A Quick Howdy-do And Thank You
A Summer of Epiphanies Or...
How Miss Paula feels about Oro Expeditions.
Now that Oro is off on Phase II of Expedition '13, I wanted to post a blog that I've already posted on the KDCL Media page. Everyone who's come in contact with Oro knows his passion for these Expeditions, but you've not heard much out of me so here we go...
Oro was channel surfing one day and happened upon a show with this big man in beat up cowboy hat panning for gold in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. Oro began to reminisce about panning at Philmont Boy Scout Ranch when he was 14...then asked if I remembered Bob, the guy we worked with in Texas taking us into the high desert near Alpine to collect sand out of the dry washes and taking it home to process it for gold. From there his interest and curiosity grew until we were taking vacation time to go prospecting in North Carolina.
I had a great time with lots of pretties found and enough phone signal to do our radio shows with two smartphones and computer for battery power. I like camping, but also like a few creature comforts when I do. LOL
As life sometimes goes, Oro was forced from behind the wheel of Lil' Pete and out of a thirty year career. That's when Oro Expeditions moved from an idea into reality.
I must admit when the ideas started moving from paper and discussions into the real world, I was overly cautious. I was raised by the generation of parents where you worked a job for forty or fifty years, and lived your golden years on your pension, but that's not the reality of my generation.
When Oro pulled out of the driveway on April 14, 2013, it was on a wing and a prayer. Thank goodness there were lots of bus trips this spring to keep the expedition going until it slowly began to support itself through the First Nugget Contest and the generous support of new and old friends, and Oro finding good places to mine for gold.
As we've gotten deeper into Expedition '13, a few more things have come into the light. What started out as a new career path for Oro is slowing morphing into something else. Yes, it's still about becoming self-sufficient through the retrieval of gold and gemstones, but it's also become about other things...the continued access to public lands, teaching people a way to be out in Nature while learning a skill the whole family can enjoy (even if it's just playing in creek), and that can actually add to your pool of resources as a 'rainy day' fund or those times when your retirement and Social Security whimper at the cost of living.
So Oro Expeditions is no longer just about Oro going out into the wilderness to bring home the gold--it's also about sharing...stepping into the battle to retain the few individual freedoms that's been left to us--sharing time with family and friends old and new in the breathtaking beauty that is the wild places of our country where we can breathe, and ground ourselves then carry that balanced and centered energy back into our everyday lives.
As Oro and I work to pull together funding for Phase II, we're once again depending on those that can see the dream, and someday say, "If Oro can do it...so can I." This time when he pulls out of the driveway to head South, instead of cautious, I am optimistic. It's not just Miss Paula supporting Oro in his dream, but also being able to see all the things that can happen when that dream comes to fruition. That's why I suggested crowdfunding to fund Phase II and beyond. I have seen the generosity of people when a dream catches fire, and hope they too can see our dream.
Blessings to Everyone and as Oro says on his Expedition videos..."More Later."
Oro Expedition '13 Crowdfunding Site
The Expedition has been in home port for some R and R and also to plan the second phase.
The original plan was to head west for the big rivers of northern California and southwestern Oregon, but after what this gold miner witnessed in east Tennessee and somewhere in Alabama, along with how late in the season things are getting to be, the choice is easy.
Phase 2 of Oro Expedition '13 will take place on familiar ground. I look forward to returning to the Coker Creek area and taking up where I left off with dredging.
There are a few places on my list that still need to be investigated deep in the National Forest along with preparation for the fall dredging season at Doc Rogers Field which starts the 1st of September.
I have a spot picked out where I retrieved some small chunky stuff with the 852 sluice. The plan is to hit 3 spots along the same line of bedrock where it meets the blue clay with the "Dragon-Dredge".
My learning curve on gold prospecting and mining has dwindled down to nothing. I'm not saying I know everything there is to know, but I do feel confident in my abilities and the knowledge I have received.
The amount of gold available in the area of east Tennessee, North and South Carolina, along with Georgia and Alabama is very exciting.
Being here at the KDCL studio I have been able to spend a lot of time on the Internet looking for new ideas for funding the Expedition.
Even though "crowdfunding" is fairly new concept it seems that there are a large number of people using it with success. Miss Paula has contributed to various projects in the past, but I didn't think about it as a way to fund the Expedition.
During my stay we took time to set up a campaign for Oro Expedition '13 at GoFund Me. One of the ways to inspire people to make a contribution is to offer "rewards" and I figured what better reward than to share some of my gold. I already gave away the First Nugget so giving away more just seems natural.
Miss Paula and I have been involved with "social media" since the mid 90's when the only outlet was a place called AOL and Windows was a new concept just catching on.
Today there is an explosion of sites that are social media related and Miss Paula is always expanding our reach.
I also wanted to take as few minutes to explain what I see for the future of Oro Expedition
Just before the beginning of all this most people I talked to about it said "there's no way you can make a living by prospecting and mining gold," and some are still saying that but I know different.
Even though the success of Phase 1 was small it was still a success due to the amount of gold recovered.
The future of Oro Expedition '13 is in the making with Phase 2. With the addition of a 3" dredge to the operation much more material can be moved which will result in more gold recovered.
Two locations are on the list for Phase 2 and the only thing left to figure out is the order in which I will visit them.
The first of September brings dredging season on Doc Rogers Field in Coker Creek, Tennessee, so it is a safe bet I will be there for that.
An invitation back to an undisclosed location in Alabama could be a great way to spend the month of August dredging along with a stop off in Tennessee so time will tell how it goes.
PLR's And Moving Day
Pausing Before The Rains
Oro Expedition '13 -- Day 13
Saturday, April 27, 2013 and Oro Expedition ’13 is in its thirteenth day. I sit here in gold camp pondering the first twelve days, and looking ahead to the future.
Sunday, the 14th of April, was spent making final preparations and packing the Nugget Buggy to the hilt for the first leg of the Expedition.
All of the planning and preparing was over and the official start time drew near. The plan called for leaving in the late afternoon for a reason that dates back to my trucking days. My favorite time of the day to drive was at night so I planned on doing the first leg of Expedition ’13 from Western Maryland to Tennessee in the middle of the night. Around 5:30pm on the evening of the 14th I said my goodbyes to my lovely wife, gave Boss Cat a good final back rub, and spent quite a few minutes loving on Hannah, Chief of Security.
The Nugget Buggy was fueled up at the local gas station, and I headed out of town for Scheer Mountain and Route 220 South.
The journey south was a familiar one and I soon found myself at the Virginia—Tennessee border on Interstate 81. From there the Nugget Buggy proceeded to Knoxville and on the east side of town I waved goodbye to the Interstate highway for what would be very long time. This part of the journey encompassed the first two days, and the destination for this phase of the Expedition was changed at the last minute from Coker Creek GPAA claim to Cleveland, Georgia.
The GPAA Coker Creek claim presented a few challenges, i.e. unmarked boundary lines, the small amount of stream in which to mine in proportion to the number of people mining, and no sign-in book. There was also no information about camping facilities or places to stay.
So over Blood Mountain the Nugget Buggy went.
To Gold ‘N Gem Grubbin’ where I pitched my tent.
Due to thunderstorms making the river too high to prospect at Gold 'N Gem Grubbin' in Cleveland, Tennessee, I returned to Coker Creek a few days later. I found a place for the Expedition to settle into a long-term gold camp. Even before meeting several other gold miners in the area, I was able to find respectable amounts of yellow in my sluice.
Getting acquainted with a wonderful group of folk around Bill’s Pit Stop of Coker Creek, and around Tellico Plains, Tennessee, I’m looking forward to a great time mining with my new friends.
This was all of the conversation with Oro I could transcribe. The cell phone signal in the deep depths of the Cherokee National Forest died out, but the last thing Oro said before the call ended was:
“Even though the weather is wet and stormy, as long as there’s no lightning we’ll be prospecting in rain suits.”
And So It Begins
On April 14, 2013, at 6:30pm edt, the first leg of Expedition '13 began as Oro and the Nugget Buggy rolled out of the driveway filled to the roof with camping and prospecting equipment. He still hadn't decided what his first stop would be, but after a midnight snack in southern Virginia, with our great friend from Over The Road, Tagalong, he decided to get to Georgia by way of Coker Creek, Tennessee.
Besides being in the heart of the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains, it is also the home of the Coker Creek, Tennessee Chapter of the GPAA (Gold Prospectors Association of America). While there, Oro will give us a report on the claim during the next edition of Oro Expeditions And Then Some..., and talk to the chapter officers about being on the show to update us on the work they've been doing with the Tennessee legislature in drafting new policies for suction mining.
Tagalong became the first member of the Friends of Oro Expeditions by purchasing chances to win in the First Nugget Contest. Good luck to all who enter.
Remember to join us on Tuesday evening at 8pm edt for Oro Expeditions And Them Some... as well as checking here for updates and maybe even some video as Expedition '13 moves around the country.
Oro Cas shares his thoughts and experiences as he travels the country on his Expeditions.