I have surely been remiss in updating the Expedition Blog so...I'll try and remember everything since the last time I posted.
Right after Miss Paula's last post in August, the Expedition loaded the Nugget Buggy and lit out for the great state of Alabama for a visit to Camp Firefly. It gave me a chance to catch up with the crew there, and do a little prospecting until it was time to return to Tennessee for the opening of dredging season at Doc Rogers. After adding some Alabama gold and garnets to our collection of PLR's, the Buggy was re-packed and meandered north to Coker Creek.
Once again camped in the Tennessee Mountains with no signal for any type of electronic device and too busy dredging to write, I was resigned to spending the winter in the southeast. Thoughts of Oregon and California were filed under Oro Expedition '14 as I settled into collecting my grubstake for the new year.
Miss Paula continued working with the Oro Expeditions' crowd funding site at GoFundMe, as well seeking out sponsors for Oro Expeditions And Then Some... on KDCL Media.
Then Providence stepped in, and "the rest", as they say, "is history."
While in Coker Creek, I made the acquaintance of Mike Payne of PoBoy Dredge. We talked...and talked...and talked some more, and developed a marvelous friendship. Mike felt that it was time to take PoBoy Dredge to the next level. He purchased an ad in the September/October edition of Gold Prospectors Magazine from GPAA, and became a contributor and sponsor of Oro Expeditions--allowing us to step up to the next level. Suddenly Oregon didn't seem so far away.
Once again I packed the Nugget Buggy and headed north to Interstate 70 where I proceeded west. Stopping for gas, food, and catnaps. I was soon in Denver, Colorado, where I stopped for some real sleep and to meet in person for the first time since we met three years ago, our beautiful heart sister, Dia Nunez of The H20 Network. I also did a little prospecting at the GPAA claim outside Idaho Springs, Colorado, just to say I had some Colorado gold in the sniffer bottle, then it was WESTWARD HO! once again.
There was a beautiful sunrise over Flaming Gorge in Utah before we struck out across Wyoming to meet up with Interstate 80 through Salt Lake City, Utah and Nevada before catching the two lane into Klamath Falls and on into Grant's Pass, Oregon.
In Grant's Pass, the first stop was at the Armadillo Mining Shop. We met a wonderful lady named Samantha, who has been very helpful in giving us the 411 on the contacts we'd carried with us since Coker Creek. THANKS JOHN & NICKIE! The Expedition met some fellow miners on the Illinois River, who have been generous in sharing their knowledge.
So here we are ready to settle in until it's too cold to play in the river. I had to wait out another rain storm, but we're doing a little hard rock mining, found some mercury gold, and generally learning the ropes for gold mining in the great northwest.
Once it gets too cold in Oregon...another friend moved to northern California last year sooooo....we'll see what happens next.
Oh...Miss Paula's been busy too.
Check out some of mine and her pictures.
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.
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!
Oro Cas shares his thoughts and experiences as he travels the country on his Expeditions.