Friday, February 26, 2010

Here's a new resource for every Rockhound ...

Now, I know that there are tons of Rockhounding sites out here on the Net. Still,  I haven't seen one that really acts as not only a place to post Field Trip reports, but a place to organize and communicate with others wishing to plan and execute great field trips.

So, I went out and started Rockhound Field Trip Fanatics! This Ning site has every tool that you need to communicate, coordinate and promote your Field Trip, or post your Trip reports, pictures and videos.
There are forums, event announcements and personal pages.
Perhaps the most useful feature is the "Groups" feature, which allows Members to post messages by specific categories of interest, directly to those who share that interest.

I've already posted some pics and the Little Panoche Field Trip, so go take a look, get connected and start sharing our hobby with everyone we can!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Re: The Panoche Field Trip and the Weather ...

    We will definitely be going on this trip, rain or shine! We have folks coming from all over the state and it's one of those sandy, flat land sites that yields material the moment you open your car door. (Well, ok ... you might have to walk 10 yards ... )

Go ahead and zoom the Google Map for the site in all of the way, and you'll get a street level view of the site. It's one of that rare breed, a truly productive surface site that has been completely overlooked, as far as we can tell.

When you reach the correct offramp (Shields Ave. / J-1 / Little Panoche Road ) you'll see a 4 foot sign that says "Rocks!" with an arrow pointing the way.

If you're in need of a place to RV camp, or a good motel, or food, or a market or ...
Well, CIVILIZATION... be sure to check out my Tumey Hills/ Panoche Road Google Map.
It's only about 1/2 hour south of the Little Panoche collecting site.

So, bring along your rain ponchos, and if you have one, a folding picnic shelter. Remember your folding camp chairs, too. The weather forecast is for partly cloudy, and the site is lush & green, and dust free!
It's truly the best time of year to visit, the wildflowers are lovely!

We look forward to meeting you, and seeing what you bring to swap!

Be Well!
 P.S: If you're attending and need my phone number for "just in case," feel free to drop me an email at         

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Best directions for the Little Panoche Field Trip!

Mark, Glen (a new friend from F.G.M.S.) and I went out to Little Panoche yesterday, and after walking the entire area, it looks even better than we'd thought! We found cutting material that made our eyes pop out, and there's plenty for everyone!

We also found that, if you're coming out from Fresno, the fastest way to get there is to head north across the San Joaquin River on Hwy 99, and take the Ave. 7 exit. Head west on Ave 7, and keep going west until you reach Ave 7 1/2 ("Firebaugh Blvd.") which becomes 13th St as you cross the bridge & enter Firebaugh.
Once you're in Firebaugh, go past the 2 stop signs with the blinking lights, and take a right turn at N St, and a left turn one block north at 12th St. Stay on this road as it becomes W. Nees, then head south on I-5. You'll want to exit at Shields Ave., where you'll see the big white sign that says "ROCKS!" Go west from there.

If you're coming from the South Valley, take your favorite way of getting to I-5. From Kerman, take Hwy. 180 west to Mendota, then go west on Shields Ave. Kepp going west, you'll get there!

If you're not certain what kind of tools and other "stuff" to bring,, be sure to look at the left bottom of my Blog page to find my Tool list. Be sure to bring "swap" rocks, slabs and other cools stuff to share with the many (20+!) rockhounds who're planning to attend!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Field Trip Fever!

Well, dear friends, it's almost ... well, okay, so it just seems like it's Spring!
The flowers and hay fever are blooming, the grape vines have decided to start budding, and the Water Wars are heating up for another growing season.

And, so soon after Valentines Day, the rockhounds heart feels the warmth of the Sun, and turns to thoughts of Field Trips! So, lets talk details!

Yes, I know that you know about the "Going Home From Tucson" Field Trip, scheduled for Saturday, February 27th. This was originally planned for the benefit of Rockhounds@drizzle e-list members who're attending the winterr gem shows, but has greatly expanded since I hooked up with the Fresno Gem & Mineral Society. At this date, it looks like we should have at least 20 folks on this Field Trip to the Little Panoche Reservoir site.

I'll be out at the I-5 & J-1/Little Panoche road off ramp by 9 am to put up signs for the directionally challenged. Be sure to take a good look at the Google Maps link, and remember that the site is 3 miles west of I-5, on the north side of J-1. If you reach the power lines, you've gone too far.

If you're coming from Fresno, you've got lots of choices for lunch. If you're coming from the south on I-5, the closest stop is at the Panoche Road/I-5 off ramp, with fast food & sit-down dining opportunities, and a good motel. Coming from the north, Santa Nella, Los Banos, and the Nee's/Firebaugh exit from I-5 feature lots of food & lodging choices. The Chevron at Nee's has a good Subway's inside, and friendly service.

The materials to be collected at this site are a grab bag of California favorites, with jasper/agate, chert, fossils, jade, serpentine and many more identifiable and "mystery" materials.

A high silica serpentine (I think!) with hematite inclusions

A high silica ironstone concretion ... Takes a mean polish!

We will be out at the site just about 9am, and will stay there 'til at least 1:30. Be sure and bring water & lunch, and extra snackables. There is a larger parking area and porta-potties 5 minutes further west on J-1, at the Little Panoche Dam. If Mark & I see enough enthusiastic folks who can't get enough great cutting material, visiting additional sites that day is a possibility.

If you plan to attend, please make sure that I know, so I can bring along a special "surprise" for you! Also, be sure to bring along stuff to "swap," especially if you're coming from "away's." Remember, what you think is pedestrian may be another rockhound's treasure, and vice versa!

FYI, this is not an official Club, Society or Federation event. All attendees do so at their own risk, and will be asked to sign a "Waiver of Liability." The conditions at this site are as safe as most roadsides in western Fresno County, so this is just a formality to cover our as*es.

In March, we're planning a multi-day Field Trip to the Mojave Desert, with from the 26th through the 29th. We'll be basing ourselves in Barstow, at the Motel 6, but would welcome adventurous souls with RV's who want to camp "onsite." Lavic is great for this, if you don't mind the trains!

Collecting certainties so far are the Lavic jasper/agate area & the Sierra Pelona Travertine Claim.
Other possibilities are Opal Mountain, Kramer's Junction, Castle Butte, and Chambliss. Acton Canyon, Cadiz and many other sites are easily accessible from Barstow, as is Calico Ghost Town.

View Directions to Lavic, California in a larger map

If you can attend for at least one day, please let us know ASAP, to aid in coordinating the trip. We'd like to get together with as many rockhounds as possible, and do a little cleanup at the collecting areas, to be reported to the BLM.
We all need to make as much of a statement about keeping the Mojave accessible for rockhounding as we possibly can, since many "Environmentalists" would like to shut us off of these "public" lands.

If you have a trip going on, or one to propose, don't hesitate to contact me. I'll gladly help to plan or promote Field Trips, or tag along!

'Til next post ... KEEP ROCKIN'!