Hunting for Gold

Truck Camping on the Dolores

I want to be in the mountains of Colorado in the summers. I am getting tired of moving every two weeks. How do I do this with spending little?

Well, the virus check bought me a 20 acre placer mining claim. It will cost me $155/ year (maybe). I love metal detecting . Hunting for gold in the Dolores river for 5 months of the year seems like a deal. That will be $31/ month (maybe). That means that I will have to find only 3 grams of gold every year to pay for it. It looks like this may not be right. More trying to figure things out. It looks as though all I will need to pay is a “Maintenance Fee Waiver” of $15 and maybe an “Affidavit of Annual Assessment Work” for another $15. So $30 for the year?! Dealing with bureaucracy is entertaining. I don’t have the whole story yet.

The picture below was on the ebay site. I fell for it. In the description of the claim they said that 2wd could get close to claim. I have 4 wheel drive. Hope I can get very close. We’ll see. Dolores River

I own all of the minerals on the 20 acre claim. No one else can search for gold or minerals. However, anyone can be on the property, hunt on the property, fish on the property, camp on the property. I am allowed to camp out on the property for as long as I am mining. Everyone else can stay only 2 weeks. I have a gold detector, I have pans and brushes and digging tools. I bet it will take me several years to prospect the whole 20 acres.

I don’t think  this area  is a great gold source, but it is 20 acres to camp on next to a beautiful river for 5 months in the summer .

One extra fun thing about this purchase is the learning of government vocabulary. There are no gps numbers for any mining location. The claim is defined by townships and range and section and aliquot. A claim is also defined as lode or placer, active or closed. It took me a long time to figure this all out. Still learning. And I am excited. Excited to see if I can get to the claim, get any gold, excited to try a new activity and learn new stuff.

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Camping in the Desert

Luxury Break While Truck Camping

As I was leaving Quartzsite to head up to Illinois the virus became more intense. So I decided to wait it out in a tiny RV park in Bouse, AZ and try to make a face mask. You might notice that I hadn’t had a haircut in 5 months.

Selfi Mask

The luxury of this site was a laundromat within walking distance, a grocery store within walking distance, and a flush toilet and a shower. For me that is luxury. In addition to all of that the wildlife and the hikes and the shade were all icing on the cake. It got up to 107 one day, and hovered around 100 for weeks on end. The shade was great. The mesquite tree bloomed and the bees came. I had a wonderful time sitting underneath the humming bees chomping on the buds.

Bouse Camping Shade

The walks were great.


This rattlesnake was very polite and sweet. She let me know that she wasn’t into company.

Bouse Rattlesnake

You know that I am always working with a tight budget, so I traded cleaning the bathroom for part of rent . Very affordable.

It got so hot that I poured water over my long hair and hot head. Ah, relief. pouring water over head

The big surprise was the human interaction. Gordon, Mark, Scotty, Sebastian, Wilma. All politically opposite from me. All generous with their time and hospitality. I still dream about Wilma’s beans from Dove Creek!

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Truck Camping Pantry Decisions

Minimalist Camping Kitchen

Organizing and keeping things from spilling is a big part of pantry maintenance.Below are  4 boxes that help do the job.Labeling helps in the night/dawn. And do realize that your method of organizing will be different and will change.

Camping kitchen supplies

The box below holds soup stuff. Dried veggies, etc. I play around with ramen additions.

Truck Soup Box

The box below holds the condiments. There is usually a selections of pickles.Camping cooking condiments

The box below is dedicated to coffee.
Camping coffee

The last box is for drinks.

Camping drinks

Camping drinks

There is another box for dried soups, ramen, pasta, flour and assorted grains. Then there is one more box for cans of beans, cans of corn, cans of tomatoes.

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Best Camping Spots

Camping NM

I have been very lucky finding wonderful camping spots. I had the help of, which led me to Apache Creek, NM. This was a free site, with a pit toilet and luscious trees and great hikes.Apache Creek, best campsite

I spent two winters taking advantage of the New Mexico Park Pass, which for the out of state fee of $225/year  you can camp for 2 weeks at any of the NM Sate Parks. Absolutely wonderful. Some campgrounds even had libraries and hot showers for no extra fees. There were many beautiful sites. There were Mexican restaurants nearby most of the campgrounds. The facilities were great, with birding hints, trails and knowledgeable staff. If you are a budget freak, like me, it was $37.50 for each of the 6 months I was there.

City of Rocks State Park

Camping AZ

Arizona is divine in the winter for me, since I do not have any heat source. I have had 70 degree days in January. Yum. And the community of campers is strong, helpful and very friendly.

Quartzsite, AZ LTVA

Camping CO

This is a free site that I was told about at the Ranger Station. 2 weeks with birds and trees and mushrooms and hikes. Delicious.

Colorado camping

This site below was beyond expectations. On the banks of a river, hikes to lakes and hot springs. Just flat out perfect. Thanks to a chance meeting at a gas station.

Camping near Pagosa Springs

The site below was thanks to a ranger. Surrounded by a river it was a flat place with long hikes, wonderful fog in the early mornings, and very quiet. I was the only camper there for the two weeks. So peaceful. So invigorating.

Bradfield Ranch, CO

You can find the perfect spot for your next camping trip if you ask people, investigate, talk to the rangers at the National Forest stations, and make mistakes. Turn the wrong way on a road and you might end up someplace magical!

Camping UT

camping Utah

This was a Utah mistake that I loved and stayed 2 weeks. Free and wild.


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Moving While Truck Camping

Most free spots in National Forests or BLM land require that campers move every 2 weeks. You may have to move outside of the district or entirely out of the Forest or BLM land. Much depends on how close you are to a major city. It may depend on the attitude of the rangers taking care of the area. Regardless, you must be prepare to move. And at first that two weeks seems like a long time. Then it become a hassle. So be prepared.

Camping mess

This image is of an early camping spot in Utah. The clear water container was a mistake. It got mildew after 1 month. The turkey was very interested in everything. I had just started to unpack when I realized that I would be in a great deal of trouble if it rained (very deep sand). So I learned not to unpack before I figured out if I was going to stay. You can see that there is not much room to move around in the back.

The first time I camped it took 1 full day to unpack and after a two week stay it took me two days to repack.  Now, 5 years later,  it takes me 1/2 hour to pack up. And the set up in a new place takes 1/2 hour. This schedule goes to the dogs if I stay in one place for several months. Then the pack up can take a full day.

Most of the time gain has been in throwing things out. I had WAY too much stuff to start. I was packing as if I was going to drive to South America again. In the USA there is food in every gas station. There is potable water everywhere. Speaking of which I have 2 5 gallon water containers. Don’t need that much in the USA. I will be leaving one of them in Quartzsite. I have shed many unnecessary items. Most of which were packed from fear. Fear that I would run out, fear that I would be stuck, fear that I would never be able to replace item. Bah. Now the comment I get about the set up is “Oh, you are a minimalist camper.” Not really. I am lazy. I do not want to load and unload things. I want to be able to sleep in a gas station without unloading chairs and coolers and boxes of excess.

This is what the back looks like now.

The less you have the quicker it is to pack and unpack!

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