As my time at the Rooster Ridge GPAA claim in Coker Creek, Tennessee draws to an close, the Smokey Mountains gave me one heck of a going away party.
The severe thunderstorm that passed through Coker Creek Friday afternoon left a trail of injuries and destruction in its wake.
Tree limbs came down, canopies were thrown across the fields, leaving cuts and bruises behind. Tents and camps overturn and torn.
So we patched up the cuts, downed painkillers for the bumps and bruises, and tried to set camp back to rights as best would could. Though it could have been much worse, the storm took its toll on Expedition '13.
It appears that we'll be able to finish this leg of the Expedition, but before we head west, the Expedition will need a new tent.
Since the First Nugget Contest is winding down, though you can still participate until we get the nugget home, Miss Paula has established the Oro Expedition Tent Fund.
You can click the donate button anywhere on the website, or if you're a business that would be willing to do a barter exchange...one large three season cabin tent for the equivalent in advertising on KDCL Media, and recognition as a sponsor of Oro Expeditions--contact Miss Paula.
We leave behind many THANKS and BLESSINGS to the friends we have made in Coker Creek and Tellico Plains, and are already making plans for a return trip in the not too distant future.
SPECIAL THANK YOUs TO:
Ron at The Welcome Center
Bill & Marsha at Bill's Pit Stop of Coker Creek
Dixie at Caney Creek Village
Rose and the crew at Subway
Tyler at KramBonz
John & Nickie
Joyce & Vern
Chris & Jack
Michael & Melissa
James, Christina & The Girls
Jim & Trish
The Coker Creek Chapter of the GPAA for being our home away from home
Today is going to prove to be another hot one. The rain that has been on again off again seems to be over for the foreseeable future. Me and the Nugget Buggy are stuck in gold camp waiting on Mississippi. It was only a few days ago that him, Griss and Joyce took for a visit to the Weekenders’ claim in Georgia.
Today is a big day for Expedition ’13 as it is the day the Expedition goes ‘motorized’. If everything goes according to plan, I will be dredging on the Coker Creek GPAA claim before afternoon.
When Mississippi shows up, I’ll be trading him 30 Jacksons and a large Keene sluice box for a PoBoy 3 inch dredge. A big THANK YOU to K.B. for his belief in the Expedition and the foresight for success.
There’s been so much going on there hasn’t been time to sit and write it all down. Moving camp to the Rooster Ridge GPAA claim and getting settled in, I had to chance to explore a bit and chat with some of the bordering neighbors. A great cast of characters and hearts the size of the Smokey Mountains.
Then there’re the people who I’ve met as they stop and sit a spell at the campground. The Briggs Brothers from Mississippi…have met some great folk from that state since I’ve started this prospecting adventure, who were on vacation and tramped the woods with me for several days. Thunderstorms chased us out of the creek a couple days, but we had great fun.
The Memorial Day gathering of the Coker Creek Chapter of the GPAA was great fun. This was my first such gathering, and it was an experience. Lots of new friends made and so many new acquaintances I need a notebook to remember all the names, but I’m definitely looking forward to a refresher course on names during the Coker Creek Gold Festival, June 15, 2013.
Of all the great people we’ve met around the campfire these past couple weeks I want to take a minute to shine the spotlight on “Mississippi” from PoBoy Dredges. I got the chance to run one of these little dredges, and I love it. It fits in the back of the Nugget Buggy, and it’s portable and easy to assemble.
I want to take a moment before I wrap this up to say a HUGE THANK YOU!!! to the people and businesses of Coker Creek and Tellico Plains that have helped support Oro Expedition ’13 with their energetic exchanges of goods and services. Miss Paula & myself also thank everyone who has bought a chance in the FIRST NUGGET CONTEST.
Ron at The Welcome Center
Bill’s Pit Stop of Coker Creek - Say you heard about the on KDCL Media
KramBonz BBQ - Say you heard about the on KDCL Media
Rose at Subway
Dixie at Caney Creek Village
The “Motorcycle’ Campground
Ralph from Florida
Michael & Melissa
Captain Jim, President South Mississippi Chapter of the GPAA
All the great folks from around the campfire at Rooster Ridge
And Our Newest Supporter:
We’re still ironing out the bugs with the technology to get my videos back to the studio. Miss Paula may be making a personal pick-up if things fall in place for her to visit gold camp in time for the Coker Creek Gold Festival.
Mark your calendars for Tuesday nights at 8pm edt for Oro Expeditions And Then Some… for weekly updates from Expedition ‘13
So be sure to stay tuned!
It’s been ten days since our last entry, but a lot’s happened since then. The huge storm that hung out with us for a week nearly washed me away, and there were several mornings when I woke from dreams of our old waterbed to find my air mattress floating around the tent.
Some new friends, I’ve made in town, were kind enough to lend this prospector a dry place to sleep a couple nights so I could get warm and dry. The Nugget Buggy has definitely earned its keep, too. LOL Now all the rain swelled the creeks and rivers slowing down the Expedition, but the weather has been beautiful for the past week even if the frost has been on the grass a couple mornings, and I’m back in the water again.
My 14 day time limit in the Cherokee National Forest was up so I moved gold camp to the GPAA claim outside the town of Coker Creek, and settled in to meet my new neighbors.
A pair of brothers from Mississippi were spending their vacation on the claim so we spent a couple days running the woods with our sluices boxes collecting those shiny bits of gold metal. A little company in the creek makes the day sluicing pass by quick.
Along with those little yellow rocks, there’s also a few artifacts I’ve found here and there along with some beautiful clear quartz points and clusters, and a couple other brothers that protect my camp from the wild hogs and bears. Man’s best friend and first alarm system.
Miss Paula will soon be in possession of the videos from the first month of Expedition ’13 so be sure to keep checking Facebook and YouTube for her announcement.
Until next time, may the bottom of your pan always be yellow.
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.”
Oro Cas shares his thoughts and experiences as he travels the country on his Expeditions.