Jim Rattlesnake S

Dry Washing: The Only Option In The Desert!

17 posts in this topic

Living in a desert area with very few creeks, rivers, etc.; dry washing is the most profitable way to go. Sure you miss some of the tiny stuff. So what? Trying to save every little speck is a waste of valuable time. There are lots of areas with gold and no water. Take advantage of it by dry washing. You can build a dry washer very cheap and it will work if you follow certain rules.

Testing an area is the key to success. If there is no gold, all the work in the world won't help you.

Dry panning is kind of a lost art, but can be done. It's a lot different than panning with water. I watched an old timer dry pan. He helped to feed his family during the depression, with the gold he dry panned.

Also, you can haul some water to pan samples.

I'll add more later.

Got to go.

Rattlesnake Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finding a virgin placer area is like finding a needle in a haystack. There probably are a few, but your best bet is to research known gold areas.

To narrow down a good place to dry wash you should sample, sample, and sample some more. You can use your dry washer or dry panning and wet panning. Also, there are electronic detectors to help.

The Falcon detector will find the smallest speck of gold. http://www.falconmetaldetectors.com/

To use it to sample for a dry washing spot, you'll need a plastic gold pan with a large flat bottom, a screen about 1/8" mesh, and a magnet. You dig out the material, screen it down and then remove the magnetics before you scan the bottom of the pan from underneath. Unfortunately any non ferrous metal will sound off. So you'll need to see what made the sound.

Other well know detectors such as the White's GMT and the Fisher Gold Bug Pro have readings for the ground minerals and that allows you to trace the black sand concentrations. You don't scan as you would normally, but instead bob the coil up and down as if you were trying to ground balance the detector. The instructions are in their respective manuals.

 

It's best to have a good metal detector along with your dry washer. You don't wan t to be like the old timers and not see that 5 ouncer roll off the screen of your dry washer and into your tailings pile.

 

Any how, best of luck to everyone.

 

Rattlesnake Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finding a virgin placer area is like finding a needle in a haystack. There probably are a few, but your best bet is to research known gold areas.

To narrow down a good place to dry wash you should sample, sample, and sample some more. You can use your dry washer or dry panning and wet panning. Also, there are electronic detectors to help.

The Falcon detector will find the smallest speck of gold. http://www.falconmetaldetectors.com/

To use it to sample for a dry washing spot, you'll need a plastic gold pan with a large flat bottom, a screen about 1/8" mesh, and a magnet. You dig out the material, screen it down and then remove the magnetics before you scan the bottom of the pan from underneath. Unfortunately any non ferrous metal will sound off. So you'll need to see what made the sound.

Other well know detectors such as the White's GMT and the Fisher Gold Bug Pro have readings for the ground minerals and that allows you to trace the black sand concentrations. You don't scan as you would normally, but instead bob the coil up and down as if you were trying to ground balance the detector. The instructions are in their respective manuals.

 

It's best to have a good metal detector along with your dry washer. You don't wan t to be like the old timers and not see that 5 ouncer roll off the screen of your dry washer and into your tailings pile.

 

Bingo… I'll be adding a Falcon to my toolbox this fall and will be doing exactly as you described. Why waste time dry washing an area for $1 an hour that didn't sample out. If I can't sample out at least $50 an hour worth of gold, then time to move on to the next spot. There's way too many profitable areas out there that are just begging for somebody to come along and clean it out.  B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If I can't sample out at least $50 an hour worth of gold, then time to move on to the next spot.

Well, I certainly wish you the best of luck. Have you ever made $50 an hour prospecting for more than just a very short time before?

Areas where an individual can make that much with minimal equipment are just not that common. You'd be making $400 a day, and if there were loads of places where a guy could make $400 a day on an ongoing basis, there would be a lot more prospectors out there.

Not trying to be hard on you, just trying to be realistic.

Peter Freedman likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I certainly wish you the best of luck. Have you ever made $50 an hour prospecting for more than just a very short time before?

Areas where an individual can make that much with minimal equipment are just not that common. You'd be making $400 a day, and if there were loads of places where a guy could make $400 a day on an ongoing basis, there would be a lot more prospectors out there. Not trying to be hard on you, just trying to be realistic.

 

As a "realist".. the fact is... here in AZ there are literally 100's of thousands of acres of prime gold bearing land that has yet to be discovered. If you knew me, you'd know that I don't prospect the tourist traps. I like to hunt for gold in places that are pretty much off limits to the average modern day prospector. Not trying to be egotistical or anything, but I'm somewhat of an experienced dirt bike rider, and many of our toughest single-track trails (mostly old mining pack trails) here in the Bradshaws and lower elevations, cut right through some of the best gold bearing ground AZ has to offer. The only way to get into these areas is to either hike, dirt bike, or ride a horse. And you'd better be close to an expert at all of them, lest you don't want to end up as a bag of bones withering away out in the middle of nowhere, or in a deep canyon off the side of some mountain you may have fallen off. 

 

So no Chris… you're not being hard on me at all. As I stated, if I can't make at least $50 an hour digging or detecting for gold, then I'm moving on to the many hundreds of other plentiful spots that WILL provide me with those sort of wages. Come this fall I'll be sampling like a mad man, you're more than welcome to join me, and see for yourself exactly the type of terrain and geology I'm referring to. Here's a question for you… do honestly think Rich Hill is the only "mountain" in AZ to give up the gold? I can show a hundred areas just like Rich Hill that are similar in geology and features and all within a 25 mile radius. They're just a little hard to get to… that's all.

 

Just an FYI… if you ever decide you want to join me, all I ask is that you brush up on your dirt bike skills, as this is what you'll be riding. So far I have two of these. I call them my little mechanical mules. They'll go just about anywhere, they don't need feeding or watering, they don't kick, and best of all they're not stubborn!  :D

 

greenrokon.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's see... you can write and you're heading out drywashing in Arizona.  Sounds to me like you need to snap a few photos while you're out there and send in an article on how you go about it.  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's see... you can write and you're heading out drywashing in Arizona.  Sounds to me like you need to snap a few photos while you're out there and send in an article on how you go about it.  :)

 

No problem. Look for something this fall. It's way too hot right now to be out playing in the desert. I make it a rule that I don't go out in any climate that I'm not prepared to spend a few days in walking back home.  ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gary M adds: "Just an FYI… if you ever decide you want to join me, all I ask is that you brush up on your dirt bike skills, as this is what you'll be riding. So far I have two of these. I call them my little mechanical mules. They'll go just about anywhere, they don't need feeding or watering, they don't kick, and best of all they're not stubborn!  :D"

 

Gary M...how do you compare those Rokon trail bikes with something like a Quad for prospecting? I've looked at Rokons online but they seem pretty pricey. Can they really climb 60 degree slopes like the manufacture claims?

 

I also visit areas well off the beaten path but usually under my own power but I sure could see the advantages to having one of those 'mechanical mules'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gary M adds: "Just an FYI… if you ever decide you want to join me, all I ask is that you brush up on your dirt bike skills, as this is what you'll be riding. So far I have two of these. I call them my little mechanical mules. They'll go just about anywhere, they don't need feeding or watering, they don't kick, and best of all they're not stubborn!  :D"

 

Gary M...how do you compare those Rokon trail bikes with something like a Quad for prospecting? I've looked at Rokons online but they seem pretty pricey. Can they really climb 60 degree slopes like the manufacture claims?

 

I also visit areas well off the beaten path but usually under my own power but I sure could see the advantages to having one of those 'mechanical mules'.

Mark,

Don't have one myself but a couple of friends have Rokons.  Their advantage over a quad that I see is that having only two wheels they can go up a narrow ravine or between boulders and trees where a quad just won't fit. 

 

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mark,

Don't have one myself but a couple of friends have Rokons.  Their advantage over a quad that I see is that having only two wheels they can go up a narrow ravine or between boulders and trees where a quad just won't fit. 

 

Bob

They do seem like they would be able to handle more extreme terrain than the normal 4wd quad while quads seem inherently easier to ride for the average person. As far as how much gear one could pack into an area with either of these 'mechanical mules', I would guess you would have to give the edge to the quad. Still I would have to admit that something along the line of Gary's machine does have a bit more appeal to me but until I can really justify their rather steep price, I'll be constrained by the limits of how much I can pack in on my back and the range my two feet can carry me.

 

Thanks for your comments Bob.

 

Mark Tillman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mark,

 

 A Rokon will climb a 90 degree wall, hill or tree with no problem, there is one problem of gravity flipping you on your back attempting to do so, so no matter the incline a Rokon will go up it to the point it will flip over backwards.

 

Here's an old Rokon video that shows the reasonable abilities of the Rokon.

 

 

(You will have to copy and paste both of the below Youtube video links, for some reason I can't post them as a clickable link or get them to embed on this forum)

 

 

 

 That being said, if you intend to be on steep inclines most of time and not being able to almost level out periodically with a Rokon I would try and find a older Rokon that has a 2 cycle engine and rebuilt the bike/engine if necessary, because the new ones have 4 cycles engines and being on a incline for a long length of time will starve the engine of oil that lubricates it resulting in premature engine failure, it's not a problem with the 2 cycle engines because the oil for lubricating the engine is in the gas.

 

 Now on the matter for being able to haul all the gear you need, Rokon makes a little sidecar/cart, but even better is they make a "single track trailer" it only has one wheel with suspension at the back, it's only a little wider than the bike or about the same width if you have the saddlebags attached on the bike, you can see all the accessories on their website.

 

http://www.rokon.com/index.php?p=1_11_Accessories

 

 

Also here's a great video that shows the Rokon with the single track trailer and how well it does on trails and some moderate inclines up in Vancouver Canada.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXc5QqMLI5g&feature=player_embedded

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gary M...how do you compare those Rokon trail bikes with something like a Quad for prospecting? I've looked at Rokons online but they seem pretty pricey. Can they really climb 60 degree slopes like the manufacture claims?

 

The Rokon has many advantages (and very few disadvantages) over a qwad. Number one advantage being it will go places you wouldn't even dare want to try on a qwad, no matter how skilled of a rider you are! Here's a video from my friend Harold (72 year old man) representative of the typical trails in many of my prospecting areas… in fact this particular video is of a trail up by the Wagoner area, which we all know here in this part of AZ has been known to produce many ounces of gold.

 

http://youtu.be/mrwXrTAKccI

 

These trials are easy to ride on the Rokon, as I normally just putt along in 2nd gear and let the bike do all of the work. The bike is fairly low to the ground, so you can easily use your feet to effectively "dog paddle" over the big boulders, rocks, logs, or whatever may be in your path.

 

As a caveat… Rokons can't go everywhere. There are some hills that I just could not make it up due to very loose rock and decomposed granite. The wheels would just spin. In this case I normally hop off the bike and put it in 1st gear and try to walk it up. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. If you have a riding buddy, then 2 people can easily lift or push the bike up and over any hills or obstacles that you wouldn't even dare want to try with a qwad.

 

As you can see in the photo, between the saddlebags and tote box, I can carry quite a bit of stuff on the bike. I made racks specifically to fit the large totes for both of my bikes. They'll carry all the equipment I need to prospect, plus whatever won't fit in the totes like my large pick, shovel, digging bar, etc., I can tie them on top of the tote as you can see in this photo...

 

redrokon.jpg

 

 

About the only disadvantage over a qwad is these bikes are slow (30 mph top speed) and very rough riding at higher speeds as they have no suspension except for the tires and seat. Most of my prospecting areas are roughly 10 miles or so away from where I park my truck, so getting to my prospecting areas usually takes me anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on how rough the terrain is.

 

Regarding price… I guess new Rokons can be on the expensive side. Actually they're no more than what a new dirt bike would cost, so it's all relative. You can get used ones for less than $5000. So all in all, the bottom line is if you want to get into the back country where few have ventured, you can do it for the price of a good gold detector.

 

Right now I'm more or less just starting out my gold prospecting adventures, so my main goal come this fall will be to do tons of sampling work in all the areas I have marked on my geological maps. Once my sampling program is over and I find some productive areas, then I'll be getting a single track trailer to pull behind one of the bikes that can carry my dry washing equipment and what not. My goal is to find several nice productive residual pockets (whether vein or placer) and use them as my own personal ATM's so to speak. One thing about using these Rokons to prospect with, I definitely won't have to worry about claim jumpers, or somebody poking around in one of my productions areas. Unless of course they're riding Rokons also.  :o

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I sure know a good deal more about Rokon trail bikes than I did before I asked my initial question so thanks Gary and Gold Seeker for sharing your knowledge and experience with the bikes. I've been thinking about getting one to use primarily for prospecting and visiting old mine sites scattered around the Arizona outback so the fact that they're rather slow wouldn't generally be a problem although it might limit my using it to commute to and from my work (lots of folks around here use quads to commute to and from work so the Rokon would be at something of a disadvantage here). Gary, I like the way you were able to secure your gear to your bike as I assume you can squeeze one of the smaller size dry washers into the plastic case on the back which would suffice for sampling purposes. I run a medium size Gold Buddy DW which just fits into that size case excluding the blower motor and flex hose. For myself, I'm thinking that the most practical approach would be to use the bike to get myself and my metal detector into an area of interest and then use the detector as a general prospecting tool to help locate potential spots to dry wash. Using the metal detector to pinpoint possible spots worked out well for us last spring when my girlfriend; using her Gold Bug 2, was able to pinpoint a good spot for dry washing whereas we recovered just over 1.5 grams of gold over two days of dry washing. Not a lot of gold for the amount of work involved but probably a realistic return for the area. This area is also somewhat off the beaten path and the first time I visited the location, I had to hike in about 3 miles since the road was washed out. Since then, we've managed to find an alternate route into the area that gets us within a quarter mile of where we set up our dry washer...easy walking distance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of my prospecting areas are roughly 10 miles or so away from where I park my truck, so getting to my prospecting areas usually takes me anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on how rough the terrain is.

 

Is your truck 2wd or 4wd? Just wondering since it would seem like you should be able to get  closer than 10 miles to where you want to prospect. Of course  areas like the Grand Canyon and the Barry Goldwater Bombing range could prove rather inaccessible but the geology would be wrong for the GC and BGBR wouldn't seem worth the risk. I did visit one mine in the Bradshaw Mts that required hiking just about 5 miles but that was only because the forest service road accessing the  mine was closed off by private property holders....same old story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is your truck 2wd or 4wd? Just wondering since it would seem like you should be able to get  closer than 10 miles to where you want to prospect.

 

Wouldn't matter if I had a 4wd truck or not. The areas I mainly prospect are only accessible with a horse, bike, or on foot. I can't even get my Rhino but within a few miles of most of my areas, so it's just easier to bite the bullet and ride the Rokons all the way in. What I'll probably end up doing once I get all my honey holes located, is I'll sell the Rhino and buy a Can-Am or Ranger and then build me a nice off-road trailer to haul the Rokon on it. That way I can get in a little closer and a little faster, plus I can haul more supplies in to my locations, and then use the Rokon to ferry them in and out to the actual prospects.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well it looks like the Trail Breakers have improved some.

I had one about 40 years ago that we use to use for access to our claims.

 The only limitation on its ability was if you could hold on !!

 

Amazing bikes but boy what a rough ride. I went through a whole lot

of chain and sprockets on that machine.

 

I see from our second photo that they still make the hollow rims for holding gas.

 

 Enjoy!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well it looks like the Trail Breakers have improved some.

I had one about 40 years ago that we use to use for access to our claims.

 The only limitation on its ability was if you could hold on !!

 

Yeah, they've improved them a little, but they're basically still the same bike they were in 1963. Just a little more updated so to speak. Ironically, the gentleman (Orla Larson) that founded Rokon is an avid gold prospector. He just recently moved to Palm Springs, so we'll be getting together sometime this fall/winter and so some prospecting in the Quartzite area. He's getting up there in years and recently broke his pelvis, so hopefully he'll be all healed up in time to hit the gold fields. I think it would be pretty cool to ride and prospect with the founder of the very bike that has allowed so many prospectors to go where very few have ventured.  B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now