Beatty and Bullets AZ…

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“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.

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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.

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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…

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SOME BIG bubbles…

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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.

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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.

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

africanized bees and rattlesnakes….

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Today we are somewhere east of Phoenix, with good internet and so thought I would take a chance to display some of the rocks, and tell a few stories.

We stayed at Wickenburg for 3 days, the rockhounding book had said to go 3 miles east of town to find geodes and agates, but we found a community campground (no services, but 7$/night) just one mile east of town.  We went for walk that night and found lots of geodes both exploded and unexploded.

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Unexploded… I find they look like hand grenades… and it has taken us 2 years to FINALLY learn how to recognize the unexploded ones.

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THE EXPLODER……

Some times we are convinced they are a geode, but alas JUST a “leaverite” rock (leaver right where you found er)IMG_2517

This is what we usually find, … parts of geodes that someone else has smashed and left bits behind.

“Geodes are spherical to subspherical rock structures with an internal cavity lined with mineral materials. They have a durable outer wall that is more resistant to weathering than the surrounding bedrock. This allows the geode to survive intact when the surrounding bedrock weathers away. The mineral lining the cavity is often a scintillating druse of tiny quartz crystals underlain by multiple bands of translucent gray and white agate. Many are lined with more spectacular treasures.

Rich purple amethyst, perfect white calcite crystals, and colorful banded agate are other common linings. Rare geodes can be filled with beautiful blue gem silica, pink rhodochrosite, spectacular opal with vivid play-of-color or other rare materials. Geodes range in size from under one centimeter to several meters in length. From the outside most geodes look like common rocks, but when they are opened the sight can be breathtaking.”  ( I copied this from a site on geodes to explain what they are.)

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The object with geodes is to recognize them in the rough, so you can bring them home and properly cut them with a saw to display the crystals inside. There are amethysts in the area of Wickenburg, who knows, perhaps some of these might have some amethyst in them.

So about RATTLESNAKES.  We were walking along (with Tucker) and heard a HISS sound (hiss without the sss). It sounded important enough, so we backed off. We did not see anything, but large holes in the ground around the base of the bushes.  So came back to the internet and searched for rattlesnake sounds and sure enough it was. Apparently it is not unheard of for them to be out in the winter, and the day was quite warm. They actually can hibernate at different times of the year, and they also tend to avoid the real heat of summer. Uncertain of what to do, I figured that there ARE rattlesnakes around Kamloops near where we live, so we opted to avoid the thick grasses.  So all in all a happy rattlesnake story.IMG_2475

We are now east of Phoenix, on our way to Quartzsite, at some point. We have found some of the most beautiful agates here.  We believe they are Fire agates, at least of moderate to low quality, but very beautiful cut. WE DO HAVE A ROCK SAW….  🙂IMG_2506

Yesterday while we were out looking for rocks we got swarmed by bees.  They were very different from any other bees we have seen in that they were quite aggressive. It did not seem to matter what we did they would not go away. We came back to camp and saw that they were totally swarming around my bucket with rocks in it. (we were soaking the rocks in soapy water to clean them).  WE clean our rocks and decide which ones to keep at the end of the day.

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As you can see there were many dead bees in the water, because it contained soap. The only thing I could think was that they were attracted by the water, no other water source out here, and when we are walking we have wet cloths with us to wipe of the rocks. They, I believe, were attracted by the moisture. I went and researched them and apparently 90% of Arizona wild bees have become africanized.  They are much more aggressive and travel in larger groups, and destroy the resident honey bee populations.

https://www.cvbugle.com/news/2017/mar/25/behind-buzz/

Great article on them.  SOOO I did not feel so bad that my rock water had killed so many bees.  Good news, we did not get bit, they seemed to be after anything with moisture, sweaty back pack, wet cleaning cloth, tuckers water dish.

I thought I would show you a few pictures of some of the rocks we have found here, cut.

We do not have the greatest saw, plan to cut them on a better saw when we get home, it is just nice here to be able to see what the inside looks like.

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Well it is Christmas morning and I feel the rest of the family stirring in the back (tucker takes my spot in bed when I get up). This is the view out my window now.

Merry christmas and lots of love to everyone

Janet

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.

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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.

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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

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larger chalcedony rose wth an agate geode.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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an agate.

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Well it is 7:30, ARIZONA time…….