June 7-19, 2013 Days 23-35 DREDGING SEASON!

Ron drove to Gold Hill, OR in Friday June 7th, pulled in and set up and got HOOK UPS!!!!  He is in heaven, the air is working great now that he is on the shore line and cooled the camper right down. During the process of unloading on Saturday he found a California  hitchhiker and did a “camper search” for any other slithering/crawling critters and came up with nothing!  Thank Goodness!  He said Rosie was trying to get into the garage area a lot Friday, but he really didn’t make a connection to WHY until he saw this little guy come out to the garage area. EWWWWW!


Once he got set up, he was not able to get a satellite/Direct TV connection, so he is left with cable. He says he could climb up on top of the camper and put the dish up there, but isn’t willing to risk it.  he spent a couple of days getting the suit heater installed onto the motor of the dredge, and after several adjustments thought he had it set up well.


Then it was onto the Porta-Bote. It made the trip without incident, and set up like a breeze. The other dredgers were very concerned with his “plastic boat” so they all made a pact to go out on Saturday together, “in case of any trouble.”  I thought that sounded like a good idea!


There is a good group of dredgers there this year. Bill and Sheila from Michigan are back this year, Greg and Linda Mix are back as well as James and Richard. Ron knows them all from last year, and spent time this year getting to know them better. Garry hasn’t shown up yet (I am writing this the 19th at 4:30 PM) but, Ron is not wasting anytime waiting on him this year.

Friday the 14th, Bill, Ron and Greg all set out their dredges. Ron took the porta-bote out on the water Saturday, broke in the motor for about and hour and a half and put everyone’s concerns to rest. The boat did AWESOME!  He was able to get in and out of the rapids, beach it, load and unload and generally feels really good about the performance. Here are a few pictures of the boat before it went in the water, then on the “beach”.  Ron dredged about an hour and a half on Saturday (opening day) and has been out every day since. He did a clean up Monday and found a beautiful picker in the box!


Monday his “de-jammer” (PVC pipe) got away from him and floated off down the river. Ron made a quick run to the hardware store and replaced it , this time drilling holes in it and attaching a cable to it.  He had noticed a few drips of water by the heater/muffler assembly, and it was worse yesterday. He pulled the heater and took it back to Armadillo Mining, got a replacement, but had to go back after 1030 today to get a gasket they had to overnight in to the shop. The gals in the shop said they are having a lot of problems with this producer of the heaters, Ron is going to try it again and see what happens.

Greg had a heater sent to him from the same outfit over the off-season, tested it at home and it leaked, he mailed his back in and was w/o a heater for a week. Ron figures he’ll install his muffler and dredge without a suit heater rather than wait a week if that happens to him. Greg’s heater was leaking on Tuesday and he was going to test it again today and decide if he was going to pull his. It is raining like crazy there right no, so no one is doing any dredging.

Ron’s dredge is the one with the flag up, to the Left, Allen nash is on the dredge to the right with the yellow canoe.



Greg Mix is the foreground dredge, and Richard is in the back ground.


Greg and Linda getting set to dive.


James is the dredge with the red boat behind Ron’s dredge.  I’ll post more when I get it!



June 1-7 Days 17-23 Good Bye Happy Camp, CA!




Sorry about the delay, But here is an update!




Ron attended the outing put on by the New 49ers June 1st and 2nd. (the above photos are from the outing) He didn’t get a lot of new information, but had a good time and ran into several old friends.

He had a couple stop near















the camper to do some prospecting after the outing and after introductions he thought he remembered them from Stanton, AZ. He went back over to chat with them and it turned out to be a couple we met in Arizona in May 0f 2011! We had been dry washing on Weever Mining claims in Arizona, and met a couple just getting started in that area. We shared some information and invited them to set up near us. We had a great day, and exchanged names and we took photos of each other (I had forgotten my camera) . Dave and Jeannie Cook, from Pennsylvania! Go Figure! What are the chances, they would be on that mountain, on that day and pick that spot to stop! They stayed for a night, did a little prospecting and took off to vist family. Holy COW!


Ron worked the same hole he had started and got some decent flakes and a few pickers! He was grumbling about how tough it was “hard rock mining”. I totally understand, when we went together, I was the “miner” while Ron ran the buckets of material through the high banker. It’s back breaking work, picking, hammering the big rocks and collecting the gravels packed between them. Here is the “mine” on his final day. The temperature soared that first week in June….. it actually got ugly.  The temperature hit 105 on the 6th, but ran over 100 most of that week. Without hookups the air-conditioner in the main part of the camper was not working well. The air in bedroom worked great on the generator, but the other one just didn’t cool off the camper. We talked about calling Terry Frazer’s if it didn’t work after he got to hook-ups. So Ron and Rosie toughed it out, but decided enough was enough after seeing  a bear close to the camper. (there is no place to dump trash, and it cost $1.00 a bag at the Happy Camp site, so Ron had been “triple bagging trash and storing in the back of the garage, he could not smell it but thought it was drawing in the bears,) He made a final run into Happy Camp, got rid of the trash and said good-bye to the folks at the New 49ers office.  Montine  posed for this photo June 6, 2013. goldhunt2013032

Ron cannot say enough good things about the office staff and the new 49ers. He’ll be heading back that way after dredging season closes down.  Ron got a BEAUTIFUL pink sapphire necklace that Mack got on his diamond mining adventure to Africa and gave it to me for my birthday!  It is so cool!  Thank you to Mack and Montine and everyone in Happy Camp for a great start to Ron’s summer adventure 2013!!!!!

The final pictures of the “mine” before it got filled-in the highbanker set up Ron used at Happy Camp are here along with the parting shots from the beautiful Klamath River.

last day in CA





May 29, 2013 Day 14


Ron left Iowa 2 weeks ago and he finally got to do some highbanking and got a little color this week! Now that Gene and Kirby are waiting on a new vehicle, Ron is acting as driver for Gene if he wants to prospect. Ron found a site that he can set up the highbanker and leave it set up. There are a couple of guys camped right in the area and they said they would keep an eye on Ron’s equipment. He was warned shortly after he arrived that he would need to tear down each evening and set up each morning because there were thieves out there that would take off with your ewquipment. So far, he has been able to leave his equipment set up over night and it has been there the next morning. I’m not so sure I would be that trusting! So, the “guys” that are camped there are giving Ron some instruction and telling him where to dig his hole, they seem to be into some decent gold, so they are suggesting he dig in line with their hole. Then, they are telling him he needs to clear off the overburden and ge tto the red layer (I don’t think he’s told them he is color blind so has no idea which layer is the red layer!)

The beginning of the hole
Beginning of the hole

Day 1 The hole looks like a hole and got some fine flakes May 28

CA Gold

Day 2 The hole is deeper!
Biggest hole 5 29

Day 3 Hit water!Bigger Hole 5-28

Day 4 Started a new hole, hit a huge boulder, and got some flakes under that boulder. The digging is ROUGH.
Pickers 5 28

So at this point he found an abandoned hole and has started working it. He “thinks” he got inot some poison oak. GREAT!

When he got back to his camp area, there was a new camper set up, and it turns out the be none other than Herb Castle! Herb is the fella we got the highbanker from and has been an awsome resource for prospecting equipment. Talk about a small world! There will be a lot more camper coming in this weekend, there is a class running June 1 and 2nd, so things will be busy. For now he had to run into twon to get fuel. He sent me photos of the New 49er’s Office and the town “BIG FOOT” I guess this was the area big foot was seen in!

New 49ers Ron

Big Foot

More news to come!

May 24, 2913 Day 9

Ron got his new phone, so we are back in touch!  The Verizon phone arrived yesterday, and he got on it and called right away. We made sure it would work at the campsite (10-11 miles from Happy Camp, CA) and it works great. He had to figure out how to connect his bluetooth ear piece, work the camera, send a text, send photos, and we are back in business!

Tuesday (the 21st) while Ron was driving to Oregon and back, his neighbor Gene, decided to go check out some other New 49er’s claims. He ended up rolling his truck off a washed out road down a mountain side. His truck landed upside down, and the nose caught on some bedrock, keeping him from plunging the last 500-1000 feet to the bottom of the canyon! He and his dog (Kerby) got out of the truck and managed to climb up to the road, and walk for help. They got a tow truck down there, and pulled his truck up, but the cap over the bed snapped off in the roll and ALL his equipment fell onto the bottom and sides of the canyon. His insurance adjuster got out and got him covered for the truck, and his homeowners will cover the lost mining equipment.

Needless to say, Ron could NOT go prospecting the past two days. He and several of the guys helped get Gene to and from Happy Camp, got his insurance company contacted, then under took the project of fetching the pumps, highbanker, dredge, hooka system, tool boxes, gas cans, etc. back up out of the canyon. Some of the stuff fell too far done the canyon for the ropes to reach. Here are some photos of the accident site and the rescue repelling.

Canyon RepellingCanyon














This morning while we were talking Ron also reported that there had been sitings of a big black bear, a “ginger” (grizzly) and mountain lions in the area. The campers are encouraged to keep their dogs close by them, or in their campers when they are off the area. So, Rosie will be waiting in the camper while Ron heads out to prospect today. He also reported that he is seeing a “dark blue or black” looking jay in the area, he forgot the bird book, so I looked it up, it’s called a Steller’s Jay and common in that part of California.

Steller's Jay





I am hoping or a gold report later tonight!



May 21, 2013 Day 6

SAM_1947 - CopyThe long drive west is over!

As I posted, Ron left on the 16th, spent the night in western Nebraska. On the 17th (Friday) he hit the road bright and early, and drove thru the rest of Nebraska, all of Wyoming and got to Salt Lake City, Utah before calling it a day. The weather looked ominous and he was facing that 90+ miles of the salt flats (no gas, no stops) and darkness, and decided to just hunker down in the Pilot for the night. He “spread the wings” on the camper so Rosie could move around and stretch her legs. He reports that he was SO glad he called it a bit early that night, because a monster storm rolled in about 30 mins after he stopped. Wind gusts of 40-50 mph., torrential rains that droned on thru the night. He was VERY glad to be safe in Salt Lake City instead of running the flats in that storm. Once the storm let up, they got a good nights sleep, and hit the road early after a steaming hot cup of truck stop joe and a Danish.

Saturday’s drive got interesting. Once he left I-80 he was in and out of cell-phone signal and was on two lane “winding narrow-ass roads” thru northern Nevada and into California. He lost a little speed, but his mileage has been awesome with the new truck (F350 diesel), even pulling “White House West” (he has decided Dartmouth Street is White House east). Doing way better than last year as far as miles per gallon. We talked Saturday evening as he was looking for a place the stay the night. He had gotten to I-5 in California, near Mt. Shasta. The local truck stop was full so he took off on 1-5 to the nearest rest area and he and Rosie stayed here for the night. He watched the sun set with Mt. Shasta highlighted by beautiful low clouds. Mount Shasta

He swears he is a light sleeper, but woke up the next morning surrounded by 18-wheelers that he did not hear pull in! (hehehe) The Iowa travelers admired the sunrise and the BEAUTIFUL view of Mt. Shasta in the morning, got a cup of coffee and hit the road.


We were able to talk until about 0900 CT/0700PT then we lost phone signal. I knew then he was close to Happy Camp.

Sunday I got up for work at 5 PM and still no call from Ron, I tried calling at 6:30PM on my way to work and got into voice mail immediately, so knew there was no signal (we had heard there was no phone signal in Happy Camp) . I was worried, but figured he call when he could.

Monday morning, I had a voice message left for me at 8:30P CT/6:30P PT that he was “alive and well” and in a camping area along the Klamath River, but didn’t have cell phone signal. So he made it, 2028 miles, Iowa City, IA to Happy Camp, CA

Ron borrowed a phone from a neighbor to leave the message. He said that Verizon phones worked, (pretty much anything except AT&T) I did some research about the cell phone reception out there and came up with an idea. I knew he was going to the New 49ers Office in Happy Camp on Monday, so I fired off an e-mail to the office staff (included that  photo of Ron and Rosie that is at the top of the page!) asking them to have him call me so I could share my idea of how to get a phone to him and went to bed (again, I worked all night!)

He actually got my message Monday morning when he got to the New 49ers office and called me, the office staff knew who he was when he walked in! There is a phone in the office they can use to call, but the calls have to be limited to 15 min. There is an internet connection/computer, but it was occupied both time Ron was there. They also offer free coffee to the people there! We quickly discussed getting a Verizon pay-per-month phone while he is in California and I said I get one on the way.IMG_0297

He told me he found a great camp site, (dry camping, no hook ups) and had set up near a 75 yr/old guy, Gene Luke, from Oregon. Ron said he paid $300.00 for the camper he is living in, says “use your imagination.” LOL There are a couple more prospectors across the road. One guy lives in a tent, is a full time prospector, and moves around depending on the weather. Ron ran into Dave McCracken at the office and he remembered Ron from meeting him last summer on the Rogue River in Oregon. Supposedly Allen Nash and Mark Chestnut (2 other guys from last summer) are there as well.

Ron is camped on near K-15A and a place called “Savage Rapids” He has the camper all set up and had grilled out pretty much every night since arriving. He can’t get a satellite signal because of all of the trees, but watched a movie Sunday night and was awed by the new surround sound system in the RV. He has decided he will be high banking mostly while in CA. He took the mini-recirculator out and did some testing yesterday and got “a good bit of color” when he did the clean up at one spot. That is where he will head tomorrow.      k15atopo1

He will set up the high banker and run the old #2 shovel. He is very excited about the gold in CA, has seen what the others there have been pulling out. He has signed up for a group dig next weekend (June 1st and 2nd) and will get more pointers for prospecting on the Klamath River. Here is a list of the claims in that area.

• Upper Klamath River (UK-3 and UK-3A)

• Upper-mid Klamath River (UK4 and K-1 through K-7)

• Mid Klamath River (K-8 through K-19A)

• Lower Klamath River (K-20 through K-25B)

• Scott River

• Salmon River, Main Stem

• Salmon River, North Fork

• Indian Creek

• Elk Creek

• Thompson Creek

Today he had to drive to Grants Pass and Gold Hill, OR and it gave us a chance to catch up on the phone. It was supposed to rain in Happy Camp all day today and tomorrow. There are grumblings in Happy Camp that “they are 90%” sure that dredging will be stopped in OR. He’s bummed, but will just stay in CA if it is. He said they call the road they sent him on “the Gray Back” it’s named for a big mountain there. The road is a winding, narrow mountain road. It was snowing at one point this morning; they are predicting snow tonight to 2300 feet, so Ron wanted to get his errands run and get back before nightfall. We just lost cell phone connection as I am writing this, it is 6:45 CT/4:45PT and he has at least an hour back to camp. We talked while he ran his errands and while he was driving to the next one. Ron made a quick stop at Armadillo Mining in Grants Pass, OR (whoot whoot!!!!) to pick up his heater, he plans on installing it while he is sitting in CA if the weather is bad, then a quick trip into Walmart to pick up a few essentials, then to Gold Hill, OR for a Willy Burger    IMG_6596

 (these are to DIE for burgers!!!!) and then a stop at Cypress Grove RV to make sure they had his reservation for June. All is well, he was glad to see all the people from Oregon. Funny thing is, the people in Oregon don’t think dredging will be banned. The gals at Armadillo said there is a 60 day block minimally to any ban, that was enacted 2 weeks ago (I’m guessing the 7th?) so that means they can dredge there until July 7th? I don’t know, I’m just reporting the news!

So, another blog chapter completed. More news when I hear from him again!

2028 miles whew! The map


May 16, 2013 Day One Done, Summmer 2013

Ron is on the road again!  Pulled out at 0900 yesterday morning with Rosie and the new toy hauler. he spent a week packing and prepping. We picked up the HEARTLAND CYCLONE KING 4100 last Wednesday, what a beautiful fifth wheel! 2014 CycloneWe saw it first on a TV show about “Super RV’s”, and started doing some research. This one had everything on my list AND everything on Ron’s list! Impossible we thought, so we stopped in Indiana at the Heartland RV shop and got a tour, saw how they were made, and KNEW this was the rig for us. Made in the USA!  We found a dealer at Terry Frazer RV Center, in Eldridge , Iowa and found a DREAM of a salesman, Bill L. He worked with us over the past 5 months to make this dream happen. I cannot say enough good things about the gang at Terry Frazer RV. Bill in sales and service, our “orientation” to the new camper by Larry, Brian in finance…just all around an EXCELLENT experience! I’d highly recommend you go there for your RV needs!!!!cy_4100_king

Terry Frazer’s RV Center
2000 East LeClaire Road
Eldridge, IA 52748

Toll-Free: (866) RV-CENTER Local: (563) 285-5000 Main: (563) 285-6616
Fax: (563) 285-7147

After a small problem with the water pump and a quick trip back to Eldridge on Monday, it was full steam ahead on the loading. The ATV, a boat, a boat motor, dredge, high banker, two pump motors, pans, picks, metal detectors, dive gear, maps, books, and anything and EVERYthing else he could need went in that camper.

During his off season as most of you know, Ron had his shoulder surgery (repair of the rotator cuff that he tore up last summer in Oregon “lifting that damn boat” and falling going to get a gas can…ask him about it 🙂 and while he was recovering, he researched how he could get a boat of his own. I had come up with the idea of a Porta-Bote, and it looked like it MIGHT work. We road tripped to Milwaukee, WI to the Sports Show there and met the Porta-Bote dealer, Ken Hoover….what a GREAT guy here too!  Here is a link to Ken setting up the bote at the 2013 New Your Boat Show. http://on.aol.com/video/a-fold-out-boat-that-floats-517631487

We were able to get a feel for the boat, Ron picked it up and carried it around the show. It was DOABLE!  So, for his birthday I bought him the boat and the 6hp motor, dolly wheels, dive platform and oars.  here is Ron in the new bote in our living room!  He could not wait for the snow to melt, had to set it up right away. DSCN0028

Once he was loaded, he took off with his co-pilot Rosie in the seat next to him. We talked o the phone a couple of times during the day. He got to North Platte, Nebraska and stayed there for the night. No problems day one, getting great mileage on the new F350 pulling the monster fifth wheel.  Ron and Rosie ready to roll!




May 1, 2013 Second Big Adventure

Good Morning!

I am sending off a notice to all that Ron is packing and planning his second Big Adventure. He is hoping to pull out mid-May and head to California for a few weeks, then North to Oregon for another summer of dredging.

Oregon legislators have a bill in front of them (or it is in committee) to stop dredging in Oregon. Ron is on pins and needles waiting to see if this gets passed this session and stops dredging. He would be so bummed!  If dredging is banned in Oregon, he isn’t sure he will be heading WEST. I’ve got my fingers crossed that he can go. We made the decision back in January to upgrade the camper. We ordered a Heartland Cyclone fifth-wheel, and we pick it up next week!  It’s HUGE! I’ll post photos as soon as we get in the rig. In the menatime you can look on their website @ www.heartlandrvs.com, but here is a peek 🙂  Watch here for updates!