350. Murfreesboro, Pike County (AR16)

I can’t say that the courthouse is particularly impressive. Aesthetically, it’s not bad, but I’ve seen better and I’ve seen worse. And it’s so tiny. Am I getting jaded about courthouses now? I’ve seen enough of them that they’re starting to get mundane. The girls and I were on a bit of an adventure suggested by my older daughter and, in that light, there was one place to find a cache.

Welcome to Crater of Diamonds State Park! It’s the only public diamond field in the world! People even find decent sized diamonds every year to two years. About a month before this published, someone pulled out a 9 carat diamond. Not us, unfortunately. I would love to have found a nice family diamond for them, but it wasn’t in the cards. I don’t think I would have come if my daughter didn’t want to look for diamonds, but she did so we did.

Even though we didn’t find anything of monetary value, they did come away with the beginnings of a new rock collection. I, on the other hand did an Earthcache. Who would have guessed that the only diamond field park on Earth would have one? I had to take a photo of my GPS to prove I was there, and provide a photo of someone digging or sluicing for diamonds. Since I was using my phone, well, I still haven’t figured out how to use my phone to take a picture of itself. But I did have children trying to find diamonds so that worked out. There was also a requirement to report something from one of the exhibits. This bit was complicated by the fact that that part of the main building was closed off because of the time of cholera. Luckily, one of the staff was nice enough to acquire the appropriate information for me. A few more moments and it was done! However, the Arkansas County Challenge requires a physical cache. There were a couple in the park, but they involved hikes that were not exactly well received by two girls who had undergone the hard labor of digging. There was a closer one, but I couldn’t find what I can only assume is a micro on a series of air conditioners, even with an extra set of eyes to help (the other set of eyes decided to stick with the car’s air conditioning). So back to the courthouse!

We took the opportunity to grab some lunch. We’ve been avoiding restaurants during the time of cholera, but we found one with a large room and only one other small family eating so we ate and I took the opportunity to find something else to grab. Given a few minutes, I found just the thing…

Out front of a nearby hotel, there was an old amusement game. You know, like the ones that used to be in front of grocery stores a long time ago? You get in, put in a quarter, and it would move around and you’d play horse or rocket or airplane? Well, this one (obviously Garfield themed) wasn’t plugged into anything. Avoiding the standing water inside, I opened the coin door and guess what I found? A trackable hotel at a hotel. The irony was overwhelming (it really wasn’t). We signed the log, and I dropped in a couple of trackables because a trackable hotel with no trackables is just a cache by any other name. It was supposed to have a couple in there for me to grab, but they weren’t there. If only people would log them more stringently instead of just grabbing them and letting them flounder… Anyway, it was returned and we began heading back to scenic Longview. It would be a few weeks before I got back on the road in earnest, but I always get back out there, don’t I? And the next trip would begin in…

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