Recently I spent some time in the United States, both for the ACFW 2012 conference in Dallas, and then afterwards in Colorado for a research trip.
Today I’ll just focus on the Colorado trip, as Tanya Eavenson is graciously hosting me on her blog in the next few days about what I got out of the conference.
So, without further ado here are some highlights of my trip…
In tiny Georgetown, CO we intended to visit an underground silver/gold mine and ride a historic steam trian. We get to the mine and it was shut for lunch so we go downtown and check out the antique shop… and I find the antique books. 🙂 Oh, I’m a happy girl! Spent $104 and got: (all 1800’s or early 1900’s copies) a dictionary, Jo’s Boys by LM Alcott (signed!), Broken Dreams poem book (for one of my characters, Ethan, to quote), the Merchant of venice, Nursery Tales and The Children in the Scrub (a book about children in TASMANIA!!!). Most of those are cloth bound and in pretty good nick. 🙂
We go back to the mine and meet the guy out front… then step into the workshop area and I’m hit by a certain… odour. “That smells like pot,” I say, never one to pull punches. “Yeah, it does that sometimes,” the weathered looking guy says. Mindy and I don a hard hat and dog tags, grab a flashlight and follow him into the mine. I stand a good couple of feet from him as he must have just finished a bong as we drove up, his breath REEKED! We hop on a mine car thingy and head on into the inky blackness, our flashlights lighting up sparkles and water drips. I learned lots of interesting stuff on the way in there. As we head back we stop at different side shafts and learn new stuff. At one point he lets us off and then takes off for a minute. Mindy starts freaking out, I didn’t. I thought, “Hey, this guy has been bragging about how he likes adrenaline and is a adrenaline junky and the crazy stuff he’s done, well if he has left us… then cool, I know the way out and we’ve got flashlights. No biggy. But, I thought he’d come back, and he did within a min or so… we learn more stuff and ooh and ah over the ore seams. THEN, he lights a candle and shows what it was like back then etc mining. We hop back on the cart and he then explains he’s going to light a stick of dynamite and we’ll have 20seconds to get out of there… so he takes his time lighting the stick in the wall and I’m the one who starts freaking out! I’m about 2 seconds off getting off that cart and running when he hops back on, blows the whistle (which I have no idea WHY!! we are the only freaking people for 1,000 feet in there!) and we take off. I plug my ears and it’s the longest 20 seconds of my life before I hear a nice BOOM behind me. Heart was pounding and skin clammy. Ok, maybe the clammy skin is from the damp air in the tunnel… but still… I shake my head.
We get out and look at our ore that we crushed and he starts talking mustangs. Oh goody! Man oh man he is as mad/wild as my character, Danny in my story. Perfect! So I pump him for info on mustangs and other stuff, explaining why I need to know for my book. We head over to the office and look at some pictures from that mine and area. His friend opens the adjoining door and I want to exit the building asap. MORE pot smoke drifts out in a dense cloud. I may or may not be stoned now for the 1st time in my life!! Our guide, Bill gets a bit excited and starts telling his friend about my book (I know… weird) and how his friend has written a 800 page book on mushrooms. I don’t know why I’m surprised… he probably lists every know species of Magic Mushies.
I don’t have enough cash to pay for the tour so we head back down town to get some from the only bank. I pop back into the antique shop to pick up my books and my credit card, then get my money out and head back to pay the guy. I pay him, shake hands, extract my hand from his grasp (it still smelled hours later) and thank him. He asks if I can send him a copy of my book. I raise my brows and say “It’s a Christian Romance story”. He laughs and says, “So, I’ve like read the Bible 3 times”. I tell him his nose will grow. He then says “Ok then, I’ll buy it from the bookstore.” I’m not sure if he’s talking about the Bible or my book and I don’t ask him to clarify… Mindy and I have nicknamed him “Bongo Bill”.