Photography rocks and lapidary Uncategorized video

Railroad Pass, Clark County Nevada

Railroad Pass, Clark County, Nevada — (second page here —>)

Railroad Pass is outside of Boulder City where the dam is located. Bureau of Reclamation land. I’m here above the Railroad Pass Travel Center where there is dedicated parking for the River Mountain Loop Trail.(external link)

This is a good place to explore from. Vehicle security is excellent and the convenience store provides food and restrooms.

A pretty day but no quartz. I lose interest without quartz. Must. Have. Quartz. Highlight was some blue tinged rhyolite, nothing else worth showing. No “U”, little “UV”.

Looking south. The Railroad Pass Travel Center is downslope. Railroad tracks make the best subjects.  As long as some train isn’t coming at you. Trains do not play well with others.

I thought this road might lead somewhere but it only went to the high tension transmission tower.

Setting the footings and erecting these transmission towers must have been hard work in this volcanic rock.

I’ll get my friend to identify this.

Looks like an optunia.

Working on it. For now, DYC. Damn yellow composite.

Didn’t go up that hill! Not with my wrenched back. Lot of rhyolite.
Simple geological map from

A hill of many colors, red, gray, tan, bleached. As if some mineral had leached out of the hill and then weathered.


“Volcanic rocks-[includes some unmapped dikes and small irregular intrusive masses. In north -central part of quadrangle (north of U.S. Highway 93) the contact with unit mapped as volcanic and intrusive rocks (Trvi) is arbitrarily drawn; near that contact most of the unit consists of highly fractured altered lavas and volcaniclastic rocks that are cut by dikes and bleached to various pastel colors as a result of argillc and silicic alteration; away from the contact equivalent(?) rocks are distinctly darker and less altered, such as east of Railroad Pass where conspicuous dark-reddish-brown exposures of grayish-red to grayish-red -purple highly faulted lavas of intermediate composition and interstratified sandy to conglomeratic sedimentary rocks are exposed. The lavas contain 5–20 percent phenocrysts of plagioclase, hornblende, and biotite and minor augite or olivine. The sedimentary rocks contain clasts of porphyritic plutonic rocks of probable late Tertiary age. Near the TV reflector the rocks are intensely sheared by several low-angle faults that juxtapose contrasting lithologies including altered tuffaceous sedimentary rocks and brecciated red and dark-gray intermediate lavas. To the east dark-gray more mafic lavas that are probably stratigraphically lower are cut by numerous white to light-gray dikes.”

Now, I have to read up on argillic and silicic alteration.

Did you notice the reference in the text to the “TV reflector”? That might seem impossible to locate today, however, since I collect old maps, I was able to find it on a 1960s Metsker’s Map of Clark County, Nevada. All old maps are valuable, most especially those showing township, range, and section.

From left to right: mountain bike trail, Union Pacific tracks, River Mountain Loop Trail, HWY 11/95

Blue tinged rhyolite. Hmm. I stop at all things blue. No cutting material.

Technical mountain biking trail. Part of the larger Railroad Pass Loop. My days of this are over. It was fun, though. While I’m sure you won’t believe me, this segment of the trail is so difficult that it’s called The Shit. Look at the Google Map at the bottom of this page. You’ll see.

Can you see what is happening here? Nothing mining related, someone has hollowed out a side in the hill.
I think this may have been a sleeping place for some worker, since daytime temps can exceed 110 degrees in the summer. Maybe best to seek cool earth.

A cloud came over! Clouds and weather played havoc with my magazine article photography. Notice how my other photographs are bright and sunny? And then you have this pall. Not good but you can’t control it other than waiting. What was really tough was when I had to come back to a site a week or two later to photograph some things again.  The look of an area might be completely changed and I’d have a goofy looking selection of photos. Also, FYI, editors want portrait orientation, even if you are shooting landscapes or outdoor scenes. Their layout people always want choices, so try to get a few shots in portrait mode. That arrow points to what I think may be andesite. I am going to find out later.

Really nice looking mud cracks with a popcorn top. I’m sure there is a reason. Life always has more mysteries than answers. That’s what it does.

The truck stop. When you need a powerful symbol for your tough, macho company, always use a cat.

Railroad Pass, Clark County, Nevada — (second page here —>)
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books non-fiction writing Photography Uncategorized

Beyond Books

Something from my rockhounding site, (external link) Click twice to blow up the photo.

It was recently recommended on FB that I read some field guides to rock and mineral ID. This was in response to some specific observations I made with material I had collected and with reference specimens I had bought. The suggester offered no further advice or any response to my observations which he didn’t read through. At least five people gave him a thumbs up. That’s extremely discouraging when all I was trying to do was help.

Well, I have a few books. Quite a lot, actually. But you have to go beyond books to learn more. You can’t teach a geology course without lab work or field trips. Books are fine but rocks and minerals and prospecting are also hands on.

This is a look at part of my reference collection of over two hundred rock types and various minerals. They are mostly hand or teaching specimen size. All labeled in detail. At any time I can pull something out to test or experiment it using my hardness picks, my acid, my metal detectors, my UV lamps, my black and white streak plates, my super magnet, my microscope, or my geiger counters. No, I don’t have anything to test specific gravity. Working on that. If I can’t identify something complex, which is too often, I send it on for lab results. I’m not a know it all, I am trying to be a know it all.
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music rocks and lapidary Uncategorized

Day Two of the PowWow in Quartzsite, Arizona: Thursday, January 16th

Thursday at the QIA PowWow

Thursday brought another day of beautiful weather to Quartzsite. A few wisps of clouds appeared from time to time, somewhat relieving the sun’s powerful glare. Temperatures rose into the high 60’s in the afternoon, shirt sleeve-weather but best taken in with a long sleeve shirt to prevent sunburn.

The day got warm enough that an alert went over the public address system about a few dogs that had been left in cars. Their owners were told to get back quickly to their vehicles before the police started breaking windows. This brings up the matter of dogs at Quartzsite – they are all over.

On a leash, hand carried, or in a stroller, big dogs and little dogs are all about the aisles at the PowWow. I’ve never seen a dog fight but there are occasional lunges and a few sharp barks. Young dogs are around that may not be used to crowds and there are tiny dogs that are vulnerable. Every owner I saw seemed to have a dog that was socialized or mostly so. The dog community is fully present at the PowWow as you hear constant compliments from people on each other’s dogs. Big dogs seem to draw the most likes.

I could only visit a few vendors as I got wrapped up in long talks with each about their materials and collecting. I met quite a few people who knew people who I knew. One example was Kirk Brock at Rock Solid Jade at space 490. I showed him my jade key fob to see if he could identity its locality. He thought it most probably nephrite from Mendocino County in California. I said I carved it in Hesperia at the Mining Supplies and Rock Shop during a jade carving class taught by Mariana Shoupe. “Oh, yes,” Kirk said, I know her quite well. I think she is here now at the show. ”

This video looked great on my phone but it and a few others changed from landscape to portrait layout. I’ve attempted to rescue it with a frame.

Rock Solid Jade with Kirk Brock from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

Another example was when I fell into two people who kept mentioning Utah locations for agates. I then noticed that one had a Southern Utah Rock Club hat on. “I’m a member!”, I exclaimed. “I know Lynn. He showed me a great place for field agates that I would never have found otherwise.” They smiled and said they knew this place near Cedar City well. The couple lived in Mesquite, Nevada and when the weather got too hot they would drive to that higher elevation to collect during the summer. This conversation took place at the space for Johnson Brothers Lapidary.

I’ve written that you’ll never know who you’ll meet in Quartzsite. Proof of that was when I stopped at Mike Martin’s space, number 239 and 240. Lots of fossils. I am not a fossil guy but I know they are popular and I haven’t covered fossils. So, I asked for permission to photograph and started asking questions. He looked at my business card and started repeating my last name. “Farley, Farley, Farley.” I thought perhaps he had read one of my articles for Rock&Gem. Instead, he asked if I had any relatives in Humboldt County, California. I started to cry but held back my tears. “Just my late brother.” “That was Tim! Biff Barker! He worked for me when I owned the radio station in Eureka. He was great. Everybody loved him. Great sense of humor.” Tim worked a long time in radio and Eureka was where he found a home. He did morning drive and was absolutely fun to listen to. Mike allowed Tim to be himself and it was a very emotional time for me as we both exchanged memories of my past brother. Mike, by the way, does an enormous amount of self collecting and coin and relict hunting in England. Well worth a stop.

Mike Martin’s e-mail is

Alexander Balagula of Unique Russian Mineral at space 326 provided me a chance to try out my rusty Russian. Alexander didn’t correct me on my “Good morning and how are you greeting?” I felt good about that. He showed me some beautiful free form cabs of eudialyte on which he said he founded his business. He lists Fort Lee, New Jersey as his business address and the stone I eventually bought comes from the Kola Peninsula in Russia. To add to that that sense of going around the world, Alexander is a Russian Jew who lived for many years in Israel.

When someone asked him about his sign, Unique Russian Mineral and what it was, he smiled and said it mostly refers to himself. I liked his sense of humor. He will be in Tucson. His business card lists a website and an Etsy page but they don’t easily reflect his offerings. The Etsy store is gemstoneworld. Try his e-mail or these phone numbers. E-mail: Cell phone: 201-647-4211. I had buyers’ remorse about the stone I bought and Alex gave me full credit for the returned cab. I wanted what you see in the photo below but settled for something more affordable on Thursday. Don’t settle or you’ll go through a painful night of reconsideration. (internal link) Yes, I got that piece with the plume of yellow sphene or titanite on Friday. I understand your jealously.

At one point I heard Pink Floyd being played on an acoustic guitar being played by a young man who calls himself DanTheCabMan. That’s an Instagram handle for those who don’t know. He played “Wish you Were Here” and I wished every rockhound could be there in Quartzsite, too. In the video he says he won’t sing. I promised I wouldn’t, either.

Here’s a photo on Thursday of what I used to call vesicular basalt with peridot. Not particularly wonderful specimens but a teaching moment. I am now told this is more properly termed vesicular porphyritic olivine basalt. Of, course.

Practical points. I found my fabric and rubber hiking boots worked very well for walking the aisles. After all, I hike in them all day so it made sense they would work here. Whatever you use, make sure they are comfortable and perhaps have a backup pair in your vehicle in case they don’t. Also, I found getting in touch with people is extremely difficult these days because everyone has their own preferences. Some use a mobile phone, others e-mail, some text, some message by Instagram or Facebook. I don’t have advice on overcoming this but you may want to make arrangements before hand if you are meeting someone in Quartzsite. While the vendors will all be in a certain location, your friends may be bouncing all over towns at different venues. Speaking of which, tomorrow I will be going back to the PowWow for a little bit and then hitting Desert Gardens across the highway later on. Different material, bigger stuff, lots of rough.

Bonus footage! Non-Pow-Wow. I almost forgot Miner’s Depot, a Quartzsite institution. I did a video on them on this second day and they are worth a lot more in print than I have time for here. They are less than a half mile north of city center. Great people. Gold spoken there.

Miners Depot in Quartzsite, Arizona from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

Pow Wow Show Promoters
Mike & Carolyn Zinno

Quartzsite Improvement Association
235 E. Ironwood Avenue, Quartzsite, AZ 85346

You can read more about Quartzsite at Rock&Gem’s website and Facebook page. (external link). I was covering the day to day at the PowWow for them this year and I have written extensively on all things Quartzsite in the past.

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books editing writing organizing writing rocks and lapidary Thoughts on writing Uncategorized

From My Book: Places to Visit and Collect in The Southwest

November 7, 2019

The latest version of this file will always be at my rockhounding site:

Here’s the latest version of my Places to Visit or Collect in the Southwest:






I do have a mobi or Kindle format for mobile but it is hosted at my rockhounding site, this personal blog website can’t host that kind of file:





These are places I visited or were recommended to me while traveling in the Southwest for my book. I mostly visited rock related places and ground open to collecting.

Weather wise, October may be the best time to travel the Southwest, followed by May.

It is impractical to visit every place you want to go because day after day you will find certain stores, mines, and museums closed.

Traveling Monday through Thursday is especially tough, my advice is to prospect or collect on those days and then try to visit businesses and museums closer to the weekend.

You will have to return to the Southwest to visit places closed on your first travel. I envy you.

Support Me at Patreon


Table of Contents

State Chapters

California (Southern)
Colorado (Southern)
Nevada (Southern)
New Mexico
Utah (Southern)

Map Stores

Desert Map and Aerial Photo – Palm Desert, CA
Wide World Maps & MORE! – Phoenix, Az (Central)
Wide World Maps & MORE! – Phoenix, Az (North)
Most BLM and USFS district offices sell local maps of areas they manage

Surveying Stores

Colton Surveying Instruments – Colton, CA

Rock, Gift, and Prospecting Shops by State


Sunshine Gallery and Gifts – St. David
Meteor Crater Gift Shop – Outside of Winslow
Rock-a-Buy – Duncan
Jim and Ellen’s Rock Shop – Cottonwood
The Gold Lady – Golden Valley / Kingman
The Miners Depot – Quartzsite
More shops in this file further on, to be hyperlinked soon . . .

California (Southern)

The Collector – Fallbrook
Desert Discoveries Rock Shop – Boron
Diamond Pacific – Barstow
Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society – Fallbrook
Minerals Unlimited – Ridgecrest
More shops in the text, working on hyperlinking . . . .

Colorado (Southern)

San Juan Gems – Cortez

Nevada (Southern)

Cactus Joes Nursery, Las Vegas
Rupprecht Estate Rock Yard – Las Vegas
Jewelry and Mineral of Las Vegas

Hidden Treasures Trading Company, Goldfield
Vanderford’s Gold Strike, Goldfield
Rock Chuck – Schurz

More shops in the text, working on hyperlinking . . .

New Mexico

Mama’s Minerals – Albuquerque
Mama’s Minerals – Santa Fe
New Mexico’s Mineral Museum and Gift Shop – Socorro
More shops in this file further on, to be hyperlinked soon . . .

Fee Digs, Tours, and Appointment Necessary Visiting
Courtland Ghost Town -Tours – Dig – Pearce, AZ
Gemfield Gem Claims – Dig – Goldfield, NV
Florence Mine – Tour – Goldfield, NV
El Dorado Canyon Mine Tours – Tour – Nelson, NV
Peridot Dreams – Tour or Surface Collect, San Carlos, AZ
Himalaya Mine – Screen Wash – Lake Isabella, CA
Oceanview Mine/Pala Chief – Dig – Wash Screen -Pala, CA
Ernst Quarries/Shark Tooth Hill – Dig – Bakersfield, CA
Questa Fire Agate Mine – Dig – Oatman, AZ
Blanchard – Desert Rose – Dig – Bingham, NM
Kelly Mine – Dig – Magdalena, NM
Prospecting or local rock and gem club membership often provide access to private fee digs


Many museums listed in the text, working on hyperlinking . . .


Many clubs listed in the text, working on hyperlinking. . . .

Organizations I Financially Support (external links):
Fluorescent Mineral Society:

Clubs I Belong To (external links)

Southern Utah Rock Club:
Southern Nevada Gem and Mineral Society:
Nye Gold Seekers:

Businesses I Regularly Use and Endorse (external links)

Geological Specimen Supply:
Minerals Unlimited:

Arizona (and one exception in Utah) [back to top]

James Mitchell’s Gem Trails of Arizona is dated but essential.

Anyone traveling extensively off-pavement in Arizona should get an Arizona State Trust Land Permit. $15.00 for individuals. Rockhounding on Arizona State Trust Land is prohibited but stopping at any point on these lands constitutes a “use” and that use demands a permit. Determining where these properties exists while driving is nigh impossible, most are managed grazing land outside of small towns or settlements. Rather than guess, it may be easier just to get a permit.

Washington County (Utah)

BLM Arizona Strip Office
345 E Riverside Dr.
St. George, UT 84790

37°04.986′ N 113°34.611′ W

This office is physically present in Utah but manages Arizona land. They manage the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, a no collecting area, and the Virgin River Recreation Management Area in northwest Arizona, a noted rockhound area. The office has some nice rock and mineral displays.

On my last visit they requested that I fill out a rockhound permit when I asked about collecting. This form applied to casual use, not commercial operations which demands a permit. No other office has asked me to fill such a thing out and other BLM offices look at the document with curiosity. Many BLM and USFS offices act as their own fiefdom, drawing up practices and procedures to fit their particular area.

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books Thoughts on writing Uncategorized Writing tips

Book Contract Signed — Now, to The Writing

I’ve just signed a contract with ——–CONTRACT CANCELLED——-  The working title is “A Beginner’s Guide to Rockhounding and Prospecting in the Southwest.”

Just what makes up the  Southwestern United States is difficult to say. There are no agreed boundaries for the region. For my book, the Southwestern United States comprises southern Utah, Southern Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, the Mojave Desert in Nevada, and the Mojave and Colorado Deserts in California. If one wants a larger area, the greater Southwest may extend to all of Nevada and Utah, this collective often known as The Desert States.

This contract came about after submitting two proposals. The first proposal contained a sample chapter written in an essay style. The working title was “Stories Behind The Stones,” a look at the people of the rock, gem, and mineral trade in the American West. My editor at ——– liked my writing but told me immediately that their marketing people wouldn’t be able to sell it. There wouldn’t be any reason to bring it to Adventure’s acquisition committee.

The editor and I then talked about what might sell. After many e-mails, we hit on the idea of a beginner’s guide to rockhounding in the Southwest. I then wrote an entirely new proposal. My new sample chapter was written in guidebook style, a complete departure from the essay style I had used before. No more “I’s”, “You’s” or “We’s”. No personal story telling. A rather detached way of writing. Instead of writing, “You should remember this,” guidebook style might read, “The prospector should remember this.” Or simply, “Remember this.”

I also developed a very long table of contents, almost an outline. This was excellent practice for me as it crystallized my thoughts about the book; it gave all my floating ideas a place to land on paper. It now serves as a blueprint for the book.

I’ll write more about my book writing experience as the months go on. My deadline to furnish a complete MS isn’t until mid- 2019 so I should have plenty of time. To further my education, I’ve enrolled in an online geology course offered by BYU. (external link) It’s a university level course spanning 24 lessons. It should advance my understanding and enhance my writing.

More details to follow!

Hacked map from Wikipedia. Book illustrations will be coherent and original.

Poetry Thoughts on writing Uncategorized

I Hurled My Youth Into A Grave

Robert W. Service was a little like Kipling (internal link). They were contemporaries, although continents apart. Both adventurers, they lived the life they wrote about.

Although Jack London is most associated with the Far North and the Yukon Gold Rush, he wrote short stories and novels. Robert Service, on the other hand, deserves fame for the poetry he wrote about the region. He could turn quite a phrase, and this poem is full of them.

My old prospecting partner went this summer to Alaska, to join a group dredging a cold, clear river for gold. I haven’t heard from Dan since he went in-country. I hope he found some.

The Spell of the Yukon by Robert W. Service

I wanted the gold, and I sought it,
I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvy — I fought it;
I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got it —
Came out with a fortune last fall, —
Yet somehow life’s not what I thought it,
And somehow the gold isn’t all.

No! There’s the land. (Have you seen it?)
It’s the cussedest land that I know,
From the big, dizzy mountains that screen it
To the deep, deathlike valleys below.
Some say God was tired when He made it;
Some say it’s a fine land to shun;
Maybe; but there’s some as would trade it
For no land on earth — and I’m one.

You come to get rich (damned good reason);
You feel like an exile at first;
You hate it like hell for a season,
And then you are worse than the worst.
It grips you like some kinds of sinning;
It twists you from foe to a friend;
It seems it’s been since the beginning;
It seems it will be to the end.

I’ve stood in some mighty-mouthed hollow
That’s plumb-full of hush to the brim;
I’ve watched the big, husky sun wallow
In crimson and gold, and grow dim,
Till the moon set the pearly peaks gleaming,
And the stars tumbled out, neck and crop;
And I’ve thought that I surely was dreaming,
With the peace o’ the world piled on top.

The summer — no sweeter was ever;
The sunshiny woods all athrill;
The grayling aleap in the river,
The bighorn asleep on the hill.
The strong life that never knows harness;
The wilds where the caribou call;
The freshness, the freedom, the farness —
O God! how I’m stuck on it all.

The winter! the brightness that blinds you,
The white land locked tight as a drum,
The cold fear that follows and finds you,
The silence that bludgeons you dumb.
The snows that are older than history,
The woods where the weird shadows slant;
The stillness, the moonlight, the mystery,
I’ve bade ’em good-by — but I can’t.

There’s a land where the mountains are nameless,
And the rivers all run God knows where;
There are lives that are erring and aimless,
And deaths that just hang by a hair;
There are hardships that nobody reckons;
There are valleys unpeopled and still;
There’s a land — oh, it beckons and beckons,
And I want to go back — and I will.

They’re making my money diminish;
I’m sick of the taste of champagne.
Thank God! when I’m skinned to a finish
I’ll pike to the Yukon again.
I’ll fight — and you bet it’s no sham-fight;
It’s hell! — but I’ve been there before;
And it’s better than this by a damsite —
So me for the Yukon once more.

There’s gold, and it’s haunting and haunting;
It’s luring me on as of old;
Yet it isn’t the gold that I’m wanting
So much as just finding the gold.
It’s the great, big, broad land ‘way up yonder,
It’s the forests where silence has lease;
It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.

Image from here:

Magazine article Uncategorized

Stop Government Overreach in The Auburn State Recreation Area

Could you please sign this petition? It protests the shutting down of the Auburn State Recreation Area to rockhounding and prospecting.

The Auburn RSA is located about forty miles northeast of Sacramento. Over many years, I’ve found gold in quartz, gold flakes, gold dust, and even beautiful quartz crystals. All of that activity is now illegal except for “hands and pans’ mining. That’s where you get to work a single gold pan without the help of any tool, not even a small shovel. Metal detectors are now strictly outlawed.

Here’s where to sign the petition. No registration or password required.

Please help keep the area open to rockhounds. To give you an idea of the area’s beauty and what everyone is being shut out of, here’s a mini-article. I can’t write up this story for Rock&Gem Magazine because people can no longer prospect. This particular area I visited a few years ago is just one of many where you can find gold. Read my captions below.

This is the middle fork of the American River. The middle fork and the north fork of the American come together near Auburn at what is called the confluence.

Plenty of areas to explore, especially at the end of the season with low water levels.

This is crevice work, where you dig out sand, rocks, and gravel between boulders, screen it down, then pan the fines.

Pioneer Mining Supply in Auburn (external link) sells specialty crevice tools like this or you can use old screwdrivers and the like. Don’t worry about disturbing anything; winter rains will wash new material back into the cracks. One hopes, with a little gold.

Here is the rough material gathered from the crevice. The large rocks are discarded and water flushes the fine material through the screen and into the pan. Then you pan out what remains.

And if you are lucky you will find some gold. All of what I have just described is now illegal. Please sign the petition if you would like to restore wonderful activities like this.


Tools of The Trade? A C.B. Radio For the Truck.

I had a Citizens Band radio installed in my truck yesterday. It gives me another way to communicate in areas where cell service is sketchy or non-existent. CB does not usually connect to the telephone network but you can call other radio users for help in an emergency.

The main users of CB are truckers, the Jeep community, people in recreational vehicles, and any group that is caravanning or driving in a convoy. The rockhounds and prospectors I know all communicate with CB when they are driving to a collecting site.

The unit I bought was recommended by the professional installer. It’s Uniden Pro 520XL, less than $40 on Amazon. But I say to buy it from whoever puts it in, or whatever radio they recommend. Any radio needs to be professionally installed, with special attention paid to antenna selection and to making secure wire connections.

You can find installers at certain truck stops. I went to Kelly’s C.B. Radio Repair (external link) in North Las Vegas and he did a fine job. His entire shop, including shelves of new and used equipment and a long repair bench, is in an old RV. Installed price was $210 which included the radio, antenna, an external speaker, and all the wiring.


Magazine article Thoughts on writing

Background On My Fifth Rock&Gem Article

My article on Quartzsite, Arizona is in the April issue of Rock&Gem Magazine. (external link) You can find it soon at most Barnes&Noble bookstores or you can order a copy online.

You might think I’m some sort of geologist or an advanced amateur to get published so often but I am not. I write from the standpoint of an interested, enthusiastic beginner. I learn about turquoise and garnet and mariposite as I write each article. I learn as I go and I invite the reader into what I find.

Do you have a hobby you’re interested in? If you like to write, you may want to investigate the hobby magazines that cover your field. Look what they’ve published before, develop an idea, then query the editor.

Quartzsite, Arizona is a mecca in winter for collectors of practically everything. It’s been called the World’s Largest Swap Meet. But it is particularly known to rock and gem collectors, along with people interested in fossils and jewelry. I write about the experience of spending three days there and wearing out a pair of shoes.

These young miners of High Desert Gem and Minerals (external link) sold California tourmaline, Oregon sunstone and blue chalcedony.

Exhibiting the best in organization, this vendor had all his wares arranged in alphabetical order. There were 21 items under “C” alone.

Boondocking is self-sustained camping practiced by people with recreational vehicles. These campers are at the Hi Jolly BLM camping area north of Quartzsite on I-95.

Fine artist Elizabeth Lauder (external link) created this work called Two Tree Huggers. The painting is oil on lizard skin marble.

Quartzsite is also about the stores and attractions away from the tents and temporary vendors. Look for Miners Depot when you get to town. A clearinghouse for all things related to desert prospecting.

There’s even a thousand year old tree in town. Ask any local for directions to this wonderful Ironwood tree.