Oct 31, 2012, 11:53 AM
Hello, I have been on the GPAA site but it seemed a little slow over there so I searched for more gold forums and found this great site!
I would like to prospect full time living out of my vehicle in Northern California. I am 37, recently single after 13 years, and have no children or debt. I have a few claims around Nevada City but also plan to join other clubs like the Golden Caribous to gain access to more land. I will just be using a sluice and highbanker. I am not looking to get rich. I am looking to work hard and treat it as a full time job. My goal to start is to find $500 in gold per month. Is there anyone else out there who has attempted something like this or who would like to join me in my Livin' The Dream Tour?
Any thoughts or tips would be greatly appreciated.
Oct 31, 2012 11:53 AM
Oct 31, 2012, 11:58 AM
A lot of full time RV'ers prospect as much as they can. If you enjoy what you are doing, I think it sounds like a great thing to do. I would think that this time of year might be easier on you in the southwest where you don't have to deal with snow in the high country.
Whites GMT, Whites GM Vsat, Whites 5900, Gold Mountain King Cobra, Bounty Hunter 3300
Oct 31, 2012, 12:49 PM
Mike, I think you are in for a huge disappointment. You'll make more money and work just as hard digging ditches for a farmer or rancher. It is a GREAT hobby, it is a lousy job. I know several "outlaw," living off the grid types that try and make a living dry camping and prospecting. None of them make enough money to cover their beer or gasoline, so they usually don't eat very well and live in primative conditions, often running out of toilet paper because they don't have enough gas to run their drywasher and drive their truck into town. When they do sell gold they find, they are VERY lucky to get 65-percent of spot. Good luck.
Originally Posted by MinerMike
Oct 31, 2012, 05:54 PM
Its something to try, but having a 5th wheel or a bumper pull will do you loads better than having a Class A or C RV unless you have a Toad behind it that can go on some trails.
I had a 36' Class A and I never took it up because the area's that I like to go, an RV like that cant.
I sold my RV just a couple weeks ago, only reason why my wife let me buy a Gold Bug Pro.
Try to get a good complete wetsuit or drysuit, beef up the knee pads, get a snorkle, mask and maybe a hookah and try your hand at sniping bedrock too.
That can be VERY productive if you find good, untouched spots.
Dredging hasnt been legal for a couple years so replenished gold will be there too.
If you find gold in the water on bedrock it probably will be where you can feed a sluice too and highbank.
If you never take the adventure then you wont know how it will end.
Last edited by NeoTokyo; Oct 31, 2012 at 05:57 PM.
Head in the water, butt in the air.
Now I know why ducks do it!
Underwater Sniper n00b
Oct 31, 2012, 08:21 PM
It is unfortunate that two people who at one time felt they were compatible have broken up, my sympathy to you both for that having come into your lives.
Since you are already in NorCal you know that winter is just around the corner. I do not know what type of vehicle you are living out of or what you have outside of your vehicle to further enable you to exist but I know that living out of ones vehicle is not a picnic. Last year from about mid May to late October I was out in the hills of NorCal and found it to be quite an experience as well as an adventure. I was not 'out there' all that time but I did get in a good three months prospecting, hiking into out of the way places and swinging my GMT. Since then I've come in out of the cold and have a full time job that way out shines the prospecting for the amount of income I now have. Terry has already given you the cold hard facts about the income from prospecting and just how hard it is and he is correct. Unless one is really lucky and very careful to avoid injuries you are not likely to find that much and being injured is NOT what you want in your life so be careful. I found that in small towns a handyman could make $10/hour max!
It sounds like you already have the sluice and highbanker and those are good tools along with a good goldpan or two and some shovels and prybars, buckets and such you will have all that a small time prospector will need especially as the highbanker raw material does not need to be classified. Treat your equipment with care as it is what you intend to use to support yourself. Also, be certain to stay legal with everything you do as it will be very clear to an officer of the law that you are living "off the grid" and any actions or words from you that arouse 'interest' in you could lead to an unhappy event. Be honestly congenial to all you meet, be honest in all your dealings with others, your Integrity is what will keep you alive and well and trust your first feelings when you meet strangers and even then pay attention to what is going on around you.
I wish you the best of luck with whatever you decide to do............63bkpkr
Last edited by 63bkpkr; Oct 31, 2012 at 08:23 PM.
Out searching w/GMT & friend under my arm
Oct 31, 2012, 10:48 PM
I believe you can make $500.00 a month. and way more than 65% spot. especially if you sale on ebay it is common to sell small lots of placer gold for 125% spot or more. If anything you have the right to go find out. If you have a claim and gear you have so much in your favor already. Just research the area of your claims and try to find out what where and how they were getting color. Being alone can actuallybe a good thing you spend as much time prospecting as possible there are numerous small scale miners who earn a living mining, not all equipment is sold to retirees and " Recreational Prospectors" I feel if you make your first goal to find gold then to increase your production with what you have learned you will be o.k. I think with time to dig and a decent spot a half ounce a month is quite doable., it is your personal overhead that will make you decide if it is gonna work out for you.
Nov 01, 2012, 03:17 AM
btw, when you are in Redding go to Market Street Gold, they pay 82.5% spot second to The Miners Cache which is 80%.
The Miners Cache is open Wed-Sat and MST is M-F.
If you can bring in 13oz or more at a time The Gold Exchange will pay you 92% of actual content and assay it there, otherwise they are 75% of spot.
Never try to sell to Old West, they will not tell you what % they are giving at any time and make up numbers as they go and will only tell you what they will give you for the gold.
Every Local miner who has gone in there has not again. Chip had a friend that went in and figured at the offer they gave him that they were paying 56% of spot, and he had a LOT of gold he was selling.
Not to mention they are very rude about their gold dealings as well. There is a reason why Market Street Gold opened right on the other side of the street of them and pay 82.5%.
Save all pickers and nuggets for ebay or find a local that buys them for a fair price.
pvillehunter is also very correct, small amounts of fine and flake gold do very well on ebay. I have found that the small 3.11 gram vials do the best.
If you sell on ebay be ready for the fee's that come with it though, last time I checked it is 13% between paypal and ebay total, then factor in insured shipping BUT if you send via USPS insured shipping will be less than $10 dollars.
So for the trouble and cost of fee's it may be better to just go through a good local shop.
Last edited by NeoTokyo; Nov 01, 2012 at 03:20 AM.
Head in the water, butt in the air.
Now I know why ducks do it!
Underwater Sniper n00b
Nov 01, 2012, 05:20 AM
In my younger and dumber years (mid to late hippy era with a friend) I too decided that we could discover riches in the waters and deserts of the beautiful west. Two years in a truck with a camper attached was the big adventure. There is some incredible and wonderful advice here about where to sell your gold. But you may want to listen to Terry Soloman. You see, before you can take advantage of all those places to sell your gold, you have to find your gold. You will use all sorts of techniques to find gold. You will learn to pan in freezing water, you will have to repair sluices and other devices more often than you can imagine because they WILL break down, you will deal with officers of the law at the local, state and federal level who won't accept "I didn't know" as an excuse, you have to eat, buy gas, buy other supplies and it will reach a point where McDonalds becomes a treat, there are people out to steal what you have or find so you better be armed and know which permits may be needed, you will be filthy, colld, miserable, ill, angry, hungry, scared, unsure and broke at various times during this adventure and you won't be alone. There will be others just like you out there as well. Gold wasn't worth as much back then, but neither was anything else. Did we find gold? Yes, but by the time this ended, we were still almost broke, knew a lot about suffering and couldn't wait to get home to parents that never said a word, just wrote the checks that put us through college. I wish you well, but trust me, gold seeking on a part-time basis is fun, gold seeking all day, everyday becomes a tedious and awful job that literally will grind you down. Stay safe and stay warm.
Nov 01, 2012, 08:53 AM
If you have a couple a claims work them and don't waste cash on clubs claims. BLM/FS will move you on after a very short period so don't expect to live fulltime on claims. Legal or not don't matter to the officers/rangers as 11 just threw off BLM land on Deadwood Gulch.-John
Nov 01, 2012, 02:38 PM
Great wods Austin, have you thought about putting together a book or even just a detailed story the rest of us can read on here? Sounds like you guys had quite an adventure.
John, that sucks to hear.... I thought WE owned this land.
ahh but thats another thread all together, people losing more and more rights but we are still the same Tax Cattle to local and fed govt. dollar signs and statistics in their eyes.
Head in the water, butt in the air.
Now I know why ducks do it!
Underwater Sniper n00b
Nov 01, 2012, 02:57 PM
I'm guessing that when you say you have a few claims around Nevada City. ca. that you mean you have found some gravel bars in the areas of the bridges
on the South Yuba river. If you decide to overwinter there, you will probably find yourself immersed in the culture. Many people "hanging at the bridges"
don't work or want to work. I saw the same thing 20 years ago when I did the same thing you are thinking about. I ended up moving farther out(near
Relief Hill) where I didn't have to share everything I had. I stayed in that region for two years and was marginally successful, living in the woods. It wasn't
easy, and if you tend to need people to talk to, forget it. But if you decide to go for it, I'm certain you will never forget the experience!! - good luck.
Nov 03, 2012, 01:34 PM
Thank you for all the replies everyone. I am trying to make it through winter before setting out on this adventure. I actually prefer isolated locations where there are no people around which also will increase my odds of actually finding gold. I would love to find someone in my situation who is willing to give it a shot along with me as we all know it is much safer to have a partner in the back country in case anything bad happens. I know this is difficult and if it were easy everyone would quit their day jobs and get out there but I am ready and willing to test myself. I have a couple claims around Nevada City not near those heavily worn out spots by the bridges. I am also looking for new open land to stake throughout Northern California and possibly Idaho. The new BLM fees seem to have helped free up some land but I still need to do the rearch as LR2000 can't be relied upon for total accuracy. Thanks again to all!
Nov 03, 2012, 04:20 PM
recluse in training
I'm new to all this so I don't have any advise to add, but I wanted to say best of luck, Mike, and it sounds like you've got the right attitude.
I spent my late teens and a good part of my 20s hitch-hiking and hopping freight trains around and across the US so I'm intimately familiar with the "filthy, cold, miserable, ill, angry, hungry, scared, unsure and broke at various times" life-style that austin was describing above, and I wouldn't trade a moment of it for anything in the world. The flip side of all that is feeling like you really own your own life, learning how much you can rely on yourself and just how little you need from the world and other people; which somehow enables you to like, get along with, and appreciate all of the above a lot more easily.
All that along with a bunch of other perks that can't be described with words on a screen.
"Life isn't supposed to be a vacation, it's supposed to be an adventure. Now quit whining, you're embarrassing me"
---Marco Polo to his kid brother Spanky Polo.
I'm planning on doing about the same thing you're talking about here in about a year and a half, also in California, so I'm going to make it a point to pay attention to your threads (already got a bunch of information from this one), and thanks for posting this one.
Nov 24, 2012, 09:02 PM
I have spent the last year readying myself for almost the same Adventure Mike.....I grew up in Northern Idaho and have panned and sluiced and dredged with an Uncle in Western Montana there since I was a kid...I spent years working in the Oilfield in the Arctic and spent alot of time off panning Alaska.
My son is now raised and off to College and being a single guy I bought two claims in Southern Idaho, one of which is rather large. My RV is packed, the tow jeep is loaded, my pans and shovels and sluice and gold detector are all ready for action......Both claims have a nice river running throught the middle of them in very rich gold country and now I'm deciding wether to go with a 4 inch dredge or a small trommel set up. I am heading South to the desert for winter and plan on mostly hiking with my gold detector but in Spring plan on exploring my new claims....I don't have visions of Grandeur in getting Rich but I do know that no one ever won the lottery without buying a ticket.
I wish you the best of Luck!
Nov 24, 2012, 11:05 PM
Keep us posted, both minermike and warbike39, as a growing number of us have to settle for vicarious adventures now - boo hoo
Nov 25, 2012, 12:35 AM
I have dreamed of being a full timer since my first year mining back in the early 90s.
I've said it before, When I win the lottery I'll be a full timer the next day.
God I love mining.
I salute you both, MinerMike and Warbike39 , and wish you good fortune and weather.
Remember Chance favors the prepared mind.
Here is a picture of the best mining partner I ever had.
In the wild, man and dog belong together.
In all the advancing we can do to improve this world, the sharing of knowledge and wisdom is the most important.
We stand on the shoulders of giants.
I am so glad I joined this Message board.
If I post anything that inspires anyone to do better mining then me, I did my part.
And If anyone inspires me to try something new, or better, I thank them now.
Nov 25, 2012, 10:48 AM
Great looking dog. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to getting a dog someday out there with me. Right now my mining partner is a friend named glock 27. Lol. When u coming up to the desert bro?
Originally Posted by Aurabbit79er
Nov 25, 2012, 01:06 PM
I have a similar partner but he's Ruger 454 Casull cause where I go the bears are plentiful, large, trained to go see what humans have brought in for them so I also carry a long length of ~ 3/16" aircraft cable so I can hang at least my food in a safe manner. One other thing for anyone planning on staying out in the hills for any length of time is to keep your camp clean. Anyone walking into a filthy mess of a camp will have made up their mind about you before they even meet you and that would include me. Oh, bears can be beautiful animals, I've never shot a bear, do not want too but it has been very close call several times. Big, in close to me or me and my camp and the meetings shall we say are memorable. Bears are fast when they run and very strong, for that matter so's every animal out there!...............63bkpkr
Out searching w/GMT & friend under my arm
Nov 25, 2012, 01:15 PM
I havent been blessed to have ever had a good mining partner aside from Dave Wiseman.Gold does crazy things to people and it has always ended badly.I have had some dogs that I have held in higher esteem then most people,and in this day and age especially in Californa a good dog is your best defense against lions,a dog knows when something is up a long time before you do,and once a lions stealth has been lost,usually the gig is up.Sme goes for people up to no good.Fido #1,then Smith,Wesson,Sam Colt,and Sturm Ruger to back him up
M.X.T , Tesoro Tejon
"A pen in the hand of this president is far more dangerous than a gun in the hands of 200 million law-abiding citizens."
Nov 25, 2012, 03:22 PM
i agree with every thing that was posted above, Thay have been there & done that, i dont have a spellcheck so will post some junk that I posted before about my adventures, The only thing that I can add is you will meet some great guys that you will really enjoy there company around the fire, & wont them to find gold too. Keep your mouth shut, for they are comptition & will pick your brane, I have lost a lot oF AU & found some lisening around the camp fire.
My first wife pased away, we had four boys & I swore when they were on there own I would do something that I wonted to do, still had to work, it is surprizing what you can do when you get hungry, Below is my story of my adventure
First nuggett, with a metal detector, Gracie & I were in Quartz AZ. selling Drift wood carvings, We dident open Monday For there was not much action at the flee markits, We took a drive out in the desert to have a look see & found three Guys rakeing the rocks off a small hill, we watched them, trying to figure out what they were up to, with no luck.
Garden? noway, I hate to inter my big nose where it is not invited but the WHY was eating me up.I aproched this guy supported by his rake & asked him what they were doing, After a long pause that went on for ever he findly told me that they were hunting gold, GOLD, man there is not any gold in that dirt, gold is in rock, I cant rember where I obtained that peace of valuble information, but being from Texas I was always free with my apiinion Right or wrong with no guarnteas. They got this hill smooth & level, the guy proped up with his rake who I took to be the boss got his Gold Master & ground balanced it, made a swing or two & bingo, nice clear signal,one scoop with his plastic cup & he had it in his cup, Man O Man, there ware nuggets all over that darn hill,
I told Gracie our wood carving days are over, We are Prospectors now.
We drove back to Qsite bought me a Whites Gold Master, asembled it turned it on & holey dodo, I have never herd such racket come from a metal detector, I thought I new something about them for I had sold & used most of them. Where is that darn direction manual? The VLF Detectors had just came out, I had never used one or had any experence with mineralize soil, After 3 days of farting with that darn thing, If there had been a tree handy, it would have a metal detector raped around it.
I seen this big guy,( Glen Anderson) near my camp giving lessons on how to use a metal detector to about 15 people in tow. I swallowed my prided & asked him what was wrong with this detector, He jacked it up & down about 3 or 4" off the ground & had it puring like a kitten, If it hadent been for him I would still be out on that darn desert trying to get it to work after I raped it around a tree.
My first day as a prospector I went to a wash on the north side of I-10 at Qsite, My nolige of gold prospecting was that there was gold nuggets laying out there in the dirt or in rock that a metal detector would find if you put it over a gold nugget that was not to deep & how to ground ballance a detector, gold could be laying around in dirt & was not sure about the information that I had obtained from some unknown place about gold being in rock but to be on the safe side, I was goinging to give all dirt & rock in AZ.a go.
I found the gut of the wash was full of junk & desided to give the face of this huge rock a go, got a good signal about 6ft up & then realized I dident have a hammer or chizel But while trying to pin point it there was a silver $ size hole,( at the time hadent learned not to stick body parts in holes in the desert ) Stuck my finger in gave it a twist & out fell the most beautiful big huge 3.6 gram golden nugget, I was convinced it was the greatest nugget ever found in AZ
I am sure that if I had known any thing about prospicing I would never have found that nugget.
Around the fire that night I was the king, every one hung on to ever world I had to say, I had more friends & respect, then any time in my intire life, Gracie even got me a cup of coffie, as a rule she would ask if I wonted a cup, & to bring her one while I was up.
That nugget is for sale. It is hard to put a price on an old friend & a sterling time in your life, But it is time to find a new home for it.
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