I've had an idea kicking around in my sometimes fertile brain for quite some time now. What I'd like to do in this post is lay that idea out there for all of you to read and digest...then I'd like to hear your opinions, thoughts, suggestions, and so on.
One of the things I've always thought would be great fun for all of us (myself and all you readers and supporters of Bedrock Dreams) is to meet in real time for a gold mining get together. A Bedrock Dreams gold mining and prospecting "jamboree" of sorts. I think that would be a great venue for us to meet, swap mining stories, share our collective expertise, and perhaps get a little gold while we're at it. It would also provide any newcomers (i.e., greenhorns) to gold prospecting and mining with the opportunity to see some small-scale mining equipment in action and to learn a few tips and tricks from you old sourdoughs out there. Great things can happen when great minds join forces!
With this in mind, here are a few considerations or issues that I'd like to address:
Time Frame: My thought is that a 3-5 day time frame might be the best, but I'm open in this regard. If the proposed jamboree was any shorter than that it probably wouldn't allow enough time for the best learning and sharing experience.
Location: Now here's the real sticky wicket. The ideal location would be either an existing wet or dry placer claim...not public grounds. Public ground would be OK in a pinch but it wouldn't be my first choice for obvious reasons. OK then, whose claim or gold ground? Well, since I let my last placer claim go in 2012, the onus would fall on the shoulders of one of you claim owners out there who would be willing to open up your ground for the get together. I know this is a tough thing to ask those few of you out there who own claims, but I'm depending on a generous spirit out there willing to throw caution to the winds and allow access to his or her claim for the period of the jamboree. One thing that might help act as a balm is if a reasonable preset attendance fee could be paid to the claim owner by those attending when they arrive. Alternately, I'd shake you down for the cash and then give it to the claim owner!
Timing: Obviously, the location itself would dictate the timing of the event to a great degree. Most wet placer ground would serve best in the warmer months of the year (summer, late spring, early fall) while a dry placer location would work well in the fall or early spring, with some low desert locations probably good in the winter in certain instances.
Travel: The lucky among you may not have to travel very far to reach the proposed site of the get together. Others may have to travel long distances to reach it. That's a crap shoot of sorts. I realize that many of you wouldn't be able to take the time off or travel the distance required for this sort of gig. Others would have no problems. It is what it is, and it would be completely voluntary on your part and your responsibility to get there.
Accommodations: Again, the best alternative would be for us to camp out or rough it at the location itself (yes, you can camp on a valid claim for up to two weeks). However, this raises additional issues that I'll address in the next section. Next we have local public and paid camp grounds that lie within easy striking distance of the location (hopefully, that is!). Finally, there are also motels and sometimes cabins available. At any rate, it would be the personal responsibility of the attendees to secure whatever accommodations are available and it would also be everyone's responsibility to provide their own camping and mining gear, water, food, etc. I don't look kindly on freeloaders or deadbeats nor would any claim owner. That said, I doubt there are many (if any at all) of these sorts of ne-r-do-wells among my readership.
Liquor, Guns, and Bad Behavior: These three things have been part and parcel of most old-time mining camps but for our purposes they are unacceptable. I'm sure any willing claim owner would agree. Now this doesn't mean you couldn't have your beer or your bottle as long as moderation is involved. I don't drink (been sober 20 years now) and I don't mind others drinking as long as they don't get loud and stupid. In my mind, there's nothing worse than a stupid drunk. Guns is guns...I own a few and so do most of you. The stupid factor applies here as well, especially when it comes to liquor and guns in combination. Nothing good ever comes from that. Next is the responsibility for cleaning up after yourselves. You haul out or dispose of your trash and refuse, not anyone else. That's the right thing to do. All this stated, I know you Bedrock Dreams readers are mature and responsible people, but these things have to be aired out just the same.
I know I'm missing some key element(s) here but that's what I need your input for. Let me know your thoughts and ideas on this proposal via e-mail and/or your comments. I truly think that if we could pull this off (and we can if we're committed to it), it would be a hell of a lot of fun. Plus, it would give you the opportunity to meet me in the flesh for once. That's a hell of a thing, huh?!
Best to one and all.
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2015
Questions? E-mail me at email@example.com