It’s been an extremely busy week! Besides working on some of the opals we recently purchased, (there are three types of types on the plate, Welo, Spencer and Virgin Valley), we also took a quick trip down to Flaming Gorge. If that wasn’t enough, we also had to go see my cardiologist in Riverton, Wyoming.
There is actually quite a bit of work/joy in working opals. It’s a multi-step process. Once you have found the best color/fire we next saw and grind the rock down to the opal layer. Then very carefully grind until the fire shows, (yes, I have ground too deep and destroyed the opal).
The next step is to glue the opal on a black slab to highlight the color, (we use black Wyoming jade as we have a lot of it). Once the glue hardens, we next saw the excess off and then grind the flat surface down till its extremely thin. This highlights the opal’s fire against the black jade.
Next we glue the piece to a flat piece of glass. We purchased some glass chunks from a store that specializes in glass for stained glass windows. Finally, we return to the trim saw removing the excess jade and glass.
The final step is to return to our grinding wheels, our machine has six diamond coated wheels, and grind and shape the finished opal. This process is used to make opal triplets and its used when the opal layer is thin. It also protects the soft opal and magnifies the fire. Whew!
A trip to Flaming Gorge was in order so we could prepare our boat for the winter. Loading our pickup camper, we headed down to Buckboard Crossing Campground. It’s a two hundred- and forty-miles drive. Arriving at the campground, we were lucky and found a space that had electricity.
Returning to our campsite, we first got out our new air compressor and then added air to all four of the tires. As we hadn’t repacked the bearings in a few years, the next step was to jack up each tire and spin it listening for any noise from a worn bearing/race. All four wheels sounded fine and so we added a few shots of grease to each hub.
Tired, we ate dinner and watched as deer moved into the campground. The area is surrounded by the Red Desert and the deer love the watered grass. At one point there were ten deer and three fawns who took turns watching uncontrolled kids as they chased the deer away. At one point their black lab got loose and ran the deer for a little bit, (running wildlife is a crime here and anyone seeing it is allowed to shoot the dog/dogs. The people were lucky there was no game warden around.
The next morning arrived with rain and we did a light check requiring a continuity check. After cleaning all the contacts and replacing several bulbs the light worked and we left for home. Heavy rains plagued us for much of the drive, but we arrived home four hours later.
Tired we crashed for an early evening knowing that on Monday, (it was Saturday), the cardiologist awaited me in Riverton, Wyoming. Its two hundred and fifty miles east of us and out course the first snowstorm of the year moved in!
Driving over Towgotee Pass, elevation 9658 feet, was kind of pretty as huge snowflakes coated the hillsides. Making it to Riverton, we both cringed at the thought of driving back over the mountains, but we had forgotten our medicine and so return that night we must!
Our appointment was for two fifteen and the doctor was one and a half hours late. The good news was my heart was fine and after sitting patiently, the doctor said I was too fat and needed to lose weight, like I didn’t know it.
We were in such a hurry to head home we forgot to get gas and barely made it the hundred miles to Dubois, Wyoming. Filling up, we could have made it forty more miles, we headed overt the pass. It was a pretty drive and the melted snow had not yet froze, so there was no black ice. We did let a car pass us, they were in a hurry, and it allowed us to watch and see if they went into a skid.
Safely crossing the pass, we watched as the sun set on the Tetons. A crazy driver in a red pickup almost ran us off the road as we drove down the Snake River Canyon, (there is a reason I do not carry a gun). Nothing else happened for the rest of the drive and we arrived back home after driving almost five hundred miles in a day, that may not seem like a lot to some of you, but it’s way too far for us.
Today we are resting and trying to find a place to store our boat. It has to be inside as the snow here is too deep. Only one more doctor and dentist trip and we will be ready to head south. We plan on leaving about mid-October. The trees here are just starting to change color so we are in no hurry, (Oh, and the doctor told me to eat lots of fruit so I baked a blueberry pie)! Clear skies