I might be a rockhound…. but me… I would rather be chasing rabbits.
We have been in the area of Wileys well for about a week, LOVELY place. REMOTE. It is named after Palo Verde storekeeper and postmaster A.P. Wiley who, in 1907, deepened a shallow well dug in 1876 by a stagecoach company which frequented the nearby Bradshaw Trail. Wiley expanded the well in the hope of attracting business to his remote desert store; it was maintained by local ranchers and cattlemen for years afterward. However, the rapidly falling water table meant a drop of the water’s depth to 60 feet (18 m) within a dozen years. Today, the well’s original depth is only about 20’/6m at best after wet weather and is unfit for drinking.
I guess they dug a proper well here for the campground, in 1985, but the water is undrinkable, as it contains arsenic and flouride. The Bradshaw trail is an old gold road that bisected this part of California over the the LA PAS county of Arizona. We got here on the Wileys well road, which just comes down directly from highway 10 just outside Blythe Calfornia. It was 3 miles of pavement and 6 miles of a very bumpy road, well maintained though. This road is interesting in that they seem to keep it open much like we keep highways open in the snow. With big rains and winds, the sand begins to start to creep in to cover up the road. So they come through with big machines to plow the sand to the sides. There are big piles of sand on either side of the road. So we are at the junction of the Bradley Trail and Wileys well road
Interesting aside. Our first night here (we thought we were in the middle of nowhere, when we started to hear loud cars and LOTS OF THEM) Turns out it was the SoCal Gambler 500
Which is::: A huge rally where teams take a 500 dollar car and drives a 500 mile off road rally. Check out the pictures at the link. They came through at night, so I did not get pictures. Apparently right next to where we are camping is a wide wash that they seemed to get stuff in. Ken went out and pulled out one team, and then several more came through, pulling each other out. I pulled these pictures off their site.
Next day, back to maybe one car a day going by.
SO this area is known for its GEODE beds, and we have been off in search of them. It has been a huge task to find them using GPS, google earth, maps I have downloaded and maps from 3 books, but that has been part of the fun, and I do think we have found them all. Geode beds seem to be areas that are very dense with geodes, such that by digging in that area you are very likely to find one. That is my interpretation though. I try to imagine how these were found originally, I can only imagine that at one time the geodes were plentiful on top of the ground and someone thought about digging underneath for more. So this is a geode bed area, lots of holes with scattering of bits and pieces of geodes lying around.
Ken showing us how it is done….
Me and Tucker showing how it is done…. You basically climb into one of the holes and start digging the edges. I found it most clearly compared to the slot machines in a casino. The last person to dig, leave the area open and the first shovel of dirt I make, I might find a geode, whereas the last person could have made ONE MORE SHOVEL…. and gotten the geode 🙂 We have not really decided if we like digging geodes. too much work. This hole I was digging in, I thought might be LUCKY… because someone left a beer bottle in it 🙂
We would rather walk for miles looking for stuff in the open (they call that FLOAT), which is what we usually do. A few days ago, Ken found a very nice pick ax out in the desert, which he is not sure whether it was a good thing or a bad thing, but it moves more dirt. We feel it was karma to make up for all of the pick axes I have left out in the desert. You put your pack down for something and a mile down the road you realize it feels lighter. :^)
The other problem with Geodes is that they are kind of ugly on the outside and they have a certain appearance that you know it is a geode, however some contain NOTHING, and so the only way to find out what it contains, you have to smash it open, and often when you do, you ruin it. Sort of catch 22. You do not want to carry home a lot of nothing rocks. 🤔 SO as you can see Tucker LOVES rockhounding… NOT.!!!! But he is patient with us.
Our other issue for the past while is that it WAS a rather difficult road getting in here, not one we want to more than twice with the motorhome, so we have 100 gallons of water to last 2 weeks. It is amazing how little water you need to have a shower….. no picture there 🙂
It is pretty amazing area, the beauty that you get into off on these adventures is really amazing. This area is very scenic. This is one “geode bed” that we decided to give a miss to…too much climbing at the end of the day.
Tucker is peculiar in that at home, he is not happy unless he is sleeping on the very best of our furniture, and out here…. well anything goes.
Much love to all who follow our adventures.