Friday, May 24, 2013

Prospecting in Mill City NV

We are members of Escapees RV Club ( and within this club we joined the PMD group which Prospecting and Metal Detecting.  Our first encounter with the group was in Quartzite in 2012 where we learned tons and met wonderful people.  So this year our location was Mill City NV which is between Winnemucca and Fernley on I-80.  Mill City is also known as Imlay, both really can't even be called towns because there is nothing there, only a post office in Imlay.  Imlay was a railroad town, established in 1869 on the Central Pacific. It is now a wind-blown confusion of tattered roof shingles and swooning porches in a small crosshatch of dirt streets.

Diesel locomotives rush through, their air hons blasting, to remind old Imlay of the long ago days when the railroad was king, and dozens of little settlements like Imlay were built to serve it. Now the Interstate is king, and Imlay all but invisible--except for the monument to Native Americans on the other side of the freeway (more on this later).
A hop, skip and a jump east of Imlay is Mill City, created to process the ores from nearby mines at a place with water and convenient railroad access. It survives now as a near-twin to old Imlay, a frowsy exhibit of residential disrepair, its commercial center dominated by the boarded-up grocery store.

Now with that said I think you get the picture of where we are, but we are here because there is gold in the hills!  The group has been here before and they know where to go and dig.  Several folks had already arrived a week to two weeks prior to the group meeting.  We all stayed at Star Point Trading Post & RV Park.  The surrounding mines have been going at full speed so there were no sites left but the owner Dusty let us all boondock in the parking lot.  We rolled in on Sunday and got set up while the sky was turning black and ominous.  Well let me tell you the wind started blowing in gusts which of course meant the dust was so thick that you couldn't see the rig next to you.  There was some rain as well.  This wind storm lasted about 30 minutes while it rocked the caravan.  Once it was over we went outside to check things out.  The rig and vehicles were a mess with tumble weeds stuck underneath them.  Welcome to the town of dust!  This is common in this area and the club has even been here when it has snowed.

The next day we all went to Rabbit Hole to do some dry washing for gold.  It is 40 miles one way to get there on dirt/gravel roads that are very dusty.  I don't know if I will ever be able to get all the dust out of the Tahoe.  It is worth it though as you are in beautiful country where around every curve is a different formation of rocks on mountain sides.  There are several ranches with cattle grazing on hillsides or in valleys.  This little guy stood his ground until we were about 6" away.

Along the way you will also see closed mine shafts and tailing piles.  Anyway, we all got set up and started digging, classifying and dry washing.  All of our clean outs were combined and then everybody got a share. 

Now this is far from glamorous work, and I do mean it is work.  But as long as I can sit on my butt I am happy.  I am classifying dirt to be run through the dry washer.

Dig Mark dig.

Dot running the dirt through the dry washer.

On the way back Dot showed me a spot called Turquoise Hill. They are everywhere, it's awesome.

  Turquoise forms when water percolates through rocks that contain copper, aluminum and other minerals. A chemical reaction takes place that results in deposits of what we know as turquoise.  The blue in turquoise is enhanced when copper is present. If the area where turquoise is formed contains more aluminum, the turquoise will shade to green.  The hardest turquoise is usually found nearest the surface of the earth, where it's had a chance to dry -- or cure. Softer turquoise is chalk-like -- too soft and porous to be used unless it's treated.  To create stabilized turquoise, an epoxy resin or other substance is infused into the pores of the stone.  Most of what we found was soft but I did get some small pieces that were hard.

Once we got back to camp everybody panned their portion of the clean out to find the gold.  There wasn't one pan that didn't have good gold in it.  Now that inspires you to go back again.

OK now it is time for a history lesson on the Emigrant Trail.  We passed makers made from railroad ties for the Applegate-Lessen Emigrant Trail.   The term specifically applies to the overlap of three interrelated routes: the Oregon Trail (from the 1830s), Mormon Trail (from 1846), and California Trail (from 1841).

The journey to Oregon or California would take approximately six months in good conditions. Most Oregon and California-bound parties left the Missouri River in the late spring and attempted to reach their destinations by mid October.  The trail network has become embedded in the folklore of the United States as one of the significant influences that have shaped the content and character of the nation. The remains of many trail ruts can be observed in scattered locations throughout arid parts of the American West.

It really makes you think about what those people went through to get from one point to the other. 
See how smart you can get by reading my blog!

One day we all went to the ghost town of Humboldt City where in 1860 silver was discovered.  It is located high up in the mountains where a water stream bubbled through every street, the population grew to 500, there was 200 houses with beautiful gardens, stores, saloons and a post office.  Ore production thrived from 1863-1864, but declined after 1864.  The post office was removed in 1869.  Today there isn't much left but foundations and discarded objects of no value.  Nature has taken back over.  But the view was wonderful.  Mark and I hiked high up top of where the city once was to enjoy this sight.

I would have enjoyed seeing this town in its glory.  On the way back to camp we stopped at the

This site is between Imlay and Mill city and you can't miss it from I-80.  I glad we visited this strange place as it really makes you think of what a disposable world we live in.  This write up explains the story best.

Now that's what I call a wall.

Good way to reuse old wheels.

Old car windshields were used for windows.

The bottle walls really let in alot of light.

It was a great week with the club sharing stories and enjoying new experiences.  On Saturday we had a big breakfast before most of the group headed out.

Mark and Rich did a great job keeping everybodies plate full.
 The gold was good and we wanted to stay another week but couldn't boondock any longer, we needed full hookups to stay.  One member told us of a place down the road and we were lucky to get a spot so we moved on Sunday.  What a joy to have hookups again.  We went out to Rabbit Hole a few more times and continued to fill our jar. 

It's not enough to buy a new rig but it is gold that was discovered by us!

One day it was too winding to go out prospecting so we drove down to Lovelock to check things out.

  There isn't much here either but it is a metropolitan city compared to Mill City.  One thing that is very popular here is to lock your love.

Our lock is the gold brinks lock, I engraved our names and date on it.  We are locked forever!

Our time in Mill City was enjoyable digging for gold, exploring, making new friends, chilling out playing games and watching old movies.  Home is where the caravan is parked. 
Next stop is Sacramento CA.


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Oh, one more thing, this is the trailer that I tow behind the Tahoe.

You will be seeing this trailer in my next post....


Friday, May 3, 2013

Time to Head North

We arrived back in Wickenburg to cold windy weather for the first few days but after that it turned HOT.  And when it gets hot in the desert things come out that I don't like such as:

                     Yes that's a rattle snake that was in our park but I am happy to say it is dead!!!

Then we had a nest of Africanized bees in the hill right behind the camper.  We didn't know they were there and when we opened the door to go in the camper several of them followed us, luckily they went straight to the lights and we were able to kill them.  The next day we reported it to management and that afternoon the bee charmer treated the nest.  He told us this was his 3rd call that day.  He sprayed the nest with some kind of a smoke and then sealed it up with Great Stuff foam.  Let me tell you there was some pissed off bees but they were gone by the next day.

On a happier note the warm weather brings out beautiful blooms on cacti.

This was our picture window view during our stay in Wickenburg.  We would see coyotes in the wash in the mornings, along with folks on horse back and ATVs.  The Weaver Mountains often had snow making for a pretty sight.

We made preparations to move North with our destination being Mill City NV to meet the Escapees Prospecting and Metal Detecting Club.  On the way there we made 3 stops.

First was Lake Havasu.  We stayed at Cattail Cove State Park which is about 10 miles south of the lake.  This was a very nice park right on the Colorado river with a boat ramp and beach area. 

The Desert Storm Poker Run boat race was happening that weekend so on Saturday we headed to Lake Havasu to check it out.  These boats are crazy fast doing 179 mph and are longer then our caravan.  The rooster tails they make are something else.
 After observing the races we went to the London Bridge to wandering around and get out of the heat as it was triple digits, you could feel the tops of your feet sizzling in the sun.

On April 18, 1968, Lake Havasu city founder Robert P McCulloch purchased the bridge from London.  Each block was meticulously numbered before the bridge was disassembled. The blocks were then shipped overseas through the Panama Canal to California and trucked from Long Beach to AZ.  Construction was completed in 1971.  The bridge is AZ second biggest attraction after the Grand Canyon.

Now this is a real party location.  I don't know if you ever watched the TV show "Party Heat" where
police officers try to maintain order during gatherings in Lake Havasu.  Well it is just like what we saw on the show.  People partying and cruising up and down the water way in their big boats looking for a spot to park.  It is all about being seen.  
                                          This is the first time I have ever seen a floating beer pong table.
                                And of course the police were out in force stopping party goers.
Crazy I tell you just crazy!  You can walk along the water way, sit on a bench and just watch the sights.  We did just that for awhile then had an over priced beer at the locate watering hole before heading back home.  All in all it is a place you have to experience.

Our next stop was Laughlin NV.  We arrived on Sunday which was the last day of the Laughlin River Run bike week.  We had no problem finding a site a the Riverside Casino RV Park as alot of the bikers were on their way home.  The nice lady put us in a big pull through site so we didn't have to unhitch the Tahoe as we were only going to be there for 2 nights.  The park has a shuttle that comes by every 30 minutes and carries you down the hill to the casino.  It was 102 that afternoon so we caught the shuttle to the casino and chilled out in the movie theater.  After the movie we wandered around the casino.  You gotta love casino carpet with all the bright colors and patterns.

 Now we are not gambling people because we have enough smarts to know that we are Losers when it comes to gambling.  Mark did play a little bit of poker at the bar which meant we got free drinks and when he broke even we stopped.  Now there is a water taxi that will take to other casinos down the strip so we paid $4 each and jumped on board.  It was evening by this time and things had cooled down so we walked back through all the casinos along the strip checking out the sights.  Once back at the Riverside we checked out this awesome car display they have for free.  I highly recommend seeing it.

This is a 1934 Buick 61 Touring Sedan for sale $150,000.  Now that's Style!!!
Afterwards we took the shuttle home.  This is a good stop over point with things to do for little money and stores to stock up on supplies on the AZ side.  The next morning we met our friends Danny and Terri Baker from Kingman at Harrah's Casino for brunch.  It was great to see them and catch up, thank you both for coming to see us.  But I must say it doesn't take much to persuade Ms. Terri, aka "Queen of the Slot Machines", to go to a casino!  You go girl, I'm happy to know someone that's a winner in a casino.  After bunch we headed to Bull Head City which is on the AZ side to fuel the vehicles as prices were better.  The temps were 105 so we chilled in the caravan for the rest of the day.

Third stop was Las Vegas where we stayed at the Sam's Town Casino RV Park which was nice and right off of 95.  The spots are tight but for a few days and the location it worked just fine.  We stored the toy trailer in a storage lot that the casino provides and had both vehicles on our site.   
We have been to Vegas before but there where some places we wanted to check out.  We watch the show Counting Cars on the history channel.  Most people in Las Vegas bet with chips, but Danny “The Count” Koker bets with cars.  He also owns a bar and tattoo shop.  Not being interested in tattoos we made our way to Count's Vamp'd  Rock Bar and Grill.

It is a very cool biker bar with displayed memorabilia of bikes and cars that the Count has created.  The show Counting Cars is playing on TV screens and  there are scheduled rock bands on certain nights.  The staff was very accommodating to the patrons as there was several folks there that would never probably be there if it wasn't for the show.  As a matter of fact "Horny Mike" was there chatting it up with the customers.  Well I had to get a picture.

On our way home we cruised the strip.  No matter how many times you go to Las Vegas it is always fun to see all the lights and the people, this town has just has electricity in the air.

The next day we went to Count's Kustoms.  Again the staff was very gracious to the visitors taking the free tour of Danny's custom car collection.

Next stop, Rick's Restoration also a show on the history channel.  Again the staff was very accommodating to the everyone with tours every 20 minutes but no pictures allowed inside the shop.

Last stop was Gold and Silver Pawn Shop which started it all with the show Pawn Stars.  I had been there 3 years ago and was lucky enough to get my picture with Rick but things have changed since then.  Last year when we were in Vegas we went by the shop on 3 different occasions and the line was too crazy to get in.  But this year we hit it just right.

The next day we went to the Valley of Fire State Park which is North of Vegas.
This park is Nevada's oldest and largest state park.  It derives it name from red sandstone formations, formed from great shifting sand dunes during the age of dinosaurs.  They have a campground, hiking trails and several points of interest spots. 

My pictures don't do justice to this wonderful place so here is one I found.

Anyway you get the idea, be sure to visit this park when you are in the area.

Next stop will be Mill City NV to do gold prospecting.


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