(Another) Lost Ring in Sunriver - Found!

  • from Bend (Oregon, United States)

The messages are generally very simple, and humble, “I found your name on theringfinders.com.  I just lost my ring.”, this particular text read.  His name was Justin and he was vacationing in Sunriver, Oregon over the New Year holiday.  Interestingly, he wasn’t 400 yards from where I located a ring last month, in our first bad snow storm of the year.  Today marked the second major storm of the year.  In fact, had Justin and his family departed a day earlier, my services would not have been needed.  But, they held up a day to let the storm pass and to give the snow plows a jump on the icy mountain passes. 


Justin and his family (wife Danielle and young daughter Seattle) were visiting from Southern California.  Southern California and Central Oregon have very little in common…least of all, weather.  It rarely snows there, and there isn’t a big need for gloves (probably one of the reasons people like it so much). The combination of restricted capillaries that make fingers smaller, and rings made of heavy metals like gold and platinum, are often what keep me entertained during our cold Central Oregon winters, when the ground is too frozen to dig.


It was already late in the evening, about 7pm.  It was well past dark, snowing like crazy, with temperatures dropping into the 20s.  There wasn’t much relief in sight.  I knew if we waited the ring might be buried under too much snow to recover.  I told Justin I’d be there in about an hour.


Grabbing my gear, I jumped into my trusty Jetta and backed out of the garage.  I considered taking the Jeep, knowing the snow was coming down fast, but opted for the Jetta for the long drive.  Puftttt!  The little Jetta plunged to a stop in the deep snow covering the driveway outside the garage door.  I had underestimated how much snow had fallen since dinnertime.  There was a solid 10 inches in the driveway.  Rocking back and forth a few times I managed to get the Jetta point toward Sunriver, and hammered down.  I knew if I could keep inertia in my favor for 600 feet of driveway I’d be on the paved county road.  Whew, I made it.


The drive to Sunriver was deja vu all over again. Just a month ago I’d done this same drive, for the same reason, late at night, in a bad storm…here we go again.  Just shy of an hour I was in front of Justin’s condo, surveying the scene.  His wife and daughter were outside as well, helping with the effort.  There was significantly more snow at the resort, close to 2 feet on the side of the road.  The parking lot where Justin was fairly certain he’d lost the ring had 10-12” of new, light snow.   

Justin had a very good feeling about where he lost it.  He was unloading the family vehicle, abruptly turned to his left, and felt the ring leave his finger into the parking lot.  The area was no more than 10 feet by 15 feet, but covered in a deep blanket of fresh snow.  They had searched for a little while, but quickly realized the futility of the effort.  He had, however, the presence of mind to have the resort maintenance folks throw up a couple of cones to prevent another car from driving over the area and potentially moving the ring from its resting location.


I fired up my metal detector and went to work.  There was a lot of initial electrical interference from an adjacent transformer that took a few minutes to tune out. Within a few moments I had a good target.  It was a low tone, so I asked Justin what the ring was made of…Platinum was the response.  That fit what I was hearing.  Platinum, like gold, has a much lower tone than silver.  Men’s rings sound even lower and heavier.  I thought I had it.  


Digging through the soft snow, I expected to have it in my hand.  But as I got down to a firm layer of hard ice over the asphalt, and the tone was still beneath the icy crust.  This wasn’t going to be the target.  And, the ice was too thick and hard to figure out what lay beneath.


Pick up the metal detector and start the swing again. Less than 30 seconds later, another good tone.  Slightly higher, but still in the range I was looking for.  I reached down with my pin pointer and quickly located the target, retrieving it in my gloved hand.  At the same time, Justin inquired about the pin pointer, asking the purpose…the timing was perfect.  Acting as if I was just demonstrating how the pin pointer worked, I walked over to Justin and showed how the pin pointer buzzed in the presence of a metal object in my hand.  Of course, this particular metal object was his platinum ring, illuminated by the LED of my pin pointer.


There’s usually a slight pause when people are reunited with their lost keep-sake.  A moment of disbelief, as though they had been convincing themselves it was lost forever so it would hurt so bad if it wasn’t found.  It alway takes just a moment for someone to realize that it’s really back in their own hand, and let themselves celebrate in the recovery…sort of a pinch-me moment.


Justin and Danielle have been married for 19 year.  Justin was quick to add that they’d been together for 29 year.  Good for you, Justin, for recalling those dates/years so quickly.  I’m pleased that I had the opportunity to return your ring to the hand that it so obviously belongs upon.  I wish you and Danielle decades more happiness in your marriage.

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