The Admire Grind
A work in progress, just fragments of the whole story.
Well for me the Admire grind got a very slow start, on a normal day I could be ready to hunt meteorites in a matter of hours anywhere in the US. But the day that Keith and Dana called me I was on the California coast with a big portion of my family. Every year we shut everything down for a couple weeks and load up the car and go on a family vacation and we were deep into it when I got the call. So I said yea it sounds great I would love to team up and hunt for Admire but ...well...I am not going to be back home for a couple weeks and then my kids David and Ashley will be here for another week. So basically it was the worst time of the year for me to take off on a meteorite hunt. So we continued our vacation while Keith and Dana were out in Kansas doing all the work. Guy made it out to Kansas and joined Keith and Dana, I think he spent a couple weeks out there but only 1 meteorite was found. That is a lot of hunting for 1 meteorite, yikes!
Guy on the left and the other side is Keith
When I was finally ready to make the trip to Admire my wife Wenona and my son Michael joined me on the trip.
Guess there is no need to tell you who is who.
Most of the time it is just me and a partner who do most of the trips but this one was different and more of a family affair. We set out for 2 long days in the car from Arizona to Kansas. We have one of those GPS units that tells you how far your trip is and also gives you turn by turn directions. Well Keith and Dana had made the trip before and assured us the route they laid out for us and I wrote down on a piece of note paper then left at home was the best route. So Nonie had to get the directions from Dana again. When we reached a certain turn the GPS told us to go straight but we followed the directions Dana had given us and we listened to the GPS unit complain and tried to get us to turn around for a while and then all of a sudden the GPS just started agreeing with the route we were on. Hmmm It even recalculated the time we would be arriving and it was 2 hours faster. Hmmm The trip from AZ to KS is long and the highway goes right through most of the little towns along the way. So you drive 65 or 70 for a ways and then you slow down drive through some tiny little town. Then back up to highway speed and yes you guessed it right back down to 35 to go through some tiny little town. I guess that was not a big deal when we were riding horses or driving a wagon. It seems a little silly now though. But I got the feeling not much has changed on these highways the the last 40 or 50 years.
When we were approaching the end of our drive we were in intermittent contact with Keith and Dana they had arrived a few hours ahead of us and at the lodge where we were to stay they didn't have cell service? Huh? no cell service, where the heck is this place? They said it would be easier just to meet us on the exit from the turnpike. So when we got off the turnpike there they were waiting for us to arrive. We said a quick hello and then followed them down the highway for a very short time.Then we turned down a dirt road and made our way to the lodge. We drove past farm houses and corn and bean fields and arrived not at a town with a motel 6 which is what I am used to. But we were in the middle of farm country at a hunting lodge...like deer hunting and turkey hunting, not meteorite hunting. It didn't take long to figure out that there was no high speed wireless Internet. I think Nonie brought here lap top and I had brought mine as well. Mine never left the truck, Nonie did use hers during the day she could take a 30 minute drive to the public library and use it.
The three hour time difference was something I don't think we ever got used to it was always so late in Kansas. We had trouble getting up too early and hardly ever got motivated to leave the house til about 9AM. But we kept grinding away the acres until about 7PM. So our days were plenty long enough. Hunting meteorites is never very easy and close to 10 hours per day for 10 days or 2 weeks at a time....well lets just say you really have to love hunting meteorites to enjoy that many days of the Admire grind. Coming from the dry desert landscape of Western Arizona and arriving in the lush grassland of Eastern Kansas was quite the change in scenery. It was a little hot and humid at times, but a welcome change. The cows here in Kansas are very different than the one I was used to in Arizona. In Arizona when you see a cow they have their head down trying to find enough vegetation to stay alive or they are making the daily trek to a watering hole. They rarely even take a second look at a person or vehicle as they pass by. Now these cows in Kansas are very fat and healthy, and the reason is every where...grass and lots of it. Also you can see a pond on every piece of property. So eating and drinking are there for the taking any place or time they like. So they are very curious here in Kansas when you ride by they all and I mean every darn cow in the field stops what they are doing and watches you go by. If you are in their field they take several trips over to visit with you through out the day and even followed us around on many occasions. If we stopped for a while they would sometimes come over and nibble our gear. You could just tell they are pretty happy and inquisitive around here.
This hunt was very different from others I had done, in the past when we made a find if your partner was near by you would call them over and share the find with them. On this hunt we were asked to just dig up enough dirt so we were sure our target was a meteorite and then leave it in the ground. Guy came up with the Idea to mark the hole with a flag. He made the flags out of a piece of wire and orange flag material. So after we made a find we Keith, Guy and myself would usually meet at the spot take a break and have some fun with the find and then leave the marked meteorite until the end of the day. Now at the end of the day Dana and Nonie and Michael would show up in the truck with a convoy of other vehicles. Sometimes it was the people who owned the land we were hunting and some times it was just a group of interested locals. But it was always a lot of fun to see people who had never even seen a meteorite get to dig one up that has been laying on their farm since before they were even born. We also had a local family bring their young boys out to several different digs and it was a lot of fun for all. I won't be surprised to see these youngsters out in the field some day with a metal detector in their hands.
The people we met on this adventure were many of the most hospitable people I had met in a long time. We were invited to a family's home for a BBQ and we had local beef on the menu and I can assure you that happy cows do make better steaks : ) Wow that was some some really fine cooking that night. Were were even invited to stay the last nigh of my second trip at the home of a local teacher. I mean come on three big dirty, been digging in the dirt all day meteorite hunters and one lady that she had only met a short time before. And we were welcomed in with open arms. Had a place for all of us to sleep and shower just like were all related some how. This was on a second trip when my son and wife did not come out, so it was just Keith, Dana, Guy and myself. But if there had been more of us I don't think it would have been any different.
I haven't said a lot about the actual hunting of the meteorites, except to say it wasn't easy. The hunting was kind of secondary to the experience. The way we hunted took a lot of patience and some real equipment. The meteorites were not very deep for the most part but they sure were spread out and it was very easy to hunt for days without a meteorite.
Now junk on the other hand was fairly plentiful. People have lived and worked in these fields for more than 100 years and that has produced a bumper crop of old rusty treasures. Some of the largest horse shoes I have ever seen came from these fields. Every thing from wagon parts to some early tractors to modern nuts bolts and parts from the hay cutting equipment. Old wrenches that are like 5 or 6 sizes in one tool are very common, they come in many different combinations and must have been very popular at some point in time. You would be amazed at how many pairs of pliers were lost in the tall grass of these fields. And on one of the land owner digs in the evening a long time farmer showed up with a leather holder with a worn pair of pliers still on his hip. Not something you see much in AZ but here is KS it is the norm. Some fields were pretty clean and others were just loaded with junk to dig up. I dug so many separate pieces of rusty metal from the fields before my first meteorite that I beat the tar out of my first Admire meteorite because I was sure it was just another giant horse shoe.
My wife road along on a couple of days and helped dig up some of that rusty old metal and even managed to dig up an Admire pallasite for her self. Again it didn't come until after lots of practice on various pieces of old junk so even though she was not with me when I beat up my first Admire she proceeded to whack and pry it up expecting yet another old trophy horse shoe or wagon part only to find a scratched up Admire instead. She was quite surprised and excited, and I am thinking hers was bigger than mine but I am not going to bring that up.
My wife Wenona and myself.
Every evening back at the lodge we would gather around a very large map that Dana had it basically looks like a satellite view of the area. On a good day we would guide her as she added a couple or several new dots of white to signify where the latest finds had come from. Then we would usually spend some time trying to figure out where the next piece would be found and which property we had that was in the right place. Many times we would try different variations of where the line might be headed,so we could make a certain property we had permission hunt to look better than a path we had looked at before. But many time we thought for sure there would be a couple over here, they just never materialized. Then other times we thought were Guy is going he is not going to find anything way over there, well of course he found two way over there, not just one. That is how strewn fields are there is a pattern but not all the meteorites know that and lay in areas where they shouldn't be and other times they are just not.