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


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The gas cap looks to be from a 1970 Dodge Dart. Grandfather has that car in his garage and it runs fine. I should really fix it up and have it repainted to make it look new again. That was the car he bought grandmother for her birthday shortly after they were married.

Glad you had fun so far and will enjoy reading more of your post on your trip.

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6 hours ago, jasong said:

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....

Add my name to that list, because I didn't notice it.  Was it on the northside of the road?  I spent most of my time there (just a couple hours) on the southside.  Your observations make me want to go back....

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Yeah, north side of the road surrounded by salt brush, and to the west of that other road that intersects at a right angle. It's a big trench that they dug apparantly with the intention to infill it, but then never did. It's been over a decade since I've stopped there though, it coulda been filled in by now, no clue. It was very well hidden in the bushes. There were smaller trash pits around it too, IIRC, think those may have been where I got the bottles actually.

I also have no clue how anyone ever lived there, it looks like it would have flooded yearly, probably why they all just up and left.

There used to be some similar time capsule places in AZ too, people just left and never came back. I remember an abandoned house that still had like 60's 2001:Space Odyssey-looking chairs with velvet, tiki heads everywhere, leisure suits in the closet, highball glasses and 60's drink mixers laying around, lounge music records. Those places got totally hit and destroyed though by Mad Max style scavengers when more people moved in the area. 

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On to the oldest ghost towns for my last two stops+reports.  At Elko (county seat) on my way to NW Nevada earlier on this trip I stopped at the library to 'research' the ghost towns I was (potentially) going to be visiting later in June.  One book in particular showed the locations of over 100 ghost towns in Elko County alone, and I suspect it only indicated the best known ones.  Monte's recent WTHO's -- last year's and current expedition, cover five of those but four were founded in the early 20th Century.  The other actually began during the quest to connect the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean via railroad (task completed in 1869).  As typical, this town quickly reached its max poplulation and slowly declined, remaining a key stopping point for 35-40 years until a nearby camp/town replaced it (and that one was also among the 5 sites detected by others on this expedition).

In my case I have a lot of sites near home with coins that go back to the Barber coin days but not many accessible places with Seated coins -- at least that's been my experience so far.  So these last two locations (this one in NE Nevada and the one in the Colorado Rockies I'll finish the thread with) gave me hope for those elusive oldies.  I spent the rest of my trip camping out and detecting these two.

A word about my detector choices this trip.  Monte is an outspoken proponent of simple, beep and dig detecting which has for him proven successful for well over 50 years, particularly in ghost towns.  I decided this trip to give that method a serious chance so for all but my last 1.5 days in NE Nevada I went almost exclusively with the Tesoro Vaquero and 6" concentric.  I was at this old ghost town 3.5 days so the first two were mostly with that combo.  The problem for me (maybe not for others with a better ear) is that I could not distinguish scraps of sheet metal (aka 'tin') from good sounding non-ferrous targets, and this 1860s town was absolutely loaded with it.  My magnetic rake methods that I had used previously didn't solve the problem because there was still way too much of that evil trash buried an inch or two down -- not clearable with magnets.  I had the Fisher F75 as a backup but being able to see digital Target IDs (dTID's) using that detector didn't help -- the sheet metal still masqueraded as good targets and it was way too plentiful.  Instead of pulling coins out of the ground, I ended up spending those first two days pulling my hair out of my head.  🤯

Oregon Gregg (occasional poster here) is a protege of Monte's and he's been super helpful giving me advice over these two hunts.  (He uses a Nokta/Makro Fors CoRe and 6" DD coil quite successfuly in this environment).  He mentioned that Monte had been getting attendees to try their skill with their favorite detectors on his Nail Board Performance Test and that Utah Mike (don't know if he posts here) had done well with the ML Equinox and 6" DD, to the surprise of some hardcore old-timers.  I decided to revert to that combo for the last 1.5 days.  The difference for me is that with my >1000 hours of experience with this detector (mostly with the 11" DD) my ear was better tuned to the audio subtlties and I could much better discern and ignore the pesky sheet metal scraps.  I ran in 2 tones (no dTID threshold discrimination), recovery speed 4, iron bias F2=4 or 6 gain 15-17.  I dug everything with dTID > 6 to make sure not to eliminate nickel 3 cent pieces (typically 7-8 in my air tests).  As you'll see in photos I not surprisingly dug a lot of lead bullets using this mental threshold criterion.

This site has a lot of area to hunt and some parts have more trash than others.  These included a Chinese campsite (one of the less trashy) which is easily recognized from shards of pottery -- again, the trash being a good indicator of its history.  Some detectorists (including at least one on this trip) have found Chinese coins here.  Late Friday morning on my way back to camp for lunch I decided to take an easy walk along a railroad company vehicle road which Gregg told me few people ever seem to think of detecting.  I got a decent low ~20 dTID (zinc penny range) surface hit which I could see was a small (cuff?) button with an Eagle.  As usual I initially assumed it was some kind of modern reproduction from a railroad worker's coat.  I returned to the Chinese camp after lunch and eventually (after many lead bullet recoveries) in a cinder ('coke') pile I got another shallow low 20's hit which immediately revealed itself as a scalloped edge thin disk with "good for 5" clearly showing amongst its dark patina.  I was pretty sure that wasn't any reproduction, but how old?

Saturday morning (my last half day) I was awakened at 7 AM by Gregg and his two young and rambunctious (but friendly) dogs.  I showed him the token and he got excited, he being particularly fond of old tokens.  I decided to spend my last 3 1/2 hours near the foundation of the old hotel which has been hammered by about everyone who comes to detect this site.  A few coins had already been found here on this hunt so why not me?  Using the Equinox I was digging quite a few nails and an occasional small sheet metal chip and then got a clean sounding high-teens hit.  About an inch down out pops a familiar sized disk which turned out, with a little spritz of water (quickly dried), to be an 1880's Indian Head.  Finally an old coin!  I kept going and after many more junk recoveries, got a clean low teens signal and once again recognized the size -- nickel 5 cent piece, but with almost no discernable details.  (Turned out to be an extremely worn shield nickel with no distiguishable date.)  In less than 2 hours I found the only two coins of my week in NE Nevada, and in the last 3 hours of the entire expedition.  "Slow, short amplitude swings" Gregg had recommended to me more than once, and it paid off.

First photo are 'finds' (including junk) with the Vaquero. 

NE-NV_June2022_1860s-RR-ghost-town_finds1.thumb.JPG.c671ab0d677f1d2c0bb68f01ed28492a.JPG

I've left out the rusty sheet metal as it was too psychologically painful to bring home.  Note that the nails are square.  I think the metal lid with punctured holes (upper left) was a poor (China)man's homemade shaker top.  The spoon-like implement is completely flat (no bowl) and doesn't appear to have been flattened from a bowl.  I'm confused as to what its purpose was, if in fact I've interpreted it properly.  The animal shoe is interesting to me as its shape is not what I'm accustomed to seeing.  Note the two embedded nais, and a couple other shoe nails above it (but not from the same hole).

Here are the trash from the last 1.5 days when I used the Equinox + 6"DD exclusively:

NE-NV_June2022_1860s-RR-ghost-town_finds2.thumb.JPG.352285ab387ec64283aadda1585f4b97.JPG

Interestingly more (lead) bullets than casings -- maybe they were shooting from the train?  The coins aren't shown (that will come in the last post) and one of those round items upper left fooled me as it gave a strong, clear 31-32 and I was hoping for a silver quarter....  Turned out to be some kind of brass knob.  I've separated the square nails from the modern round cross-sectioned kind.  A couple of the buttons were surface, non-metallic finds and my (seamstress) wife identified them as made from seashells, apparently a common practice in the days prior to plastic.

(I'll finish up this report with one more post, and that one will include decent resolution photos of the best finds.)

 

 

 

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Congrats on the coins, I know that you have to have a lot of patience when on an old site like that.

With digging all the nails I bet your knees are sore, but if your like me it passes quickly on the next good tone.

 

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  • GB_Amateur changed the title to A Month In Western Usa, Intro, 4 Of 5 Reports Posted (updated)

Good write up and it was good meeting you. Wish you could have found gold on your trip. I think I ended up with 9 or 10 small ones over the 2 days I was there. I wish I could have made Monte's outing but we were getting ready to list our house for sale and I had a lot to do to get it ready. I actually have not metal detected since the day after you left until yesterday, because of our move. Hope it gets cooled down a little now here in the west so I can get out more. We just tied the record yesterday for hottest summer in Salt Lake City and hottest July on record since 1875. If you ever get out this way again, let me know.

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Noticed your comment about busting out the Nox, using 2-tone ferrous, then finally finding a couple old coins amongst the trash. Never could quite understand Monte and the Tesoros being so good in trashy sites?  I swung Tesoros for 22 yrs (GSII & Tejon) and dug lots of good stuff plus had fun. I had no idea there could be a much better coinshooter until I switched to Minelab.  My trash to treasure ratio did a 180 flip after I learned the Etrac (actually still have more to learn).  My favorite, and simple, setup on the Etrac was a six inch coil and also 2-tone ferrous...killer in trash.  Only problem I had with 2-tone ferrous ON THE ETRAC was the break point on the fe 17 line.  Never tried 4-tone ferrous but that would open up a few more iffy-deepies once learned.  You probably have more options I'd guess with your Nox on setup?  No experience with a Nox.  Anyways...just wanted to comment on the 2-tone ferrous, might not get em all but 2TF gets a lot and won't fry the brain listening to multi-tone by the end of the day either...jmo

Thinking about it I guess I can understand Monte in a lot of ways, he's old school, learns what he uses well and continues to use what has worked for him.  I no longer coinshoot but should I return it'll be with my Etrac as I feel I've paid my dues learning it and it works for me?  Just like swinging Tesoro for 22yrs...it worked at the time and I knew no different?  Same with the Goldmonster...I absolutely love that thing and nowdays nobody thinks squat about the Monster anymore.  I'll swing a Monster till the bitter end...lol

get some more and have fun.........

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  • GB_Amateur changed the title to A Month In Western Usa, 5 Of 5 Reports Posted -- Complete (updated)
2 hours ago, oneguy said:

Thinking about it I guess I can understand Monte in a lot of ways, he's old school, learns what he uses well and continues to use what has worked for him.

He can (and usually does 😏) speak for himself.  But here's a personal experience which might explain at least part of his preference:

In the Spring I was prepping for my trip West with the Tesoro Vaquero and 6" coil.  I went to a well hunted (by me and others) park to train my ear, sweep speed, etc.  I was in front of what looks like a wishing well but was actually an drinking fountain built in the 1930's by a Works Progress Adminstration (WPA) crew.  If you think about it, who with a detector that noticed this landmark would ever not think about searching around it.  (Well, maybe if you figured it had been beaten to death.)  I'm sure I'd been there at least twice with the Minelab Equinox and 11" coil.  The Vaquero pulled out two shallow Wheat pennies among rather thick (but not as bad as out West) trash. 

Monte's Nail Board Perforance Test aparatus, as many know, was simply a copy of a real life situation he encounted -- surface Indian Head penny among several surface nails.  That setup seems to be where the Tesoros are king, particularly his favorite Tesoro models.  No detector is best in every situation and Monte knows that.  But in this modern day of digital detectors he apparently feels he's one of the few who still speaks for the analogs and their concentric coils.  I count myself among those who respect him for that.

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