Capt. Dale and Mickey
It is sort of like the chicken and the egg. Which came first? Well in our case it was almost a draw. After ten years of wintering in Florida, we thought we would try something different. They say you can get tired of Paradise after a while. We got a slide in camper for our truck and headed west. While in Tombstone, AZ we heard of Quartzsite, AZ and stopped by for a few days. Wow, if youíve never been there, thatís another RVíing story. Anyway we visited a booth that sold gold prospecting equipment. We didnít think there was gold still out there what with all the prospecting that has been going on for all these years.
The manager of the prospecting booth noticed our doubts and invited us to go out on a field trip to some dry washes just west of Quartzsite. We went with a class of nine students and were the only ones that found gold. It wasnít much but it was enough to get us hooked. Since that time five years ago we have coupled RVíing with prospecting all over the United States and parts of Canada.
Gold is found in some of the most scenic areas. From the foothills of North and South Carolina and Georgia to the pristine high deserts of Arizona and the mountains of California. We worked the rivers of Vermont and New Hampshire. We even RVíd to Nova Scotia to pan for beach gold. There the quartz veins weave through the country rock from the woodland right down to the ocean.
Several years ago we changed from a truck camper to a 31 foot Airstream trailer. We put a full bed cap on the pickup to hold all our mining gear. You see we went a little overboard buying one of each type of device from Dry Washers to Highbankers and of course 5 gallon buckets and shovels.
Perhaps this would be a good time to point out that all that gear is not mandatory for prospecting for gold. You can have a lot of fun looking for gold while RVíing with as little as a pan and a shovel. Itís not how much gear you have itís knowing where to look for the lovely yellow stuff. In most gold areas there are campgrounds that cater to gold prospectors and for a small fee they will let you work some of their gold bearing material. You keep what you find. Also there are clubs that can be most helpful in pointing you in the right direction.
The club most noted is the Gold Prospectors Association of America. Their address is P.O. Box 891509, Temecula, CA 92589-1509. As a member of this organization you will be allowed to prospect on their claims all over the United States and Canada. Membership is less than $100.00 per year and we feel itís well worth it.
An additional benefit of RVíing for gold and perhaps the most important is, you will meet other RVíing prospectors and hopefully, like us, make friendships that endure.
We feel gold prospecting is the "epoxy" that makes a friendship stick together.
So get a pan, fire up the RV and head for gold country. We look for you real soon.
Any questions? Write to Capt. Dale and Mickey at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gold Prospecting Update
By Capt. Dale & Mickey
We left our cottage by the Bay in Maryland January 2, 2000 and Headed West. It was a five day bee-line across the U.S.A. eventually bring us to a place north west of Phoenix AZ. Our destination was a gold camp called Stanton. It is about sixteen miles north of Wickenburg at the base of the famous Rich Hill where in 1860-gold nuggets were found on the ground the size of small potatoes.
The Stanton gold camp is private for members of Lost Dutchmens Mining Association, a division of the Gold Prospectors Association of America, but open to the public for day visits. You see, Stanton is a ghost town with buildings that date back to the mid 1800's. There is a stagecoach stop, a hotel and even an opera house. Of course many of the lesser buildings such as miners shacks are gone. As you walk around the area you can imagine the comings and goings of the people who braved the hard times of life in the desert in search of gold. The rustic buildings are in fair repair and are used as office, kitchen, recreation, library etc.
We have to admit the camping is not too rustic, There are full hookups for seventy-five units and dry camping for perhaps another hundred. Water and a dump station are available for these campers. We opted for the hookups as our stay will be quite lengthy. What sets this place apart from other campgrounds is the common interests of all the people. We are all RV'ing Prospectors. We always have something to talk about besides where you are from and where you were last.
We should mention that we had a short stay at North Ranch, an Escapee campground outside of Congress, AZ. It too is a member type campground except non-members may stay there and are made to feel most welcome. We were there because we had business to take care of and it is on a hard road for easy gadding about. At the Stanton gold camp you go to town only when absolutely necessary because the road is a dusty, dirt, washboard type road that runs for nine miles to the main road.
Life here is quite laid back. The uniform of the day is old clothes and sometimes they are in need of laundering. But when every one else is dressed the same it's OK. About 8:30 AM the majority of the folks wander off to places on the gold camp property or they will go to the Bureau of Land Management property where they spend the day searching for Gold that was deposited millions of years ago. Most of us have been doing this for years, know where to look and success is almost always assured. However, "color" or small amounts of Gold are what you get and no fortunes are made in this type of hobby.
Mickey and I use a tool called a ROTA-PAN. With a small amount of water we are able to process the sand and dirt and isolate the gold. It is an inexpensive piece of equipment and does not take up much space in our four-wheel drive truck. We use our truck for trekking about the desert and pulling our Airstream. We seem to get as much gold as our friends do even though they have large and expensive equipment. However they are happy and that is what it's all about.
Today it is raining for the first time since October. The rain is much needed and it gives us a chance to get this article put together. We hope you are enjoying RV'ing as much as we are.
Capt. Dale & Mickey
Clubhouse ||Gold Prospecting