Adventures On The Road.

Category: Gold (Page 1 of 4)

Should I be able to see the floor?

Nearly two months after our doomed journey, our mechanic has just called to say that he now has our new engine and will start fitting it tomorrow. It’s a bit of a race against time because we have booked to take two of the grandchildren to Pirate Camp, so we will just have to wait and see. I need to be satisfied that all is well with the car before embarking on a trip like that. At least we have some progress.

We are trying very hard not to think about the bill!

Two Days

We did manage to get out to the lease for a couple of days in the trusty Subaru. This was not without its drama but probably best not mentioned on here.

I didn’t find any gold, but Debbie did. She also picked up a nice little specie. Should we decide to cash in, it would probably cover the cost of two tanks of fuel but that’s not why we do it and its not for sale.

No Gold this time

We set off for the Goldfields once again, on Friday afternoon to get a head start, as we were towing, I knew the journey would take a little longer than usual. We found a lovely little free camp for our first night at the site of the old, abandoned township of Doodlakine about 250klms from home.

After a bacon sandwich for breakfast and a short stroll to visit the old well, we were on the road again about 8-00 am, after about an hour it went a little south. Plumes of grey smoke and a complete loss of power suggests a broken turbo, but what we don’t know yet is the extent of any engine damage. What we do know is that it cost us $2200-00 to get the car and caravan back to Perth. The car is at a local mechanic, and we are awaiting the call with a diagnosis. Either way, it will not be cheap!

Doodlakine free camp.
About 45 klm’s east of Merredin.
Heading back to Perth.

Thank’s Santa

It’s been six months since we last managed to get out to the goldfields and it is now summer, so it is out of season. We have got another trip booked with the Pirates in May, but the main reason we have not got out there, was the eternal wait for Mobi. The latest we have been told is late January or early Feb. It’s too hot to go north but we need to get a couple of short trips down south so that we know what we are doing, and that everything works.

Santa has been very kind again to me this year, and I am now the proud owner of my very own SDC 2300. No excuses now, if there is gold stuff on the ground, I should be able to find it. So roll on Autumn so that we can get out there again.

The SDC 2300

Finally managed to get out bush again….

After what seemed like forever, we were back out in the goldfields. As last year, we were guests of the Pirates and joined their convoy at Leonora to spend a week on a mining lease near the Murrin Murrin mine site. Murrin Murrin is a huge nickel and cobalt mine located between Leonora and Laverton. There is also a deserted townsite dating back to the gold rush days, one of many in the area.

Meet up at Leonora.
That is a very deep hole!

Once again were a little late getting over to the campfire after setting up camp as the caravaners beat us again to evening drinks. We have vowed that next time when we have our Mobi we will be the first to the fire.

The first day was spend detecting close to the camp, as usual, we were good at finding shotgun pellets and rusty nails but struggled to find any gold targets. This year Greg lent me a SDC2300 which is a proper gold detector, not a relic or treasure machine like our Equinox which had proved to be unsuitable on the highly mineralised ground in this part of WA. The SDC specialises in finding small gold near the surface while Debbie’s GPX is good at finding larger deeper targets.

The following day we were led out to try and find a area that Krissy had identified as a potential good spot just a couple klms. away. It is just as well we had retired the Subaru for these trips because this was some serious 4×4 off road driving. It’s funny, if ever I reverse off of our drive at home, a little too fast, Debbie makes such fuss, suggesting that she may have whiplash due to my terrible driving, yet when someone tells her that there is “gold in them there hills” we can bump through gorges and river beds, over rocks and crevices without a murmur, in fact, she actively encourages it, actually it was great fun. When we finally came to a stop, we find ourselves by some hills and some promising looking ground.

Bouncy bouncy.

Now that we both had detectors, we had to rethink how we operated. Even though we were part of a group, safety is still vitally important as getting lost in the bush is a real possibility and not something to be recommended. When we had just the one viable detector, we worked together, mostly it was Debbie operating the machine while I did the digging (she calls me her “pick bitch”) and operated the drone or the GoPro. As we were both together having the one satellite navigation unit was ok. Unfortunately, it is not easy to use two detectors in close proximity without them interfering with each other. There are ways to de-tune them, but it is not always convenient. So, one of us could wander off into the bush quite safely while the other needed to stay in sight of the car. This was not a major problem because I had learned that you were just as likely to find gold next to where you had parked as you were over the hill or behind that distant group of trees.

On this occasion, now that I am confident that Debbie can use the sat nav, she was sent off to wander while I detected within sight of the car. After about 20 minutes, having already unearthed a piece of rust, I had another shallow target. Fully expecting it to be another lead shot or sardine tin, I got back down on my knees and started sifting through the red dust. Having got down to the last thimble full of soil I was left with a tiny grain of something hard. It was about the size of a shotgun pellet but was not the same shape or colour. It made the detector sing so it was metal but it was also yellow. It was so small that I had to put my glasses on to see it, which was no easy task due to the sun hat, fly net and headphones that I was wearing. Once I got a closer look I could confirm that it was gold, it might have been the smallest nugget in the world but it was my first ever find. You are supposed to announce any finds over the radio with a call of “nuggy, nuggy, nuggy” but I was so excited I forgot, by the time I remembered, I thought that it was so tiny it probably wouldn’t count.

Not quite the “smallest nugget in the world”.

Now, what to do with the nugget? Debbie had the finds pot, and she was…. who knows, somewhere over yonder hill. It too small to put in my pocket and too precious (to me) to risk losing. So, I had to pinch it between my finger and thumb and find my way back to the car. Once I got back, Liz, who had been watching me came over and gave me a little pill pot to put it in. By this time, as I had been holding it so tight it had imbedded itself into my skin and I had to scrape it off to get it into the pot. I was a little embarrassed about making such a fuss over such a tiny piece of gold, but Liz was so enthusiastic about my first find that I felt just a little taller just for a few seconds.

So back up the hill, to where I had found the tiny piece of gold to see if there was anymore. Just a few feet away, another faint signal and after a little bit of digging and scraping I discovered that the first find wasn’t in fact, the smallest piece of gold in the world, I had just discovered a piece half the size. By the end of the day, I had found five tiny nugget’s, together they would weigh less than a gram but it didn’t matter, I had had great fun. When Debbie emerged from the bush, she had also had success with a single nugget that would have been twice the size of all mine added together.

Another nice little sub-grammer to add to the pot.

The next day, we headed to another spot where Debbie found another couple of nuggets, while I had to be content with nails and bullets cases. At smoko we had planned to go together to the spot that Debbie had made her finds but Greg had learned of some poachers on the lease, so we moved to another spot. Debbie was disappointed to miss out on her “patch” but I found a another small piece close to the car again. The poachers got wind that we were around and packed up camp and disappeared pretty quickly.

We were on the move again after lunch and again Debbie ventured off into the bush while I mooched around by the cars again. Neither of us had any further success but as Liz announced on the radio it was time to call it a day, one of our party, who was walking back over the ground I had just been been detecting on stumbled across a 10 gram sun-baker (a sun-baker is a nugget sitting on the surface) worth around $1000-00. It was a lovely piece and the largest found by our group all week.

Unfortunately, we then had to make an unscheduled trip to Leonora and on the way had decided that we really needed to buy another eTrex GPS unit, so that both of us could safely wander about in the bush. This was going to have to be a purchase for another time. Later that evening, once we had returned to camp, Liz and Greg had organised a quiz around the campfire. Debbie has a history of doing well at Greg’s quizzes and again won the star prize, a Garmin eTrex GPS unit. We had missed out on a days detecting due to our visit to Leonora but still ended the day with a win.

The remaining days yielded only a couple of small nuggets between us, but we enjoyed a trip to the old township bottle bank where Debbie found an interesting bottle stopper. We also made a visit to an historical graveyard which gave an insight into the hard times some of the old timers had and a quick detect with the Equinox around the ruins of the old pub. I think Greg just wanted to show me that the machine was not completely useless.

Debbie’s first swing in 2019.
Now looking much more the part.

Our original plan was that once this tour was over, that we would head off on our own to some pending ground, but Greg and Liz kindly offered for us stay at their new camp on their new lease, which was offer too good to refuse.

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