>> Friday, February 13, 2009
On our last day, we packed up our stuff and headed out. But before we left, we had to get in a group picture:
And a silly picture was required immediately afterward:
Our first stop was Georgetown, where we saw this:
It was a cute little town that had some cute shopping. Most of them were closed, but we checked them out anyway. I believe that this picture is of one of the streets:
We visited the Visitor's Center in Georgetown and saw some old ski boots that made you wonder why anyone would ever try skiing in the first place. From there, we found out about a working gold mine that we could visit in Idaho Springs.
We started toward Idaho Springs and tried to find a place to eat. We decided to stop at the Buffalo Restaurant where they serve.....you guessed it.....all things buffalo. This freaked out one of the girls, so she played it safe with chicken. I had a yummy buffalo burger and didn't regret eating that sucker one bit! Yum! From there, four of us headed to the mine while the other four headed into Denver to pick up a replacement piece for one of the rental cars.
We visited the Phoenix Mine which is the oldest family-owned working gold mine in Colorado.
The building was kind of a log cabin, but much smaller. There was a small fire in the stove and there was ice that covered the ground inside.
They made the warnings about traveling in a mine obvious. Although I got confused about what I should be scared about, the mine or Bob?
The mine is a cool 40 degrees all year. At this time of the year, it was probably warmer inside the mine than it was outside. For the most part, I could stand up throughout the tour, but I did have to bend my head a lot. Jason & Brandon spent the entire tour with their heads bent over or to the side. The little lady that took us on the tour was short so she told us she could get through the mines faster than anyone since she was the shortest.
We saw the first emergency exit, followed by one of the old drills. This was a dry drill that worked a lot like a jackhammer. The dust alone killed so many people that they have since moved to wet drilling to keep the dust level down.
Next we came to the Phoenix Mine's Lucky Bucket. They claim that rubbing this bucket will bring you luck. They have several lottery winners to prove it. I bent down to give it a rub.
Hey, you never know when you'll need a little luck.
I think the weirdest thing was that they actually buried someone in the mine. This man requested that he be buried where he had worked for so long, so the owner complied. This sign is not too far inside the mine.
Then we finally saw a vein in the rock. This mine produces gold, silver, copper and zinc. I know I forgot something already. If you look at where the light is, you'll see sparkles. That's gold and silver.
Then, we saw a roped off part of the mine that had doors closed at the end. This part of the mine collapsed in the 1970s and no one has been in there since. They doors are holding back tons of rock and if opened, would cause a lot damage and possibly kill someone. You can see the bent support beams if you look closely.
Then we passed this unfortunate soul:
I kid, I kid. This was one of the mine jokes. But the picture looks real, doesn't it?
As we turned the corner, we were able to see a gorgeous copper vein. I expected to see that the copper veins would be green (like the Statue of Liberty), but instead they were bright blue. They were so pretty!
Then came the separating machines. I can't explain exactly how this works, but these are an example of the machines. Now they are much larger and much more efficient.
This part grinds up the dirt.......
.....and this is the table where each mineral is separated......
And that was the end of the tour. We each got our own piece of mined rock to keep at the end. From here we headed to Denver and waited for our planes.
Now that I've bored you all (all 3 of my readers anyway) with every single minute detail of my trip (okay, I spared a few things), please know that I will do this every single time I go somewhere. Until I hear complaints, I'm not stopping!
Okay, even if I do hear complaints, I'm not promising that I'll stop. The End.