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    Hello! Welcome to another page of my Corner.

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    Kids Corner:
    1 | 2

    Ron, your friendly Prospector

    "If you think being up the creek without a paddle is tough, Think Positive, at least you got a boat."


    Check out our
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    Equipment, Supplies
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    Amateur, Novice and Expert.

    Oregon Sunstones at the Spectrum Mine

    We had a lot of fun at the Opal Mines and met some great people. We didn't find what we had hoped for at the Royal Peacock Mine but were satisfied with our findings at the Bonanza. It was now time to move on to another location in search of a different type of gem. It was the Oregon State Gem, "Sunstone". We also had seen this on the Travel Channel's show, The Best Places to find Cash and Treasures with host Becky Worely. We were only about 100 miles from the Spectrum Mine just over the Oregon border so it would be a nice easy trip.

    We did our thing, suffering the severe roughness as our teeth chattered from the wash board type ripples in the road. Finally we made it out to the main highway,(route 140). We decided , which was the norm, to stop and check the equipment, tie downs, tow bars, safety chains and the like.As I was checking my tow bar when I noticed the bracket where it attaches to the Jeep bumper had a small crack in it. In the meantime Bob found that the rough road had caused his safety bars to come loose and fall off, they were gone!! In just a few minutes I had my Jeep unhooked and we were off to look for them along the road. We had only gone about 2 miles when someone came up behind us flashing his lights. We pulled over. He had found the bars and was looking for the owners at the public campground when he saw us go by. We got back to our rigs and once again secured everything and were on our way. I had planned to look for a welding shop along the way. No such luck, this was rural area with mostly farms.

    We made a brief stop at Adel, OR, to strecth and let the dog out. Oh, I forgot to mention, the dog was an Australian Sheep dog and it belonged to Bob and Barbara. They were our rock hound friends that we had been traveling with from back home in Southeast Arizona. While we were stopped I checked the cracked hitch bracket on the Jeep and it didn't appear to be any worse. We only had about another 40 miles to go to get to Plush, OR, the last towm before getting to the Sunstone Mine.
    We got to Plush and I decided to gas up the RV. We would be dry camping on BLM land near the mine with no utilities and I wanted to make sure I had enough gas to run the generator. While the store owner was pumping my gas I mentioned the cracked hitch and asked him if he knew anyone in town that could weld it. He said he did but that he worked a regular job and probably couldn't do it till Saturday, and it was only Thursday as we spoke. I told him to go ahead and set it up and I would be back on Saturday to see him. With that taken care of I felt a great sense of relief and we headed to the mine.

    We went North out of town for about 1 mile to the mine turn off which soon turned into rough gravel road. This road was much worse than the one back at the Opal Mines and we had 17 miles of it ahead of us.
    After 35 to 40 minutes of bone jarring hang on to your seat driving, not to mention the ever preasent dust, we arrived at the Spetrum Sunstone Mine. It was late afternoon and we wanted to sign up for a reserved belt run in the morning. I will explain what that is later.

    Another mine in that same area

    As I was waiting in line behind our friends, one of the mine personel came up to my window and said my hitch was broken completely off one side of the bumper. I got out and looked, sure enough that strecth of bad road had taken it's toll. One side of the hitch was hanging down and almost dragging on the ground. It's amazing how the safety cable held and prevented me from completely losing the Jeep.

    We Are Here
    In Line at the Office

    Once we reserved our mine belt run for the next day I talked to the mine manager about my hitch problem. He said he knew someone in the area that might be able to fix it for. That would be great as I wouldn't have to travel back over that rough road to do it. We went over to the BLM camp ground and got set up. I unhooked the jeep and went back to see Mike, the mine manager. Once Mike was finished with running the mine , we went looking for the person he said could help me with my problem. As it turns out, he wasn't home. We left a message with his wife to have him call Mike if he came back before dark. Night time came and no call. We then decided that we would have to go into Plush on Saturday morning as previously planned.
    It was now time to forget the troubles of the day and focus on fixing dinner and relaxing around the campground with our friends anticipating the possibilities of tomorrow's belt run at the mine.
    There three options at the mine to look for Sunstones. You can look through the dumps, this is material that others have discarded after they had looked through it. There is no charge for this and you keep all you may find. Another method is to pay $100 for the day and dig in virgin ground. They provide a table screen and you shovel material into a bucket and dump it onto the fine screen and sift away the dirt. Any Sunstones will remain on the screen. You also get to keep all that you find.

    Depending on the temperature this can be very hot exausting work. The third option, which we choose is to pay $200 for a mine belt run lasting one hour. The mine personel bring raw material from the mine with a bucket loader and dump it into a hopper. At the bottom of the hopper is the end of the conveyor belt. As the belt is running material is released on it with water. The water enables you to see the Sunstones better. You can have several people help you look as we did.

    People Screening
    The Hopper and Belt
    Our friends Bob and Barbara had the first run and we helped them look and pick out the gems on the belt. When their run was over, they stayed and helped us with ours. The mine personnel also helped all of us look during the runs. They really want you to get the most that you can.

    Everybody Helps
    Looking over the Booty
    Picking Out The Good Ones
    Not Bad for One Hour

    Both us and our friends did very good on the belt run and look forward to doing it again someday. We spent the rest of the day sorting and high grading our booty.

    A Break Between Runs
    Bob and Barbar's Nice Stone

    Waitng Our Turn
    Looking Pretty Good

    Still Looking Good
    Got Some Good Color

    The next day we got into the jeep and headed back into the town of Plush, hoping to meet with the guy who could weld our hitch. We waited around the general store where we were to meet but he didn't show up.

    In the meantime we drove around the Plush area to view some of the lakes and mountains. Pictured below is some of what we saw.

    Just Outside of Town
    End of June, Snow on The Mnts

    Plenty of History
    Many Wild Life Opportunities

    Rough Waters
    Fishing ?
    The store owner talked to a man who owned a trucking company and also his own repair shop. He agreed to bring us over to his shop to fix the hitch. This was on Saturday and I could just imagine that this could get very costly, but we had to have it done.

    I watched as this craftsman cut a piece of steel to match what had broken. He then drilled the hole for the clevis pin that secured the bar to the bumper. Now comes the last part, welding that piece to the bumper. After a total time of about 30 minutes it was all done. I now had to ask the big question, how much? I tensed up and held my breath as he slowly rubbed his chin, "how about $10.00", he said. I couldn't believe it. "Absolutely not" I exclaimed, "I'll give you $20.00, it's worth that and more".

    With the repair done and great feeling of relief and gratitude we headed back to the camp ground. When we got there, we found out that Bob and Barbera had been out in the desert and had been finding Sunstones just lying on top of the ground. They weren't same high quality that is found at the mine but they were ok. We spent the rest of the day in the desert looking for some ourselves.

    Our trip , this part of it, is now over. We had fun, had some minor problems, but all in all it was great. We got what we came for and met some wonderful people and got to see some beautiful parts of the Northwest U.S. Tomorrow our friends and us will be seperating to head back home on different routes. We do have plans to do some rock hounding in CA, other parts of NV and across Utah. More about that in my next story. Hope to have that up in the near future. So long for now.

    I update frequently with new articles. Information contained in these is from reliable sources and personal experiences with a little humor thrown into the mix from time to time. So come back and visit often!

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    Equipment, Supplies And Information for the Amateur, Novice and Expert.

    RockRoost Rockhounding Trips:
    Agate 2006
    Baker Lode Mine, New Mexico
    Deming, New Mexico
    Oregon Sunstones
    The Big Luna
    Total Wreck Mine
    Virgin Valley, NV Opals

    Washington Camp

    Kids Corner:
    Kids Day at Rockroost Page 1
    Kids Day at Rockroost Page 2

    Prospector Ron's Articles:
    What Breed of Dog is a Rockhound

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