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Condor last won the day on April 20 2021

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  1. Part II Wed we got up early and worked our way up our new trail, this time with marking paint to mark not only the route, but at times the exact location for wheel placement. Off by a few inches in some spots would come a nasty and expensive surprise. The RZR is slung pretty low and we bottomed out in a number of places, but the low center of gravity kept us gripped to the bedrock at some impressive angles. We got to within a 1/4 mile of our intended start spot and clambered up the sidewall to an old Desert Bighorn Sheep trail. We got over to a new wash that contained numerous old drywash zones. Unfortunately, there was plenty of evidence that someone had been ahead of us by a couple months. Lots of dig holes. The Miramar Placers are no big secret among people that prospect Baja, but some of the locations are not obvious without exploration. I went back to an exposed bedrock area that I had detected on our last trip in 2019. I had previously spent about 3 hrs on this spot about the size of a basketball court in 2019. I dug a number of nuggets, many in the half gram range back then with the GPZ. The GPX6000 made the spot come alive again. I dug 15 nuggets in about 2 hours, all micro nuggets, some right between my previous dig holes. The 6000 made the alkali encrusted bedrock more tame, and the micro nuggets were clear and distinct with the absolute minimum Sens. My detecting partner is still dragging the dinosaur 7000 and watched in wonder. Total weight day 1 of detecting was 2.6 grams, as I said, all micro nuggets. My partner managed to scare up one nugget .33 gram. Thursday, day 2 of detecting my partner was discouraged by all the dig holes and decided not to make to long trek on the sheep trail. I packed the 6000 into my hunting style fanny pack and made the hike up and over the ridge. I decided to do what the 6000 does best, hunt the old shallow decomposed bedrock for the squeakers that everyone else had passed by. I put in a pretty long day and burned a lot of shoe leather but I found gold in nearly every spot that showed bedrock. Squeakers for sure, but it sure beats the skunk. I ended up with 10 for the day, some with a little more weight, but certainly nothing up to half gram. On my way back to camp I came across this nice full curl ram on a small ridge next to our trail. I was within 25 yards and he was obviously cautious but did not spook. I watched for a while and found he was preoccupied with 2 coyotes harassing him. The ram was using the bluff between him and me to protect his backside and facing the coyotes head on. Anytime he turned away, one of the coyotes would creep up on him and the other make a faint charge. The ram seemed healthy enough, but you never know, maybe it was his time. Baja is a harsh environment, everything is fighting for survival. We decided to call it a trip on Fri morning and head back to AZ. We got to the border at 11:30 am, and spent 2.5 hours in line to cross. What an ordeal sitting in that endless line of cars, having to try and ignore a steady stream of infirmed, crippled and poor beggars on the street. Baja is hard on all Gods creatures.
  2. Part 1 Spoiler Alert: Not my personal misadventure this time. The Covid kept us out of prospecting spots in Baja for over a year now, but we were finally able to give it a go this past week. Drove down on Monday, smooth sailing through the port at Algodones, although we did have to buy a $35.00 tourist visa. They stamped our passports and everything, so it's probably legit. Baja 5 highway is in great shape especially down past San Felipe where is was always under construction from washouts. We made it to Miramar and 4 wheeled it down the main wash out of sight from prying eyes. This year we took my Polaris RZR for its maiden trip in rough Baja terrain. All our trail building in the past was designed for 2 wheeled motor bikes, so we had to make some improvements for the RZR 60" width to get up the wash to the placer zone. We toted rocks and built ramps to get up on some of the steeper sections and tested our improvements. Scary, but passable. In one section I had Dennis hanging off the passenger door frame to counter-balance the rig from sliding off into a deep hole. Pictures will follow. We got back to our camp and settled down for some cold ones when we noticed a hiker coming down the wash we had just driven. A fellow prospector with true pioneer blood. He had hiked a roundtrip of no less than 15 miles over a span of 4 days with only 2 gallons of water. He carried an SDC 2300 and a Equinox 800 in a pack that weighed at least 65 lbs. In desperation he had tried to filter water from a spring far up the canyon, but found it full of alkaline. He pulled up a chair and downed his fill of fresh water and started in on a couple cold beers with us. As we talked about his experience he asked "hey, is one of you the Condor", I read your posts, especially the ones about Baja. We swapped prospector stories till after 8pm when he said he needed to get going. His vehicle was parked another couple miles downstream in a hidden gulch. I convinced him to let me drive him down in the RZR and got a chance to use the myriad LED light bars on my rig to light the way. We found the road he had driven even though he had broomed off his tire tracks. Well, we got to his parking spot to find nothing but emptiness. We knew it was the right place because the thief had thrown out the hiker's trash and a gallon of water. That made for a long night back at our camp, where we drank and cursed the dirty dogs until after midnight. The next morning we drove back down for a view in the daylight. The only track was a motorbike track, with one knobby front tire and a nearly slick rear tire. No tracks or footwear impressions to speak of. I think the sly dogs had used the hiker's own broom to brush out their own tracks where they would have broken into the car, reconnected the battery cables and hotwired the ignition. We did a full circle around the area, there are no inhabitants for over 10 rough miles. The road itself is not suitable for travel for anything but offroad capable vehicles and its just not a stretch of any interest expect for prospectors who know the placer history. An unlucky day for sure. Anyway, the hiker did have a satellite phone and was able to call for a ride. We futzed around with him most of the day till his ride could get there, so no detecting to speak of that day. Part II to follow with 2 full days of detecting.
  3. Hey Jen, You'll need a couple of the headphone adapters to convert the 1/4" headphone jack to 1/8" on the Sp01. I first ran the Sp01 connected directly to the 6000 with the headphone cord that came with the machine. I managed to bang that cord at the machine connection point and break it enough to expose the wires. Not a good start, but I had a spare 1/8" headphone extension cord in my pack. Over the years I've learned to pack a few spares of stuff that's likely to get lost or damaged.
  4. I had a go with it a few weeks ago at Rye Patch and Sawtooth, Nevada. The Sawtooth area has some pretty hot ground so instead of turning down the Sens (which in retrospect would be the smart thing) I turned the Sp01 to position 3, which tends to mute the tones a bit. It made the hot ground a little less chattery and I did manage to find 1 small sub, sub gram scrap of gold. Since then, I ran the 6000 with the 17" coil in some relatively mild ground, but with a lot of atmospheric EMI from an overhead storm. I did not use the the Sp01, but ran earbuds directly connected to the machine and turned the Sens down to 4 to mellow out the EMI spikes. I was astounded at the tiny, tiny gold I found. Individual pieces won't register on my cheapo scale they are so small. The lesson for me is I don't have to run Steve's Incredibly Hot settings to find small gold with this machine. I just purchased the Aventree AS70 to make a wireless connection to the Sp01. I'll run my favorite earbuds from the Sp01 and based on my last experience, turn down the Sens a notch or 2. I used the Sp01 with the 7000 a lot and I felt that by lowering the machine volume then compensating with the volume on the Sp01 it improved faint tones. I hope to get out next week and give this setup a trial run again on the 6000.
  5. Damn Rob, I wish you had let us know. I ended up going out of our circle of dealers because of an internet ad that showed them in stock on the east coast. Oops, sorry man. because I thought the coils were
  6. I need a bigger truck to carry all this stuff. GPZ + 4 coils, GPX+3 coils, NOX + 2 coils. I'm detector rich and cash poor.
  7. Hey Paul, Maybe one of those VA psychiatric wards would be of some benefit to you. Old home week for you and the boys.
  8. I just talked to the guy at Colonial Detectors back east. His distributor sent him a message that the 17" coils had arrived and were shipping this week. I'm not sure how that affects all the dealers, but at least he had some. Minelab GPX17 17″ Mono Coil part # 3011-0427 US$369.00
  9. A few years ago I could detect old placers 45 minutes from home in AZ. I considered 2 grams a day average and it paid for gas and slowly paid off a few detectors. Nowadays, 2 grams a week seems to be a good haul. I don't think that there are many of us who would consider detecting as supplemental income, just a hobby with lots of exercise and fresh air.
  10. Now that we're back online I'll share some info from my last adventure. As with all my adventures it was not without its mishaps, all part of the journey. I had read about Zortman somewhere online, then saw a YouTube video from last year. Then Beatup mentioned having been up there dredging some years back, so I thought I'd give it a go. The attraction is that you can dredge on the local claims for a fee that runs from free to $20.00 a day. There are no permits needed because the stream doesn't feed into any gamefish waters. The stream has an intermittent flow that in places disappears underground. There is barely enough water to dredge and you need to set up a dike and pond for any real success. I assembled a small 2" dredge but never had a chance to test it before the trip. As it turns out the carb on my dredge motor was fouled and I never got it to run. I watched 2 groups dredging, one with a 4" and one with a 2.5". They seemed to be averaging about a gram a day. Zortman is pretty remote with a population of about 100. They are well set up with 2 RV campgrounds with full service. There is a motel of sorts and a variety of cabins and trailers that can be rented. The general store is well stocked with all the necessities and they have fuel at a reasonable price. The proprietors/claim owners are super nice people and will go out of their way to make sure everyone has a good time. Lots of wildlife, we saw deer and turkeys everyday. There didn't seem to be a problem with bears, the RV campground I was in didn't even use bear proof trash cans. My only real success came from detecting. Some highbankers had worked down to bedrock undercutting the old washed out road. They were long gone so I detected the bedrock with my new GPX6000. I first ran the 6k in Auto+ with the speaker on and pulled up 2 quick nuggets. There really should be no EMI in a place as remote as Zortman, but that speaker setup would get sparky especially if I laid the machine down while digging. Mosquitos drove me off the first day, forgot the bug spray. The next day I came back with bug spray and my in ear monitors instead of headphones. I cranked the machine up in Auto+ and added the threshold function. In quiet ground, that is the absolute best setting. I went over the exact same ground and pulled up 4 more nuggets. The deepest was probably down 5 inches in a bedrock crack. The down side is the machine is so sensitive it will find the tiniest of tiny pieces of old ferrous trash. I explored around the rest of the claims but really couldn't find any ground not littered with old ferrous trash. Not a detectors paradise for sure. The grandkids drove over from Spokane for a few days and we spent some time digging and panning. Everybody found a few flakes to take home and I salted as many pans as I could to keep the interest up. We had a good time, and will probably go back with a functioning dredge next time. Coming home was when we had near disaster. I had stopped right near the ID/NV border to let the dog out for a run. As usual I did a walk around the truck and 5th wheel to check things. I noticed the drivers side tires on the 5th wheel had some sudden and severe wear patterns, all the way down to the steel belts. I limped it to the RV park in Jackpot NV and set about to find the problem. I pulled the worst tire and saw that the brackets for the leaf springs were bent. There is no repair facility in Jackpot so I thought I could put on the spare tire and limp 60 miles to Wells NV for repairs. Nope, the spare tire was unusable, heat and age had damaged the sidewalls. I took the damaged tire to Wells Chevron, the owner mounted a used tire for me to limp the rig in for repair. The make a long story tolerable, the Wells NV Chevron is tourist RV repair trap. After 3 trips back and forth from home to Wells in 9 days, the inflated invoice came to $6500. I paid them $1800 and came away with my RV, we'll leave it at that. I am a retired federal criminal investigator and my methods are not for the faint of heart. It's always an adventure. I'll start another one soon.
  11. We have a fellow prospector whose wife passed after several weeks of an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder. He lost his job during the pandemic and has a teenage daughter scheduled to attend Kent State University this fall. He lives in PA, but spends his vacation gold prospecting every year either here in NV or at my place in Yuma. Lucky Lundy frequently guides him around the goldfields to help make the best of his limited time out prospecting. He could use not only our thoughts and prayers, but a little financial help through a GoFundMe page established in his family's name. We prospectors can be a prickly lot, but we pull together for friends in need. Please help make this trying and sorrowful situation a little better. Here's the link: https://gofund.me/9c16aa5c Thanks in advance for all your help.
  12. Bill Southern just posted on Youtube he received his first 6000 in sunny AZ. Won't be long now.
  13. That Troopy would be worth a minor fortune over here. I wish I had it right now. Well Paul lives a charmed life, as I well know. I think USAA has a committee meeting this month on whether they can afford him as a policyholder, stolen vehs, detectors, bicycles the list goes on.
  14. Everybody who ventures out there in the NNV desert finds out about that tire killing black shale. Last year my girlfriend found an arrowhead, well it looked like an arrowhead sticking through the dead center of a $300.00 tire. We put in 4 tire plugs and a bottle of green stuff to get it in to town. Those tire guys in Winnemucca make a good living repairing and replacing tires of the unlucky. When I dug the tire trenches I was thinking the same thing. I hit dry hard pack down about 8 inches, but put the truck in 4 low and bumped up the engine tuner a couple of notches just in case.
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