The morning carried with it a bright and sunny countenance as our caravan left American Fork and headed west for our Rock Hound Adventure. As our caravan drove further west, the dark bank of clouds hovering over Flat Top Mountain began to move eastward. We passed Eagle Mountain and Cedar Fort before gradually turning south on our way to our rock- hounding location.
The scenery was quite beautiful, even verdant green with the sun coming and going depending upon the cloud action above us. Our windshields were splattered with drops of rain now and again as we continued to drive another 30 miles to Vernon.
At Vernon we enjoyed a quick stop at the Silver Sage before reloading into cars and heading for the rock site. We left the paved road and drove across a rutted dirt road to an area loaded with unique rock, known as “wonderstone” which has intricately folded bands of cream and multiple shades of maroon.
We had barely begun rock hunting, filling bags, buckets and boxes when the monsoon hit. The torrential downpour of rain was heavy and cold, eventually driving everyone into cars for shelter. The dirt road behind us was awash with mud, but looked deceptively tame until challenged. First came Richard, who slipped and slithered over the muddy terrain with his jeep until he successfully traversed the muddy, mess of a road. Clyde was next to venture forth, and with his narrow wheels, had very little trouble maneuvering the wash.
Timothy wasn’t so lucky and his new car bounced and bumped from rut to rut until it was submerged in the muck. Angela and Nicholas jumped out of their vehicle to try to push the car, but only managed to fall into the sludge and move the car into another rut. Timothy gallantly gunned and rocked the car but only succeeded in getting stuck again. Meanwhile, Howard decided to move up in his mini-van to investigate. As his van bounced and slammed into rut after rut, Gemma called for him to stop, “No Howard, no! Stop! Don’t get too close. You’re too close! STOP!” Becky and Allison, being slammed from side to side in Howard’s van as he maneuvered the ruts, couldn’t keep from shrieking with laughter with each jerk of the car. “This is better than an E-ticket ride at Disneyland!” Becky announced. “It’s Mr. Toad’s wild ride,” Allison proclaimed.
Grant and Angie were next in their Ford Taurus station wagon. Having little or no control over their navigation, they too were bounded back and forth, wherever the ruts would take them. Finally, with fierce determination and luck, every car crawled, bounced, and leaped out of the muck onto the paved road above. Our troop would have tales to tell our grandchildren about the sludge that ate and almost devoured our brave band of cars.
Our muddy caravan stopped in Eureka for dinner in one of nine buildings being refurbished to reflect the glory of the Tintic Mining District in is heyday. Following dinner we dropped by the local general store and overwhelmed them with more shoppers than they had seen in years. After walking up and down Main Street, enjoying the ghosts of life past and present, we loaded up our cars and disappeared into the sunset.
More photos in the photo gallery.