At the November 2002 Gold Prospectors of the Rockies club meeting, I put forth the suggestion that we should put together a trip to Arizona and go metal detecting. A good response was received from the members so I agreed to try and put the trip together. I began researching areas in Arizona for the trip.
At the December meeting, I again asked how many were still interested in going down to Arizona. A good response was again received and I began to tell the folks about my research for the trip. It was at this point that several of the folks mentioned that they would like to go to the Quartzsite, Arizona, area. I also asked if there were any time frames that they would like to make the trip. Most indicated that they had no preference as to time frame; some indicated that the end of January would be better for them.
With that in mind, I began looking for all the information I could gather on the Quartzsite area and La Paz County. Well, I want to tell you there is a ton of information on the happenings at Quartzsite with all of the rock and gems shows, RV shows, gold shows, and especially the flea market. However, there was no information about gold mining or metal detecting in La Paz County. I found lots on Yuma County and Mojave County but nothing on La Paz County. I began to look for someone to contact in the area, so I called Leonard Leeper, as I knew he has lots of contacts all over the country. Leonard suggested that I place a notice on his web site to see if I could get a contact around Quartzsite.
I received a response from Mike Gryvnak, who lives in Parker, Arizona, which is about 45 minutes north of Quartzsite on Highway 95. Mike was very interested in the group coming down for a metal detecting trip; he felt we would have a very good time. He suggested that we could contact an "old timer" in the area by the name of Stony Collins.
Mike began to tell me about Stony, who spends the Winter in Quartzsite and travels north to places such as Idaho during the summer months. Stony does panning, dredging, sluicing, and meteorite hunting.
I contacted Stony and Mike and discussed our trip to Arizona. A lot of the information about the trip had not been discussed with the club members at the time and I told them that we were going to have our Januaary 2003 meeting the following week. During the meeting I would discuss the information with the members and we would set a date and determine how many would be making the trip.
At the January meeting, i discussed with the members what information I had found and also my contact with Mike and Stony. We agreed to get together after the meeting and set up what we were going to do. After the club meeting was over, about eight people gathered and we set the last week in Januaryt for the trip. We covered all the requirements for the trip, including our meeting site at the gas station at Meadows Parkway at the north Castle Rock exit for 8:00 AM on Saturday, January 25th, for all the people who wanted to travel down to Arizona together.
I had made plans to meet Mike and Stony on the 25th and left for Quartzsite on the 24th. I left Denver around 12:30 PM and drove to Gallup, New Mexico, on the first day. I got to Gallup around 8:00 PM, as it was a good day for driving. The next morning I left Gallup about 8:00 AM and headed for Quartzsite. It was another good day for driving and I reached Quartzsite about 2:30 PM.
What a sight there is coming down I-10 west as you come into Quartzsite. There must be thousands of RVs and trailers parked all over the place. It looked like the biggest trailer park I had ever seen. They say that during the Winter there are 300- to 350-thousand visitors to the area and most spend the entire Winter at Quartzsite. The week before our trip, they held their annual RV show, which is supposed to be the biggest in the country. When you think that you have just about seen it all, you get into downtown Quartzsite and find the largest flea market I have ever seen. I know many of you hav been to the Mile High Flea Market. Well, if you were to multiply that by 50 times, you can begin to get an idea of the size of the market in Quartzsite.
I met with Mike and Stony. We had dinner and discussed some of the areas that Stony planned on taking the group on Monday, the 27th. On Sunday, Mike, Stony, and I went out to Gold Nugget Road, which was one of the locations that was mined by the Spanish for a long time. We also wanted to locate places for camping.
On Sunday afternoon, I made sure I was back in Quartzsite and waiting for the group to arrive. We had made arrangements to meet at the Hi-Jolly Monument. The Hi-Jolly is a monument to a camel driver who was used by the military to handle the camels that were used during the American Civil War.
Paul & Norma Mayhack from Fort Collins showed up at 4:30 PM. Rich Crist and Bob & Darlene Miosek arrived at 5:00. We went out to the 14-day free-permit camping area and found a place to set up camp. I set up a meeting with the group for the next day and passed the information on to Stony.
On Monday, the 27th, we met with Stony who gave an overview of the things that he could do or show us in the area. Well, of course, the only thing on our minds was to get out to the desert and get those metal detectors working! With that in mind, we headed for Gold Nugget Road. Once we were back into the area, we got some additional instructions from Stony and we took off to look for all that gold we just knew we were going to find. The day was great; the temperature about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, with a nice breeze. We spent about four hours searching the area and came up with nothing. We had some lunch, moved to a new location, and tried again--still nothing. Around 4:00 PM, we headed back to town. We had a great evening; the stars are just amazing without all the city light interference (not like in Denver).
We all had a good night's sleep and met up again at 9:00 AM to go to another location. We spent two hours there, then moved to a diffferent location and spent two hours there, then moved once more for another two hours. Again, nothing! After yet another two hours (with nothing to show for it), we decided that it wsa time for dinner and went to the barbecue place and had some good "BBQ." During this time, it was decided that some folks would head for Stanton and try their luck there. Others decided they would head on back home.
We all agreed that even though we did not have any luck, we had all had a great time at Quartzsite. By noon the following day, most of us had headed to our next location, all feeling that our time in the Quartzsite area and meeting Stony had been a good adventure.
I would like to thank all of the poeple who made the excursion to Quartzsite a great trip. A lot of times, it's not the trip but the people that make the difference!Photo Credits -- Taken by Ken Barker
Darlene & Bob Miosek, Rich Crist, friend of Hoffmeyers, Paul Mayhack, Vonnie & Barry Hoffmeyer
Rich Crist, Bob Miosek, and Stony Collins
Rich Crist, Stony Collins, Bob & Darlene Miosek