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.
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).
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....