Spring Roadtrip complete, New mates, New XP Dealer and a big tick on a bucket list item that to some is just laying around all over the place.
Mid september saw me wave goodbye to the family and the dogs to head off on roadtrip number 4 since I entered the world of being a detector business owner. This was without doubt the best trip I have so far.
Early problems where minimal with a flat crank battery at my very first fuel stop. Investigations led to me needing a new one and the local bloke threw it in for me no drama at all. I had flashbacks to the breakdown of the last trip and was somewhat worried at what may go wrong this time. For the record no further drama as far as the Van was concerned except for crappy fuel economy but that was to be expected.
NEVER Have I had so much crap in the van, from the 3m marquee to the selection of my ever growing range of products there was barely any room for a rest and each evening required a minor reshuffle to make some bed space to grab some z’s.
First event was the Goanna Gold detectors meet up in The Mookewarra park on the shores of Burrendong dam. You come on from stuart town and once there you’re camped right next to a gold hotspot that has seen hundreds of pieces of gold found in previous years.
The area is very rich in diggings and signs of the old boys activity but finding the yellow metal is a challenge and especially for me using the GPX 5000 for the second time in my life.
I did dig my deepest target of the trip with a pickhead coming to light a full 18 inches below the surface and the digging with my undersized pick was hard work. I thought I was on big time but when I saw the tell tale signs of rust I knew i had dug a big hole for a piece of junk. I was happy in one way that I located it and devastated that such a big hole contained only the old iron.
The weather was outstanding and over 4 days at the park I managed to dig a lot of rubbish, work out some 5000 basics and even take the XP deus out for a small relic hunt on some old hose site that are there. Not a lot of finds but a good chance to catch up with a few NSW detectorists and of course have a few beers and maybe a wine or 2.
A week in Newcastle NSW followed and to be honest I did very little detecting at all. A couple of sessions with 2 locals at the beach and a few solo sessions followed. I did turn up a few pre-dec coins and a nice 925 silver ring in a park I have looked at many many times and finally had a hunt in. I think there is more there as I would have only covered about a quarter of the area.
But when you’re travelling rarely do you get to do a spot fully and I am satisfied that the park should stay off the radar of the locals until I can get back to it again. It probably won’t but it will definitely be the first place I hit when I go back down for Christmas with the family.
The V8 supercar construction meant my favorite spot to hang out in Newcastle at Nobby’s beach was basically closed down and the small hunt i had there was fruitless. I chose merewether as my spot but it just wasn’t the same. A nice place for sure but I do like Nobby’s. Hopefully next time I’ll get my spot back.
Laanecoorie was the next place on the list and I rolled up about 6 or so days before the Laanecoorie Gold bash started. This was the main reason I do the trip at this time and I thought a few days hunting gold before the event would be fun.
I was wrong……
It was an exercise in Frustration as I walked many hours through the bush with both the XP Deus and the 5000. The biggest difference was that with the 5000 I was able to dig crap at impressive depths and despite digging close to a hundred shotgun pellets over those few days I was unable to locate even a tiny piece of gold.
I have written another article about finding gold and that will be published around the 4th of november.
Long story short, the gear you use is probably the least of the factors that conspired to keep me gold less for those days. Location, Research and knowing where to put the coil down where by far the hardest part.
So when the Gold bash Started, Unfortunately I was still a gold finding Virgin and it cost me a few sales at the bash admitting that. But the truth is important and the realisation I am no prospector was actually hard to get my head around.
I did speak to blokes in the field that I had met and also a lot of people at the bash regarding my location choices and the consensus was I was mostly in the wrong places. A heavy Gold education session followed over the days of the bash and I learnt more in those few days and the days after the bash than I had in the last 2 years combined.
The Laanecoorie Gold bash was Just an awesome event, even though I lost the trivia crown by a measly point. To be honest we got closer than I thought we would and the “TEAM DEUS” made a very good run at the competition. It was my absolute pleasure to hand over the trophy to Deb and the crew from AGRO detecting group. An albury based bunch of detectorists that I spent some quality time with over the weekend. Great bunch of folks who know how to detect and have a good time. Just a pleasure to spend time with and crew I will catch up with on my next trip for sure.
I ended up in their camp on the saturday with a new mate called Vince and to say we had a few under the belt was an understatement. Deb Regaled us with a story about a weekend away that had me literally crying with laughter and I firmly believe she has a career as a stroy teller in her somewhere. Just one of the funniest things I have seen and heard in a long time.
That was also the night of the long walk home and it literally took me over 5 and half hours to reach camp that was just a few hundred meters away.
Campfire to Campfire and a beer or 2 at each had me sleeping well when I finally reached the campsite at 3.30am in the morning. Not the best when you need to be up at 6 start the display for sunday. LOL
The Auction Night was amazing with a FULL $20,000 being raised, thats more than the bash made in total last year and with all the other activities a grand total that exceeded $32,000 was raised. ALMOST DOUBLE THE PREVIOUS RECORD!!!
The Gold bash is an amazing event and Melissa and the team ran it to perfection over the 3 days with loads to do, see, learn and eat of course.
I am so proud that my small company was able to contribute several thousand dollars through Auction items and taking part in the various events on the weekend. I bought a few things at the Auction and the “Backhoe and Co” Shirt will become a special part of my wall. Until next year anyway.
When the bash finished I made the decision to take a drive to South Australia and catch up with David Gilbert of Southern Fleurieu Metal Detecting. I stayed at the local caravan park and had the Luxury of a cabin for a few days. Really nice after weeks in the Hiace and having a regular shower and a proper bed did me the world of good.
I met the souther seekers metal detecting club in Yankalila on a club dig. The club was well represented and the president David was just a true gentleman. He put me on to a coin retrieving tool that I am testing and starting to get the hang of. More on that later though as we are about halfway through my adventure.
South Aussie was a beautiful place to spend a few days and I did manage to get up into the hills onto some gold ground for a look around as well. Totally different to any ground I have hunted gold on before and it reminded me more of a rainforest than a goldfield. Again a failed hunt but I learned a lot and got to see a very stunning goldfield that had the added danger of plants growing over mineshafts just to keep it interesting.
After that it was back to Laanecoorie and I ended up in camp with the southern seekers that just by chance had a 2 week meet up going on at tarnagulla.
Caught up with the lads and had a few very nice days and nights hanging out with them and I was even invited on a day out into the goldfields on a tag along style tour.
Got to see the welcome stranger monument and helped David dig a nice big chunk of steel at massive depth. The boys in the group all found gold on most days and the nights where pleasant with the help of some of David’s red wine…… That he made! an awesome drop and one that helped me sleep very very well.
One of the highlights of my trip was 2 days spent with Paul Stopps from Aussie Gold Prospector. I bought a training day and on that day he had me on the gold within minutes. I mean like 10 minutes to dig my first ever piece of wild gold and that day I went on to get 4 pieces using the XP deus.
We had a second day later on with Vince, Backhoe, Stoppsy and myself and It was one of the most fun days I have in the bush. Backhoe and Vince got a small kangaroo out of a mining hole and the video was just hilarious. I saw a rather worried Kangaroo hop towards me later and it was not long after I found out why. The video of Vince in that hole with a pissed off kangaroo and a red jacket is one that will live with me forever. in the top 5 funniest things I have ever seen.
Stoppsy put us on a ridge then proceeded to get 8 Pieces of the ridge next to it! He even made me walk several hundred meters to dig out a bullet he had found telling me it was gold. Just a funny day of practical jokes and talking shit from sun up to well after sundown.
My Last Days on the rodtrip in Victoria was spent with a guy called Phil. I had just met Phil and we hung out in his shed chatting for hours and having a few beers while i Looked through his extensive collection of relics, coins and tins. Just amazing really and some of the finds brought a tear to my eye they were so cool.
We did do a half day on the gold and I managed to get a very small piece of gold to conclude my trip. Literally about 30 minutes after digging it I had said my farewells to Phil, headed into town to do a few mailouts and start the trip home.
All In all I did a LOT of Kilometers in The Van, But regular breaks and my new thing of hunting rest area’s made the trips pass and the back get the break it needed after being in the Van so long. Rest areas are awesome places to hunt, Full of trash targets like you wouldn’t believe but it surprising how many $2 coins I found along the way. Usually spent on Breakfast and coffee the next day.
As usual I passed about 2 million spots that I would love to have had a swing on but If I hunted every spot I saw then there roadtrips would last the entire year, so sadly I had to drive past many many great looking spots.
The trip cemented in my mind that hanging out with like minded people is one of the best fun things to do in Life and if you ever get the chance to go and hang out with other Detectorists in a social setting then you would be mad not to take it.
I may have drunk my own body weight x 2 in Beer, wine and some weird wiskey and Green ginger wine based devil beverage that BOB made up, But the fun level was off the scale.
Laughing till I cried, Crying till I laughed was a regular thing and the comradery was just amazing.
Even in some camps by Myself I still managed to be invited to a seat at many a campfire and to swap stories and yarns about all our detecting adventures and mishaps was just wonderful.
Remember you can ask a detectorist ANYTHING except WHERE! LOL That subject is off limits but all other knowledge is shared freely and generously and what I learned from these nighttime training sessions has put me in very good stead for the next adventure.
Look forward to seeing you on my next roadtrip in February and March 2018.
I would Like to welcome Robert to the XPDEus Team!
Maldon Hobbie’s is in Main Street Maldon and has a massive range of Detectors and accessories.
Not to mention some pretty awesome Hobby gear like rockets, Trains, Models anmd more.
Love the little stationary engines, they look awesome.
Drop in and say G’day.
50 Main Street Maldon. Tell him Clegy sent ya.
Some more photo’s of the trip