Trading Up… The AT Pro

  • March 30, 2015

10540558_858388557566483_6791849900114890232_nLast week, I upgraded from my charming Garrett Ace 250 to the powerful AT Pro. He arrived last Thursday–tucked snuggly in his box with all his accessories–and spent his first couple days sitting on the granite counter-top mocking me. I fought the urge to take him out for a swing, but at the same time… I knew there was no one to watch the kids this weekend and I would only be setting myself up for disappointment. If I so much as peeked at him, there was no way I could restrain myself.

I considered taking both kids with me–1.5 year old and a 4 year old–but figured that might be pressing my luck. Eventually I posted on a couple of online groups, hoping to learn how other parents with little ones found time to detect. There were a few that cautioned me against it–secretly thinking I was off my rocker. Of course, they didn’t have an AT Pro mocking them every time they walked into the kitchen to refresh their morning coffee.

On Friday, someone gave me the idea of using a hiking backpack for the littlest mini-me. I started scouring the internet for a good price on a used hiking backpack. Those things are freaking expensive! Ideally, I wanted the Kelty Kids backpack–but $200 was a little out of my price-range. I settled for a cheaper brand that I found used on eBay for $50. It wasn’t due to ship until Saturday, so I didn’t expect to make it out this weekend.

For those of you who don’t know, my dad is the pastor of a local church. We are in the midst of moving to a more permanent location in anticipation of Easter Sunday! On Saturday, I took the kiddos to the new church location in an attempt to divert some of their boundless energy. While I was there, I struck up conversation with another young mother and shared my mission of using a hiking backpack to drag the kids along on my metal detecting adventures. Would you believe it? Not only did she have a Kelty Kids backpack, but she never anticipated using it. She offered to give it to me… for free!

She brought the carrier to me before church the next morning. I had anticipated watching the mail over the next couple days waiting for my used, imitation kelty kids backpack to arrive. Now I was ready to go! And not only was I ready to go, but my parents offered to take my son with them to the new church location to prepare for Easter.

I went straight home and ripped into that box on the counter, snatched my AT Pro from his snuggly confines, and assembled him as quickly as humanly-possible–all while my daughter slept soundly in the car.

Now, many fellow hobbyists suggested that I watch instructional videos and practice swinging the new machine in my yard with planted coins–but I have never been much for that. I’m more of the learn-as-you-go type of person. So, I loaded the AT Pro into the Subaru with my slumbering little angel and we set off on a grand adventure to Latimore Township–the same township that I have been obsessing over all winter.

As eager as I was to test the AT Pro, I really wanted to get used to the kelty carrier first. I had tested the backpack in the nursery at church and the task of bending down to dig without dumping my daughter on her face was a little challenging. So my first priority was learning to use the backpack without any unfortunate mishaps. Where could I go to test out the backpack? Well that was a no-brainer.

20150329_151542_resizedIn Latimore Township, there is a row of homes that were built in the late 1800s. I heard rumors of a forgotten graveyard hidden in a section of woods behind these homes. Last week, I had an opportunity to speak with the property owner who confirmed those rumors and invited me to stop by sometime for a tour. What better way to test out my new backpack than to go exploring an old graveyard hidden in the woods?

20150329_151510_resizedWell, we arrived for our exclusive tour and I somehow managed to get Miss Juliette loaded and securely fastened–though I imagine it was a pretty awkward sight. The property owner–Tina–led us back across the corn fields and into a small patch of woods on the very edge of her property. I instantly understood the appeal to having been buried on this very site–the ground was carpeted in myrtle and the rolling orchards were visible between the trees. This place was incredible.

20150329_151106_resizedThe gravestones were old, but I didn’t realize how old until I smudged some dirt on the weathered surface and the year 1781 appeared. I had never been real eager to detect this area because of the age of the homes–late 1800s. I prefer the older sites–like the Wright House–on the other side of the township. This discovery–to me–was just astounding. These gravestones had been sitting on this hilltop for more than 234 years, slowly forgotten and gradually falling victim to the encroaching wilderness.

Of course, I asked permission to return with my AT Pro and investigate the rest of the hillside–NOT the graveyard. Tina entertained my request, under the stipulation that I share any finds with her. Now, I hope to return next weekend with a friend to both clean up the graveyard and detect the nearby hillside. Just beholding those forlorn headstones, I could imagine what the site had been 234 years ago–nestled atop the hill with a breathtaking view of the orchards. It would be my honor to clear away the brambles and prop the fallen gravestones in their rightful place.

All that being said, Juliette survived her first adventure in the backpack and only complained once when I didn’t duck down  low enough to pass beneath a small branch.

After we parted ways with Tina, we stopped to visit her neighbor who had given me permission to detect his property. If you follow my blog, you know that I acquired quite a few permissions over the winter that I’m dying to visit but I chose this location specifically because I had the little one in tow–it was spacious and flat.

We started out with the backpack but when she saw the neighbor kids swinging on their playset, she started pointing and squealing gibberish in her fairy-voice.

I let her out of the backpack and she teetered around the property, keeping a watchful eye on the neighbor kids.

20150330_090026_resized_1I fired up my AT Pro… and I fell in love. How did I ever survive without the distinctive tones and VDI? I spent so much time digging junk with my Ace 250. If my ACE 250 hit on a target, I dug. The AT Pro gave me the ability to decide whether or not I wanted to dig the target. Without knowing the different tones–I guess those videos would have come in handy–I chose to dig only the high tones.

I didn’t find anything special, but I wasn’t really expecting to find anything special at this property–so I wasn’t real disappointed. I admit that the best part was whenever I bent down to dig, Juliette would come charging over. (Keep in mind, Juliette is only one and a half. Whenever she runs, she looks like she could topple over at any second. She has been known to face-plant.)

Anyway, this little munchkin would come running over… but not to see what I found. She would come running over to play in my dirt. Before I even had a chance to pull anything out of the plug, she would start throwing handfuls of dirt back into my hole. At least she was cute…

As I mentioned, I didn’t find much–thirty-six cents in 1970’s clad. I was just thrilled with the ability distinguish between the targets and have a better handle on my machine. I would recommend that anyone looking to upgrade should invest in the AT Pro. You will not be disappointed!

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