The Rockhounder Honeymoon

Our trip, in its entirety, spanned 484 miles, and took 2.25 days to complete. We traveled north, along the 15, breaking off on the 215 for a short distance; reuniting with the 15 again through the Cajon Pass and across the San Andreas Fault. We were then riding smoothly across the North American Tectonic Plate, after leaving the somewhat mobile Pacific Tectonic Plate in our wake. We crossed in to the high desert, the Mojave: a scene mostly unchanged for several million years. The old remnants of volcanic activity dotted the land, and ancient lava-flows were piled up on all sides by the encroaching sand. It was a truly unforgettable environment.   Trip


We were hardcore, and drove up there AND made the first site (B on the Google map) in one go. We were dressed for desert-combat, and fully prepared to brave the harshness of both wind and sand. But we had a good day instead, with hardly a trace of wind, and NOT A SINGLE RATTLESNAKE! For the entire trip! Amazing…

Site one was hard to get to. It was a geologic zone I identified early on as having a high-potential for gemstone output. The quality of jasper would be lower, but there would be blue chalcedony to be had there, and other varieties of quartz-family stones.




Once we got into the zone, we elevated our search past some old silver mines, and headed up the hill, to where a distinct transition of color in the soil was taking place. The farther up the hills we went, the more the chalcedony came bubbling out of the ground. It was truly, truly amazing.




In the shadow of an ancient volcano to the north, we absolutely killed it. We had well over 15 pounds of rock from the day 1 excursion. And a high percentage of that take is of amazing quality.




On day 2, we traveled farther north on the 15, headed for a site better known for it’s jasper as opposed to chalcedony and agate. But it was here where we landed the “big fish” of the trip. Common opal was here, though uncommon, we found some breathtaking pieces. The geologic history of this area is much the same as site 1. The intrusion of a volcano into exsisting sedimentary rock created beautiful colorful canyons and hillsides, loaded with gemstones.




The canyon walls along the Mojave river were spectacular. We headed into the hills, and absolutely rocked it. Pun intended.




Though I had low-expectations for this site, we pulled our best common opals and fire agates here. Unquestionably, the finest gemstone take I have EVER SEEN. Period.




If you were looking through my previous post, The Opal Trip, it would be obvious that the sites we visited are different from the ones I had planned on visiting originally. The truth of the matter is, I failed to do the proper research on vehicular access. The first two sites were intended to be accessed via 4×4 vehicles only. I then re-shaped the plan, and found two different spots that the truck would actually be able to make it to. And although the roads were rugged and lumpy, we got to the right areas, and kicked some serious ass. In a geologic sense.

Overall, the trip was epic, awe-inspiring and fantastically profitable. We have more pure, gemstone-quality minerals in our collection now than I have ever had or seen, anywhere, ever.

I’m very happy with our trip, and boy am I glad to be back on my own mattress again. Motel mattress in Barstow = the suck.

Orange Tree

Guided by mystery and frail shaking

A softness in stirring hands

A downward, glancing kiss of flowers

Going pinks and purples

Don’t let go of happiness

The grace of citrus splashes

All piled in rays of sunlight

Echoing the heat of daytime–

Melted pools of love

I dream of magic


Growing into harmonies

Fragile traces of sand

Crusting on the skin of travelers

Wandering unlost

Across the trails that lead to me

Busy Bee

I’m in the shop for 12 hours today. That seems like a lot, because it is.

I guess it’s because they trust me to run the show, and do a good job. They’re right. I’m damn good at this job, and worthy of the level of responsibility I have been given. I hope…

Of course I have doubts. I’m still cautious… not all ambitious kicking the shit out of the world or anything.

I’m not that guy either.

I try. I try my best, even. I think I’m doing pretty good for a mentally ill person. I have not given up on my life. I continue to yearn for newness, change, progress. I don’t think I could settle for some quitting, half-assed way of doing things. It’s my self-worth and pride that are at stake.

I also have this thing; it’s an overriding sense of morality. I really do believe in doing right. I mean, really right. Not just “what’s right for me,” but universally, what would be accepted as the “right” thing to do. Not exploiting people. Not deceiving people. Not taking advantage to gain something over someone. Not being violent. Not committing blatant crimes.

I don’t know. Is that fucking lame of me?

 I don’t see any reason to live another way. I am bound by a willingness to help people, and be good inside. Because I’m proud of my ability to do that. I can look at myself and say: “hey, you’re trying, and you’re doing good things. That’s all you can really do.”

So, I’m grinding away in the shop. Working, when I have the ability to do so. It’s kinda dead in here today. No computers to repair off the bench. Just remotes, so far.

I hope you all out there have a good day. I wish nothing but the best for you, and whatever it is you do that makes you happy.


Noise and Flailing Limbs

I can’t really comprehend my sister most of the time. Even the allegedly sacred domain of family is often a place easily trampled… despite my personal beliefs. I guess it’s easier to abuse family, since you somehow know they’re in it “for the long-haul.” Stuck with you… regardless. It’s easy to take them for granted, excommunicate them, or otherwise torture them with words, whether they deserve it or not.

My sister must have some extenuating circumstances that I am (blissfully) unaware of that cause her such resentment of me… or so I hope (as this makes more sense than outright hatred of me). Frankly, at this point, I just don’t want to “play” anymore. I’m not in this to create meaningless drama, or subsequently respond to abuse with anger. I just don’t care. I have a lot of other, meaningful things to be concerned about. So, I go forward, not backward.

I have such a great life right now: my WIFE and I are happy, stable, and getting better every day. I don’t have the time or inclination to entertain the ignorance of one perturbed family member.

She has continued to spew vile and noxious words in my  “general direction…” and I’m tuning them out at this point. Since even the public forum by which I share my thoughts here is scrutinized for gossip, I chose not to play, or evoke any more tantrums; though this transmission my incite more flailing of limbs, gnashing of teeth and subsequent tearing of clothes. Possibly shoe-throwing as well…

Maybe she thinks my past behavior is a result of intentional action, and not the byproduct of the beginnings of my disability? Maybe she could care less that I am disabled, and struggle DAILY to be a high-functioning person? Maybe she just doesn’t get it, or care to, because it’s too foreign a thought to her? I’m tired of speculating. I wish for understanding, not prejudice. I get judgement and am chastised unfairly. Am I really such an asshole?

I have nightmares about this situation. My sleep has been affected the last several nights. I tried to “hurry” my life along recently, by applying for a loan to get a car… but many around me have noticed this, and pulled the reigns back on me. And with reason: I was taking on more than I would have been able to support, based on a feeling of pressure from my sister’s high-standards of life-scrutiny. Like I still wasn’t good enough to get respect, or anything at all that could be looked at as positive. I have to be fully independent and well-established, and perhaps meeting some “yet to be decided” criteria invented to make me struggle harder. Meh.

It’s not like I have not tried. I admit, we are VASTLY different people. And under normal circumstances, I would not befriend a person similar to her. She has nothing in common with me. She shares noting with me, and resents me for a disturbing childhood full of fights, angry words, and regret. I can’t fix that. I have moved on, hoping for something new to grow. Frankly, I just don’t care anymore. It’s worth little to me to invest in a dead-end relationship. She has made that abundantly clear of late.

I guess, in that sense, she’s right. I really have not given it the effort it probably deserves. I should have tried harder to be a better brother. But I can’t change the past, and I’m doing my best to make a better future.

In the end, I’m still without a sister, and dealing with a nonsensical drama created by her, which has more collateral damage for my parents to deal with. As usual, her bad behavior has her locked in her room, screaming and crying through the seams of the shut and locked door, demanding attention, expressing contempt and outrage, and for what? Who cares…

Beautiful, inspiring art has a place here. Especially when you consider we both struggle with mental illness, and have each found a way to express ourselves through words, wire-wrapping and gemsone collecting. We are a great pair, and I hope you can show my Birdy some love as she strives to create, despite disability. We will struggle, but inevitably, endure.

Honor Horology

Key of the Orange Lotus     What’s in a name? Descriptors? Supplies? How do you name a piece, if even you do? I name every piece because in my mind every piece has a story of it’s making, of where the pieces came from, and what inspired me to make it. To me the story needs a title, otherwise it may get lost in the never ending cycle of stories. I love my work and the stories, however dull they may be to the outside, my pieces remind me of.


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One Two One Two

Around the bend

The tatters mend

A wistful want

Pulled to its knot

Ringed fingers

Dancing chance

A feeling lingers

In this romance

I’ll bind my time

To yours endure

Two rings entwine

A love that’s pure

So be my bride

And I’ll be your man

And with me stride

Into futures plan

What will be unknown

But brave we try

To know what we own

And sometimes cry

Be strong with me

Into life we’ll go

And through it see

Our love will grow

The Opal Trip

So, we’re officially headed out to the desert May 19-20. We’re staying a night in Barstow (exciting, I know…), but rockhounding 2 distinct sites, looking for rare minerals. The first stop, I’ve both researched and confirmed in the Califirina guide. The official geologic map for the state points to a paleolithic sedimentary deposit turned metamorphic when the area was intruded upon by subductive volcanism. Igneous intrusions abound, and the desert wind and air has taken it’s toll on the site, as you can see in the low-profile of the mountains. Area in question is to the north west of Barstow, in the light blue cluster bordering the tertiary volcanic activity.


Transposing the two images reveals the terrain change is the area in question, and the run-off and erosion points on the hills are areas to target. Places in the “bake-zone” where, at one time, molten rock came into contact with sedimentary rock. At site 1, we are looking for opals primarily, with a chance at agates or jasper. There is a good chance of picking up crystal here too, in the garnet family.

At site 2, we have to go a tad down the 40 freeway. But not too far. The site will be rich in geodes, and banded agates of various forms. There is a greater percent chance of finding crystal gemstones here as well. The site is visible as steep hills, eroded by desert wind. Area in question is the mixing point of both tertiary and quadentary volcanic areas, where they entered more pre-exsisting sedimentary rock deposits; to the south of Newberry Springs.


Really mixed bag at site 2, so I’m not sure what to expect. The geologic zone indicates more “bake-zone” mineralogy, but the nature of the original geologic unit makes a difference in what minerals appear at the site. For now, I’m cautiously optimistic about what the site holds, but only hitting the ground will give us the solid indicator.


A closer look at target areas for site one makes it clear that I intend to hit the ridges, looking for PRISTINE samples uncovered by rain. Hopefully, there’s a revelation or two to be had out there. I have a feeling the site isn’t done coughing up treasures just yet…

Site two is DEFINITELY MORE CHALLENGING as far as climbing goes. We may NEED to stick to valleys and less ridges. However, we’re looking for minerals in formations more prone to being round, so they may have a chance to have rolled down the hill a ways during the years.


I’m, again, going to attack this site from the perspective of a novice, and assume our better condensations will be in run-off points, rather than trying for a pristine sample at the top of a hill, JUST uncovered.

As you can see, I’ve given our strategy some thought. I want to maximize our efficiency, as collecting precious stones is a big part of our success. I will, of course, have a post on this, but for now, it’s a future engagement, liable to produce some AMAZING finds. Like nothing we could collect locally.

Finally, I’ll have pictures up soon of the most recent batch, the one that finished polishing today. 2 tumbling barrels full of beautiful quartz and feldspar. Great finds a-plenty, from more ancient volcanism. Anyway, go rockhounding sometime.

You might be surprised what you find: