Monthly Archives: May 2015

Prospector

A prospector is someone looking for mineral deposits.  Prospectors are usually after gold. A prospector is a type of explorer: one with a specific purpose.

We spent our weekend cleaning out our guest bedroom and garage.  How did I accumulate so much junk?  One pile for charity, one for garage sale and one to keep.  The big decision to keep or not to keep?  Will I really use it or do I just like the idea of it? I am sure we have all gone through this at one point in our lives.  One thing I love are my books and they are so hard to part with.  I am going to sell some, but not many!  We will have to price them at twenty five cents because not many people buy books anymore.

Last week we posted a number of things on Craigslist.  We posted my drywasher.  A drywasher? A dry washer is used to separate gold from dirt in dry (desert) conditions. I used it in the deserts around Los Angeles. I love to spend my free time prospecting in the deserts and hills.

It turned out to be a great hobby because you cannot beat the exercise.  Hiking in nature and a treasure hunt.

When I was in a mountains by a stream looking for gold, I would use a sluice.  A sluice is much smaller than a drywasher, and you place it in the water.  I would dig up 20 buckets of screened, concentrated dirt, and run it through the sluice in the water.  The water would wash away the dirt and stones and heavy minerals (black sand and gold) are left in the ridges of the sluice. When I was a kid my mother could barely get me to get rocks out of her garden, but today for fun I dig holes and move rocks.

It was a sad day when a father and son drove up here from San Diego to buy my dry washer.  They saw the listing on Craigslist.  They had borrowed a friends dry washer the weekend before and gone to the desert, and then decided to find one of their own.  That is when it hit me, we are really leaving! My wife told me I could keep it, but lets be honest, there are no deserts in the Mid West.  Its gone and I wish them a lot of gold and great shared memories.

Monday I finally had a day off from work, so I got up at 4am and drove just under two hours to Goler Gulch in the Mojave Desert.  It was time for the final prospecting trip in California with my metal detector and my dog. Its called nugget shooting when you use your metal detector and go looking for nuggets on desert claims.  I belong to several Prospecting Associations that own claims that I am allowed to prospect on.

Golar Gulch is not even 2 hours from Los Angeles but it is a different world.  To many, the area may look dead.  It is a wasteland, but it’s rich in desert plants and wildlife. I love getting away from the city to a place where cellphones don’t work and few radio stations come in.

You won’t find people in designer jogging suits, yoga pants with headphones on these trails.  in fact, I only saw four people that whole day.

When I got there, I turned off the car got out with my dog, stretched, closed my eyes and took it all in. The wind blowing across the sand and rocks, the sounds of small birds and other wildlife. It was a good last trip.  I got my backpack on and with metal detector in hand I started hiking towards the Gulch.  You pass a small miner cemetery where they buried their dead in the late 1800’s and again during the depression.  I stopped to pay my respects and say a silent prayer, then was back on the trail.

The area is dotted with coyote holes, which are small, hand dug mine shafts in the side of banks.  Miners dug them chasing the rich gravel full of placer gold. So much history took place here back in the 1890’s when they had to bring supplies in by mule or wagon. During the 1930’s and the depth of the depression the area again saw a boom. Men who were looking for work and for ways to feed their families went back to old diggings to use more modern methods to extract the gold the oldtimers left behind.  It was a hard way to make a living, but they didn’t have many options.

This time I found no gold.  The trek, the hike and desert: that is the real treasure. I hope to see it again sometime in the future.

Changes

I’ve noticed some of the things I love disappearing around the house.  The first hint was when my owners took apart the guest bedroom bed set and put it in the living room.  When they leave for work, they have always closed the door to that room.  I used to hit the closed door with my paws until it opened.  Then it was time to mess up the clean sheets and get comfy on memory foam! Warm on cold days and cool on hot days, you cant beat it for a nap.

Some strange people came and took it away, and now my owners leave the door to the empty room open and no longer care if I go in there.  There are boxes all over and they seem busy taking pictures of things that are not me.  Very unusual.

Things seem normal because every day this week my owner took me on my 4am hike.  We saw coyotes, raccoons and ducks by the pond in the park. When I get back he cooks up my breakfast of eggs and lean chicken breast.  I have to keep my muscular physique.

My bed is still next to their bed and so is my favorite throne. My squeaky bees, squeaky bunny and two squeaky Lamb Chops are still here, so I’ll just keep my eye on these two.

Moving Trucks & Internet

We’re going to road trip from LA to the farm, and we are going to do it in a car (we’re selling one of our cars).  That means figuring out how to get our things from Los Angeles to our new home, without driving it there ourselves.  I had heard of PODS and contacted them first.  Whoa, pricey.  Kept calling places and found the best option with http://www.upack.com.  1800PackRat.com started out quoting me higher than even PODS, but their customer service was fantastic and they were able to almost match upack’s quote.  I almost switched the reservation just for their A+ service, but when you’re moving, every hundred or two hundered dollars counts! If you think you *might* move in the next six months, if you have even the slightest possibility, go online and get a quote generated ASAP.  I did that a few months ago when we were tossing around the possibility, just to find out how much it would cost to move.  Then, when the date was set and we were a month and a half out, I went online to generate a new quote with the exact dates, and the cost had almost doubled.  Luckily, I had the old quotes and called and u-pack was able to exactly match their original quote, by just asking them to.  We’re moving in June, which is a busy month for moving (Jan-April are less busy), so keep that in mind if you are flexible on your move.  The way our move is set up, we chose a certain amount of feet inside a moving truck that we think we can fit our things into.  If we end up using more or less, the quote changes $90/foot, up or down.  When our things are loaded, they are secured with a “wall” and a padlock.  There will be other things loaded in the remainder of the space.

Questions to ask the moving company:  how are my items secured inside your truck?  what level of insurance is included in your quote?  is the tax included in the quote provided?  are there any additional costs or is that the amount I will pay, as long as my things fit inside the space in the truck quoted?
Our moving truck drops off the “trailer” and we get three days to load it up.  We lock it up, and they’ll pick it up.  It will arrive 7-10 days later at the farm for us to unpack (the road trip we’ve planned is about 8 days, so we may arrive before our belongings).
Since moving cross-country is so expensive, its smart to sell all you can.  Since I bought most of our furnishings on Craigslist or at thrift stores, it isn’t too hard for me to part with them.  We’re keeping one bedroom set (selling one), keeping our dining set (wedding gift) but selling our couch and living room furniture.  We’re taking our washer/dryer but selling our fridge.  I’ve listed most of our things for sale on Craigslist and have had a lot of luck selling things.  Husband was not happy to part with his drywasher, but that space hog would not do him much good in Illinois, where there isn’t desert (or gold) to drywash.
I’ve lived in urban areas for my entire adult life.  I’ve never considered that internet might not be easily available & affordable.  I’m going to be working remotely part time for my Los Angeles employers after the move, so I need to make sure internet is ready for us when we arrive.  Husband needs to be able to do Skype meetings for his work.  I went to price out the options, and kept running into “our service is not available in your area.”  The satellite options have data caps at 15GB (we’ve used 99GB already this month, and there’s a week left in May).  Now I’m looking for “small business” internet options, since all the “home internet” options have small data caps.  Once I figure out the best option, I’ll let you know….

Leave

Leave

Roll the word around on your tongue for a bit.

It is a beautiful word, isn’t it? So strong and forceful,

the way you have always wanted to be. And you will

not be alone. You have never been alone. Don’t

worry. Everything will still be here when you get back,

It is you who will have changed.

Donald Miller

Those words sum it all up.  I started thinking today about the moves I have made in my lifetime.

I have already moved ten times during my time on earth. Five of them were with my parents, so they don’t count. The others I chose on my own. Three of my moves were major life changing moves. I moved to Fort Lauderdale in the early 90’s, where I had a beachfront condo waiting for me.  Brooklyn, New York was a bigger move in 1999, and I had a nice apartment with a view of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Then I came back to live in Los Angeles.

I was drawn back to SoCal like a moth to a flame, because I felt this was home. It is no longer home, and doesn’t feel like home, because the city has changed. Maybe I have changed.  It could be both. The city has descended into lawlessness.  The police no longer enforce rules.  There are homeless people camping closer and closer to my home, and many of them support their drug habits breaking into homes and cars.  I still thought I could and would deal, because, after all, “Hey, its Hollywood.”

I moved here because I am a writer, and I wanted to write for the big screen.  Things went well. I sold a couple of screenplays, a writer’s dream!  Things are never what they seem, and I did not like what I saw.  It just is not for me anymore. It used to be for me, or at least that is what I thought.

I met a wonderful woman who would become my wife, and that changed everything.  My whole outlook on life changed.  I saw the way we were living as counter productive for our souls.

We needed to know our purpose and fulfill it, not eat at the latest restaurant or shmooze with the hottest reality stars.  We found great happiness in the vast nature around Los Angeles that so few ever even venture into. We found a quiet paradise in the rocky barren deserts.  We decided together: why are we living only for our weekends, just waiting to escape and enjoy the open space?  And then, recently, the chance came to move to the country.  An opportunity knocked, and we both felt the time was right.  So here we are packing.

We leave behind friends and familiar places for a new adventure.  In every good movie, the main character is challenged to step up and make their lives better.  Will it be? We hope so! We do know that living everyday like a drone is no way to live. The countdown begins now.  This is our story.

Packing Up

We’re packing up our lives in Los Angeles, saying goodbye, and ditching the Hollywood Hills for the flatland of the Midwest.

Why?

Space.  There is not much space in Los Angeles. And way too many people, IMHO.

Not much water either (its a desert).

Time to take a different path, break away from the crowds and find our own space.  This is the first step, and who knows where it will lead us.

To quote Robert Frost, “Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.  I shall be telling this with a sigh, somewhere ages and ages hence: two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”