Rockhounding and religion

I see rockhounding as a lot like religion.  We can spend hours out there climbing, hiking, getting lost….. anything.. as long as we BELIEVE there is something out there to be found.img_1944 (even when we find nothing)  🙂   Some days we even lose each other, like yesterday.  We have a loose agreement, and walk some distance from each other, and every now and then if we do not see the other we start loud whistling or calling out. Yesterday the wind was loud, so likely took our whistles and yells into the hills.   Another game we play is to ask Tucker where the other one is. I kept saying to Tucker, “WHERE IS KEN?”… and he kept looking….


Don’t you love his bandana?  Although it really is his colour, it actually has a useful purpose. That is to cool him off. We keep it wet and it aids in cooling him.  and then FINALLY>>>>>>>THERE IS KEN!img_3947

Granted, this game DOES work better on the beach.

OTHER things one might find in the desert, are ………Gypsy wagons.  Friends/neighbours from Bandon, in Quartzite.  Amber and Elton are heading east, we are heading west, and we met in quartzite.


Now this wonderful Gypsy wagon, Amber has built over many years and each year she continues to modify.


She is holding her time machine, a box she has created from odds and ends of little brass bits that once had a totally different use. Inside this tiny wagon, they even have an old stove that they use to burn pine cones to heat them up on cold nights.


How could you get cold in such a cozy spot?img_3929

“Celestine” is clearly a work of art.

Great to run into old friends along the way. We spent Thanksgiving just north of Phoenix with friends from Canada.

OTHER THINGS you might run into in Quartzite…..  ONE STOP SHOP for everything you could possibly need to show that you are___________________________  🙂


But then you get out of town again…


We have been on the road for almost a month now and FINALLY getting into the groove.

Much love to all, thanks for following our travels.




Biking and Brenda

We are having a total blast with these bikes.


We have been experimenting with Tucker, as I realized that it is likely the heat that wears him out. It is not THAT hot here, but there is no real shade. So while we are out on the bikes, he finds whatever places he can for shade. We stop every 1 mile to give him a break, and water, and he seems to be doing better. Yesterday I tried a makeshift “cooling collar”, soaking wet facecloth, but he got it off, today we will try a wet scarf.

Scotch Creek (where we live) is a LOT hotter than this in the summer, but the trails we hike usually have lots of shake trees.

Also sticking to the “roads” which are basically very very rough 4×4 roads, he is not getting any cactus spines in his feet.


AND ME…. I am becoming a real mountain biker. Ken is amazed of the terrain I just weave my way through. BRAVE BRAVE Janet…..  These fat tires just ride over everything, and I am now actually trying to steer around big rocks.  Usually I see something scary and for some reason just steer straight towards it.  I have not crashed in 3 whole days, amazing. The gravel is often quite thick, and with the pedal assist function, (and the fat tires) you just keep going through the gravel….. and yes fishtailing.   Ken has this BIG smile on his face.

So each day we are heading out on the bikes, going anywhere from 2-3 miles out and stopping frequently to look for rocks, scenery etc… Having picnics….. getting back to the MH at about 3 in the afternoon.  Then we clean all of our rocks, and try to keep only the best.


Which brings me to the part about rock graveyards.

Whenever we find more rocks, we have to go through what we already have and throw some out. So each place we camp, usually has a pile of “what we thought were treasures, but do not think are treasures anymore”.  Often what you find today, makes yesterdays finds look like JUST ROCKS.

We CAN tell others do this too, in that often we find other rockhounds rock graveyards. Sometimes we pick through them for special rocks we do not have samples of, but usually end up throwing them away at the next stop.  I am sure this entity will be very confusing to geologists in the future.

Well yesterday was laundry day…… and I was wondering what this guy had on his right hip….? Not seen one of those before, likely something to keep his quarters in 🙂


So once a week we go back into town (quartzite ) do the sani dump thing…. fill up with fresh water, drop off our small bags of garbage at the dump and do laundry.  That took 2 hours and so we spent the afternoon looking at the thousands of rocks at the gem show which is on now in quartzite.


These are mexican fire agates, we are just learning about how to work with fire agates…. how to bring out the fire, which would be the dark spots on these.  I fear my pictures never do the rocks justice.

and a lovely sink we bought for 150.00….  made of limestone from Morocco.   We also looked at plates.IMG_2632


and some incredible tigers eye from Australia. Tigers eye  is a chatoyant gemstone that the way the minerals align within the rock it gives a wavy type of appearance.  Again I wish my pictures did the rocks justice.

The show that is on now is pretty large, and is called the Desert Gardens Gem and mineral show, and it goes the whole month and then from the 17th to the 21st is the HUGE QIA POWWOW which is all the same sellers that are here now, plus many many more.  Many specialized rock people JUST come to the pow wow.  At least that is how I understand it.

We have met sellers from India, Morocco, South Africa, Argentina,  and TEXAS so far. It truly is fun just looking at all the rocks. We have lots of books for identifying the rocks we find, but just like I cannot do the rocks justice with pictures, it seems that neither can anyone else. Much better to see them LIVE.  AND all the sellers are more than happy to tell you ALL about the rocks. Great place to learn.

Well back to sorting rocks.

Much love to everyone


Tucker tales and a story about a very very special person

I decided to write a blog for Tucker. A friend suggested that dogs might be interested in what dogs are doing in Arizona with 2 rockhounding parents, in a motor home. Then I decided to add another important story.

Well to begin with, Tucker has more or less told us that he would rather chew his feet off than wear those F&)*)*&ing booties.  WE remind him about his booties as we pull the cactus thorns (spines) out of his feet. To his credit though, he HAS gotten a whole lot better at avoiding them.

He carefully places his front feet, and then gets the hind feet in the same (safe) spot.

He has a new problem however, and that is where he sticks his NOSE…..  In his diligent search for rabbits his nose goes down a fretfully large number of …HOLES… in the ground and getting spines stuck in his nose and mouth. It is quite a challenge getting them out of his tongue, and we even pulled one out that had gone all the way from outside his mouth through into the mouth.  We have now been at a spot where there are no Cacti. Will be staying for awhile.


(HE just digs down into the dirt when we get home, rolls around in it, then lies down.)

The bikes have not worked out all that well with regards to Tucker either. He only has the stamina to go maybe 3-4 miles and then he is exhausted, but perhaps if we can keep him from running the 3-4 miles chasing rabbits, he might do better.  We are thinking of getting a bike trailer to haul him home in.


Then to change the subject.  2018……

This first week of the year has been a very different time for me. It all started reading a post of a friend of my sons, asking how to change a persons Facebook page to memorial, as it is emotionally charging to get the birthday reminders of people who have died. (apparently it has to be the person who is in charge of the page)

Anyways it got me thinking about the people I have on Facebook who have died.  My thoughts then went to Other people who had died and I had a sudden brainstorm, in that Facebook might be a place to find someone whom I thought had died, but had no idea how to find her.

Back about 40 years…….. I had a very good friend named Maxine. We were both nurses in Williams Lake and both single. WE did a lot of great road trips, many adventures together.  Time went by, I went north and she went to Kamloops. We stayed in touch, in fact I remember her partner Don giving me a rough time because every paragraph in the letters I wrote started with “Well”

Well, Maxine was an incredible person. Just one of those people from my past that was truly wonderful.  A great friend.

Then many years went by, I got married, went back to university, had kids, moved to Chilliwack and then to Oregon.  WE DID LOSE TOUCH.

Then in January 2009, Ken and I were performing for a concert (up from Oregon) in Williams Lake at the recreation centre. After the concert a woman came up to me, saying that her name was Anne… and that we had worked as nurses together back in the late 70s in Williams Lake(I did remember her) , and she knew that I had been a friend of Maxine’s.  She went on to say that Maxine had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer (Ovarian, I thought, turns out it was colon), and that she had been told to “get her affairs in order”. Anne said that she had moved up north to ?Smithers?.

It was a very brief meeting, with all that has to be done taking down after  a concert, it was late. I had not thought to get contact information (which I forever regretted)

It was a very busy week in our lives, we were dropping our son off at university and had to be back to Oregon. Thoughts of finding Maxine were put off.

It was quite ironic because within a few very short weeks, I was given the diagnosis with advanced endometrial cancer (not terminal necessarily) so underwent very aggressive treatment Surgey, chemo, radiation and then more chemo, and then…. the waiting around bit.

So essentially a year later, when life was no longer all about me, I guess I thought perhaps that with the significant diagnosis, that Maxine has succumbed to the disease. I thought about her a lot, but really lacked the knowledge of how to find someone you wanted to find.

Over the years I have often tried to find out about what had happened, doing internet searches, searching through nursing sites….

I did not find out until January 1st 2018. … I decided to do a Facebook search and there she was.  I had only started Facebook in 2008 and had never  expected Maxine to be there, but there she was. Anne was a friend of hers on Facebook , so I contacted Anne to find out what all had happened and got the story. ( I guess I wondered what would happen if you sent a friend request to someone who had died, if it was just be a painful reminder to the person she was with.)


Anyways, sadly Maxine died December 20 2010. She apparently took the diagnosis and decided to try to do everything she could to beat it. She did many natural things, trying to live healthier.  She apparently DID go through Chemo while up in Smithers, and from what I gather, we likely would have been doing it at the same time.

I am very sad that I found her so late, but still glad that I did find out about her.

I guess I wanted to share this story because I think we all have special people in our pasts. I was given a second chance to reconnect, but … I guess circumstances failed me….or I just did not try hard enough.

Don’t let those very special people get away from you…..



Doggies in the desert and electric bikes

Enemy number one. This plant in the desert is ruining our days. It is called Teddybear cholla. Odd name for something that you cannot touch,  let alone HUG.IMG_2349

Pictured here are the plant and the offending little beasties that are likely their way to reproduce.


If you get one stuck to your foot… when you try to pull it out, you will get another barb stuck in your finger.

What happens is that Tucker is walking along, gets one of these in his foot and immediately tries to get it out with his mouth, then he has it stuck in his mouth which is really bad, and he starts thrashing around, LOTS of drool. So then Ken and I swing into action, Ken with his leather mans tool pliers and me holding tucker still.

Hence the booties.


Short video of his first steps in booties…. He got better.

The first day with the booties, although he seemed to do well, he was exhausted for 2 days (only 3 year old dog). We figure that perhaps it was more draining because he does not have a good grip, without his claws being out, so he is working twice has hard to get the same distance.  We are now in search of booties with treads on them.  OH and we are also spending as much time looking for lost booties than we are for rocks 🙂  Stay tuned for what we find works. Tucker is back to normal after 2 days of sleeping.


Last year we were limited as to the sites we could  get to because our motorhome is not exactly an all terrain vehicle, MORE OF A one terrain vehicle, pavement and VERY good gravel roads. (last year we did damage to the motorhome (TAJ)….. by going where we should not have gone )     So to solve this we though  through many possible options, like hauling another vehicle, but were not ready to do that. SO a friend suggested Electric bikes, and we said YES…..which we have recently purchased.

Two ways to describe electric bikes, one is like a small motorcycle that has an electric motor that you can pedal to save electricity.

The other way to describe them is they are a mountain bike  that has less gears and a pedal assist engine for you get bogged down in the sand.

Sorry no action shots….. just this one picture of one of the fat tire bikes

Last year we attempted to ride our bikes to some of these remote spots, but it was very tough riding through the sand, especially uphill…….. and with rocks.  So we have bought heavy duty mountain bikes with fat tires that can ride over very large rocks no problem. I am pretty much of a fraidy cat mountain biker and pretty much bail whenever i get into any scary situation. With this motor (and the HUGE TIRES), I just push the throttle and ZOOM over obstacles.  Ken is pretty amazed at the terrain I am riding in no problem.  I have only fallen twice and I have to admit that ONE TIME … was because I noticed a nice rock on the side and was not paying attention. (Paying attention is a bit important).

The other really cool thing about the bikes is that if you are a lousy biker like me and struggle to get started on an uphill with loose gravel, I just push on the throttle, and ZOOM.  Another important thing about the bikes is that they have VERY VERY good disc brakes.  We bought the bikes in Canada and the electric bike rebuild Kit in the US, and Ken put it all together.  Saved a lot of money by him doing this part himself, and also he knows all about the workings when things need to be adjusted.

I would have to say that the electric part was as important as the fat tire part to make these bikes perfect for driving in the desert.

I do not have many GB left on my plan, so only a few pictures this time