Daily Archives: June 3, 2012

The Undone, the Undead and the Unexpected

I should have named those claims the Onyx.  Everything about them, start-to-finish was Onyxpected.

Keep in mind, I was looking for evidence of a fairly specific group of legendary dead men who met their demise in the early 1860s.  Not just any old group of dead guys.  Special dead guys, though mostly nameless.

I’d been compiling, studying the versions of the legend, of accounts handed down by searchers, survivors and a lot of lies I couldn’t afford to judge without checking them out.  The evidence I was looking for was a burned out cabin ruin, maybe a sluicebox, something akin to a waterfall.  A pair of bare peaks roughly 20 miles to the north the legend called, ‘Piloncillos’.  Baldies.  Possibly a formation resembling the head of a bear.

Keith and I had been bouncing around that country for a couple of years, chasing dead men.  The Zuni Mountains, Santa Rita Mesa, Largo Canyon, Red Hill caldera, Pelona Mesa, the Sawtooths.  We saw a lot of fine real estate,  had plenty of adventure, but we hadn’t found anything to nail theory to anything on the ground.

Eventually I began assembling fragments of various versions of the legend, each at least mildly supported by some other version.  Began drawing circles at ten mile intervals outward from somewhat verifiable points, overlapping circles.  I ended up with a slice of orange peel on a map where the circles converged.   On a 7.5 minute USGS topo I counted 32 canyons within the orange peel that seemed to have possibilities.  Numbered them 1-32 with little stickers on the face of the map.

Keith was tied up in Santa Fe a day-or-so longer than I was, so I headed out, intending to cross some canyons off the map before he arrived, meet him at a camp on Elk Plateau when he got there. 

But canyon #3, I learned from a Hispanic rancher I met when I went to cross off Cabin Springs [canyon #2], had a burned out cabin ruin and something he described as a water-trough cut with an axe out of a 3′ diameter tree.  Late evening I arrived and set up camp on Elk Plateau to wait for Keith, me in a state of high anxiety.

But I’ve digressed. 

I was going to tell this story in full, but leading into the subject of platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium and osmium.  How, in those days a person would have a hell of a time even assaying for them, how if located, they had to be sold through the Platinum Consortium, which wasn’t interested in buying.  How the melting temperature of the stuff makes a serious challenge of smelting it, in any case.  How it takes a special kiln, a special crucible to do anything at all with platinum.

How the New Mexico Bureau of Mines assured me our expensive spectroscopic assay was meaningless, a scam.  “There’s no platinum in New Mexico,” they assured me.  How at the precise time they told me that piece of fiction, the Platinum Consortium was mining the tailings of 19th Century gold mines near White City, New Mexico, for platinum they didn’t want when those mines were active, maybe didn’t even recognize.

How Sunburst Mining Company opened an operation mining platinum, gold and silver in microscopic quantities on the edge of a caldera within view of the peak above my claims a couple of years later.

I’d figured on telling you how they employed over a hundred people over there for a few years, got crosswise with New Mexico Department of Environment, ran into financial problems in other mining locations, went kaput.

And I was going to tell you how Keith and I found a canyon of maybe the weirdest geology I’ve ever come across.  Named it No Name Canyon.

But hells bells, I reckons I’m going to have to save that for another day.

Meanwhile, if you’ve missed the other background on all this you can find it by exploring the tags and whatnot or searching the site for ‘lost gold mine’.

Old Jules

Old Sol’s Bumper-Stickers

Me: Hey!  Up and at’em guy!  Rise and shine.”

Old Sol:  “Sheeze!  Hush you mouf, boy.  I’m sleeping in this morning.  Got a heluva headache.”

Me:  “Little too much partying, did we?  Get your lazy butt up over the horizon.  You’ve got a tight agenda today.”

Old Sol:  “Hell, I’ve got things going on you don’t even know about.  Didn’t any sooner get this Venus drama out of the way and got Mercury coming up.  And that ain’t the half of it.  Same old same old.  And I’ve got all this magnetic field crap to deal with.  Look at this damned coronal hole if you think you’ve got problems.”

Me:  “Look here, big guy.  I know it ain’t easy, but you’ve got a job to do.  If you can’t handle it, someone’s going to start talking to Alpha Centauri.  We’re already farming out everything important this side of the planet.  If you don’t want to be out-sourced you might start doing some gratitude affirmations you’ve still got a job at all.”

Old Sol: “Are you threatening me?  You?  I’ll tell you what, bubba.  You guys just try passing all that mess off to Alpha Centauri.  That sissified bastard couldn’t do half of what I do.  And you’d be in for a loooong dry spell, meanwhile.”

Me: It ain’t my call.  It’s the multi-nationals.  Just get on up and maybe we can both keep our jobs.”

Old Sol: Yeah, yeah yeah.  But look at that damned coronal hole, would you?  I need an aspirin.”

Old Jules

1977 C60 School Bus – Idle Musings

Morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Some of you made some good, helpful comments about the last post, and although that bus might never come into my life, my mind’s insisting on playing with the associated problems.

Insofar as the matter of cooling for summer driving, I’m thinking ram-air venturi.  A hole cut at the question-mark, flange installed with a megaphone-like air-catcher-compressor expanding inside the bus.  Water misted from a pressurized pump-up insecticide sprayer as the air expands as it’s released inside the bus.  Rear windows open to pull the cooler air backward through the length of the bus.

I’m thinking for cooling the bus as a dwelling, a thermal syphon arrangement pulling air from the shaded area under the bus, releasing it along the floor, the hole for the venturi open and the windows cracked at the top to pull the cooler air upward from the floor. 

Maybe some sort of misting device inside the bus, also.

I use those pump-up insecticide sprayers anyway for showering now, today, and that one would serve that use when the bus is parked as living quarters.  I’d cap the hole with a PVC cap when the venturi wasn’t in use, weather was cold, or it was raining.

As for heating it winters, I’ve got a number of ideas, some as strange and unlikely as these.  But the cats and I are used to living cold and hard.  What’s bare minimum for us isn’t likely to be much warmer than our ancestors spent their lives living with, uncomplaining.

For cooking meals while driving down the highway I’ll install one of those enclosed propane grilles to sit atop the engine, use waste-heat from the engine to do the cooking, pull it out when I’m ready, slow-cooker-like.  There’s plenty of room under the hood for a cooker capable of handling a banquet.

There’s an old propane refrigerator from a camper I gave Gale 30-40 years ago stored up there I posted a picture of here on an earlier entry, which I’d install.  Those AC shelves will work well, I thinks, as a means of running water lines, gas lines, and electrical wiring.  Out of sight, out of the way, but accessible.

A couple of propane burners on a platform and a Coleman stove oven might be the solution for somewhere to prepare food while camped if I don’t cook outdoors.

I’m thinking LED lighting, assuming I can find it at the right price.

Those pump-up insecticide sprayers are surprisingly useful for all manner of unlikely purposes.  Good for washing dishes, rinsing dishes, showering, all in a severely water-saving mode.  Heat the water, fill one with soapy water, another with clear water, you’re in business.

Thanks for your interest and comments.

Gracias, Jules