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  1. Chapter 4 He had that last mile hike down to a science. In fact he sort of liked to do a fast walk, it was great exercise. That cart would slow him down a bit. He usually used his big back pack to lug stuff up to the cabin when he was going for a long weekend, but this was different. He wasn’t going just for a visit; this was where he'd be hangin' his buckskin gold pouch from now on. He recalled a couple of years back when it was one of those summers in the high desert that just made it unbearable to go metal detect the local haunts. He didn’t know why they called it the high desert, it was only about 2100 feet above sea level. But that particular summer they were experiencing days when it was 109 degrees in the shade! Sam took to the air conditioned comfort of the public library to start looking for an area with a little higher elevation and a little lower temperatures. He had studied some old maps, and did quite a bit of reading when he happened across an area that looked just about right. It was about a five to five and a half hour drive away, but he would soon learn that when it was 109 in the high desert, it could be anywhere from 75 to 89 degrees up there at 7200 feet in the Techatticup mountains, where the little sleepy town of Good Hope was nestled among the tall timbers. That's how he came to learn about Good Hope. He thought about the first trip he had ever made to that area. After about four and a half hours of driving, things sure started to look different. Gone were the cactus, and the desert flat lands and tumble weeds. They had been replaced by green carpets of vegetation and beautiful mountain flowers growing alongside the highway and so many mountains that you couldn’t tell where one started and the other stopped. The glorious smell of pine and fresh air was a welcome aroma. It had been a long time since he had taken a breath of air that didn’t smell of automobile exhaust. He looked at the road laid out in front of him. It looked like a long sleepy snake just basking in the glow of a sun drenched day. He didn’t ever recall the sky being such a stunning shade of blue. Off in the distance, with the mountains as a backdrop, he could see majestic pine trees as they stretched skyward, some of them just barely tickling the bottom of fluffy cotton like clouds that laid lazily around the mountains. He recalled that the mountains were so high they were actually above the clouds. Who was the reclusive artist that had painted this magnificent landscape, because surely it was a painting, it couldn’t be real. The difference in the temperature between his home in the booming suburb of Desert Rose and the mountains soon became apparent when he realized that it was too cold with the air conditioner on in his car. He turned it off and opened all the windows and like a crazy high school kid he put the pedal to the metal and headed for Good Hope, while he sang at the top of his voice, John Denver’s song, Rocky Mountain High. Well at least he sang what he knew of it, the part about "Rocky Mountain High, Colorado…" the rest of the tune was filled in with enthusiastic la, la, la’s. There was only one song that Sam knew all the words to by heart; "Through the Years" by Kenny Rogers; that was "their" song. As he slowly passed through the little town of Good Hope he wondered what it would be like to live in such a beautiful secluded place. They had to be at least seventy miles from anything that even resembled a big city. It seemed like they had what they needed to get by. He noticed an old two story building that said General Store. In the window was also a sign that said Post Office. There was a little café called Mabel’s, and a gas station that looked more like a house with one antique pump sitting in the driveway. But, there was a sign that said "GAS - Open for Business." And there was even a little church. The one thing he didn’t notice was a police station. Why heck, people there probably didn’t even have locks on their doors. A little outside the town of Good Hope he pulled off the road and consulted his map. By golly he may not have found much gold, not yet anyway, but he had plenty of maps. Why the back of his pickup truck looked like he was a traveling salesman for Rand McNally. There it was, the place he had highlighted. There was a string of five locations on the map indicating mines and he had figured out the approximate GPS locations. He entered the coordinates into his GPS and was pleased to see that he was only a couple of miles away. He found the mines he was looking for that first trip, but not much else. There was a lot of trash, and old worthless artifacts, but his metal detector never did sound off on anything that ended up even being remotely related to gold. Sam didn't mind, it was sort of an adventure just exploring new places. He fell in love with that place. It was quiet, and peaceful, and untarnished by modern day man. He took a lot of pictures on that first trip. Maybe if he had swung more and snapped less he would have found some yellow metal. Over the next three months he had gone back up there again on two occasions. He’d always try to make at least a three day trip out of it. He’d just sleep in the back of his pickup truck, and cook on his little two burner stove. He wasn’t finding any gold, but he was sure enjoying the wildlife and the scenery. There was just something that kept tugging at him to go back again. In early September when he told Mary he was thinking about heading out again, she asked in passing, "How is it you go on these three day gold hunting expeditions but I never see any gold? If it wasn’t for the fact that you come home with so many dirty clothes and you smell like you been wrestling goats I’d think you had a woman on the side. But then I always tell myself who the heck would want an old fart like you anyway, besides me?" And she’d laugh that laugh of hers, the one that was music to Sam’s ears. All the heavenly choirs of Angels and Saints singing couldn’t make Sam’s heart skip a beat like Mary’s laughter. Sam thought perhaps this time he should be a little more persistent in his quest and try to bring home something sort of nuggety, just to show Mary that he wasn't all smoke and mirrors. After all, he didn’t want her to think he was leaving town just to get away from her, because nothing could have been further from the truth. So on this trip he decided that when he got into Good Hope he’d stop at the General Store and have a chat with the keeper and maybe some of the locals. That was the day he met Billy Beaumont and his wife Ellen and their nine year old daughter, Peggy. Billy was a descendent from one of the original miners that worked that area back in 1863. His family had always ran the general store in Good Hope, and Billy inherited the business when his daddy had passed away some eight years earlier. It was a nice little store. There was a little bit of everything. Canned goods, soda, over the counter medications, and a little section of the store dedicated to hardware. When Sam first entered the store Billy met him with a "Howdy Stranger." Sam gave him a big smile, and returned a greeting, "Hi, there! My name is Sam, Sam Lewis, I live about 5 hours away in Desert Rose, outside of Nelson. I been coming up here for the past few months and camping out. It sure is glorious up here." Sam was eager to put Billy’s mind at ease as he figured they probably didn’t get many strangers up in those parts and they might be a bit suspicious of a man all by himself. "Yeah, we like it. It ain’t got all the modern conveniences like you probably do in Desert Rose, but we ain’t got all the modern problems up here either." Sam continued, "Well heck, it’s good to know you have such a well supplied little store here because I’ll just start buying my canned goods here when I come up to these parts instead of haulin' them from Desert Rose." "Well we’re always happy to welcome a new customer, by the way excuse my manners, my name is Billy Beaumont, and that pretty lady over there stocking shelves is my wife Ellen. Ellen, say hi to Sam, he’s from Desert Rose, he comes up here camping." "Nice to meet you Sam." said Ellen, without losing her rhythm of can from box to shelf. Sam had accomplished what he had hoped for, in a few short minutes he had been transformed from a stranger to a new customer. Sam picked up a few items, a tank of propane, a liter of Pepsi; things he could use but didn’t necessarily need right then. However, he wanted to show good faith. As he approached the counter Billy said, "Will that be all for you Mr. Lewis." "Not quite." said Sam. "What else do you need?" "Well I need for you to call me Sam! Mr. Lewis makes me feel old, and as you can see I’m old enough already." "You got it Sam!" Just then something caught Sam’s eye inside the glass counter case. "Wow, what’s that little baby down there?" "Sam, that is a Diatonics Meisterklasse Harmonica with all metal reeds. Do you play?" "No, I’ve always wanted to learn. My dad used to play a harmonica like you wouldn’t believe." "Well Sam there’s no time like the present. I’ll tell you what, this Harmonica retails for $79.95 but I can let you have it for $65 out the door, can you swing that?" "Sounds like a good deal to me! Wrap it up. Any free lessons come with that?" "Sam if you need any help you let me know, but most of the best harmonica players I know picked it up all on their own, it’s easy, it just takes practice. By the way, if there is ever anything you need that we don’t have we can usually get it for you by the next day. We just have to call our supplier down in Beaverville. Being a small store we can’t stock everything. But we’ve ordered just about everything over the years from wheel barrows, to pregnancy test kits." "BILLY BEAUMONT! What did you say?" asked his wife in a demanding tone? "Oh nothing important dear I was just telling Sam that our neighbor’s cat was PREGNANT and had KITTENS." Billy winked at Sam, "My wife’s a bit of a prude. That’s what happens when you marry the preacher’s daughter." "Oh you got one of them prudes too? Maybe your wife knows my wife, Mary." They both laughed. "Say Billy, I don’t suppose you could help me with some information." "Well I will if I can." "Well I got a sort of crazy hobby, and I’m always sort of reluctant to talk about it because some folks think it’s sort of neat and other people just think I’m plain nuts. But a few years back I started metal detecting looking for gold. I do some panning and sluicing, I’m not going to get rich off of it, but it’s a fun hobby and it keeps an old retired coot like me out of trouble and out of the cemetery. I’ve been looking around these parts for the past couple of months but I’m sort of reluctant to wander or explore too far because I don’t want to trespass on anyone’s property and I don’t want folks getting mad at me. I just sorta’ don’t want to be in anyone’s way or be any trouble. You folks seem to have a quiet little place up here and I don’t want to do anything to disrupt it." "Well Sam you must have done your homework because way way back this was one heck of an area for gold. I’m a descendant of one of the original prospectors. Somewhere upstairs where we live I’ve got a family tree. My daddy left me an old chest with all kinds of hand drawn maps and stuff. We usually don’t like to talk about this stuff because we don’t want to be invaded by a thousand city folk up here tearing up the country side looking for the Mother Lode." "Billy I know exactly what you mean and one of the reasons I like it up here is because it’s so nice and quiet. I don’t want that either and believe me, I haven’t told anyone about this place except my wife and immediate family, and I’m not going to tell anyone either." "Well Sam, based on those assurances, maybe I can give you some help, but only under one condition?" "What’s that?" Sam thought to himself, "Well how much is this going to cost me?" "If you do find any gold can you let me buy some to put in my case to sell. I mean it don’t look good for this to be an old mining town and we don’t even have a few speck of gold to sell to the few tourists we get through here. Every month during vacation season we get a tour bus that comes through, usually filled with a lot of Asian tourists. I love tourists, they will buy anything that even remotely looks like a souvenir. Asian folks are all so friendly and energetic, they always have a smile and are interested by anything that has to do with American culture. A year ago I had one fella that offered me $250 for a pair of deer antlers that was hanging up on the wall from a buck I had shot." "Whadya’ do?" Sam inquired. "Hey you don’t see no deer antlers on the wall do ya’?" "No I sure don’t!" "Sam they invade this place like bees taking to a new hive. Click, click, click, camera flashes going off all over the place, I swear I’m going to get retina damage. What is so darn interesting in this place that they have to take pictures of? Why I bet Ellen and me have had our pictures taken 10,000 times. They make you feel like a movie star or something. They want to stand with you and put their arm around your shoulder while their wife takes a picture, then they trade places. Click, click, click, dangdest thing I ever did see. But hey, they spend money! And they’re nice and very enthusiastic. They make me laugh though, I love the way they talk, their English is pretty good but they have such a funny accent, "Oh you hava' vely nice store, I take picture now OK? OK! Click click, click. Damn, it just cracks me up!" "BILLY BEAUMONT! You’re not cussing again are you?" "No dear, I was just asking Sam if he’d ever seen Ten Mile Creek Dam." "Sam, I’m sorry. Back to this gold hunting of yours." "Well first Billy, let me tell ya’ if you steer me in the right direction, I’ll be happy to let you buy a few pieces. I have to take some home to my wife though, just so she knows I’m making this silly hobby of mine pay off!" "Hey it sounds like a deal to me. So first tell me where you have been going?" "Well you know about 2 miles North of here up in the mountains to the East there are those five old mines." "Yeah, sure do, it’s the Lucky Boy, Golden Lady, Timberland, Jubilee, and the Mulberry. We used to play in them all the time when he were kids." "Well that’s where I've been goin'." "Well Sam I’m going to have to get into that old trunk of dad’s and pull out some of those old maps to probably be of any real help, but I can tell you this much. When I was about twelve Dad and I would always go about four miles outside of town. On the West side of the road, off in the timber about a mile or so there are all kinds of little streams and creeks. That’s where we used to always go and pan for gold. We never found anything very big, a few pickers now and then, but mostly it was just something for dad and me to do when we weren’t hunting. So, I don’t know if that gives you any kind of help or not, but I just know that Dad used to say you could find free gold on the West side of the road. When I was little I never quite understood what he meant. I thought he meant if you found gold on the East side of the road you had to pay somebody for it, but on the West side it was free. As I got older my Dad explained to me that free gold was gold that had fallen out of some vein of gold that had been in rocks that were millions of years old. It was gold that you didn't have to work in a mine to get, so he said he reckoned that's why they called it free gold. Of course I'm probably telling you stuff you already know, but I sure had good times when Dad and I went prospecting. Listen you don’t have a CB radio in your vehicle do ya'?" "Sure do." "Well Sam check back with me on Channel 14 tomorrow, we always monitor Channel 14 here, and I’ll look through the trunk tonight and see if I find anything that looks like it might help you." "Hey Billy, already you’ve helped a lot, I don’t want to have to pay for any gold I find, so I better get my butt, whoops did your wife hear me? I’d better get my hindquarters over on the "West" side of the road where all the FREE gold is!" They both chuckled. "Good plan Sam, hey listen I enjoyed meeting you and talking, don’t be a stranger." "Don’t worry about that Billy, I think this will be the beginning of a little partnership. You tell me where to go, I’ll go there find some gold, and you buy it, and sell it and make a profit. Sounds like a win win situation to me!" "Take care Sam!" "You too Billy. Nice meeting you Ellen!" Sam stuck his new harmonica in his pocket and put the cola and propane on the floor of his truck. He thought to himself, "That was a mighty productive stop you made there Mr. Lewis!" Chapter 5 of 10 to Follow
  2. Chapter 3 Sam spent a fitful night, not sleeping much. The alarm went off at precisely 7:30 am, just as he had set it. Why did that old thing always have to be so reliable. No matter, Sam was anxious to get on with it. He dressed quickly, and threw the alarm clock and a few odds and ends in an old duffel bag, topping it off by jamming his pillow in there. He wasn’t taking much, but he wasn’t going anywhere without his pillow. Mountain man or not, he was going to be a mountain man with a pillow. One last check of the refrigerator to clean out what little he hadn’t already thrown away, take the garbage cans to the curb. The phone service would be cut off in a few days and he had already called and canceled the newspaper; something he should have done years ago, there wasn’t anything worth reading in that left wing rag sheet anyway. That was it. That was all there was to do as far as the old homestead went. His life there was over. With Mary there, it was a home, now it was just a house, no different from the hundreds of unremarkable houses he passed everyday when he was running various errands. He pulled out of the garage and hit the button on the automatic garage door remote. The garage door closed as swiftly as the darkness that fell on the happiness that was once his life. A check of the gas gauge showed a full tank, just the way he had left it when he filled it the day before. But you can never be too careful, not when you’re a mountain gold prospectin’ man. He backed into the street and shifted into drive, his foot still on the brake. He hesitated. Did he dare take one more look at the house that was once a home, or did he simply drive away without a parting glance? If he did look one last time, maybe Mary would be there on the porch waving to him. Maybe then he’d wake up from this nightmare that was now his life. But he knew it wasn’t a dream. The memories he had were not in that house, they would forever be inside him, occupying the space that was left when his heart was ripped from his chest. Sam shifted the car into drive and pressed the accelerator. He still wondered if he was running away from something or running to something. The answer was simple really, it was neither; there was nothing left in his life to run from or to. He had a few stops to make before making the 297 mile trip to his claim. First stop was the farm & hardware supply store. He could get a small generator there, some extra gas cans, a supply of propane tanks for his little two burner camp stove; I mean even a mountain man needs a cup of hot coffee in the morning.. He also found something he didn’t even think of, a collapsible cart with wheels. That would make lugging his stuff that last mile he had to hike to the cabin a lot easier. Sam was in and out of his first stop in record time. "Let’s see, $523.33 I spent from my $2000, that leaves me about $1,500." Sam was mumbling to himself. "No, No, now you have to stop that, you can’t just let yourself get away with not thinkin'! Now figure it out to the penny. You’re going to have a different life now Sam, a life where you’re going to have to be able to think clearly, so you might as well get into the habit right now! OK then! I would have $1,500 left but I spent $23.33 more than $500, so if I round that to $25 and subtract it, that would mean I had $1475, but $25 is a $1.67 more than $23.33. So if I add $1.67 on to the $1,475, that means I have precisely $1476.67 left. There now that’s better, don’t be taking the easy way out Sam Nathaniel Lewis, you’re a better man than that. Shortcuts and doing things half way is for slackers." One more stop; the Food Megahouse, had to get a good stock of canned goods, vegetables, fruit. Five or so cases of that canned stew he liked and some of that turkey chili. That stuff wasn’t too bad. It was pretty good on a cold day. Couldn’t stand the smell of the air about two hours later, but it went down easy when you were hungry. "Oh dang it!" Sam said to himself, "That reminds me, where the heck do they keep the toilet paper in this place? Mountain man or not I ain’t wipin’ on no stinkin' tree twigs and leaves. I wonder if there’s a formula for figuring out how many rolls of toilet paper you have to have for each case of chili?" "Soap, bath soap, where’s the soap? I got my towels but I need soap." So it went, until Sam left with a wheeled flat full of provisions to the tune of $620.40. "Six twenty forty. Ha! Do you see that Mary?" Sam was thinking to himself again. "Six twenty forty! June 20, 1940, the day we were married! Are you trying to tell me something Mary? You're watchin' over me aren't ya' darlin'!" Sam stopped for a moment. He convinced himself that it was just coincidence. After all it was Mary that was the religious one, he wasn’t even sure if there was a heaven, or God for that matter. He lost his faith when Johnny was killed in that car accident. What kind of a God lets an innocent young boy with his whole life in front of him die, and let’s a miserable old drunk walk away without a scratch? Not any God he could believe in. But if there was a heaven he knew Mary was there! Heck she was probably telling God she was going to call some contractors tomorrow and get some bids on remodeling the place. Well the bed of his pick ‘um up was jammed to the top of the shell, and it was time to hit the road. "Nine fifty-seven. Record time!" Sam thought to himself. He could be on the interstate in another 10 minutes, that’s 10:07, then 162 miles to the exit, that should take 2 ½ hours maximum, that’s 12:37. Get gas, some drive through fast food, should make it one o’clock even. The next 130 miles was two lane, and might take two hours if he made good time. So that would make it about three o’clock when he reached the turn off and had to go into four wheel drive. The turn off was just five miles outside the old mining town of Good Hope, population 79. The next three miles was all off road through the tall timbers of a land that was once a boomin’ mining area over a hundred years ago. A little known and never traveled back road would take Sam up to his claim; his little world, away from the world. That three miles was a killer. Fifteen minutes was the best time he had ever made on that ol’ cow path, and now he’d have to be especially careful. He couldn’t afford to be fixing flat tires or having a broken axle. So he better figure another 25 minutes for that part of the journey, that would make it Three Twenty-five, then he had to pack it in on foot to the cabin, just a bit shy of a mile. He’d take only the bare necessities from the truck for tonight, then he’d bring his canned goods up as he needed them. He could hike that last mile in about 15 minutes or less, so that would be Three forty - great no sweat. Plenty of daylight left to get settled in for the night. That collapsible cart yeah that would be the ticket, Sam was glad he ran into that thing. In the days to come he could get his exercise walking back down to the truck and wheeling his provisions up to his mountain retreat; oh he had a lot to do to make this his new place of residence. Chapter 4 to Follow
  3. Chapter 2 Sam's mind wandered back in time. It was the day after the funeral. Sally, Sam’s daughter, and Frank, her husband, came back to Sam's house with Sam’s three year old granddaughter, Jessica. They helped him clean and tidy up. The previous day had been very trying for everyone. After the friends and family who had stopped by after the funeral had left, everyone was too exhausted to clean up the house. It didn’t take long, under Sally’s gentle guidance and direction, for the place to look spotless again; just like Mary would have liked it. By noon all was done and Sally had fixed sandwiches and tomato soup for the four of them. "Daddy, we need to talk." "Yeah, honey I want to talk to you kids too, but you go first." Sally began, "Daddy, Frank and I had a long discussion, and we both decided, well, Frank you tell him." Sally started to get teary eyed, and her voice was starting to strain under her efforts to keep from crying. "Sam." "What Frank? For cryin’ out loud just spit it out, you two OK, I mean you’re not getting divorced or something?" "Daddy!" Sally said in a protesting tone. "Sam, don’t be ridiculous, you know how much I love your little girl." And Sam did know that. He always had a good read on people, and from the first couple of times that Sally had brought Frank around the house for dinner, until two years later when they married, Sam had always considered Frank a keeper. "Good Christian boy that son-in-law of mine!" he would brag to his buddies that congregated outside the barber shop every day. "Darn right! Good conservative too! You know he worked his way through law school, to cover whatever his academic scholarships didn’t!" "Yes Sam we know because you tell us this same story every week!" "Yeah well you better pay attention because this son-in-law of mine is gonna’ go places one of these days. Wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he was governor of this state some day! Yessireebob, maybe Senator! Hell he’d make a dang fine President! Bring some flippin' ethics back to Washington." "Oh geez here he goes again boys!" And they’d all just laugh and nod their heads in agreement with whatever Sam said. You didn’t want to take issue with Sam when he was talking about Mary, or Sally, or Frank or little Jessica, because if you happen to say something that Sam took wrong, you’d be looking around for your teeth for the next three days. Not a man normally prone to violence, Sam was definitely beholding to the old adage that blood was thicker than water. So it was best you be mighty agreeable where Sam’s family was concerned. And never, never, ever mention anything about Johnny. Johnny was Sam’s son. He had died when he was 19. Johnny was coming home one night from a concert at the college when a 51 year old drunk named Willie Myers crossed the center line and caused a head on collision. Johnny’s little Mustang was no match for old drunk Willie’s pick up truck. Johnny died at the scene while para-medics feverishly tried to pull his spirit back from the great beyond. Willie walked away without a scratch right into the arms of Sheriff McDougal. Judge Lorraine gave Willie five to ten years. Sam lost some faith in the Criminal Justice system that day. Five to ten years, that was all his boy’s life was worth? That was also the day Sam decided that he had drank his last bottle of beer. Sam was never one to over-indulge any way. The thought that alcohol played a part in Johnny's death just sort of turned Sam off to the very thought of ever taking another drink himself. Bottom line was that when Frank asked Sam for Sally’s hand in marriage six years ago, he was happy to give those kids his blessing - and he hadn’t been wrong about Frank. Fine husband, great daddy to little Jessica, and a good provider, and he had that look. Sam saw that look in Frank’s eyes every time he saw Frank look at Sally. What was it Dionne Warwick called it? "The Look of Love." Yeah that’s it, the look of love! Sam knew that look well, because it reminded him of the way he always looked at Mary. It was a look of admiration, of love, of quiet tender passion, of amazement that he had been so lucky to find her. "Daddy? Dad!" "Oh, what sweetheart?" "Are you listening to Frank or not?" "Oh sorry honey I was sort of day dreamin’ there." "OK Sam, like I was about to say, Sally and I want you to come live with us. It would be great. We don’t want you in this big house all alone, and Jessica would love to have Grandpa around all the time. And Sam, well you know how I feel about you, your like a second father to me. I’ll listen to Limbaugh on the radio during work at the law firm and you listen to him at home, and during dinner every night we can both debate about what a liberal he’s becoming!" Frank and Sam both laughed out loud, knowing that Limbaugh was about as conservative as they come. About the only thing Sam and Frank ever argued about was which one of them was more conservative. They’d take sides on a political issue and argue just for the fun of it. It wasn't that they were at opposite ends of an issue, they were always both on the same end of the issue. They'd just argue about who was the farthest to the right! Frank would taunt Sam, "Good Lord Sam if I didn’t know better I’d think you were gettin’ all soft and gooey on the inside from old age. You’re starting to sound suspiciously like some liberal, commie, left wing, save the spotted owl, greenie conservationist." "WHAT? Why you little sack of dog droppings, I was a conservative before you were even a twinkle in your papa’s eye. You call yourself a conservative? A lawyer whose a conservative? What a crock of cat puke, ain’t that a little like being a Catholic Rabbi?" They’d carry on that kind of friendly banter for hours. It was all in good fun and Sally knew that Sam and Frank had a special friendship, love, and respect for each other. Heck, they even went hunting, and fishing together. Sam had even taken Frank to his special mountain prospecting hideout on several occasions to do a little metal detecting and sluicing. Frank loved the great outdoors, but being a new partner at the law firm had made even greater demands on his time as of late. Unfortunately the outings with Sam had become fewer and farther in between. "Now hold on a minute, you two!" Sam interrupted his own laughter about Frank’s comment that Rush Limbaugh was becoming too liberal for their taste. "Frank I appreciate you and Sally’s concern over me, but there’s no need. I’ll get along fine. I got a lot to do. My claim needs workin’. Now that mom is gone, I can dedicate some real quality time on finding the mother load. I know it’s there somewhere. And well, you two kids have your family, and you don’t need some old goat hornin’ in….. "But Daddy, you are part of our family." Sally said. "Yes, honey I know I am, but you know what they say about fish and house guests they all stink after three days." "But Dad you wouldn’t be a house gue--- " Sam interrupted, "Now just stop right there, I’ve already made up my mind, so save your breath. The day after your mom passed I went to the bank, and the brokerage firm. I’ve taken care of all the paper work, I transferred all the stock your Mom and I had into you two’s account and I set up a college fund for my little cutie there." "Dad!" "Just listen and pay attention! I’ve signed the house over to you, it’s been paid off, oh I don’t know six, seven years ago. I took all the money out of the checking and savings accounts and closed them up, there’s a cashier’s check in that envelope made out to the both of you. I kept some money for myself to get me started full time up at the cabin and to get some things I need, but there’s plenty left. It was all going to be yours after I died anyway, so now you can just be grateful as a pig with a new bucket of slop while I’m still alive." He said with a smile. "Sam, I don’t think you have really thought this through." Frank said. "Frank, I’ve thought about this for years. I had even tried to talk your mother-in-law into selling this place and going to live at the cabin, like real pioneer folks. But you know Mary, she just didn’t have that pioneering spirit. She wanted her bed in her house with her shower with plenty of hot water. Even when I located that hot springs up there by the cabin I couldn’t convince her that was the same as having a bath with unlimited hot water. I’m going to go up there and just try to forget about this rat race called life. I’m just sick and tired of the way this society is goin’. You can’t turn on the television anymore without there being something about *FILTERED* suggested, talked about, commented on, or alluded to. I’m just too old fashioned. In my day *FILTERED* was about love and it was sacred and private and it stayed in the bedroom with married folks, not on the television. Our criminal justice system is a joke. Let the killers that drive white Broncos go free but try and take law abiding citizen's guns away. Stinkin' greenies tryin' to close down every bit of the land God made to keep us from gettin' the gold that God put there for our express enjoyment. The liberal media, commie socialists, don't even get me started about them. Something is sure way wrong with where this society is goin’ and I for one am gettin’ off the train to hell. As they used to say in my day, I’m droppin’ out. I’m headin’ for the hills where all I have to worry about is how much gold I can detect and pull out of ol’ mother earth." "I suppose there’s no talking you out of this, I know how flippin' stubborn you are." "Miss Sally! You watch that language of yours young lady!" Sally laughed on the inside, thinking about what a foul mouth her dad could have when he got mad, but he got upset at her because she said "flippin." Why flippin' wasn't even a bad word; was it? "And NO! You ain’t going to talk me out of it. Do me a favor if you would, I want to be out of here by about eight in the morning. Here’s the keys to the house and the other car. Oh, I almost forgot the signed title to the other car is in that envelope with the cashier’s check. Anyway, after I’ve left, can you pack up your mom’s clothes? Take whatever you want. You know here her good jewelry is at. Mom wanted you to have it. Maybe you can pass it on down to little Jessie when she gets older. The clothes that you pack up, just have Salvation Army, or Catholic Social Services, or whoever, come and pick that stuff up." Sam had already packed his things and only a few mementos of Mary. After all, a mountain man had to travel fast and light. He had packed their wedding picture, their 50th anniversary picture, and one of Mary’s pillow cases that had her rosary inside. Mary always kept her rosary inside her pillow case; she said it kept away bad dreams. Sam wondered just how many Hail Mary’s, Our Father’s and Glory Be’s had been said on that string of beads over the years. Frank and Sally didn’t even know Sam’s camper shell covered four wheel drive pick up truck was sitting in the garage completely packed and ready to go. Sam was a man about to carry out a plan. It was a plan to "drop out" of society and just spend the rest of his time where he wouldn’t be in anyone’s way. Frank and Sally reluctantly accepted Frank’s decision, I mean what else could they do. It wasn’t as if Sam was feeble minded, or was incapable of doing what he had set out to do. Quite the contrary, all through her life, Sally marveled at the fact that her dad just seemed to love a challenge. Sally’s mom was quite a psychologist when it came to exploiting that side of Sam’s personality. "Sam!" "Yes dear?" "It’s probably pretty hard to lay a ceramic floor isn’t it?" "Well of course it is. You have to make sure the darn thing is laid out just right, then you have to make sure the spacing is correct between the tiles. Then there is cutting and nipping the tiles around corners, it’s got to be a major pain in the rear end." "Yeah that’s what I thought. OK, I’ll call some people out of the yellow pages tomorrow and get some estimates on doing the kitchen floor." "Whatever you say dear." Sam conceded. Mary knew that first thing in the morning Sam would be at the home improvement store getting everything he needed to lay a new ceramic floor in the kitchen. If Sam didn’t know how to do it, he’d read about it, research it, and asked questions until he figured it out. He was not about to let some stranger in his house to lay a ceramic floor for his wife. He was always like that, no hill too tall, no mountain too steep, that was Sally’s daddy! It was getting late so Sam walked Frank, Sally and little sleepy Jessie out to their car. A long hug and a kiss for Sally, a light loving kiss for "sleepy head", and a manly handshake for Frank. Well at least it started out that way until Frank pulled Sam into an embrace. Frank whispered, "Sam, when you’re ready, your family will be here waiting for you." "Ya’ I know!" Sam broke the embrace and turned quickly so Frank wouldn’t see the tears rolling down his cheeks. As he walked towards the house he said, "You kids be careful driving home now!" When he felt he was far enough away from the car that his tears would not be detected he turned and waved goodbye, "Don’t you guys worry about me, I’ll be fine! I’ll write whenever I can get into the post office in Good Hope." Sam watched as they drove away. Gone, just like that! They vanished into the night, just as fast as Mary had vanished from his life. Yes he and Mary had been with one another 54 years all together, but it seemed like seconds compared to the four days of hell he had gone through since her death. Sam showered and readied himself for bed. He stood in front of the mirror and grabbed his old trusty electric beard trimmer. He turned it on. It was the same old familiar motor hum he’d heard for years. He usually kept his beard neat, short and well trimmed. Every night he'd touch up his graying beard just to make sure he looked his best. Some people might have thought that was sort of crazy to trim your beard every day, but Sam started doing a quick touch up before bed years ago when Mary commented once how much she loved to see him all neatly trimmed and freshly scrubbed. Mary said she wasn't all that fond of facial hair anyway, but as long as Sam didn't allow himself to look scruffy, she said she could tolerate it. On some level Sam felt that Mary secretly like his rugged look, either that or she was just putting up with it, like she put up with his gold prospecting. So every night Sam with give himself a quick trim like he was about to go out on the town; he had always thought to himself, "A man’s gotta’ look his best for his woman, ‘cause you just never knew when ya’ might get lucky!" He quickly turned the electric trimmer off, just as fast as these thoughts had flashed through his mind. He said out loud to himself, "Well, I guess I don’t need this thing anymore do I Mary?" With that he pitched the old trimmer in the small plastic trash pail by the sink. He really didn't have anyone to look good for anymore. His Mary, the only woman he ever loved, would never be there to see him neatly trimmed and freshly scrubbed again. Sam pulled on his pajamas and went into the bedroom. He started to climb into bed, but he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t sleep in their bed, not without Mary. So as he had done for the past nights, he grabbed his pillow and alarm clock, pulled the blanket from the bed, and retired to the couch downstairs in the basement. He couldn’t get comfortable. His mind just wouldn’t stop racing. Chapter 3 to Follow
  4. Chapter 1 A cold chill rippled through his old body and shook him awake. The old prospector yawned, chuckled to himself, and said out loud, "My bones are havin' an earthquake! Dang that felt like a 7.2." It had been that way a long time now. The loneliness and isolation had finally forced him into talking to himself, and yes, now and again he even answered back. Oh heck, who was he kidding, he talked back and forth to himself all the time. Why he had a running dialogue going from the time he woke up until the time he went to bed. "Flippin' stinkin’ potbelly stove never would keep this old dilapidated cabin warm through the whole night!" The old codger whispered, and in a louder voice came the reply, "Well you stupid ol’ fart why didn’t you get up during the night and throw a few more logs in. You knew it was gettin’ low on fuel but you were too darn lazy to get your ol’ bones out of yer’ bed weren’t ya' ?!" He did that a lot too. He’d ask a question in one tone of voice and then he’d answer himself in a different tone. Made it seem more like there were two people talking back and forth instead of just one crazy old coot. But Sam didn’t really consider himself crazy, well not yet anyway. He figured he’d give it another year, then around next October when it really started getting cold, he figured he’d just go crazy then. Yup, next October, that was a good month for just goin’ right off the deep end. But for right now, talking back an forth to himself was enough to keep him company, and it helped him remember better days when "she" was around. He looked over at their picture hanging on the wall of the old log cabin, "Oh Mary, darlin’ do ya’ have any idea how much I still miss ya’, even after all these years?" But there was no answer. Their love had been the kind of love that someone could have written a whole series of romance novels about. They met when they were in high school. She was 16 and he was 18. From the minute he had seen her, he knew she was his soul mate. This was the one woman in all the world that God had put on earth just for him. Unfortunately it took a little convincing to get Mary to see things the same way, but after two years of courting he finally got her before a priest for those "I do’s". They had lived by those "I do’s" for 52 wonderful years, but then Mary took ill and in three short months, she was gone. And when Mary went, Sam’s heart left too. Not the bodily organ that pumps blood through your body, but the heart that is the essence of a person’s will to live and prosper. It’s that miraculous something that just makes your whole body feel happy just to wake up each morning and see your beautiful wife there beside you. That special feeling was gone. When Mary died, Sam quit living too, he took to merely existing. Maybe that was why he liked to talk back to himself and call himself things like, "old fart". That’s what Mary would call him in a whimsical way. She knew, that he knew, it was really a term of endearment. Five years had come and gone since Mary had passed, but all the pain and the loneliness were still there. Not one little bit of that had gone. Where his heart once was, there was just an empty hole with nothing but memories. Chapter 2 to Follow
  5. Well at least Sam had the strength of his convictions to openlytdemonstrate, what appears to be the worthlessness of this technology. Guys, while we would all like a better mouse trap, I'm afraid there is no substitute, for research, knowledge, tenacity, a Minelab machine, and the right coil; at least not for now ! Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year! Take care! DOC
  6. I think you weren't swinging enough! Let's think of it this way. If you put a larger antenna on your AM FM radio does it draw more power, NO! Because it is only receiving. However, if you put a larger antenna on your walkie talkie will it draw more power when you transmit, YES! The bigger coil does not cause the detector to put more power to the coil, it simply uses the same amount of power faster. A coil is like a light bulb. There are 100 watt bulbs and then there are 15 watt bulbs like the ones used for your refrigerator. One is obviously bigger than the other. However, in the U.S. both are provided 110 VAC current. That current does not change to accomodate the light bulb. It is simply that the 100 watt light bulb use the power faster than the 15 watt bulb. So the power to the coil is not what makes a larger coil go deeper. It's simply a larger field of detection. What makes a bigger indentation in wet cement, a pebble or a boulder? Now quit thinkin' and start swingin' ! BCOT! DOC
  7. Of course you could always use a COILTEK anti-interference SALT coil and work right under those bad boys with no problems what-so-ever. The reports of the salt coil on the GP 3000 have been especially impressive. Joe King down in Yuma has been working a salt coil under power lines that are so strong that it makes the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. Oh yeah, he's been finding nuggets under those power lines too! BCOT! DOC
  8. Great advice Bob! And you are absolutely right. I can't count the number of times I have pulled more gold out of a wash I just went through by either changing direction, or changing coils, or poking a hole in my pocket so the nuggets fall right back out on the ground. BCOT! DOC
  9. We have bigger ! 20 X 40 is the largest ! That ruler is 36 inches. DOC
  10. DOC

    New Area Gold

    I'm predicting before the end of the year you will crack the one ounce mark! I think you are just warming up for the "BIG UN'!" Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Bill! DOC
  11. Oh baby! Those are sweet! Nothing like a nugget that sounds off big, after the hole is already 10 inches deep. You get that feeling in the pit of your stomach. You sort of feel it has to be gold, because how would trash get that deep? That is of course unless you've let Chris or Rob drag you to Devil's nest where all the trash is no less than 24 inches deep and under boulders! Congratulations those are really nice! DOC
  12. There is also the COILTEK 21 X 27 coil, you can swing it or make a very simple one wheel trolly out of PVC pipe. This comes in Mono and DD versions. If interested contact Chris as he is a COILTEK dealer. Thanks! DOC
  13. DOC

    New Area Gold

    Come on Bill! One of those has to be a one ounce piece, you had to have finally cracked your nut ! Here's hoping! Congratulations! DOC
  14. Yeah, now that's what I'm talking about, right there! That should have sounded off pretty darn good ! Congratulations! DOC
  15. I think the clear plastic resin would be a great idea! An acrylic cube with that specimen in it would be really neat! Thanks! DOC
  16. When I am detecting, many times I run into all kinds of trash that has been disgarded my unthinking uncaring people. Alot of it is various colored pieces of plastic. Sometimes there are blue milk bottle lids, or red plastic lids off of cans of tennis balls, or clear lids off of Pringles cans. Well I gather these bits of plastic together and then I hollow out a cantaloupe. I put the plastic in the cantaloupe and then take my wife's hair blower and turn it on high heat and melt the plastic. Then I fashion them into these lovely PUSH BUTTONS! I sell them for 17 cents a gram. Please email me if you are interested! I'm sorry, I can't help myself, I'm just feeling goofy tonight ! DOC
  17. I need to talk to you and your number is at the office. My email is: cop704@yahoo.com BCOT! DOC
  18. That is truly an oddity! It's like this mole kind of thing that I have on the inside of my leg that is right up by my groin. It's sort of fleshy and hairy, and hangs down about an inch and sometimes when I'm playing twister, my underwear gets...... oh never mind! All joking aside, that is really neat! I wonder if putting it in glycerin or something would keep the root supple and keep it from cracking and breaking apart. It's really something that should be preserved! Take care, and thanks for the picture! DOC
  19. John B - I don't think they were hoisted aboard, I think they may have been mooring anchors, maybe to hold the boat in place as the waters started to rise ??? I can't imagine how you could even get them aboard. The story of the Ark and the discovery of it is just truly amazing. BCOT! DOC
  20. This past week offered the opportunity to get together with Chris Gholson, Montana Bob Danzie, and Mohave John Green down in Quartzite. At the recent Minelab convention Chris had suggested that we all get together sometime, and I guess this was as good a time as any. Rather than go to each others locale, we decided to pick a neutral location where we would have a chance to hopefully just peck out a few nuggets and maybe get lucky enough to stumble onto a yet to be discovered patch. This picture below is Mohave John, Chris, and Montana Bob. I don't allow my picture to be taken because of that whole America's Most Wanted thing, but that's another story. The rolling hills of the Quartzite area are vast, the scenery is beautiful, and there isn't hardly one square inch of it that someone hasn't already pounded to death with a metal detector. The next picture is sort of one of those "Where's Waldo?" things. Can you see Chirs and Mohave John? Chris is inside the red circle, you can barely make out his blue shirt. Mohave John is inside the green circle with his quad. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of John giving Chris a ride on the back of his quad up that mountain. I was too far away to warn Chris about John's driving. By the time they got to the top of the hill where I was at, Chris was eagerly explaining to John how he would be walking from now on, because he is really health conscious. The first day, Tuesday, was the perfect day for detecting. It was probably about 80 degrees and overcast with no wind, just a light breeze. I got lucky and snagged a 3 gram piece down between some rocks at the very side of a small gully. I was using the COILTEK 18 mono and the GP3000. The nugget was probably 3 inches at most, it was a no brainer. Arriving back at camp late Tuesday afternoon everyone had hit gold. Chris, being the human gold vacuum that he is had snagged 6 nuggets, and I beleive John had one and Bob had one. Tuesday night it started to sprinkle rain and rained all through the night. Next day, Wednesday, we woke up to a rainy overcast day, yet it wasn't really cold. I put on my rain suit and loaned John another rain jacket I had, and like the manly men that we are, we decided to brave the elements and detect anyway! Bob and Chris decided to sneak off and go to some secret location to the North; maybe Rye Patch ?? I started off in the same gully that I had found the 3 grammer the day before. I was convinced there was probably another little sneaky one in there somewhere. Due to massive amounts of trash and hot rocks, I opted to use the JOEY 5 X 10 DD Pro. Sure enough within 10 minutes of starting to detect, and no more than 10 yards up the gully from the 3 gram find, I snagged a little .7 gram nugget, caught in amongst the rocks. I went right over it with the 18 inch mono. I think it was actually on edge between two rocks the way it acted. I actually got a better target signal when I held the coil at about a 45 degree angle then going flat over the target. That day ended when the wind came up at around 4:30 pm and I just suddenly lost my body heat and was chilled to the bone. Mohave John snagged a 1 pennyweight nugget, so we were two days detecting with a nugget each day. Not much but at least we didn't get skunked. I don't think Chris and Bob had much luck at their secret location, if my memory serves me correctly. John and I left on Thursday as John had some business he had to get back and attend to. Chris had headed out for home, but Bob decided to stay on. It appears that was a good decision for Bob as he snagged a 5 plus gram nugget. Here's a picture of my two nuggets all cleaned up: Mohave John pointed out to me that my little nugget looked like a rubber duck! I'm glad he told me that because I have taken it with me in the bathtub every night since, however, the stupid duck won't float! BCOT! DOC
  21. I just keep hunting until the control box starts smoking! Actually there were a couple of times when it was raining pretty hard. I was probably pushing my luck a bit. I have, on other occasions, wrapped the control box in a plastic kitchen garbage bag and taped it up with electrical tape. I think that is sufficient protection. BCOT! DOC
  22. Here's what a google search shows as a typical anchor stone from the ark. BCOT! DOC
  23. Well DUH! They know they are anchors from Noah's Ark because they say right on the rocks: S.S. Noah's Ark Don't you guys know nothing ? BCOT! DOC
  24. My question is this: I'm not as concerned as to whether LRLs work as whether there is an LRL that will work no matter who is the operator, as long as they are trained. In other words, is it the LRL, or is it a combination of the LRL in the hands of an operator that has a special gift for such things? Sort of a human dowsing rod. I look at guys like Chris Gholson and Mohave John Green. These guys have found literally hundreds of ounces of gold, and yet there are other people here who have been hunting just as long, or longer, and haven't found 10 ounces. There are some people that have been hunting for two and three years that have yet to find a nugget. I remember Bill Southern telling me something that just shocked me senseless. Bill has been prospecting since before Noah built his ark he has found a ton of nuggets (figuratively speaking), and he told me he still hasn't found a piece that hit the one ounce mark or broke it. Maybe that has changed since we spoke a couple of years ago. Then you look at Mohave John Green, he and I started prospecting at roughly the same time, 8 years ago, and John has found in excess of 60 one ounce pieces. Several in the 3 ounce range and one at 5 ounces, albeit a specimen. He prospects the same locale as I do ! He's not a full timer, maybe he makes it out 5 times a month! Now what accounts for some of those among us that are super detectorists? I truly believe that they have an innate ability. Look at John B. he has a collection of gold that his table can barely hold. I can tell you that while I am moderately successful, I have to work like a dog for each and every nugget I find. My limited expertise has come from reading the geology, hopefully finding that first nugget, and using that as a starting point to track down the source. But there isn't one innate predisposition in my body. The only feelings I have are, "I'm hot/cold, tired/bored, happy/sad etc." I go out into a gold field and I never have a sense of where I should go, other than if a particular gully looks good to me, in other words, does it look like a place where I have found gold before? So what I am looking for is an LRL that will even work for me. Because if it works for me, then it actually is not operator dependent. I have often said, I couldn't find a 3 ounce nugget if it was hanging out of my arse! So far I haven't proven myself wrong and I check back there daily! BCOT! DOC
  25. Did you all notice how shiney it is ? My bald head that is! The gold was pewrty too! It was a good time, wish I could have stayed longer. There was some area that needed exploring that looked pretty interesting. I'll post pictures later on. BCOT! DOC