All that glitters, is not broken beer bottles

Our rockhounding outings usually follow some sort of a similar script. We go to our rather “extensive” library of rockhounding books.   Find the book/books for the state we are in and find a site near where we are.


We then have a look at a map that looks something like this:


I/WE then study the map and say “yup… looks pretty straightforward”  “Just turn onto 4th street in Palo Verde and go 5 miles west.”  At this point we usually leave the book behind because it seemed SOOOO straightforward.  Then you get out there and there ARE no roads heading west, there is one going south west, and so you take that one thinking that perhaps writer was just vague… So you follow THAT road for about 7 miles. Now I should tell you here that the term “road” is also somewhat ambiguous. It can mean many things.  It can look like this:


Or something like this:


And you never really know if you are just following the tracks of some crazed ATVer……

And then when you come to something like this you KNOW  you have been following a crazed ATVer….  WHOOPS dead end.


At the end of a wash. To fully understand the area, you have to take into account that when it rains a lot in a short time the water takes out the roads and leaves you with “washes” which are basically “part time” rivers.  So we hike up to get some sort of an idea of where we are, and at the top of the hill, there is just a bunch of OTHER hills. The glitter is just the sun shining off of the Rhyolite…. no beer bottles.  We have found that when we are searching for a site, and come across broken beer bottles… that we must be close, because at least someone else has found this place.  I can only imagine what broken beer bottles and rockhounding have in common…. but Broken Beer bottles = you are close!


So when you look out at a landscape like this you have to think how easy it would be to lose the JEEP….


JEEP, what jeep…?  🙂 Makes me think of Fargo. It was down one of these dips 🤔


NOTE to self, NEVER forget where you left the jeep.

ON this particular day we did not find the place they were talking about, but on the way back we DID see a road that DID actually go west, that MIGHT be the one we were looking for… I guess another day.

I wish I had better camera skills, or perhaps a better camera (I just use my phone, or iPad) But these mountains are truly breathtaking. These are the mountains within the KOFA wilderness refuge, and with the jeep we were able to drive right up into the centre of this HUGE area, so see these mountains from the other sides.  Having the jeep is definitely worthwhile getting us to places we would never have gotten to without it.  The motorhome just sits in one place for a few weeks, while we take side trips in the jeep.


The area in the centre of this range was more green than anywhere we have been locally. Apparently there was more rainfall in October than is usual as well



And as usual we are eating well.  We bought a Paella pan last year thinking it would fit in the small motorhome oven. WE did have to make some minor adjustments to make it fit…. but had our first vegetarian Paella.  I used my roasted tomato sauce instead of the canned tomatoes that the recipes all call for, and I think it was the very best Paella we have ever had.  Peas from our garden as well.img_4007

Today we head off into the Palo Verde wilderness in search of….. broken beer bottles.

MUCH LOVE to those who “travel” along with us.  Janet






Beatty and Bullets AZ…


“After a thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat, we didn’t wake up until the next morning ”  to head west.  Well north and then west.   We are in Beatty Az now, and we pulled up to our usual place off in the desert.  There was another rig there, so we gave them LOTs of space and parked a few hundred yards away.  We were just getting out and looking around when there was a series of gun shots.

Well we are kind of used to this having lived for 13 years in Rural Oregon, but not in this situation.  Our dog is petrified of the sound, and I think we are a bit uneasy…. SO we packed up and moved to the location, in these pictures. In retrospect, I was thinking…… what a great way to keep an area to yourself 🙂  Just fire off several rounds of bullets whenever someone else shows up.


Tucker took all of his toys OUT Of the motorhome, and left them all around, he clearly liked the new “digs” better…..

We actually went to Wickenburg, on Black Friday, shopping for GEODES  🙂 (then we came to Beatty.


Geodes are…. “a rock containing a cavity lined with crystals or other mineral matter.” this is a wonderful article with great pictures to show how they form    GEODES

What we are finding each year we rock hound is that each year we get better at spotting certain characteristics: You can see in this lower left one a bubbly sort of outside… “Botryoidal”, is the geology term for bubbly. img_3921

Sometimes only a few bubbles…


SOME BIG bubbles…



Then PRESTO…..beautiful crystals inside.  Some you crack open and nothing inside. For the most part, we are trying to leave them all intact, so we can cut them properly with a saw when we get to Quartzite… or when we get home.

We are getting back in to Cactus territory, so once again looking for booties for Tucker….. turns out what we are going to need to do is to order them and have them delivered to a USP in a town we are planning on getting to. They are a very specialty item and though stores SAY that they carry them, what they mean is that they can GET THEM IN…. which is not much use to travellers.

Although I failed to get a decent picture, we were recently at a gas station and while wandering around I found a series of bird nests in very prickly cacti… … Could not help but wonder how the little ones learning to fly must be VERY accurate taking off.


Well expect to get some DAZZLING Pictures this year from Brenda. In previous years we could only get SO far out to find rocks, as the motorhome is NOT a 4×4, and we could only go SO far in the bikes, because Tucker would get TUCKERED OUT.


Now we just leave the motorhome on one place and go to all the other places with the Jeep.img_3812

A life in a day….

We have been camping out in the desert for about 6 weeks now, a few nights in campgrounds and a few nights with friends outside of Phoenix. It really is the most laid back trip we have ever had. We have been back and forth across the border of California and Arizona a lot and have been near the border a lot. So rather than change our clocks over and over, we just decided to pick a time zone and stick with it.  We like Arizona time.

Our motorhome is showing some signs of abuse, with us trying to get to places we likely should not get into.  I love to see the smirks on peoples faces as they drive by us in their 4×4 vehicles, out in the middle of nowhere. We can usually see civilization from where we camp, but are usually 2-3 miles or more away from it. Tonite I can see the highway and trains 2 miles from here.  Deserts are like that.

We found that the campgrounds usually had very poor internet, so are relying on our AT&T cards. We have found that it is a pretty good deal, 10$ for a GB.  We can buy the refill cards in the grocery stores. We are not streaming anything (and have turned off automatic stream) and are able to work on the blog, check email, news, and although these days we are trying to avoid it, Facebook. 🙂  So it is costing us 40-50 dollars a month for internet.  We fill up water and dump sani at stations after every 4-5 days out.  Our only issue is garbage, which we have very little of…..  We use all cardboard boxes to fill with rocks, 🙂   not really but some.  We bury all out compost out in the desert.

We often stay at the same places a few days and cover on average 60 miles every few days driving. We walk between 3-5 miles a day looking for rocks, and some days biking (one day we biked 17 miles, half up hill in sand. was not part of the plan)

When we get back we set up our table scrub off our rocks to find which ones are keepers and which ones are not.  We smash some to make sure.  🙂   We now have several reference books to help us ID stuff.

We have wine, stoned wheat thins, and watch the sun sets. (or suns set)    We have wonderful gourmet dinners, and some days leftovers of gourmet dinners.  Then we play crib. Ken usually beats me, but last night we tried out a different deck of cards and I started winning.   Nice days. OH and reading lots of books.

These are Chalcedony Roses.  Essentially the same stuff that make up Agates, with out the lines (bands) . We have some pink ones and some white as well…..They will tumble up beautifully, when we get back to our tumbler.


This is a geode. We see them everywhere here.  We have yet to find an unopened one though we have smashed a lot of ordinary rocks to see if there were geodes.


This is a rockhound.img_1506

This is an agate with some opal in it, with part of a geode???

img_1514This is jasper/agate that has formed within a seam (the space between two rocks layers).  I should add that these are my interpretations


larger chalcedony rose wth an agate geode.


This is an agate geode with some amethyst ? centrally, and some copper minerals around the edges??


I am not totally sure what this is, but every piece of it looked like hunks of wood, but they were completely very fragile crystals.


I know this looks like a hunk of rotten beef… it is rather complex and will take cutting etc to bring out the full beauty.  I am hoping my friend the gemologist will add to this and I will edit this then.


This is an amethyst geode with some…?opal, chrysocolla  around it.


We think that this is a jasper/agate with central brown jasper and some opal around the edges.


an agate.


Well it is 7:30, ARIZONA time…….