Not Sure What I'm Trying to Say...

I always think it good to take a short break when we're dealing with a long post series and I still have much ground to cover with the post series on lode gold mines. So this post represents that short break and after it's done we'll get back to all the ins and outs of lode gold mines.

Everything in Its Own Time and Place

As most of you know, I was born and raised in California...the once-Golden State. Despite the fact I came screaming and kicking into this world in the East Bay Region of the San Francisco Bay Area, I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley abut 50 miles south of where California's Southern Motherlode Region ends. Despite the fact I lived in close proximity to good gold areas (I even lived for a brief time in Yreka...smack dab in the middle of the Klamath gold country before moving back to the Valley) there was no one in my family (on either side) to show me the ropes in terms of gold panning, prospecting, or mining. All that came much later. Everything happens in its own time and place I guess.

 (The American River...where it all started.)

The End Result?

I've seen some statistics online recently suggesting that California is one of the worst states to live in nowadays. There are numerous reasons for this and I need not belabor that point. But one thing I can say is that whatever California's problems are, they have manifested themselves all too clearly in many areas, including small-scale gold mining...our thing..the thing we love to do. I find this fact both disconcerting and somewhat hypocritical since it was gold and gold mining that made California the great state it once was in the first place. Yes, I've ranted and raved in the past here in Bedrock Dreams about California's left-leaning policies and its proclivity toward taxing the hell out of the middle and blue collar classes to fund its multitude of social welfare programs. But most of all I've gone on tirades about its restrictive approach to small-scale mining and miners, including that big environmentalist nightmare known as suction dredging. Now that nightmare isn't our perception of's a perception created by the ignorant and the agenda-driven. The end result? No more suction dredging in great gold-bearing rivers like the Yuba, American, and Klamath. Or anywhere else for that matter.

 (Here's a quote for you: "Fish, not gold! The Wild Steelhead Coalition thinks it's time for Washington State to show the same leadership Oregon and California have. Hit the pause button on suction dredging!")

No Bottom Line

Sure there are ways of getting around California's suction dredging ban and other restrictive measures the state has taken against small-scale gold miners. You can still pan, sluice, highbank in certain contexts, snipe or crevice, or run a dry washer out in the deserts. That said, however, I wonder how long it will be until these small-scale mining methods will also be looked at with jaundiced eyes by the once-Golden State's inept politicos and petty bureaucrats. Meanwhile, the two largest cities in the state have tens of thousands of homeless camped out in tents and cardboard boxes on downtown streets and in nearby ravines, ditches, and along frontage roads with catastrophic results from the standpoints of sanitation, drug and alcohol abuse, and crime. Am I saying here that the homeless are all unclean, addicted, or driven to criminal activity? Absolutely not. But there is plenty of data out there to suggest that a certain (even hefty) percentage of them are mentally ill, addicted to various substances, and involved directly or peripherally with criminal matter how petty those crimes may be. You can even take the mentally ill, addictive, and criminal elements out of this equation and just imagine the sanitary aspects...the smell of urine and feces that many citizens of Los Angeles and San Francisco contend with each and every day. Yet those bastions of California's liberalism have, in essence, created their own Frankenstein monster. Just as the state at large has by its overall policy direction and lack of a bottom line when confronting tough issues.

 (Near Hollywood.)

 (Market and Fifth Streets, San Francisco.)

Who Pays?

I doubt if the old timers who dug in the creeks, gullies, and streams of the Motherlode would think much of California today. It may be a comparison of apples to oranges since all things and all people exist in a relative time and space. I believe the thing that would anger or dismay those old timers the most would be the overall lack of true freedom in pursuing their dreams of striking it rich or creating a better life for themselves and their families. Since its inception as a state, California has always drawn dreamers and to a great extent...the disaffected. The state was wide open back then and a guy or gal could claim his or her fair share of that golden dream through persistence and hard effort. Sadly, much of that early value-oriented ethic has diminished in California, only to be replaced by the largest welfare state in the nation (in my view, anyway). And who pays for all that social justice effort, those sanctuary cities, and the general dumbing down of the unwashed masses who now flock to the Golden State from every two-bit, Third World country on earth? Why you good, hard-working folks who still call California home. But this isn't just about's about all of us here in the United States who work our jobs, obey the laws, and try to make things better for our loved ones. After all, we're the ones footing the bill.

Grapes of Wrath

Lest I be called "racist" in my views, you should know that my grandparents on my father's side came to this country (legally, I might add) from Northern Spain via Portugal and the Azore Islands right after World War 1. They ended up in the San Joaquin Valley of California where they pooled their meager savings, bought some land, and started a dairy farm. They never learned to speak English but they made it just the same through commitment, hard work, persistence, and patience. They never asked for anything other than the chance to pursue their own golden vision in California. On the other side, my mother's family had roots in Texas and Oklahoma, and arrived in California during the peak years of the Dustbowl and the Great Depression where, like many other "Okies" and "Arkies," they ended up picking fruit as migrant laborers. (You smug-ass social justice types take note. Yep. White folks as migrants.) They also lived in one of those ramshackle camps outside my home town known as "Hoovervilles" back then. If this sounds like Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath, well you're spot on pard.

I'm not exactly sure what I'm trying to say in this post but perhaps it will resonate with one of you out there. There's one thing certain though. Give the wrong people enough time, power, and money and they'll fuck up the best of things.

Even someone's golden dream...

(c) Jim Rocha 2018

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. Well I wasn't feeling too bad until I read this, this morning.
    But it's not your fault Jim. I've been aware of the California mess for quite some time. It's depressing!

    I have a little brother that went from a CPA degree in Oregon to a job at the California state auditors division.
    He's near the top of the ladder now and he can tell you just exactly how messed up that state is. It's a goner!

    Teams of auditors go from border to border auditing cities, police departments, sheriff's departments, jail systems, BART, California state schools, you name it they audit it.
    They will audit and find lots that needs changing and make recommendations, but government for the most part isn't willing to change anything. And so they don't.

    Do you know that LA is spending 40,000 thousand dollars a mile to paint downtown streets white? Why you ask? They are trying to make it a few degrees cooler downtown. I'm surprised black people aren't screaming racism over it!
    That stupid high speed railway is going to be a disaster. I wouldn't want to be on that thing when the big one hits California.
    And the big one is coming to California and it's gonna be worse than you can imagine. It will be worse than the last days of Pompeii. Millions will die when a chunk of that state drops in the ocean. Yes, they will be succeeding from the rest of the country soon.

    But there's no reason to gloat about that though. When the big one hits California the whole USA is going to have a problem. The suffering is going to be biblical.

    My did I get off on this.
    (I think you may have started
    Enjoy your break Jim and I will probably email you about a gold claim here in Oregon that I may be able to rent.
    Take care my friend and have a good Sunday!

    1. I left Cali 27 years ago...the writing was already on the wall then brother.

  2. Up until a few years ago, both of my Grandmas were alive and one Grandad. My Dad married the girl next door, so they both lived side by side in Everett Washington, North of Seattle. Last time I was there, under every overpass was crowded with homeless camps, as well as that center strip of land between the freeways. I was shocked. It wasn't like that when we left Washington (farther North) in 1991. I was told someone had filed a lawsuit and won, making it illegal to bother or harass the homeless, so now they live where ever they please. It must be a terrible life, and I feel sorry for a lot of them, but others live that way by hard as that is to believe. What bothers me more, is that this is the USA.....the "Land of milk and honey"'s not supposed to be that way here.
    It is more than a problem, it is a disease and it's spreading fast.
    100 years or so ago, most of these people would have done things like prospecting for gold. Nobody was going to give them hand outs and free stuff, they didn't have it either. If you were able to work, you did.
    It's not an easy problem to find an answer to, and it will only get worse as time go's on.........we are becoming one of the "Shit hole countries" Trump was talking about.
    It's just something most folks don't want to admit to....

  3. It resonates with me... I am a fifth-generation Californian and it kills me to see what California has been turned into.

    "There's one thing certain though. Give the wrong people enough time, power, and money and they'll fuck up the best of things.

    Even someone's golden dream..."

    How sadly accurate!

  4. JR

    We live in Stanilaus County and it is equally screwed up. Transients, homeless, drug addicts, bike thieves, scammers and criminals walk our streets everyday. It is indeed a shame.

    Take caution if you decide to venture out in your vehicle, on a foggy morn or evening. These same people I referenced, will aimlessly walk out into the road like zombies out of a George Romero movie.

    Sadly, it is not just here. Every city has a problem with this. Some more than others, but all do. That doesn;t make it any more palatable though, trust us.

    Lets be honest about the state of our country: Politicians have sold our country off to the highest bidder, who seems to be China at this point, long ago. We love this country, but a different kind of criminal (The Corporate Kind), is doing a fine job of making our country a wasteland, with no opportunity for even hard working people.

    We are grateful for voices such as yours, reminding the brain washed masses what freedom really is about.

    Equally grateful, we are, for the time and sacrifice you make for us every week in posting to this blog.

    Amber and Paul

    1. Well written and well said Amber and Paul. And thank you for the kind words.


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