine except that what we are looking for is natural and much smaller.  Most of the stuff from Broad River could be found by going through the bucket with your hands.  Here, not salted, means you have to look harder, screen more carefully and look at everything before you discard it. What can be found here:  moonstone, garnet, siliminite, rutile, ruby and sapphire. Included in the price is the use of their screens and help in form of a young man that really knows his gems.  He also goes through what you discard looking for anything that was missed and gives it to you letting you know what was missed. 4:10 pm The mine closes at 4 pm.  We are done.  We each screened 5 large buckets of dirt.  Barbara was trying to stretch out her back after a day spent leaning over a sluice screening for gems. We found:  garnets, some siliminite, a couple of small pieces of moonstone.  Barbara found a ruby and John found a sapphire.  Something I just learned is that ruby and sapphire are essentially the same stone just different colors. 6:10 pm We just finished dinner at Fat Buddies Ribs & BBQ in the Waynesville Plaza in Franklin.  The prices were very reasonable and the food was very good.  The very nice woman at the Franklin Chamber of Commerce recommended Fat Buddies to us and we were very glad she did.  We bought some souvenirs at the Chamber also.  We are now headed back to the resort. 9:20 Back at the resort and settling back into our unit.  On the way home we cheated.  Instead of the very windy mountain roads that we took out (being dark there isn’t much to see) we stayed on I-40 past Lake Lure and back tracked to it from the east.  A few more miles but didn’t add much to the time. We drove past the resort area and headed for Ingles Market.  Picked up a few items for breakfast and snacks in the timeshare.  Once back on the resort property we did a ‘bear tour’ which is going past our road and driving a couple of roads without any units on them but are situated between the building and are more wooded.  Didn’t see the black bear. We intend to relax, have some ice cream with Amarula and hit the hay.
“Leave only footprints, take only memories” (...and maybe some pictures)
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