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Watch Out Quartzite – Here We Come

Watch Out Quartzite – Here We Come

Well ya had to know that if there’s a going to be a huge rock and gem jamboree going on that someone from RSH1 would cut loose and invade the place. Some of us aren’t happy going and browsing, either. They have to haul trailers of rock down and put up their own booths.

Then there’s Tony Funk (RHS1 member catmandewe). He doesn’t just put up his own booth – he stakes territory!


What the heck is Tony going to do with that much space? I had to ask, of course.  I got  a big answer:

I have several tons of rough, thousands of slabs, and quite a bit of

used equipment. I am also a Diamond Pacific dealer and can get customers a decent discount on equipment or material from Diamond Pacific which is right next door.

New stuff this year is a fresh batch of Amethyst Sage dendritic agate, a large Oregon Opal Butte thunderegg that was just split open with some killer opal in it, Sugilite from the Calahari Desert, some old stock Needles blue, Bruneau jasper, Morrisonite jasper, Davis Creek sheen obsidian, and much more.

Not only is the rock going to be spectacular – it looks like he’s planning on some live action while he’s there, too.


If you want to get in on some of the action down there, here’s Tony’s show address for you.

Desert Gardens Gem and Mineral show in spaces A22/B22 in the front row right next to theDiamond Pacific building.


Mike Quinn (RHS1 member MikeyRocks) is also going to be part of the show there and has staked ground at:

D-17-18 in Desert Gardens.

We haven’t heard hide nor hair from Mikey since he started getting his excrement coagulated…I mean…um…..getting his stock ready for the show, so hope we’ll get some pics from Mike before everyone heads down to Quartzite to see what deals they can grab.

Don’t be surprised if you just happen to run into a few of the other members from RHS1 hanging around the place, too.

The more the merrier – drop by and say hi to a few of our favorite guys at RHS1 while you’re at the show.  They are extremely knowledgeable and entertaining.  It won’t take you very long to find out why we love em so much!

We’ve also found out that Diane (RHS1 member Drocknut) will also be visiting the guys there, so would like to put out a public service request to please keep your trees leashed at all times.


RHS1 2014 Meet-Up Trip Report – Succor Creek

RHS1 2014 Meet-Up Trip Report – Succor Creek

The 2014 meet-up was a great success. It was wonderful seeing everyone’s smiling faces.

Um, oops.  Here we go.

Of course, the joke gets a little lost when you consider how you actually find  the members where they’re out in the field. RHS1 members are real good at recognizing other members both coming and going.

Members started rolling into the Succor Creek campgrounds mid-week for Memorial day weekend. The  general region and campground hadn’t changed too much since I lived in the region almost a decade ago.

By the time I got there on Saturday, the others were already driving with full loads of rocks from Graveyard Point and a few other sites near the Oregon/Idaho border that they visited in the day or two before I arrived.

This year’s leader, Tony (member, catmandewe) was thoroughly familiar with the region and led the crew to huge amounts of some of the areas best agates and jaspers.   The blue opal thundereggs dig seemed to be the generally favorite site, and was the first I got to join in.   The sun was hot, but the digging was easy and the prizes were beautiful.

After the relatively easy drive to the thundereggs, we set off on a little more rugged trip out to a few jasper sites, one, a pink jasper site which Tony set for claim while we were there. The region is some of the most beautiful desert I’ve ever seen, and it was hard to keep an eye out for ruts and rocks in the road with the panoramic beauty to absorb while driving.

During the day we collected pink, blue and brown, and multicolored jaspers.  While I picked up mostly jasper I could carry in my bag with ease, some were looking for sizes that would be suitable for bigger projects.  They found what they were looking for.  The region has no lack of jasper boulders.

Saturday night back at camp, members unloaded the rock they had brought with them and we had a rock swap.  Everyone was more than generous with the caches they brought out for the others to choose from.

By Sunday the crew was getting a little worn from their days of hunting, and a few headed home, while others headed back to get some more of those beautiful blue opals.  I got to head into town to get a tire changed out.   I wasn’t the only tire casualty on the trip.

I got back in time to join a few of the die-hard members out at the opal diggs, but wandered off to regions south of the park where I used to love to hunt.  Unfortunately,  the areas have been listed in books and were pretty well picked over when I got there.   Some of the back roads were steep enough and rutted enough I thought better about trying out on my own, so with sunlight waning, I returned to camp and talked with a few old friends and a few new ones at the fireside.  A lot of the members had already left, and those remaining were well worn and very happy.   Everyone left with as much rock as their rigs would carry.

My thanks go to the members, mirage, drocknut, boxofrocks, coldwatergold, Tom, orygone, and bsky4463 (I hope I got everyone)  for posting their  pictures so you could enjoy our meet-up vicariously.  A special thanks to Tony (catmandewe), owner of for setting up such an awesome tour for us this year.   It’s going to be a hard one to top next year!

First Annual RHS1 Rockhound Bash

First Annual RHS1 Rockhound Bash

It all started in the RHS1 forums as just a bit of banter, a few zingers back and forth, and some playful boasting.  I couldn’t tell ya when it all started to get serious but as the first weekend in June rolled around several members of the RHS1 forum loaded their rigs and headed off to the Burns, Oregon area for some digging, eating, and general silliness.  We sure found a bit of all of those things – plus some pretty impressive stones, to boot. When push comes to shove though – the ultimate credit (blame?) for the first Annual RHS1 Meet-up belongs to Clyde ( RHS1 member, keystonecops).

A few of the group got a few days hop on the rest of us, but Saturday was the day that all were present and accounted for – at least here and there throughout the day.  I was a bit apprehensive about meeting everyone for the first time.  It’s been a tough couple of months so I knew I looked like a shar-pei havin’ a bad hair day to start with.  Driving in (150 miles) on 2 hours of sleep wasn’t going to (and didn’t) help that at all.  I did really want to meet everyone though and figured I could avoid most of the cameras, and actually requested not to have any pics taken.  They mostly obliged – that I know of – but I did feel obligated to stand in on the actual group photo. The pic shows all the actual RHS1 members that were there. People accompanying the members stood off to the side.  I didn’t know they were going to do that and would have welcomed them into the group shot.

Anyway, I was hesitant to get the pic online, but after tweaking the contrast, color depth and just a few other minor “adjustments”, I think that it really is a pretty good photo of us.  Right guys?

Here we are. Only a tad edited 😉

The place we met up at belongs to Nate – (RHS1 member, nate) and his wife, Tammy (I sure hope I spelled that right).  They own what is now probably the most notorious driveway in the Great NW.  I’m sure there are others that are worse.  Somewhere.  Over a few days that driveway saw members from Oregon, Idaho, California, and even Texas maneuver the pits and rocks up to Nate and Tammy’s door. Made for some interesting comments throughout the weekend.

Nate's Ranch
The view to the east was spectacular.

I arrived late to the party on Saturday morning.  Dean (RHS1 member, boxofrocks) and his wife, Susan, were hanging out at the homestead and after a little chat, rock exchanging, and coffee slurping, they gave me a real rockhound’s idea of precise directions to find where the others had headed off to:  back to the main road, hang a right and another right at the first road after the rock piles. They were good directions and took me straight out to the area that everyone was scouring for petrified wood.  When I got to the top of the ridge where they were spread out in the basin in front of me hunting.  Denny’s (RHS1 member, sheltie)  bright red Jeep was my signal that I was in the right place. Of course, I had met Bob (RHSI member, coldwatergold) before, so seeing him with his rearside up and his head halfway into a hole he was digging was a pretty loud confirmation that it was not only the right place, but also that they had been finding the wood.

Just can't miss a group of RHS1 rockhounds when you see them.
Not many hobbies around that you will see so many ages of people together and actually having fun.
Nice find!
Where the heck do you load enough finds of this size? One member just boxed them and mailed them to himself.

Sometimes I’m not sure if it’s the hunt or the toys that keep these guys going.  They seemed to be having just a tad too much fun on those 4 wheelers for me to believe they had them there for utility alone.   If you’ve been browsing the forums – the pictures in there tell much more of that story than I could do here.

The crew was getting ready to go out to the Warm Springs Reservoir area about the time I got there, so I just browsed around for a little while and gathered up some small pieces of wood. It’s really gorgeous wood.  If I go back in that direction again (which is more likely than not to happen) I’ll stop and continue the hunt.  Warm Springs Reservoir is an old favorite stomping ground of mine, though, so I was more than happy to head on out there and haul in some of those plume agates before heading back for the rock exchange and dinner.

The reservoir surprised me a little because there were quite a few people in the area.  I used to be out for days sometimes before seeing another car.  To see several was a bit of a surprise. The area was still fairly clean.  It can be hoped that it is kept that way as the traffic out that way increases.  We can also hope that the government doesn’t decide to put up a slab of cement and an outhouse and start to charge people for being there and install a requirement to keep their dogs on a leash.

By the time it was getting late enough to have to head back to the ranch, I don’t think anyone knew where anyone else had gotten off to, but by around 5:30 everyone was back at “camp” with the rocks they brought with them spread out on tables and tailgates for taking or trading.

Bob got pretty enthusiastic about this part of the trip and hauled enough specimen rock out to completely stock one of the Snyder Ranch Pow Wow exhibits on his own – including the red velvet to display them on.  By the time he got his display set up, the crowd gravitated toward his display and it was Bob’s show for an hour or so.  Everyone got some good stash from Bob’s display and wandered off wondering where they were going to fit the extra rocks in their rigs.

Displays of rocks for gifts and trades were set up and browsed before dinner.
And, of course, Bob (coldwatergold) was a tad more than just a little enthusiastic about this part of the meet-up.
Show and tell time after the hunt.

The guys tried to split up one of the rocks, but no matter how much manpower was put into the effort, the rock wouldn’t break.  No problem for these guys. I’m sure we should have expected Tony (member, catmandewe) to be  conveniently suited with a few small blasting caps and  more than happy to show the guys how to commence breaking up a rock when hammers wouldn’t do it.  Blasting the rock kept the men well entertained for a while.

Blasting rock seems to be almost as entertaining as running around the wilderness on 4 wheelers for the guys.

Of course, 4 wheelers and blasting caps weren’t the only toys on the ranch the guys had fun with.  There was also a rock saw that was kept pretty busy during the festivities.

I’d like to digress here a minute and give a public thanks for two gifts I received on the outing.  Clyde (member, keystonecops), one of the members who is fairly new to lapidary made me the beautiful pendant in the pic below.  You’d never know it’s a new craft for him by the looks of it.  Thanks Clyde. I’m not one to wear my heart on my sleeve – but it looks great around my neck.

When I say I got Clyde's heart - I'm not kidding. And it looks Great!

Also thanks to Dean (member boxofrocks) for the beautiful Mexican Crazy lace.  It’s one awesome piece of stone and makes an impressive display piece.

This agate from Dean really earned the name Crazy Lace.

When dinnertime arrived, we went in to find an exquisite banquet laid out by our host and hostess.  There was both beef and pork bbq, salads, casseroles, and even homemade pies and strawberry shortcake for dessert.  I might not be able to pack as many rocks as a man, but I can sure eat like one.  It’s been a long time since I’ve attended such a well-planned and cooked banquet.  Everyone was starving after a day in the field and we made more than just a dent in the food.  It’s a good thing there was so much of it.  I firmly believe that there might have been a nasty tossle over who got the last bites of anything had it run low.  It was really just damned good eatin’.

Things seemed bit quiet during dinner. It's hard to shovel and talk at the same time.

Dark found us sitting around the fire pit telling more lies…….stories under the stars.  It was incredible to look around and see how close and casual everyone felt with each other when meeting face to face for the first time.  It almost felt more like a reunion of old friends than of a first time meeting for most of the members.  A few of us had met one or another of the group before, but outside of the forums, most of us could more or less have been considered strangers.  Anyone happening on the group would never have been able to tell that, though.  I don’t think that there was much that could have awakened any of us as we all retreated to our sleeping bags for the night.  Of course, some of the members actually brought their own homes with them.  Lightweights!

Clyde seems pretty happy that Denny and Kylene brought their "house" with them - complete with a computer.

The next morning we all made our plans for the day, loaded our rigs, and said our good-byes.

All in all, the only thing that wasn’t just perfect was the weather, and the company was enough fun that even that didn’t put much of a damper on the meet-up.  We all came away with good friends, good memories, and some great finds.  And — we’re gonna do it again next year because it was just too good not to do it again.  If by then you end up being one of the members that are going next year – none of us will be a tad too surprised.

(Note to the meet-up members:  Why did I get such an incredible urge to conclude each paragraph with “Except for Bob”?)

Not a bad haul - unless you are trying to ship them home via UPS.