Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Want to see more great rocks?

For the continuing adventures of Sesame Pooch and the Temple of Jargoon (jargoon is a pale variety of zircon and this is a word play on The Temple of Doom), please check out my new blog location: http://landofstrange.com/blog/ .  These particular photos are from my post Journey to the Pegmatite Mine: http://landofstrange.com/journey-to-the-pegmatite-mine/ .  I will be posting all my new happenings there on my new blog, some rockhounding and gemstone related stories and some shop related stories.  And of course always some Sesame Pooch related stories!   I hope to see you all again soon!  :-)  -Eva

Monday, February 3, 2014

Copper Creek, San Marcos, California

A spur of of the moment decision, we visited an old copper mining area in San Marcos, California called Copper Creek.  Walking through chaparral trails and then through soggy riparian areas, we saw many new kinds of plants but strangely not a single poison oak bush was to be found.  Usually they thrive in such conditions but not here.

First the dirt was an ordinary brown grey color, but then it became rusty red (first photo) until finally becoming stained green, all because of native copper in the soil.  A gentle river meandered through the steep canyon walls and we crossed many small wood plank foot bridges on our way.  Copper ore is known to make beautiful green or blue rocks and that was what we wanted to see!

The mining itself was done in the late 1800s with considerable infrastructure being built, including a large rounded dam (see second photo), road improvements, and large platforms to station the highliner and equipment to ferry the ore to the main road.  The platforms were made using local rock, the cement of the time, and sections of metal cable instead of rebar.  Over a hundred years later, the platforms are still in good condition!

Throughout the hillsides, small diggings, strewn rock tailings, and green stained rocks were evident.  Just above the platforms, an apparent spill zone from the ore carts showed us what they were likely after, green crumbly dirt clods of copper ore, easy to mine and easy to extract the ore from, because they were so soft.  That same softness meant that the pretty green rocks would have no use for jewelry or collection but they did give the countryside an interesting flare.  Many years previously, I had visited this same area and one of our party at that time was able to find an area where small nodules of natural copper lay on top of the soil in their more pure copper metal state, but after so much time, I was unable to remember where or know if they were still there.  

After many hours of hiking, stumbling around piles of strewn rock, and picking carefully over slippery river outcroppings, Sesame Pooch had investigated every nook and cranny and was able to finagle her way into all but one of the photos.  Not another soul was seen all day, probably because everyone else was home watching the super bowl.  But soon darkness was on us and we had to high tail it on the long walk back to the car. 

What a beautiful hike on a beautiful Sunday!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fixit Cheap!

Don't you hate it when things on your car break and you have to pay a lot of money to the mechanic to fix them? Dave hates it too. That's why when his truck radiator sprung a giant crack across the top, instead of replacing it, he just glued it back together! The secret to such success is JB Weld. Apparently, this stuff is considered an essential travel item for classic car enthusiasts who can't easily find replacement parts for their very old cars.

Here's a picture looking down on the the top of Dave's radiator covered in the grey sealant. He made this repair about 6 months ago. Eventually, he does hope to replace the entire radiator, but only because he considers the old plastic of such an old radiator to be unreliable in general and it could spring a leak in another area next.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

See I told You!

Dave rambled his jeep down the washboard road at a considerable pace, until finally, one of his passengers had about enough so he told Dave that he really ought to slow down. He was going too fast! Dave teased him back and continued on at the same rate. Until suddenly, everyone started to smell smoke. It was coming out of the dashboard! At that point, Dave was now ready to quickly stop the jeep after all, jump out, and fling up the hood. A giant cloud of black smoke billowed out from under the hood! And under the smoke was red hot flames! Dave and another passenger promptly began smacking down the flames with old towels. It was not looking good!

But eventually the flames were put out. What had happened? Bouncing on the rough road had put that last iota of pressure on some old worn out metal straps around the battery. The straps had broke and the battery slid forward until it hit a small piece of metal that bridged the gap between the positive and negative nodes of the battery. This short circuit then caused the metal to heat up and start a fire in the insulation under the hood.

The amazing part was that nothing was actually seriously damaged. A few wires were singed and a quick repair was made via some electrical tape. And the battery was anchored back in place via some bungee cord. And there is a tad less insulation now present. Now Dave keeps a sharp eye on the current state of bungee cord and straps around the battery and checks it regularly!

But the funniest part was the response to the event from one of his passengers who had been complaining about Dave's driving speed. Just as the flames were put out, all he had to say was, "See I TOLD you that you shouldn't drive so fast!"