Well, I guess that’s the “royal” we in “why we travel.”       Here is why I travel:    Because I enjoy exercising my sense of humor!    As I’ve written before,  I love hyperbole, irony, and absurdity.   They always surprise me when I come across them, as I did one day in the Far Far North.

I was walking down the main street of Marquette, acting like a tourist with lots of time  and no particular plan.   That’s when I saw this sign in front of a really nice jewelry store, diamond rings and things:


As many of you know,  I’m a sucker for dinosaur-anything!    I’ve walked alone in the high desert out West for hours amongst the dinosaur fossils, and I’ve seen dinosaur eggs up close and personal.   So here was an invitation to walk among the dinosaur eggs again — in a jewelry store, absurdly.

And the jewelry store poster was also announcing a tour of its gold mine.     Inside!


There was just a small display of dinosaur eggs.  Not too much information as to whose, and where and when.     But as I turned around —

SAMSUNGThere was the gold mine entrance!   How inviting is that!   

When I walked inside,  I had entered what looked and felt and sounded like a cave.  It  seemed like mining tunnels, cut into rock.  Part of me knew I was still inside a jewelry store,  but the fun part of me went exploring.


There were displays of “gold” bricks — or maybe it was gold bricks.     Gold jewelry and gold coins.   Or maybe that was “gold” . . . .     And then there was this sample of Fool’s Gold,     You know:  iron pyrite that looks like gold;  it’s fooled even experienced miners in the past.   We kids in Illinois would find it stuck to the crushed rock that was used for landscaping,  but it was pretty common and not so special back then.

There was a display of the phenomena called luminescence:

SAMSUNGYou could play with the black light settings.    Which I did.

And there were genuine authentic artifacts and equipment and tools used by actual miners:

SAMSUNGI enjoyed the “realism”  it added to the tunnels.   Men really, really worked in deep tunnels with this equipment.   Men in my family being among them, although they were mining iron ore, not gold.   Still,  I enjoyed the attempt at realism.  

Maybe too much  “realism”  as I rounded a corner and nearly bumped into this man —


Yep.  That’s a miner, looking at me.   I had to remember I was still inside a  “jewelry store.”     I’m real, not him!!   How fun!

I bought a few souvenirs and trinkets,  mostly of the mineral variety.      Here is some calcite:


When the lady behind the jewelry counter took my money, gave me my receipt, she went over to a little treasure chest on the other side of the counter, and then, putting a handful of something in my bag,  said,  “Here is a little surprise for you to remember your visit here.”     That was nice to have a surprise waiting for me.

But a little kid – a lot smaller than me –  said,  ” I know what those are!   Those are  gold coins that are really chocolate candy!”   Well, there went my surprise.   But I’m an adult, after all.    What I did, though,  was remember the pleasure “gold coins that are really chocolate candy”  gave me when I was a child.  

It’s kids – and remembering what it feels like to be a kid – that made this such a fun gold mine in a jewelry store!

And that’s why I travel,  for the surprising fun of it all.

I wish for all of you Many Miles of  Fun Surprises too.



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