Wednesday, February 29, 2012

We Have a Claim in Stanton

We left Quartzsite and headed to North Ranch in Congress AZ, which is an Escapees Park.  Got our site and lady luck was on our side as we were right next to some folks that were gold prospecting.  Once set up we wandered over to talk to them.  They (2 couples) were very nice and we all started chatting about their gold prospecting and checked out their setup.  Well one thing lead to the next and we made plans to go out with them in a couple of days.  The girls and I were drinking wine and asked if I wanted to go with them the following day to Sedona to do some wine tastings.  Well let me think about that for like say a nano second, yes my answer is yes.  We had a great time enjoying wine and making new friend ships.

                                                          Jimmie, lucky me and Sharel
                                                                    A few fun quotes:

The following day we got our license to work the Weaver claim and purchased a dry washer and wet sluice.

This was spotted in the claims office
  That done it was time to do some exploring.  On the way to Stanton which is where the claim is located you first go through Congress and then on your left you will pass very large well known frog.

In 1928 a woman named Sara Perkins, a homesteader's wife, observed that this particular rock, when viewed from the proper angle, resembled a frog. She painted it and it has become quite the landmark ever since.

After the passing the frog you will turn right off the highway and follow Stanton Rd for 15 miles to the town, the road is gravel and rough but worth the trip.  Once known as Antelope Station, Stanton experienced gold rush fever in 1863 in the form of a gold strike. What was once a stage stop transformed over night into a western boom town thanks to its rather large deposits of gold.  Legend has it that when a prospector left his group to go round up some mules on a nearby hill, he literally stumbled on gold nuggets lying right atop the soil. It didn’t take long for Charles P. Stanton to transform the town when he entered in 1871. Not only did this soon-to-be town boss change the name to suit himself, he took on various roles such as postmaster, deputy, and justice of the peace. However, history does not paint a kindly picture of this man of many hats. Apparently, Mr. Stanton had some persuasive “friends” that allowed him to quietly take over the town. This band of thugs helped him stage various dirty deals that landed him a rather poor reputation, even by Old Western standards. Stanton’s hold on the town ended in 1886 when he was shot to death in his own store by a man claiming to be avenging an insult Stanton had hurled at the man’s sister.   By the 1890s, Stanton was a legitimate community filled with miners, their families, a general store, a stamp mill, a hotel, a boarding house, and several other buildings.  Today, Stanton is owned by the Lost Dutchman’s Mining Association and has been transformed into a campground for members. 

This is the road to Stanton complete with wash board bumps and people drive this road as if it were paved.

                 We had packed a lunch so we decided to sit a spell and enjoy this ghost town.

                                 On the way back we rounded a corner and this is what we seen.

Now this has never happened to us before...

what do we do?  Mr. Bull was standing guard as the rest of the family ate dinner.  I'm telling you he stared us down and wasn't giving an inch.  I was afraid he would put his head down and ram the truck!  So we waited and then slowly moved forward, he didn't charge us but he didn't move either.  Now that was wild...I'm accustom to seeing deer on the road and have been known to hit several but have never encountered a bull.


The next day we followed  Bob out to the site.  Now we had thought about going out on one of those jeep rides through the desert but after driving to the claim we changed our minds as we did some serious off roading to get to the site, I had my eyes closed most of the time. 

The Site

Once you figure out where you are going to dig then you have to mark your claim.  This is done by marking the four corners with buckets, milk jugs or whatever you have.  Put your name and the date that you work the claim and if it isn't worked in 7 days than it is up for grabs.

                                                                     Our Glory Hole

You need lots of buckets and when I think of all the buckets we sold or gave away!  Anyway, dig the dirt, classify it through screens that fit on the buckets and then put it in the puffer and after a couple of buckets you do a clean out.  We on average puffed 6 buckets and then brought home 4-6 buckets to run through the wet sluice. 
Once run through the sluice you do a clean out and then run that through the separator.

Then I pan the results and get the gold.  We did get a picker which is a piece of gold that you can pick up with you fingers.

                    Being a prospector is alot of work but it is fun as well and we did get some gold.
We worked our claim for a while then Bob told us to work in his claim as he was getting some good gold and he wouldn't be able to work it all by himself. 

The day before Jimmie and John were to leave they went to lunch with Sharel and Bob.  The girls got into the margaritas and upon their arrival back at camp they came over telling us to get our glasses, well you don't have to ask us twice.  Needless to say a good time was had by all. 

That evening I cooked spaghetti for our last dinner together, Mexican/Italian not a bad combination.  After dinner Jimmie and Sharel watched a movie with us, "The Long, Long Trailer" with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.  It's an old movie but very funny and it still applies today to the RV life style, check it out.

                                                  Jimmie and John Francis from Alaska

Sharel, Bella and Bob (aka Dakota Bob) Spears from South Dakota

We enjoyed our time in Congress AZ at North Ranch with our new friends and look forward to seeing them next year, safe travels.

We leave tomorrow and are headed to Kingman AZ to visit our friends Terri and Danny Baker.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Back on the Road Again Headed to Quartzsite AZ

It feels good to be on the road again.  We hitched up and headed south to Quartzsite AZ knowing that the big crowds would be gone by the time we got there which suited us just fine.  On the way there we stopped in at North Ranch Escapees Park and found out that they were offering the Smart Weigh for our rig which is something we needed to do.  I was abit nervous wondering if we were over weight as I haven't gotten my jeweler's bench yet but to our surprise we were under weight.  We also had my truck and trailer weighed and were OK there as well but really need to have a Equalizer hitch as the front end of my truck was higher than the back.  I haven't had any trouble but it is the smart thing to do so we will start looking for one.  Once weighed you can then determine how much tire pressure you need so with calculations done Mark proceeded to check the pressure and in doing so one tire stem began to leak air as soon as he removed the gauge, not good.  We knew we needed to address this issue right away so we headed to Wickenburg to the tire store, once there they told us that there is a washer then a screw on nut that seals the stem, well we had 2 that were missing.

See the nut at the base of the stem.  The tire people told us they can work their way off over time if not checked.  Moral of the story...Always Check Your Nuts.

Anyway, after a 2 hour delay we were on the road again and arrived in Quartzsite.

 The Prospectors and Metal Detecting group of Escapees were meeting there for a couple of weeks so we joined them for the last few days.  Mark has a detector and we had been interested in doing some prospecting for gold so the next day we went out to a new claim that the local Quartzsite group was working on.
It was really cool to see all these people working on their claims and getting gold.  We walked up and down the river bed observing how this process of Dry Washing is done.

We were introduced to Charlie Wienheimer who is the President of the Quartsite Metal Detecting Club. 

Charlie was a wealth of knowledge and just the nicest guy, he explained everything to us and then proceeded to let us use his equipment and work on his claim. 

First you have to buy a license ($30) to work the claim, decide where to dig and then stake out your claim.  Charlie uses copper welding rods for dowsing.  Hold the rods in front of you, walk slow and when the rods cross over each other you are on the gold.  Some people don't believe in doing this but some people swear by it.

Once you determine your area you will stake your claim by putting your name and the date on a bucket, milk jug or whatever you have and then that 20 x 20' area is yours to work.  If you don't work the claim for 7 days it is then open to anybody that wants to work it, so you change to date on your bucket each day you work.

You are in the desert so you will be dry washing with either a battery puffer or one that is runs off a  2 cycle engine.  Run your material then do a clean out, and run the material through a separator or just pan it.

                                         This is a battery operated puffer which is much quieter.

This is Gaye from the club and she is using a small one operated by a leaf blower.  They come in all shapes and sizes. 

Charlie got us set up using his puffer that was operated by the leaf blower and we got to work.

                        Once you get down to bedrock you then vacuum every nook and cranny. 

Now that you have your material you can first run it through a separator (this speeds up the process of panning).
                                                or you can pan it hoping you will see gold. 
I am sorry to say that is not our gold but we did get some so we now have Gold Fever!!!  What a great day and we learned so much and everyone was very helpful and friendly.  Tomorrow the Quartzsite club is having a gathering at the claim with demonstations and food, we will be there.

Our site.  Everything you read about Quartsite is true including the dust, but whats a little dust when you are having a good time.  We of course boondocked and everything went well.  Marks pump that he made for getting the water out of the jugs and into the rig worked great. 

We will have solar panels the next time we are here, this project is on the top of Marks list.

A great time was had by everyone that attend the clubs get together.  They served Miners Stew.  The club provided the beef and broth and everyone brought a can of vegetables or beans etc and it was added to the stew.  What a great idea and very tasty!

There was demonstrations of equipment, a coin hunt, panning contest and raffles.  I joined in on the panning contest and Mark won a silver dollar. 

                                                    Not bad for a day in the desert.             ..................................................................................................................................

                                  The next day we toured a working mine called the Goldeye 2.

              There is some interesting history to this mine along with the man that ran it years ago.

There are all kinds of tunnels running under ground and he lived in them during the summer as it is a cool 72 degrees.

This building was his home and it had windows on every wall so he could see if somebody was coming, he didn't like visitors.  He even had an escape route, once in the hole he would pop up behind the house.


Note the horse shoe being placed upside down which stands for hard luck.  The new owner said it took him 32 tractor trailers loads to remove all the metal junk that he piled up through the years once metal detectors became popular, that was his way of discouraging people to come hunt his land.  The new owner has a sense of humor with his form of yard art.

The mine shaft. 

                           Today the new owner is working above ground and extracting lots of gold.

This is just from one pan.

                                                        Again he has a sense of humor.

Can anyone tell me whats wrong in the above picture?

                     We headed on over to Silly Al's for pizza as we have heard they have the best.


After lunch we check out the museum that was next door.

                                                                       #1 is my favorite.

We had a great time in Quarzsite and plan on coming back next year.  Just glad we were able to go even if only for a short time. I see mining equipment in our future as we now have Gold Fever.  There are some claims at Weaver Mountain near North Ranch which is in Congress so that is our destination for a week.

Thanks for following and the answer to my question about the picture, did you figure it out yet?  Pine cones, the owner hung them on the tree for his Christmas decorations.