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  1. I started again last October to hunt full time almost every day, storms permitting and with a bad back. Like every year, this period of heavy sand accumulation on the beach finally arrived I would say late. For about two weeks now, the only targets within reach have been a few really deep coins and an inordinate amount of aluminum. Although I always manage to find a depression or an eroded section, these are a few obvious and over-beaten spots, the same ones that first ever allow fresh drops to be recovered but not even in this case have I been able to encounter new material. It had been seven years since I had experienced this feeling, very similar to stepping into the ring at dawn and taking punches, then starting again the next morning and yet another one to follow. We'll see when the next piece of gold shows up....
  2. Yes I have missed DP forum and friends....but for reasons that I bring upon myself. This is a 3 part post. As the Lower CF rods Soap Opera started, I was in NV detecting old sites trying to find a certain coin, a US Seated Liberty Silver. Well my 2 buddies and I started on the East size of NV and worked out way West. I eventually called the trip and end near Reno when I hunted Virginia City. 3 guys, 5 days and near 1500 Miles with no such luck on the Seated Liberty Silver. I did manage to pull a good coin though and some may even say it's BETTER than a Seated Silver. 1882-O Morgan Dollar. Yes it was an ugly one, and quite hard to clean, but the after pics are much better. Was my trip worth it? Any chance I get to detect with old friends is more important than the find. I really do enjoy the hunt. Then I'm off to Easter Oregon to train. I provided 1 day Field Training to 3 customers in Sumpter OR for Father's Day. All went home w a little gold, most importantly, they learned their detectors at finding gold, what sounds to ignore or dig, self confidence & more. Jim CO, Errick East ID & Duke Boise area, all smiles. Jim scored 2 with his GPX-6000 but I only got pics of the 1. Errick was outgunned with his Equinox 900 but did manage 1 small picker at the end of the day. Duke pulled one with his 6000. All 4 nuggets. Jim, showed me his double gun case and how well it holds his GPX-6000, headphones, chargers, 2 batteries, pointer, both the 11" coil and the larger 17" coil is underneath on the left. That's a fantastic was to travel and keep your detector from getting damaged. I've never been a fan of the overpriced detector carry bags. The 1st time I ever used an AlgoForce was last week. I hunted a really old site from the 90's that produced small GB-2 pickers. I thought maybe there could be a couple left behind but all I found was small #7 1/2 bird shot, # 6 shot and larger lead sliver. I could easily hear and tell the difference of bigger iron square nails after digging a couple. They make a reverse signal, so those used to the old Minelab PI's will know what I'm saying. The small test nugget and the birdshot all made the traditional Weewhooo sound. I was only there for an hour and then had to be somewhere else. It was not the ideal testing site, as I pounded it many times over years ago and that old Gb-2 sure does not like to miss gold near the surface. 2nd site was an Ore Dump Pile. I had never hunted this pile before but I figured why not. I spent an hour going up and down the pile to only dig a few 22 lead bullets with ease and a couple reverse signal chunks of iron. After an hour I thought it might be best to try the Manticore with M8 coil. As luck would have it, right at the base of the pile and actually in a bunch of rocks, the Manticore sounds off with a good low # reading. So I grab the AlgoForce and it too sounded off. So in reality each detector heard the target. I dig it up and it seems to be a specimen with a lot of black material on it. I can see with an eye piece there is 1 small spot of gold. I'll clean it up (the specimen) and give update to what it turns out to be. After some time hunting the base of the pile with the Algo and no luck, I decide to go back to the Manti. Sure enough, about a 1/3rd of the way up the steep pile I get a very weak but repeatable #1 reading. Before I dig it, I go back down, grab the Algo so I can check it. No luck with the Algo even with a SENS of 20 setting. I dig it up and about 2" down is this little piece of wire gold. I dig one more smaller one and that was it. The picture with the penny is to show how small and rough the ore dump wire specimen gold is. There is no mass, glob or thickness at all and so I do not expect a Pulse Induction detector to find it. The AlgoForce didn't either. Also, that longer piece on the screen of Manticore is so delicate, it broke. Does that mean I found 3 and not 2? One thing to point out though. The more yellow and dense little picker nugget is what I use to tune and test my GPX-6000. The AlgoForce signals and responds. Just like with any other hunt and or desired target, certain kinds of detectors and technologies do better at one task and not so good at another. Hopefully I'll be able to get more time on the AlgoForce next week, as I might run over to Oregon for a day. Until then, thanks for being patient while I was running around on the hunt. Can You Dig It - I do. Gerry
  3. A couple of weeks ago a friend of my grandfather asked me to help his wife to locate a gun she dropped in the woods. I agreed and took both of my detectors so he could also join in on the fun, he was using the Tracker IV with new batteries, all metal mode, and the sense all the way up. I used the 800 in field 2, sense set at 20. I was ground balancing about every 50 feet because of the ground and all the trees that I had to go around. We started out following his wife who swore she knew her exact path through the woods she and her dog had taken. We found many objects but none were her gun that she had lost. I don't think that I have ever heard so much noise from the 800 before while hunting in the woods, and tried to keep pushing through the brush, poison ivy and berry bushes. We had been out there for a couple of hours when they decided to head back towards the house, so Doug had sat the Tracker IV down next to a tree to talk for a minute. I had cleared the area, so I thought, but when Doug picked up the detector he got a hit. He moved some leaves and sure enough there was her gun. I could not believe the 800 had not picked it up where it was laying, so I tried an air test on it. That little Ruger 380 had to get almost 3 inches to the coil before I got a hit. The Tracker IV could pick it up at almost 11 inches, and I really don't understand the reason for it. But the most important thing is that the gun was recovered and the wife is now happy.
  4. I haven't been on here in a little while. I got talked into leaving Meadview and Gold Basin for Franconia Wash area by Havasu City. This area is far worse off than Gold Basin and Meadview for hitting on gold. My first week there was a solid skunk. Just 50 cal. and 30 cal. bullets. I had a trainee come down for some training and I took him out to show him what I do at times to get onto gold. I led him out into an area that was heavy on my mind every day when I got back to camp and we stopped to give an area a swing. My hunch payed off as I found us a patch of nuggets. Video of that hunt will be in the works a few weeks away. We went back the next day and only one nugget was found a little ways away from the patch. The next day after we hit a wider area and couldn't get onto any other gold and then I went up a short feeder wash and found another patch with my Gpx5000. I had my trainee (Gold Dozer) come in with his 6000 and showed him how I work a spot like that with a dig and detect operation. I had pulled 3 nuggets out of this wash and he got 2 nuggets. It was a great time. We had three F-35's fly over us at very low altitude and that was way cool. The next day an F-18 Hornet flew over at very low altitude for another spectacular show of fighter jets. My time here is done and tomorrow morning I am pulling out and heading down to Quartzite to detect there until the Gold Show. I will have a table at the show again and possibly will be sharing a booth with Dr. Eric Melchiorre - Geologist, again. We will see what gold I can squeak out of the ground there. Jan 1, just before we headed out for Gold Dozers second day of training, I had gotten a call that my father had passed away at 10:27 that morning. It was not good news right before training. If anyone is down in Quartzite and wants to say hello at the Gold Show or before get ahold of me. It was good to get out and do some detecting with BMC as well. He is in the picture with Goldie the Roadrunner.
  5. This in many ways is a repeat of my 2018 UK Adventure except two weeks this time instead of three. The 2018 thread is loaded with details and very many local photos that I will not repeat here. Go to the link for the "full tour" with location and travel details. I booked the trip last year as is pretty much mandatory for the Colchester trips. There are only a limited number of trips available in the spring and fall and with so many people returning every year you really have to plan ahead. Mindy had a 10 day opening so I jumped on that as a week is just not enough in my opinion. With the benefit of last years trip experience I was able to weed my suitcase down to 40 lbs including two complete Equinox with 15" coils. Had it about perfect except for a couple shirts I never did wear. I was packed well in advance, and had great connections, so was looking forward to a relaxed trip. I had an afternoon flight out of Reno connecting in Chicago with an overnight to London. Perfect for me to sleep away a lot of the 10 hour overseas portion, and arriving in London in the morning. The plane was half boarded when they announced boarding would halt while they evaluated a flight advisory just in from Chicago. Massive thunderstorms, all flights in delayed for three hours - just enough to miss my connection! I have to give American Airlines credit, they automatically booked me into another flight just two hours later than the original connection, still arriving in London plenty early. We land at Chicago and the plane taxis forever. Finally the pilot announces the gate is blocked and he has driven past it twice. I'm looking at my watch thinking "this is going to be close!" Luckily the gates were close together, but I literally got off the one flight and walked onto the other. I was pretty sure my bag was not going to make it. Well, the flight was fine but less seat space than any overseas flight I have had yet. Price was great though so oh well. I can't say I was shocked to find my bag had been left behind in Chicago as did prove to be the case. Still, all we were doing was booking into a hotel next to the airport before heading out next day, so I hoped my bag would follow on the next flight. No such luck, so next day on the first hunt in the afternoon I was in my travel clothes and on a field with a borrowed Equinox. Thanks Tim! Luckily in a group of seven people somebody always has spares; just as I always travel with a spare, so do others. My very first target that I dug was a full British Crown, I believe a 1937 George VI. Not that old but a large coin and 50% silver. I made some other finds but was hampered a bit wandering around in corn stalk stubble in street shoes. Can't complain though... I was happy to be in England and out detecting! 12th-14th century St Mary the Virgin's Church, Little Bromley Again, American Airlines came through in the end. They actually delivered my bag that afternoon the 99 miles to Colchester (their limit is 100 miles) at no charge. So it really was just a minor snafu of no consequence, mainly due to good weather and a spare machine being available. We had a really great group, four guys and three gals including Mindy. Mindy cooks in each evening except for one pub night out. There was also an optional museum tour for one day later in the trip. I wanted to wait and see how my finds were doing before deciding about that. Weather for the first part of the trip was the best I'd ever seen in England, about 70F each day. It made for really pleasant field hunting. I was as always hoping for a gold coin, with anything else accidental by catch. I was making nice coin and relic finds, including a couple hammered silver coins. A few days into the trip, good buddy Tim, he of the gold ingot from last year, was nearby when he scored his second Celtic 1/4 stater ever, a real beauty. Not minutes later Mindy found here first ever Saxon sceat, a small rare coin that was one of her last "bucket list" items. Lots of smiles and high emotion in the group that day! This may not seem real but the fact is I come very close to liking somebody else making a great find as making one myself. I was right there, got to see the finds right out of the ground, and shared in that "great find high". It's one of the best things about hunting with a group in my opinion. I may never find a Celtic gold coin, but I have been right there when it happened several times now, and that really is about as good for me. Tim and Mindy's finds - Celtic quarter stater and Saxon silver sceat A few days later we were hunting a field right across the road from a small town. I was getting some nice buttons and 1800's coins but nothing spectacular. Late in the day I got another typical button signal of about 17 on the Equinox. I proceeded to dig but the hole was getting deeper and wider with no button found. One of the things I like about the 15” coil is I can pinpoint fairly well with the tip or heel of the coil, and nosing around in the hole revealed the target was deeper and larger. At over a foot the target was squealing, and I was sure it was a large iron target or possibly even an aluminum can. There have been times and places where I have kicked the dirt back in the hole and moved on from such targets, but not in England where you never know what might turn up. I was however getting near the plow line now, the point below which the ground turns rock hard and where due to the rules we have to stop digging. I worked round the center of the target and gave a last scoop, and there sitting in the bottom of the hole was a large green item that tumbled out of the shovel full of dirt. I’m no expert at this kind of stuff, but it looked like a Bronze Age ax head to me. This was not something that I had ever expected to find and so my brain was not really processing it. I wandered over to my buddy Tim who was nearby and asked “is this what I think it is?” I swear he almost fell over, realizing the import of the find more than I had, and assured me I had found an excellent condition Bronze Age ax. Better yet, it appeared to be intact, as many of these that are found have been broken. The final verdict was that my find is a Bronze Age palstave, a predecessor to the modern ax. A palstave is a development of the flat ax, where the shaped sides are cast rather than hammered. My particular find has been identified as a Bronze Age (circa 1500-1400 BC) cast copper alloy primary shield pattern palstave, dating to the Acton Park Phase. In other words about 3500 years old, and about as old as anything that can possibly be found with a metal detector! I never in my wildest dreams ever thought I would ever find anything so ancient while metal detecting, and the fact this ax is intact and in good condition makes it the find of a lifetime, and that is no exaggeration. I have always been looking for that gold coin, but after all the gold I have found in my life and now with this I am officially saying "good enough". Anything I ever find from here on out in my detecting career is just gravy, my detecting bucket list is complete. Bronze Age (c.1500-1400 BC) cast copper alloy primary shield pattern palstave, dating to the Acton Park Phase (photo of Steve by Tim Blank with permission) This trip was extra good because everyone in the group was making some really great finds, many in excess of what they were hoping for. After many years detecting these huge fields are far from hunted out, with many of the best finds coming from fields that have been hunted well over a decade. Still new ground does come online regularly, and those fields add a little extra fun in the form of the unknown, especially as regards possible horde finds. There was one set of new fields that another group had found a lot of Roman stuff, including a really nice Roman silver coin and some good condition bronze coins. The trip was over half over and our weather had turned rainy. Not too bad really, just passing storms, with two hours of solid rain the worst I saw. Still, this limits some of the hunting as some fields with a lot of clay content get really nasty. After my ax find I had four days of mostly newer 1700s and 1800s coins and various widgets, but sort of a four day dry spell. So Tim and I passed on the museum tour and braved the rains instead since time was now running short. That plan paid off for me in a couple more hammered silver coins, bring my total for the trip to four. The hammered silver are kind of the standard prized find on these trips, rare but not so rare that most everyone has a good shot at some. Most date from 1200 to the 1600's after which milled silver coins replaced them. I found them off in one corner of the field and as the day wore on decided to head back to the area where all the Roman stuff had been found. There were many footprints but lots of gaps and so I hunted in the gaps. The day was almost over when I got a strong signal and dug up an odd looking lump. At first I had no idea what it was, but suddenly as I cleaned it a head and shoulders resolved into view. I had what appears to be a small bronze Roman bust! There is no real way to date the find, but it definitely looks like a Roman noble of some sort, and was found in the middle of a lot of other Roman finds so it is 90% certain to be around a couple thousand years old, maybe 100 AD going by the coin finds. I am in some ways more pleased by this find than the ax head for some reason. It’s almost like I am talking to that old Roman. I wonder who lost it and what it was. Decorative? A child’s toy? There was a Roman barracks in the area so military related somehow? It is just a great find and I am not aware of anything like it being found by the club before. Small bronze Roman bust found by Steve As noted I was running the Minelab Equinox with 15" coil the whole trip. In retrospect I wish I had brought steveg's new rod with counterbalance as my upper back would have thanked me for it the first three days, but it was a bit too long for my suitcase. Since everyone always wants to know, I basically used the same settings this year as last year with one minor tweak. Last year I ran Recovery Speed 5 and this year lowered that to 4. I normally run with nothing rejected, full tones, but have the Horseshoe button set up to reject 6 and under. This eliminates small stuff, maybe even small silver cut coins, but anything round will still ring up. Target ID 1-6 gets all manner of really tiny stuff almost always small lead or brass fragments. Stuff that’s also slow to recover. So as I say I normally hunt wide open and dig it all, but if time is limited or I am just tired of tiny stuff I hit the Horseshoe Button to go to “Cherry Pick Mode”. Park 1 Frequency Multi Noise Cancel 0 (adjust as needed) Ground Balance Manual, 0 Volume Adjust 20 (adjust as needed) Tone Volume 12, 25, 25, 25, 25 (Steve 4, 25, 25, 25, 25) Threshold Level 0 Threshold Pitch 4 Target Tone 5 (Steve 50) Tone Pitch 1, 6, 12, 18, 25 Reject –9 to 1 and Accept 2 to 40 (Steve Reject -9 to 6 and Accept 7 to 40) Tone Break 0, 10, 20, 30 Recovery Speed 5 (Steve 4) Iron Bias 6 Sensitivity 20 (Steve 22 to 25) Backlight Off Just a really great time with great people and some fabulous finds. I will post a complete set of pictures at some later date when I get the export listing, but for now here are a couple of my favorite hammered silvers from the trip to wrap up this report. Submitted to Minelab for the Find of the Month contest so we will see if I get lucky there also.
  6. Thought I would recycle a previous post from a now defunct forum showing a couple of detecting trips and the end results of getting stuck while crossing a steep and narrow creek in the Bradshaw Mts of AZ. Awhile back, a couple of friends joined me to check out a hand dug hard rock mine/prospect in central Arizona that I had recently located but not had a chance to detect. No claims records or markers could be located and it didn't appear to have been worked in years. The previous miners had crushed the ore and shoveled it onto the crude wooden ore chute that snaked down the side of the ridge to the creek below. The country rock of the prospect hole appeared to be a mushy red quartz conglomerate that looked unstable. No hard quartz lead was observed. After several minutes of examination, and detecting around a large, indignant pack rat that currently occupied the prospect, we decided to depart the area. No gold was found but in the interest of keeping morale up, we decided to drink some of the "we found gold" beer anyway. The next day, I soloed to an area where I'd previously had good luck. It had rained a few days prior to my arrival and the ground was dry on the surface, but still damp a few inches down. I got into the area OK at first, then ran into a heavily washed out cut across the road, so I turned around going back out and as I angled down to cross a steep "V" shaped creek where I'd had no problem coming in, the mushy schist bedrock crumbled and dropped my rear bumper down enough where the Pintle hitch of my military style cargo trailer buried up, causing the bumper to be high centered with no rear wheel traction. Bummer. I cleared part of the hang up with a sledge hammer and chisel but finally had to resort to a high lift jack and stacked rocks for clearance and traction. While I was gathering rocks in the creek, I noticed that part of the bank appeared to have recently eroded and collapsed, exposing a couple of large rusty, vuggy chunks of quartz which looked interesting. After I was able to get my truck unstuck and up the road a ways, I grabbed my EQUINOX 800 and went back and started detecting the stretch of the creek downstream from where I had found the rotten quartz. Most of the pieces were on a shallow compacted layer of gravel in the narrow stream bed, and a few were on top of flat rocks covered with sand and dirt. After I started finding those little dinks I forgot all about getting stuck!
  7. This is Day 2 of my trip to Nevada with Steve and Steve. On day 2 after having some gold in the poke we decided to pull out the VLF's for a while in the trash to see what we could find. The Legend was running version 1.06 which I later found out had issues and noticed the machine was running kind of funky at times. But still managed to pull a small nugget with it. Wasn't long before I went back to the GPX 6000. Love that machine, never thought I would own one but now that I've used one I think I'm going to have to get it.
  8. Summary of Gerry’s Detectors last 3 Days Field Training at Rye Patch, NV of 2023 for the customers. We’ll still offer 1 day 1 on 1 this Winter in AZ, all the way into March for those who prefer Individual hands on. I think due to the cold weather the previous week (lows in the teens & highs in the 40’s) with snow cover peaks... half the class cancelled. This put me in a bind and as soon as I realized how small the group was, I called 2 of my Field Experts and told them, not needed. Something about cold in the desert that just does not sit well with a few. Actually, the weather turned for the good and we had some of the best possible temps one could hope for. Sure the low temps were in the upper 30’s/low 40’s but the high temps were optimal at upper 60’s and low 70’s. Yes, the Nevada desert was shining brightly with hardly a breeze and way warmer than expected, as a few of us got too much sun having fun while learning/listening and enjoying the group session. Even had a few unexpected guests getting the last of the warm sun-rays for the year. I won’t go into details on what my Field Staff/I share the 1st day as it’s hard learned from many hours of us in the field with a variety of detectors, coils, settings, sites and kinds of gold. All I know, is the customers certainly do appreciate what they see/learn with their own eyes and that’s exactly what we want. We finished the day with a quick Proper Detector Setup so those who want to enjoy the evening swinging or before class the next morning. Soon after one of the VLF detectors (Equinox) and it’s owner from NV scored a picker nugget (sorry Floyd I didn’t get a pic). It’s nice to see/hear of gold being recovered the 1st day, especially for Rye Patch for anyone who knows how hard that area has been detected. Not much time after, Duke from Idaho was giddy with joy seeing his 1st NV gold, just a picker....but gold. This guy Duke, was a hard nut to crack as he is prior US Military Special Forces and an Expert Coin Hunter who’s retired and puts in 40 hr weeks swinging his NOX. He’s well over $1000 in clad alone. This summer he’s spent so many trips in the gold fields trying to find some Au on his own and it just never happened. Duke called me the week before saying he was cancelling as the weather was cold, his ego was bruised and his tent/sleeping bag was not designed for such weather. He had just returned from a multi day hunt looking for the shiny yellow with ZERO results. After that trip he concluded maybe chasing the elusive heavy metal was just not his cup of tea. I accepted Dukes words and removed him from the list. Not 10 minutes later my gut told me to call him back, so I did. It’s not that I wanted to see Duke fail, but more about his background and how much alike it is to mine. I’m prior USMC and for 25 yrs was a heck of a coin/relic/jewelry hunter. I thought I knew metal detectors inside and out and since my Success was so great, I just assumed the pursuit of gold nuggets would be the same. Boy was I so far off base and wrong, but at least I didn’t give up. I had a long talk with Duke and told him…most of his no gold problem was the Success of his coin hunting. Two totally different styles of hunts and target signals to be listening for (plus a bunch of other things most don’t understand). I promised if Duke would show up with an open mind and... if he could accept personal criticism from my Field Staff/I, as well as he change his habits, he would learn the ropes for this new chapter of using a metal detector. As for the tent/sleeping bag, he showed up with more blankets, but forgot his coffee making essentials (that’s a totally different story). Those who understand morning coffee, must know. Anyway, long story short, Duke did in fact learned/listened and found gold. He was totally surprised at how different the Au hunt is, but he accepted his bad habits and shined above the past. I can tell Duke will be a great nugget hunter if he desires to stick with it. Just before the day ended Mike from Idaho came up to me with his 1st NV gold and I was a little surprised all the previous classes had left a nugget for his GPX-6000. It just goes to show, even the best of us can’t find it all. Day 2 we stayed near camp as it seemed to be producing some nuggets. We hunted the wash near by and could see plenty of recent dig marks. There was much exposed bedrock from a recent rain and I knew there was gold to be had, but also some spots of heavy trash got scattered down the wash as well. It’s tough in those situations but those who persist and learn to use their tools properly (super magnet) can save time and hopefully be rewarded. That’s one good thing about trash areas in old gold producing prospects, you know there’s still gold left to be earned. We managed a decent picker in the wash with GPX-6000 but not much more gold from there. One of my previous customers hunted near camp on day 2 and he managed a a few with his 6000 as well. Remember, he's a previous customer and has already taken the training. The pic below is the same customer and his finds from this year in 5 months of swinging for gold. It seems the new improved GPX-6000 is the best at what’s left at Rye Patch and we were starting to see that. Yes we had two Axiom’s in class and even though they were able to hear most of the targets before we actually dug them, they had yet to score their own gold. Day 3 the final and usually the best day for Success. The students have had multiple 1 on 1 times with my different Staff and plenty of tutorial. It seems the knowledge is most remembered (repetition) and best coil control, ear’s listing to the right sounds vs the wrong sounds…is being accomplished. I can assure you of 10 trips, 9 of those the most gold recovered is on the final day, which should make sense. It just goes to show the advances and progress the folks in the class have learned. As the man in charge, that’s exactly what I want to see and it keeps my Staff/I happy. Up until this time on the 3rd day, Minelab ruled the gold count. Most of that was due to the number of Minelabs in the class vs other brands. The two Garrett Axiom guys were getting a little antsy and I could see it in their body language. I made sure Lunk who owns the Axiom with great success was on them aplenty showing the capabilities of what I consider the best value Pulse Induction gold detector on the market. Is it the best for all scenarios, NOT AT ALL and no detector is (that’s an upcoming write up). Axiom’s come shining through. That’s exactly how the last day of the training ended. The students are putting everything they’ve learned together and so their chance of Success is 10X or more of when they arrived. To start the Garrett glow, Frank all the way from Colorado is swinging an old push windrow and his Axiom lights up a beautiful Rye Patch type character piece of gold. It looks to be just the right size for a dainty pendant down the road. Frank was all lit up and smiling as he explained how he thought the sound of that target was so smooth and clean, he was pretty sure it would be nonferrous. It’s just a matter of it being the right kind of non-magnetic metal, and it was. The other Axiom guy, poor Randy from Oregon, we noticed his detector on occasion would act up and then work fine. We limped him through until the 3rd day when Lunk handed him his own Axiom detector. Thanks’ Lunk for doing so, as Randy didn’t even purchase his unit from me. Hey, that’s just part of why I and many others feel, my team of Experts is the best out there. Having a detector run flawlessly is a big part of self confidence and if you are newer to the game, it’s such a letdown. Well Randy didn’t have to worry now as Lunk’s Axiom is a proven golden winner and those Special Settings Lunk has hidden in the menu (just joking) came through 2X for Randy. Randy with new confidence in a properly running Axiom digs a nice chunky, semi rounded, solid, Rye Patch nugget. What’s even more impressive is about 5 minutes later and less that 5 feet away is his biggest prize, see pics. Yes that’s a water worn, thick, soft, yellow, heavy metal, 3.2 gram, gold nugget. Randy is a mostly quiet kind of guy changes to a little more bubbly of a character while he explains to the rest of us how he found his 2 nuggets. It sure will be a nice drive home for him as he rattles his container with gold and confidence in his abilities. Mike from Idaho was the last student that I know of to find another nugget with his GPX-6000. After that I know of a few my Staff recovered as the training session winded to a close. Did all customers find Gold? No Sir, and we are quite blunt about the odds up front. But most did and that’s a good thing. Did everyone get to hear undug and unknown targets with their own detectors? Yes and that helps build confidence for those who may not be so lucky to go home with gold. Remember, my Field Staff/I provide the location and detector education. We have no clue who will find gold and not, as we don’t know the students and or their capabilities. We promise each person will have a greater understanding of their detector and it’s capabilities, both good and or bad. No use in using a particular detector in a situation where said machine is weak for such task. But, so many people unknowing do so and when your detector doesn’t beep on that kind of gold, you’ll never know, because you missed it. Detector Knowledge and Self Confidence is a big part of Golden Success and not knowing/having it, is like playing poker with a guy who has an Ace up his sleeve. You don’t believe me, lets play… it’s your deal. Thanks for taking the time to read and any questions, please ask. Thanks, Gerry 208-345-8898 Gerry's Detectors http://gerrysdetectors.com/ Gold Nugget Detector Field Training
  9. Sometime in the mid to late 1990’s, I read an article in Western & Eastern Treasures about the tailing/dredge spoil piles in Murray, Idaho left over from the dredging of Prichard creek. The focus of the article was about how the rock/gravel from the tailing piles were being used to build a road to Wallace, ID, a distance of about 19 miles, and how good sized gold nuggets had been found by detecting the unfinished roadway. Seems that an experienced metal detecting couple from Arizona was on vacation and had been driving through the area when they noticed dump trucks carrying loads of gravel from the miles long tailing piles and depositing the gravel in the roadway which was then being flattened by a compaction road roller. Over the weekend when the road crew was not working, the couple proceeded to metal detect a stretch of the newly graveled roadway under construction and apparently did quite well. I happened to be visiting Murray, ID sometime later and, although the roadway was finished and paved, miles of the tailing piles, (as shown in the post card photo), still remained. I spent several fruitless hours pi$$ing in the wind, trying to detect some of those piles without any success. The detecting part went fine. The recovery, not so much. As has previously been mentioned on the forum, detecting in loose spoil piles of that magnitude was literally impossible. It was almost like trying to dig in a pile of jelly beans. I tried using a GB-2 with a 14” coil and a ML 2200d. I could only excavate to a depth of several inches before the gravel sides would collapse. Starting over just led to the same result every time. Eventually I gave up and drove over the newly constructed road into Wallace where I stopped at a local pawn/prospecting shop. I told the store owner what I had been trying to do and his face lit up with excitement! He asked if I would like to see some of the nuggets the Arizona couple had found? He then went into his safe, pulled out a few trays of nuggets and sat them on the counter. The biggest nugget was quite a bit larger than a silver dollar in diameter and flattened out to about ¼ inch thick. It appeared to be solid gold, as were the rest of the numerous nuggets in the collection. All were flattened to some extent but none were very thin. We both had a good chuckle over the daring and audacity of the AZ detectorists and wondered how many more nuggets they had found. Finally, I thanked the exuberant storekeeper and drove the road back to Murray with renewed interest. To this day, I sometimes still wonder how many gold nuggets there must be underneath that 19 miles of asphalt. 27-29 oz
  10. One day, Jimmy Sierra and I were operating a booth at a gold show. Two guys came up, and one asked me for the formula for Aqua Regia. I gave him the formula, and he thanked me. I asked him what he was going to use it for, and he said he was going to use it to burn the quartz off some really nice gold specimens that he had. I told him that was the wrong thing to do, to remove quartz requires Hydrofluoric acid, not Aqua Regia, which would dissolve the gold. The men began to scorn and belittle me. No matter what I would say, these guys did not listen to me. To them, I was an idiot. Suddenly, Jimmy piped up and said to me "Jimmy, Jimmy, you are always getting it wrong. They're right, yes, Aqua Regia is what you use to remove the quartz from gold specimens." He then directed them to the chemical dealer across the aisle, whom he knew stocked the ingredients to make Aqua Regia. I have often wondered how using Aqua Regia to remove quartz from gold worked out for them...
  11. Recovering from a record breaking Winter of Snow, now we are suffering from near daily Rains. My Theory is there is so much moisture in the Sierra’s coupled with warm Spring days turns it into afternoon Thunder Storms. Anyway a person addicted to our hobby has to get out and search for their fix. This story is about my 3rd trip and just like the first two trips knowing that the ground was subpar for detecting…but, it’s the hunt and hunt we must! Met my Pard Lucky Larry out of Elko, NV we quickly hoped into my RZR and hit the trail. Notice I didn’t say Dusty Trail. We hit several old haunts with limited results at each. We ended up hunting some new ground, I dropped Larry off on one side of the hill and I drove over it to hunt the other side. Hour later, I went back to my RZR to pick up Larry and my trusty machine would not start! During the over a mile hike back to my truck, I figured it was my Fuel Pump…of course no Shade Trees out in the high Desert to confirm my diagnosis. Lucky I have a winch on my RZR as we would have never got her loaded up, didn’t bother trying to crank it before loading as I knew I’d need every bit of my battery to load it. It rained on and off as we drove back to camp and continued thru the night. Next morning we drove to a nearby patch and pulled a few more dinks before I loaded up and left with rain drops just starting to fall. Back home with my newly Amazon delivered fuel pump, I hoped in the bed of my truck where I left my RZR. Let’s see if the battery recharged itself, the sucker cranks up! I unload it and take it for a ride in the back 40. Cranked every time I turned it off too! Still no shade trees, but in my garage I thought maybe it was Vapor Locked? I read up on it and it’s not uncommon…so if you see my little Red RZR way out in no-man’s land laying in a puddle of oil, know I shed a tear! It’s Memorial Day and according to Weather report 3 more days of afternoon thunder storms. Rye Patch area will need a few dry days to get the ground settled down to hear them dinks, but there is always some shallow ducks to get your coil over until better conditions arrive! Here’s our loot for the day and a half trip…yes, my poke is on the left. Both Larry and I used the 10x5 Coiltek on our 6000’s…great coil. Until the next hunt! LuckyLundy
  12. Well today I had the rare chance to get out for a sort time and do some hunting. Just as I was walking out the door my wife tells me to take the dog with me. This is a small dog who is hyper as a butterfly in a wind tunnel. All the way to the ball field I wanted to try Rusty was being very good the whole time, and I am thinking that just maybe he was going to be good. When we arrived at the ball field he stayed close to me as I retrieved the old Tracker IV out of the trunk. I started to head to the field and he takes off like a rocket. I let him run for just a couple of minutes while I got the detector ready to start swinging. I called him over and to my surprise he came running back, and I am thinking that he is finally going to be good. I start walking in the direction that I had been wanting to search and get a wonderful tone sounding in my ears. I start digging my hole and look to see where Rusty is and he is on the other side of the field. I call him back again, tell him to sit, and start digging again. I pull out a dime (1967) try to show Rusty what I found and to my surprise he's gone again. Once again I look for the darn dog, and now this time he is on the opposite side of the field, so I call him again and he comes back. Fill in the hole and stand up. Now where is that dog? Yep he is on the other side of the field again and it wasn't 20 seconds since I last saw him. This time when he gets back I really scold him and I thought he got the message. Nope he didn't, just as I have another target to dig, so I stick my sod cutter i the ground to mark the spot to dig. I get Rusty to come back to me and we start walking back to the car so maybe I can find a leash for him. I look down at him and in his mouth is my sod cutter. Yep he pulled it out of the ground and carried it back to the car. I put him in the car with the windows half way down and walk about 30 feet away from the car and hit another good sounding tone, another dime about 6 inches deep. This one was a 1983, but in usable condition, nothing special about it just dirty and slightly tarnished. Within another 6 feet a really good sound that I had to dig, but it came out to be a Falstaff beer bottle cap. By this time Rusty is crying so bad I let him out and he really tried to stay by me until I found another target which turned out to be a soda can. Needless to say it was a very short hunt as I gave up after only 25 minutes. Lesson of this story is that never listen to the wife and never take the dog again. The old tracker does find good targets and junk so you never know just what will show up. Bounty Hunter Tracker IV metal detector Bounty Hunter Tracker IV Owner's Manual
  13. Since there are many members here from different countries and points of the compass, I thought it may be interesting to start a pictorial thread. Show us favourite pics of the countryside you pass through or hunt in for gold and relics. I will kick it off with these from country South Australia. The Flinders Ranges.
  14. Over the last couple months I've met quite few folks new to nuggetshooting. Many are frustrated at not finding gold, but are finding a lot of trash targets, including lead shot, and I find myself confessing that it took me more than 2 years on the calendar and 30+ days of detecting to find number 1. Part of my pep talk is to explain that this is a common experience, so stick with it. So the point of the question is to encourage newer detectorists stick with it and learn whatever they can from the real pros on this forum.
  15. Another year and another trip to Baja. Our premise this year was simple. We'd re-visit an area that had been worked pretty hard over the past 20 years, but possibly had some big rains last summer and moved some gravel around, plus I thought the 17" CC XCoil might hit some deeper nuggets in one of the main washes. A trip to Baja always has its hazards. I drove 12 hrs from N Nevada towing my RZR, arriving in Yuma at 1:30am. The next morning we crossed the border just outside of Yuma at Algodones. First complication at Mexican immigration. I left home with the wrong registration for the RZR. Mexican authorities are somehow sticklers about registrations. They turned us back to the US. In Yuma, we scrambled to get a current registration and went back to the border. All went well with registrations and Tourist Visas. Algodones is an old town with very narrow streets plus it is packed with visitors seeking dental care, eyeglasses and prescription drugs. Algodones is a Mecca for Americans wanting to save money. Dental clinics abound and the pharmacies are always packed this time of year. I was driving careful pulling the RZR with my big ole GMC 3/4 ton crewcab. My friend was behind me driving a Toyota truck and camper shell. 4 way stops are merely a suggestion for Mexican drivers, so I was really watching the traffic and pedestrians. Somehow the Toyota was now 4 cars back after a couple 4 way stops. I got to the edge of town and could no longer see the Toyota behind me. I found a wide spot to pull off thinking he might have taken a wrong turn. After a couple minutes he called me on my cell phone and said he'd been in an accident and for me to come back. My mind raced at the extreme possibilities, but found that it was a simple fender bender. The Mexican driver had pulled into the Toyota blind spot as he was turning left. The Toyota rear tire caught the front bumper of the Mexican car. The bumper and grill were all plastic and the whole mess was laying on the ground. Coincidently, a Mexican policeman was parked right there. As a retired federal investigator, I'm not much of a believer in coincidences, but it's Mexico. No one spoke English and my Spanish is very rusty. We discern that the Victim wanted $250.00 for the damage to his vehicle. It seemed reasonable under the circumstances, so he was paid in cash and goes on his way. The policeman tells us we must accompany him to the police station where a judge will determine the fine for an accident on a Mexican highway. He suggests that the Toyota may be impounded as a result. We're sweating this out and follow him with his lights flashing through dirt road city streets. After a few random turns, he turns off his lights and calls us over. He can make this go away for $600.00. Naturally, the old Mexican "mordida" game but we're not anxious to see how far this ploy can go. We pool our folding money and come up with $260.00. We explain that's all we got and he graciously accepts and sends us on our way. It's Mexico so we chalk it up to the cost of doing business and get back on the road. To be continued...
  16. A couple of days ago I was at one of my local beaches after the rain and blow. It had been a rather 'sudden' type of storm with waves only up for 24 hours or so. My results showed it and near the end of my detecting I noticed something odd. I looked up into the dry sand and I saw someone kneeling with a shovel. I was 100 yards away or so and I saw some movement and thought it strange. It reminded me of some type of ritual burial. I wanted to go up and tell the guy if he was burying ashes or something of value he should reconsider as some other detectorist would dig it up. A few minutes passed and it was time for me to go to my car. I wanted to go by the place where the guy was digging. When I got there it had been neatly filled and scattered over with some beach sticks. I thought good for him but then I saw him closer to the wet sand. He was digging another hole and I saw this motion again. It reminded me of a drone this time. A bit of black whirling around and then it hit me. I propped up my 800/15 and walked in his direction. He was a nice-looking young man and he greeted me as I approached. He had dug an almost smoothly round hole with a short handled shovel about 18" deep. I told him I had noticed what he was using and I just couldn't resist coming over to him. He had a thick European accent. He could see my detector which I had turned off about 50 yards away. He began asking me if there was little pieces of gold in the sand. He was rubbing his fingers together saying he was learning his instrument. I asked him if it was made in Germany and he said yes. It was then that I knew 'the gig' and I was careful not to venture to many comments. He was quite enthusiastic about his instrument explaining that he had bought it from a guy (friend?) that said it didn't work but he was convinced he was going to make it work. This was not the first one of these detectors I've seen but it was the first one that I've held. It is relatively small and it will rotate around on its handle so quickly it is a kind of like using divining rods. He showed me the little popup screen that I would have needed my glasses to read and it has several functions. One was to create a line similar to a surveying instrument. He explained that you needed to hold the contraption level and look off into the distance a couple of hundred feet. Then you needed to walk the line and reverse the process and it would create an intersection. That is where you needed to dig! My eyes are rolling up in my head at this point remembering the threads that have been started here about these things. I told him how I detected the beach with my Equinox and he just couldn't be bothered. He had faith in his instrument. He was in full blown pursuit of the truth. When I explained to him that my coil sometimes ran over multiple targets in a swing and sometimes there were targets above and below each other it just didn't register to him. The scale of delusion was massive. I could have spent more time with him and gotten his phone number and gradually shattered his dreams but I just didn't have the heart. I told him about the cost of the Equinox coming in around $1000 and it was then that he proudly said he paid $5500 for his gizmo. It was then I realized it was time for me to leave. I hope he has 'fun' with his experiments. This type of impractical 'science' makes me concerned for the world. I told him about Detector Prospector and actually hope he will make it here and find this thread. I have some other thoughts about the experience but I'll just leave them for now and post the two pictures I took.
  17. A couple of weeks ago I posted about finding a large college class ring. Now that the ring is on its way back to the owner I can share a few more details about it. The ring is from Texas A&M University and the gentleman lost it in the southern California surf in 2009. He returned the next day with a metal detector but was unable to locate it. 14 years later, on a cold, dark, wet and windy morning I was holding the ring in my hand admiring its golden sheen in the glow of my headlamp. The owner was very surprised and grateful to hear that I would be returning his ring. After speaking with the ring's owner I found out more about the rich tradition of the "Aggie ring". The Aggie class ring just might be one of the most cherished, celebrated and recognizable college class rings in the world. The rings are made by the well known Balfour company and, I believe that, Texas A&M is one of their biggest, if not their biggest, clients. The Association of Former Students oversees a lost and found program and maintains a registry to help reunite rings with their owners. Their website states that there are about 60 Aggie rings reported lost or missing each month! That should give you an idea of how many thousands of Aggie rings are out there. There is even a large bronze statue of an Aggie ring on campus! Now that I understand more about the history and significance of the Aggie ring I am really glad that I am able to return this one. https://www.tamu.edu/traditions/aggie-culture/aggie-ring/index.html https://www.aggienetwork.com/news/tagged/?tag=294
  18. After a good days sniping we have to walk past an apiary to get back to camp, Corey was ahead of us by 20 meters, Brodie and I were walking together, I'd just mentioned how in the past the bees have been well behaved, when Corey got stung. The s... hit the fan in a matter of seconds, I now know what making a bee line means, I saw a line of bees coming straight for my head. We stared running, we were in our wetsuits and and all put our hoods on as we ran unfortunately for me there was three bees in my hair, they stung me, while running top heavy with a back pack and trying to get my hood back off, I tripped on a rock. A series of increasingly long steps followed, until the inevitable happened and I fell heavily, my partners stopped to pick me up, we had left the bees behind, and with a bit more than my pride bruised I hobbled back to camp. It could of been a lot worse Corey got stung four times and me five, Brodie escaped injury, we had a good laugh about it later, but in hindsight it could have got nasty really quick. Here's some pictures of the weekend, sorry I can't post any photos that may give away the location, I'll post them when we finish in the area.
  19. We arrived in Maui around lunch time today. My wife and I went to the grocery store to stock up for the week and while there find out the key fob battery is dead and can't lock the rental Jeep. Fortunately we can still start the car. Get to the house drop off the groceries and I have to run out to the hardware store to get a battery for the key fob. Get it fixed and get home to a note that my wife and son went to the beach and meet them there. I get on my swim suit and go to the closet to grab one the the Equinox 600's out of the closet and only 1 is there. My 15 year old already had one of them at the beach! I grab the other and head over. I drop my stuff and see him down the beach at one of my favorite spots. Watching him for a bit I see he has excellent coil control with it flat to the ground at the end of his swings and overlapping as he moves. Doing everything he was taught. He sees me and comes immediately over with a huge smile on his face! Before I could even ask he says loudly "I found something!" He pulls out this solid bracelet and hands it to me. Looking at it I said I think it's gold but without my glasses I can't read the inside. He grabs it and reads Na Hoku 14K. Holy crap put that thing in your pocket! If anybody asks if you found anything just tell them coins and bottle caps ( not wanting to attract attention). It's very unlikely it was lost this day. The last thing I need is a crowd gathering to look. He puts it in his pocket and heads over to show Mom. We got back to the house and looked on line. $1,549.00 retail! The bracelet looks new. What a score! Fits Mom perfectly!
  20. Last week TomCA and I made a trek to recon some new (to us) stage stop type sites that we'd been researching this year. As some of the sites were miles away from any roads, we decided to get fat tire ebikes to save us from hiking miles and miles into and out of these sites. The first site we went to was in the middle of BFE, and we rode our ebikes. Little did I realize, that days before our arrival that the area had been subject to flash floods. This would factor into our traveling to and from the site, ending up causing mayhem. On the way to the first site wasn't too bad. It was a nice sunny day, but we did encounter little creeks that had filled up due to the rains, and it wasn't so much that the water in the creeks was un navigable as much as the flour sand ended up being a sticky, slippery, muddy mess making forging these creeks challenging. Had there been no rains prior to our arrival, they'd been easy to traverse, but not so much after flash flooding events. As the sun started heading down, I kept nudging TomCA to get a move on as I had zero desire to cross country through unfamiliar desert terrain in the dark, but that's exactly what ended up happening. We ended up going cross country to head back to the vehicle a different way then we'd came in, and although it looked easy enough on satellite maps, that would end up being an epic mistake. The sun set quickly on our way out and we were now going cross country in the desert in the dark, in a totally unfamiliar area, on ebikes. About a mile or two into our trek back to the car, I hit quick sand that sucked my bike in, ejected me and as I landed my feet planted into the quick sand and I fell backwards with my feet stuck to the quick sand like they were attached to fly paper. I was sure I'd broken my leg/ankle. I still think it may have a small fracture. So here we are in the middle of BFE in the dark, my foot's FUBAR and we still have miles to go to get back to the vehicle. Let's just say the journey back to the vehicle was hell for me (oh and did I mention it was my birthday...sigh). Hours later, and another bike crash to add to injury, we finally made it back to the vehicle. I ended up having to sit out the next couple days of detecting and let TomCA at it while I sat on the sidelines. So without further ado here's what I was able to manage on the trip. This is a site we barely recon'd and are itching to get back to. Nothing prolific per se, but a nice variety of finds including a J-hook (military?), eagle button, an old pocket knife (upper right), black powder gun primer, flat button, earlier eagle button, an old religious medallion (similar to what we find at Spanish colonial contact period sites). and a curious piece of glass! A native attempted to flint knap the base of a glass bottle! I've read about this, and seen examples in museums, but this is the first time I've found a piece. Someone had undoubtedly beat us to this site, but they didn't get it all! Scored a couple of eagle buttons (one's pretty crudded up), a flat button, lots of rim-fire shells and bullet drops, and some trade items including a trade ring, and European glass trade beads (eyeball finds). I know these old clay pipes aren't a big deal, especially if you're on the east coast where they're probably everywhere, but we rarely find these out west and this one was just sitting on top of the sand where it likely fell almost two hundred years ago! All the pieces actually fit together, it was probably stepped on by an animal (lots of wild mustangs and other critters around this area). Nothing to really write home about on this trip. TomCA did get a seated dime at a site that I had to sit on the sidelines with my foot injury, and he did get a seated half dime from the same site I got the clay pipe and trade items above, hopefully he'll share his finds as well. Maybe the next trip there will be with the Manticore, although truth be told, at these sites iron and depth are not obstacles. GL&HH, Cal
  21. Leaving this Monday for the Florida Gulf on a 3 month Campaign. Main gun the Tarsacci backed up with the Pirate Hunter Pro. When I left late last March, the Beaches were just finished being Heavily Sanded. The Low Tides last year were all during night time. This year I see their mostly during day light. So there's that and hopefully the sand has found some bottom. On a different topic, a friend told me he seen on the news that a $40,000 ring had been found by a Metal Detector hunter somewhere in Florida. Anyone hear about this?
  22. I was down in Rye Patch 10/22-10/26 and am slow to post. First day I got there early afternoon and swung the 6k for a couple of hours. Pulled up a very tiny piece a couple of inches deep. Second day I hit the ground at first day light and pounded a spot where I have had luck in the past hard to no avail. Around 11 am a couple of other trucks came close to me and started detecting and I figured I would move on, as I was getting frustrated with my lack of success over the last 3.5 hours anyway. After meandering down some roads for a while, I ran into @NorCal . We had a nice conversation for a while and he was kind enough to give me some history of the area we were in and some past success he had there. Once we were done chatting and he packed up and left, I had the pleasure of detecting in a hail storm and wind. Skunked for the day, cold, wet and not in the best of spirits, I called it a day. Day 3, after sleeping in my truck with a 20 something degree night, I hit the ground running again. Once again hitting areas where I had success before, I was yet again skunked for the morning and frustrated with 30 mph gusts. I decided to go back to the random area I found the small piece at the first day, and warm up on the drive. First good choice I made all trip! I was able to pull 4 sub gram pieces out of the ground, all were 6-10 inches deep except one at 2”. Final full day, wind still howling. I fought my way through the day and pulled up 7 more pieces. I did hit the ground for about two hours the morning I left, but to no avail. All in all 12 pieces for a whopping weight of 1.6 grams! Pretty sure I spent more just heating my truck at night to stay warm, or more in beer, not to mention the 7.5 hour drive each way. But that wasn’t really the point. For me it was just getting out and swinging my machine, this is the first time in a year because of everything I have had going on in my life. I was ready to sell the damn thing after getting skunked for a day and a half, but it really is some tough hunting. Met @Arkyon my way out of the area and headed home happy and ready to get back out again soon!
  23. See also Steve’s Australia Adventure, Part 1 for my travel to Western Australia, to visit Jonathan Porter and hunt for gold. I'll be traveling with the Garrett team to Australia soon, to attend the Metal Detecting World Championship event at Windeyer NSW. I will not be participating in the hunt events, as I'm not into that sort of thing. I will be hanging out at the Garrett booth, to chat detecting, and to show off the new Garrett Axiom, to anyone that is interested. This is the first official showing of the detector to the public, and Garrett was kind enough to invite me along to attend. And I'd also just welcome the chance to say hello, and meet any forum members who might be in the area. As far as I know, I'll be there all day October 22nd, and until the event ends at 2:30pm on October 23rd. I tried to set up another possibility of a meet when we are in the Bendigo area a bit later, but was informed there was "no time" by the powers that be. There is no getting around the fact Australia is a big place, and I can't be everywhere, but this is a start. I hope a few of you can make it.
  24. This is a callback to my 2011 Australia Gold Adventure. I put a lot of extra travel detail into that story, to aid others who might be thinking of doing a detecting trip to Australia. If you are thinking of doing this, and have not, I encourage you to look at that previous story. In the story that follows, click or double click the photos for full size versions. A few things changed in the eleven years since that adventure. First, the $1500 air fare I paid back then has basically doubled. Second, Australia now requires a visa even for tourists. You can’t complete travel without one. You can apply for one using an app on your phone, to take pictures of yourself and your passport. Details here. The real zinger came when I went to check in on New Zealand Air in Los Angeles. Even though I was merely passing through the Auckland airport on my way to Perth, I was not allowed to check in without a New Zealand visa also! Panic ensued, but luckily this also was done easily with a phone app while I was in the airport. However, although results are usually had in ten minutes, they note it can take up to 48 hours. Do this in advance and avoid the possibility of being denied boarding at the airport. Third, my final destination was Meekatharra, and this required making the switch to local Skipper’s Aviation, and an additional $600 round trip fare. On the previous trip we had driven a vehicle from Perth to Meekatharra, but this time I was going to meet JP directly in Meekatharra. The connections were such and the flight over so long, I ended up booking a room for the night in Perth, to ease the switchover. I stayed in the Country Comfort, Perth, which is affordable and nice, and which has a free shuttle service from both the main airport, and to Skippers Aviation. On a brighter note, the roughly even exchange rate from eleven years ago, changed to one hugely in favor of U.S. travelers at this time. I got $1.60 Australian for every U.S. dollar spent. A good thing, as prices are skyrocketing in Oz, like everywhere else. The exchange rate softens the blow. A little back story. I had spent a month of detecting in Australia in 2011, hosted by Jonathan Porter. I went home with a couple ounces of gold, which frankly did not impress me much. I think I sort of hurt JPs feelings when I said I saw no point in ever returning, if gold was the goal. I’ve relayed that information to other travelers since then, and not yet has one ended up telling me I was wrong. There is still great gold to be found in Australia, but frankly, it’s for the locals. Visitors with short time and minimal access should just be happy to find gold, any gold at all. For quantity, however, I’m better off on my own home ground here in the U.S. JP and Steve in 2011 JP and I talked about my returning someday, but for quite some time it was just that typical vague “someday” thing, that I never tried to make happen. Then things changed for me the last few years. I developed severe arthritis in both hips. It got so bad, that a couple years ago I thought my prospecting days, even my metal detecting, were about over. I was suffering enough last year, that I got both hips replaced this last winter. And miracle of medical miracles, I got a new lease on life! I feel better now than I have in many years. This experience changed my outlook on life and made me very aware the end of the tunnel is in sight. I’m good now, but I’m not getting any younger, and stuff just starts failing. You never know when, or how fast it will happen. Suddenly going back to Australia was not a matter of going to find gold, but just to go see an old friend. That’s exactly what I told JP, and I meant it. The gold no longer matters at all. I just wanted to have a nice visit and enjoy myself while visiting a friend. And JP, bless him, made it happen. A second layer to all that is I am celebrating metal detecting and gold prospecting for 50 years now. I got my first metal detector in 1972, and my first gold dredge right after that. I’ve been at it ever since, and now it’s been a half century of grand adventure. I decided an Australia trip was a perfect way to celebrate that fact. Also, out of the blue, Garrett Metal Detectors asked me to go along with them to Australia for the Axiom introduction. Boom, I went from never really planning on going back to Australia, to going twice in one year!! Part 2 of this story will chronical my upcoming return visit to Australia at the end of this month. I’ve been working with Garrett since last year on fine tuning the Axiom for release. This trip seemed an ideal way to get in some major hours with the detector, plus see how it handled mineralized ground conditions in Western Australia. JP thought I was nuts, and maybe I am, when I told him I planned on using the Axiom exclusively on the trip. I don’t know what to say, other than that it seemed like a fun thing to do. I can find gold with most anything, so I was not worried about that. After my last visit to Australia, I knew I was not going to find a ton of gold in just two weeks anyway. The point for me became to just use the Axiom, come what may, and go home happy regardless of the amount of gold found. Like I said, my perspective on life has shifted entirely from where it was years ago, when it was all about how much gold I was finding, period. Other than my little New Zealand visa surprise, the trip went smoothly, although the flights and layovers were a little long. I arrived in Meekatharra with everything I needed in one 50 lb suitcase, as another bag would have cost another $100 on every airline leg, and I set a record on this trip by traveling on six different airline. One bag was free, except for a small weight surcharge on Skippers. A bonus on this trip was that JPs son Tim was along. I thought this was great, as JP and I can be like an old bickering couple at times, so having another face along, and with a younger perspective, seemed like a fun idea to me. One that turned out great, as Tim is a prematurely wise young man. It was fun talking life and philosophy with him, and… wait for it…. our shared interest in computer gaming. Yeah, I’m a computer nerd for sure, and that extends to an interest in playing and modding computer RPGs. JP and I of course talked about detecting and detectors for endless hours, with not a small dose of the fact neither of us is getting any younger, and pining for the “good old days”, when gold nuggets just jumped out of the ground. Tim Porter - Gold finder supreme! Anyway, having Tim along was a highlight of the trip. It did mean that camp was full up, however, and JP had informed me to be prepared to tent camp, just like I did in 2011. I had planned on going a bit more deluxe this time, with a stand-up tent. I wanted to bring my own, as, trust me, you do not want to be shopping in Meekatharra for stuff like that. Then came my desire to limit myself to 50 lbs, including detecting gear. I ended up sleeping for two weeks in a one person, four-pound backpacker tent, on a pad in a sleeping bag. Luckily, very luckily as it turns out, the weather favored me. It only rained a couple times, and briefly. If it had rained like it has been, starting the day I left, it would have been a different story. As it was, it was no big deal at all, and I was quite cozy and happy in my Tiny Tent. All the rest of my camp needs were provided by JP and Tim. Tent shower, rides when needed, and they cooked every single meal. Thanks to both of you! Steve's "Tiny Tent" How did it go, you ask? The location was one of the same places we detected eleven years ago, and the place was already well hunted back then. It was a bit more about convenience than being where the most gold might be. We stayed camped in one place the entire time and made short runs with JPs side by side to different patches in the area every day. Unlike eleven years ago, it was far more about being relaxed and having fun. So no “up before the crack of dawn, detecting until dark” stuff. In fact, it was more often quitting early, to go sit around camp and chat. Excluding other stuff, I ended up doing thirteen days of relaxed detecting. The long story short is I found gold every day I detected but the first. But it was very slow going for me on very well pounded ground, just a few nuggets a day. I enjoyed every bit of it though, as the Axiom handled the ground and hot rocks just fine and is a real pleasure to swing. I do just enjoy using new and different detectors, to see how they can do. Finding anything when I’m doing that is almost secondary. It’s all about the ground handling, and how any target responds, even the trash targets. The weather was perfect, the company great, I was finding gold every day. It’s impossible to ask for more than that. Photo by Jonathan Porter "Steve's Gully" - found a few nice bits here They key to finding weight is finding larger nuggets. Try as I might, I could not get over anything of real size. I ended up with 13.5 grams of raw finds, with just a couple weighing in over a gram. I hit this with Whink 1% HF on my return, and once the enclosing laterite was removed, my take shrunk to 12 grams, with only one nugget over a gram, at 1.15 gram. The nugget had weighed 1.68 grams before, so that tells you how much laterite it had on it. It was worth the cleaning though, gorgeous little nuggets now, rather than the dirty lumps some started out to be. When you get to be my age it becomes obvious that life is all about the memories we create, and I will have very fond memories of this trip. JP and Tim were perfect hosts, and great detecting partners. I did not appreciate quite until now just how lucky I was with the weather, which really was perfect for days of wandering in WA. Even the travel, though overly long, went as well as I could hope for. The icing on the cake is I will return in just a couple weeks, to see parts of Australia I have never seen before, and to have another shot at finding some Aussie gold nuggets. Stay tuned for part 2 of this adventure, coming sometime in early November. Again, thank you JP and Tim, and best of luck on your continuing gold adventure! Viewers can see Part 2 of my Australia Gold Adventure here. 12 grams of Aussie gold after cleaning, largest nugget upper left 1.15 grams
  25. Hey everyone- I sometimes post a ring recovery on here when it's really cool (at least that's what I think) and I had one of those today. I'm always amazed at the impact that metal detecting has had on others and myself. It may be a hobby but I think it's sometimes better known as a re-connection device. I got a call Sunday evening from Gerrie, a professional dog trainer in the greater Santa Barbara area. She had been training a dog at a private residence in Montecito which is a small town just south of Santa Barbara. She was getting ready to leave when she noticed that her deceased Father's fraternity ring was missing from her right hand which was the hand she was using to throw objects and train the German Shepherd. She trains protection dogs so the work can get quite physical as you can imagine. When Gerrie called me she was crying and for a few moments I wasn't sure who was on the other end of the call and I wasn't sure if auto warranty had expired or I'd won that long awaited 3 day trip to nowhere that I usually win. She was finally able to explain all this to me as you can tell she was just beside herself having lost the ring. She went on to explain that her dad had one ring his whole life, a fraternity ring he had received when he became President of his fraternity at Penn State university back in 1942. He was very proud of the ring and it actually doubled as his wedding ring. Gerrie's dad developed Alzheimers back in 2008 and from that time on Gerrie trained dogs full time and became her dad's full time caregiver which if you have had to deal with Alzheimer's you know it's all encompassing. In 2021 Gerrie's dad passed at 99 years old and Gerrie kept his ring as he wanted her to have it so he could always be with his beloved daughter. She had worn the ring every day since but on Sunday afternoon it went flying off somewhere in Montecito. I met her at the home this morning to do a search and to see if I could find the ring. Talk about pressure. I don't know who slept less last night she or I. When I got there she mentioned that a random Iphone pic came up on her phone of her dad and the ring, a picture she hadn't seen in years and today of all days it shows. She took it as a sign I was going to find the ring and I took it as "oh crap I better find this ring." I said a prayer for us and turned my sensitivity down on the D2, put it in Park(my favorite go to program) and began to grid the yard where she was primarily training. Unfortunately there were freaking targets everywhere and it became evident that this hillside property had had fill dirt brought in right where we were searching. There were targets everywhere and at one point I put my own wedding ring on the grass just to see if I could distinguish it from all the junk and on some swings over it it got masked. (Not sure about this XP!) I decided I'd turn back and try and find some ground without any targets just to get my brain tuned into the soil. I'm an auditory detector not a TID guy so I wanted to hear the ground. As it was the area to my right was quiet and to my left there had to a pipe or something long running parallel to me and I finally got a tone that was isolated from anything else. It was repeatable and had that familiar clip to it (for those D@ users) and I got down and began to poke around with my pinpointer and followed a tone right to the ring. The grass was super thick and acted like a canopy over the ring and it being gold you couldn't really see it with the naked eye. I pulled it out of the grass looked at her and said "God is good" and showed her the ring. As I was standing up I got the biggest bear hug I think I've ever received. If it was an NFL game they would have flagged her for roughing the detectorer. In college football she would have been suspended for targeting. As for me, it was the best feeling ever. I got to use my detector to re-connect Gerrie and her dad. I think it was probably a good minute before she let go as the two days of panic and frustration just had to work itself out. There were tears flowing and even one of the staff members of the house (this was a 21 million dollar estate so they have "staff") was crying. It was an amazing moment and one I just had to share. As have most of you, I have been finding peoples rings for a long time and it never gets old. I spoke with Gerrie for nearly an hour afterwards as she walked me through the life of her dad, the ring, dog training and of course I got to share some photos of my wife and my two kids as well as some recent recoveries. I now have a new friend in Santa Barbara and if I ever get big enough to require 4-legged protection I got the connection. Best Dave
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