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handbuilder 09-04-2012 01:16 AM

Rockhounding weekend
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We took the Flagstaff out for a weekend of rockhounding in Oregon. Richardsons Rock Ranch opened their Priday thunderegg bed for Memorial weekend. We were excited at the chance to possibly dig up some great eggs!

Trailer hauled great. Had to make a fast vehicle switch - planned to take the Titan but there was a loud pop as DH pulled forward with trailer and discovered the rear shackle was gone. I had the truck in a few weeks ago for similar sound, they told me it the spare tire under the truck bimping and making the loud noise....I took the trailer to a dog show the following.weekend and noticed when I returned a bump in the truck bed. That bump turned out to be the rear end pushong.up...boy was I lucky. DH was not happy at all when he saw rear end was not attached. I told him to switch trucks and we'd take the F150 and deal with the Titan upon our return.

Digging up thundereggs was awesome...hard work but lots of fun. We went early in the morning. Got to see a herd of bighorn sheep and babies on the hillside on our way to the dig site. Turns out we are not so crazy - several families showed up in the hours that followed, couples young and old and groups of friends also came to try their luck. It was a great time listening to the various conversations and everyone sharing their digging tips and experiences. I got tired after 5 hrs of digging and chiseling. I told DH I was stopping. He said how can you give up the hole you worked so jard...someone else will come along and reap my reward. Haha - diggong is like slot get what you want and learn to walk away...its okaaaaay. LoL I dug for a couple more hours and finally stopped and watched others.

We've gone out to Spencer Opal Mine, Crystal Cave and a favorite, Emerald Creek (for star saphire garnets) in Idaho...hope to continue to explore Oregon and try our skills and luck in the coming months. Having the hardsided pop up sure makes visiting these out of the way places much easier to plan for due to gas cost and road conditions. Any other rockhounds out there?

2lvrvn 09-04-2012 08:39 AM

THat looks like fun...are those your treasures from this trip?

FarFromStock 09-04-2012 10:06 AM

Very cool!!!! Glad you were able to camp with your DH finally!!!

handbuilder 09-04-2012 05:51 PM

2lvrvn - yes, those ball shaped rocks are thundereggs. They are nodules that when cut open, reveal beautiful colors and patterns of opal, carnelian, jasper and other monerals, depending on what ran into the volcanic gas pocket way back when. They make beautiful jewelry pieces, decorative knife handles, bookends..whatever one imagines...

Debbie - Yes! DH & I finally got to travel together! He has his ways of doing things and I of coirae, developed mine....we had a great time and once home, he washed it off and pit some rust inhibitor and touched up the paint on the gear deck. The mattress is not thick enough for him but on Day 2 we were so tired from digging thundereggs, it was not even mentioned. haha...we were O-U-T.....out! haha

I dont miss taking the Nook serves me well, even with himfast asleep, I can read with the lights off. Love that the stereo has indoor & outdoor speakers....and last trip learned I will always travel with 409 cleaner and an extra roll of paper towels...came in handy (again). haha I didnt bring the portable toilet the bathrooms seemed close enough but after how sore my legs were from the dig, that bathroom seemed miles away & I kicked myself for not allowing.myself the option of using my own. haha Carey encouraged me to take the walk and stretch the muscles...argh...the dogs also got me moving - cant ignore their potty needs...thanks for remembering my DH!

handbuilder 09-20-2012 08:39 PM

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While we were camping on this holiday weekend, I received a text that we had a death in the family. We were camping in an area with spotty cell service and family said they could not get thru the phone so they tried texting and it worked....I am only sharing this bit of personal info so that you.might keep in mind when family cant reach you by your cell phone...somehow I was able to receive text messages periodically...cell service was close to nil...hard to drive 20 miles into town

Anyway, we returned home that Sunday and left the following week to California. This week is our first week back & am focused on getting my Titan fixed. Thought I'd share a picture of the defective you can see, the weld popped & it pretty much unraveled (the new & better quality shackle is next to it...replacing both of them) Apparently its a problem with so many Titans in that year (2004-2006) that Nissan changed them and in some cases changed at no charge if the person returned to their dealer. I bought it used, so my warranty is not covering this..... The sad part for me is that when it broke, the leaf spring shot up into my truck bed, that it now has a bump...Dealer is going to check the truck suspension next week.

thehamguy1 09-22-2012 09:50 PM

I bet that was a terrible noise when the spring let go. I would have had a heart attack. Except for the dent it looks like things came out better than they might have. Our condolences on your family's loss.

handbuilder 09-23-2012 10:40 AM

Thanks for you thoughts, Hamguy. Yes, the noise was LOUD. DW was shook up only because he kept thinking what could have happened if it broke the previous weekend, when I took it to the dog shows 6 hrs away. He said it could have been awful but it didnt happen that way...glad it broke with him and just as we were pulling out. We didnt have to cancel the holiday trip because we have the F150, just had to unload the Titan and load the other truck. I say simple enough but he ws still fussing over what didnt happen with me. We had a great adventure and the drive back afforded us time to formulate plans in preparation of our emergency trip to San Diego.

Speaking of S. California - where has all the traffic come from? We left my hometown 12 years ago returning for periodic visits. This last trip home had me super sympathetic to RVers, boat enthusiasts and motorcyclists. My relatives were curious about WA - said they couldnt hack the idea of snow. I'd rather deal with a few months of snow than everyday road stresses, dirty air and close quartered housing...they found that funny. I guess Ive grown 'soft' & accustomed to a more relaxed "country" life. haha

MSgt Rick 09-23-2012 11:46 AM

Looks like a blast!
Thanks for cluing me in on the rock ranch. We are always looking for someplace new and this is right up our alley, and only 4 1/2 hour north of us.

Each air 09-23-2012 12:20 PM

Next summer go a little farther south and stop at Goose Lake State Park. Not too far down the road you can dig obsidian and about 60 miles NE you can gather Orwgon Sun Stones. Both are free digging. Plus Goose Lake is a wonderful park. Lots of green grass and shade trees.

handbuilder 09-23-2012 12:40 PM

Msgt Rick - it was a blast! Good family fun. I think meeting the other rockhounds was icing on thr cake for us. We camped at Lake Simtustus (being a holiday weekend, we were lucky they had a couple open sites) Hubby was only interested in fishing the lake if we had brought the boat or his future fishing kayak....I now know there are closer campgrounds but the drive to the Ranch wadnt too bad...once at the ranch, its another 9 miles on the ranch to the site. Be prepared for fine powder dirt to totally dust your vehicle. I think bringing the dirt bikes wouldve been ideal to get to the dig site. It was cheap fun - $10- min to dig and one dollar a pound thereafter. We paid 39- for our fun in the dirt & our finds. LOL

Each Air - Oregon sunstones is on our list! Thank you for the campground recomendation!! Its a crap shoot of picking a place when they are unknown to us. We would also like to join some of the opal digs - it sure would be exciting to find some nice enough to facet!

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