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A Month In Western Usa, 5 Of 5 Reports Posted -- Complete (updated)


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Wow you covered a lot of ground!  Monte's WTHO trips are fun and some good finds are usually made.  

I love these epic multi week long detecting trips, I really need to retire 🙂

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Looking forward to reading about your trip.

Hope you had fun and plenty of finds.

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That is awesome!

Where's the finds??

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2 hours ago, kac said:

Where's the finds??

Patience, Grasshopper.  I'll post the goodies at the end (to add suspense) and the trash in post increments -- probably 3 more posts.  I'll make one today, one Thursday, and finish up this weekend.

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  • GB_Amateur changed the title to A Month In Western Usa, Intro And Nw Nevada Leg

On to NE Nevada.  Monte Berry (yes, the guy who created the Nail Board Performance Test) has been hosting a group hunt of ghost towns for a few years.  I've been on the last two -- June 2021 and now June 2022 -- this latter one I'm covering in this thread.  BTW, he's having another this year, basecamp in Wells, NV, during Labor Day week (early September).  I relay you to his website which includes an active forum, if you are interested.

In this thread I have been and will continue to take a conservative action in reporting some details of these hunts.  In some cases I don't feel it is my place to reveal information which may be sensitive (e.g. locations) and which were reported or shown to me by others, in some cases in confidence.  So I will be a bit secretive in naming the ghost towns I visited on this trip.

I arrived in Wells (on I-80 about an hour's drive west the Utah border and about the same distance south of the Idaho border.  I began my week (spending 1.5 days detecting there) at a ghost town south of Wells which was a railroad town established in first decade of 1900's.  Like many western ghost towns, it hit its peak population in about 5 years and either slowly or quickly declined from there.  This one still had a train station and maybe a couple homes during WWII, but I don't think much longer.  Another thing western ghost towns have in common is trash, metal (mostly iron trash), and lots of it.  Food and other items, stored in cans, became popular late in the 19th century and without modern trash removal services, they ended up tossed out back of buildings, at best.  Plus any time a building was erected and especially when it came down, nails, sheet metal, etc. was typically strewn nearby.  There is also lots of (now broken 😞) glass and pottery.  All of this trash gives clues as to the age of the settlement.

I took a non-standard (but certainly non-unique) approach.  Inital step was to clear out the large iron -- mostly rusted cans -- using a super magnet attached to the end of a walking stick.  I have a rake which has two functions -- standard mechanical removal of surface debris (metal or otherwise) -- and with an internal series of magnets it will pick up small to medium size surface iron, especially nails.  Over these 1.5 days I cleared three areas (approximate sizes 10 square meters) before breaking out a detector.  The first two I spent about 2.5 hours each clearing debris and the last about 1-1.5 hours.  Detecting time was about equal to the sweeping time over each patch.  On the first patch (which was smallest of the three), with the help of two detectors, I chose to clear out every piece of detectable metal.  So after 'sweeping' with the rake I covered the area detecting with the Tesoro Vaquero and 6" concentric, graduated to that detector with the 8"x9" concentric, and finished with the Minelab Equinox and 11" DD.  This was as much an educational experience as it was search for goodies, and a good thing because I found nothing I consider valuable.  😁  The Equinox detected less than a dozen items, all deeper iron.  For the other two patches I searched, I only swept and then detected (with the Tesoro and 6" coil), leaving the non-surface trash in the ground.

For the most part I didn't keep the raked trash although some of the nails in the photo were among that.  Another iron trash not shown were a dozen ladies' bobby pins.  (Was I searching next to a brothel?)

NE-NV_June-2022_1900s-RR-ghost-town.thumb.JPG.03687d2b52d193ca34efdb88998889b1.JPG

Pretty typical trash found at these sites.  Note the nails are modern round cross-section type -- a fair indicator of site age or at least a threshold date.  Many of the 22 casings (chrome plated ones in particular) are likely recent drops, but not all.  I'll show the decorative stocking clasp (next to the small buckle in middle right) in the 'goodies' photo in an upcoming post.  (Yes, sometimes the finds are so sparse that we stretch the definition of 'goodie'.  :biggrin:)  At the very center top edge of the photo is a broken container which seemed interesting.  It's frosted glass, embossed C. de Koning Tilly, and is some kind of medicine bottle.  The internet is ripe with unverifiable claims (IMO) on this, especially the auction listings.  The original Dutch company can be traced back to late 17th Century when some kind of magic elixir(?) -- haarlem oil -- was distributed.  Clearly something was still being marketed with that founder's name in the first half of the 20th Century, but exactly what and by whom??

(End of another long winded post, with more to come)

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  • GB_Amateur changed the title to A Month In Western Usa, Intro, Nw Nevada Leg, & Ne Nevada #1 (updated)

So far a really interesting post, GB. Seems like the detecting road trip of a lifetime! I'm sure you have many photos and great memories of this trip. Looking forward to future installments.

Thus far my trips this year have been less than stellar, so I'm living vicariously. 🙂 This seems to be a pretty lean year for finds.

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Did you see that massive old trash trench at the old Jungo townsite? That thing is pretty interesting to walk through, even though it's been picked over. Surprisingly a lot of people don't seem to know it's there even though it's almost in site of the road....like 1/4 mile long trench. 

It's like a time capsule, walking through all eras of trash up to 1960's - tricycles, fridges, old tables, and then bam! Nothing. I got some kinda cool 1950's bottles out of there, but that was like more than a decade back. You can tell looking at things that it was a happening place with families and stuff, and then everything just up and died one day and everyone walked away just like that.

The dirt hovels that people lived in in some of those old placer areas are pretty interesting too. Just holes in the ground with like candle stick holes in the wall and an old backseat from a Model T or something as a bed.

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  • GB_Amateur changed the title to A Month In Western Usa, 5 Of 5 Reports Posted -- Complete (updated)

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