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Old February 04, 2019, 17:30   #51
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Here's the little house I bought and had to sell. It was perfectly centered between the two properties, the 13ac upriver with the cabin and the 53ac bar that we were working. Properties are about 20 miles apart. House and shop sat on 2 acres just a few hundred feet off the highway connecting it all. Sucked that I never got to do more than clean up the place, but made about 15 grand when I sold it. It was a foreclosure and just filthy when I bought it. Cleaned it up, updated the electrical service and installed a generator,.....had to race back out in October of 2013 to get the new service hooked up so I could put it on the market. Sold pretty quick, thankfully.

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Old February 04, 2019, 17:34   #52
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Sounds like an awful lot has happened over the years. Lots of adventure and loss.

Just wondering though. Would you do the same thing all over again? Was it worth it lifestyle wise, financially or both?
It sounds like the way I'd like to live.
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Old February 04, 2019, 18:15   #53
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Absolutely, would not change a thing. I'm 58 and single with no kids. My parents were my two best friends. Dad and I never spent one vacation day apart in over 30yrs,.....we had nothing but adventures all those years starting with our first driving/prospecting trip to California in 1983. Wouldn't trade any of it for any amount of money.

I never had a 'good' airline job,.....I stuck with the night freight because I never wanted anything to do with passenger airlines and I stayed as an FO for almost twenty years because I was the number one dude and basically picked my schedule, my vacations, my training, and everything else. Never made good money because 'freight' and because 'not captain', but I had a good run. The last year I did work, 2012, my seniority allowed me to stretch two two-week vacations into two six-week vacations. Took a two month leave-of-absence in October/November and went non-current in December meaning I couldn't fly(and we NEVER did training in December). So I didn't work 6mos of my last year and I was pretty much heading out the door anyway.

I'd spent 18yrs flying the BAX freight runs out of Toledo(see my avatar), driving to and from work once or twice a month and flying the west coast runs. Had 2-3 days off pretty much every time I landed somewhere and had vehicles at all the stations,....life was pretty perfect. But August of 2011 they shut down the BAX flying due to the downturn in the economy and 90% of what was left was international flying which I'd always tried to avoid. Spent that last year flying out of Honolulu which at least to me was horrible, but most of the rest was even worse. Trips started out of Bahrain or Singapore mostly and the thought of commuting around the world constantly didn't appeal to me. Always hoped things would improve by the time I planned to go back, but that day never arrived.

Anyway, yeah, I probably left $2million at that job with the 13yrs I could have flown, but that's only if I wouldn't have gotten myself fired or suicided along the way. Things were changing rapidly and not for the better when I left. Change of aircraft, change of contract, change of management(merger),...it was all pretty different. I don't like different.

Haven't seen a paycheck since 2012. Pretty much blew through my retirement savings since then and have been selling off things to get by, but the gold is there and even if it isn't the Kali properties are worth plenty and are free and clear. That's my retirement one way or the other. If the gold isn't rolling in by middle of next year those properties are gonna be gone. Half mile of river frontage on both of them, prettier land you will not find.

I do know that any hint of regret I feel for having left the job when I did would pale to insignificance compared to what I'd feel if I hadn't been there to take care of my folks during their last few years,....and fortunately I was in a position where I could do that without causing problems for anyone but myself and I'm gonna be just fine.
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Old February 04, 2019, 18:54   #54
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I think I'm going to do the big 'jump off a cliff' thing and leave paychecks behind. No financial obligation, house, car, etc are all paid off. Digging for gold would be more exciting but I'lll be doing my own small business
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Old February 04, 2019, 18:58   #55
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Looks like it’s panning out......golds up too!
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Old February 04, 2019, 19:59   #56
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I think I'm going to do the big 'jump off a cliff' thing and leave paychecks behind. No financial obligation, house, car, etc are all paid off. Digging for gold would be more exciting but I'lll be doing my own small business
If you think you can make it work I highly recommend it. Gotta be careful how much you sink into it though. I've been working this property on a gradually increasing scale since 2004 and have some history with it going back to the mid-90's. Of course there's quite a bit more history going back to the 1860's as well. This is patented land that I own. The central 17acre crescent was patented as a mineral claim back in the 1870's but the surrounding 34acres was homesteaded much later. The survey notes for the homestead make the claim that the ground was unsuited to mining due to the high water table along the river and that was certainly an issue back before they had pumps and hoses and heavy equipment,.....but not anymore. It is an issue, but not insurmountable.

Surface indications of previous work was what got us looking in the spot we found. There were still hints of old piles and ditches and I assumed the ground had been worked by hand, shafting down during the short dry periods and tunneling out along the bedrock. That's exactly what they did,.....we cut across a couple of their filled tunnels when digging out the large pit pictured above. The pit walls were regular cobble and boulder except for a couple of three foot diameter circles of pea gravel that seeped water all summer. Those are the old tunnel workings. The good news there is that in order to pay back in the day that material had to produce from 1/2 to 1oz per ton to hand digging or they would have not done it. And although they might have taken all that material they could get to, they left the surrounding gravel that paid less than 1/2oz per ton,......and when running 50 or 60 tons per hour it pays very well now. The fact that the old tunnels are still visible proves that the surrounding gravel is virgin.

We've got test holes dug in the area upstream from that pit that show similar values over an area of about two acres. That ground should run $400-500k per acre and working a month in the spring and a month in the fall I should be able to work that all out in about three seasons. That ground is all 15-20' deep and at the limit of my hoe. There's another promising 5-6 acres downstream that hasn't been tested yet because I can tell from the river bank that it's deeper,....probably 25-30' to bedrock. Up until now I haven't had the equipment to try to test it, but if I get time in the next year or two I will put some holes down. That's why I went big on the new dozer. Shouldn't have any problem pushing the top 20-25' off of an acre or two once that ground proves out.



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Old February 04, 2019, 20:23   #57
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That will push stuff around. I know...
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Old February 04, 2019, 20:35   #58
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Absolutely, would not change a thing.
Cool stuff. Thanks for sharing and good on ya Kev !
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Old February 04, 2019, 20:50   #59
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This is the type of mining operation I worked at when I was with Oldcastle. They mined and sold rock, and the deepest pit went 100 feet..

https://www.bing.com/images/search?v...vt=0&eim=1,2,6
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Old February 04, 2019, 21:47   #60
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Absolutely, would not change a thing. I'm 58 and single with no kids. My parents were my two best friends. Dad and I never spent one vacation day apart in over 30yrs,.....

I do know that any hint of regret I feel for having left the job when I did would pale to insignificance compared to what I'd feel if I hadn't been there to take care of my folks during their last few years,....and fortunately I was in a position where I could do that without causing problems for anyone but myself and I'm gonna be just fine.

Kev FTW.

Great story, and not many people can say ^ that.
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Old February 04, 2019, 21:56   #61
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not too long ago..maybe 2-3 years during larger drought one of th elargest nuggets was pulled out northern Lake Oroville area..

https://www.csmonitor.com/Business/L...ll-for-350-000
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Old February 04, 2019, 23:38   #62
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WI3DjSC9H0

Here's the newest piece of the puzzle. Wicked ripper on the thing.



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Old February 05, 2019, 00:43   #63
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I love an old 66A D9. Dad put me on one a at 9 years old pushing sand dunes. I have never seen one with an Ateco ripper.
One thing I would recommend is to pull the fill plug on the final drives and run a magnet to the bottom and see what comes out. The finals and torque convertor were the weak points on these critters.
I cant tell for sure in the pics, but she looks like she could use a set of sprocket segments too. Again, I cant tell from the pics.
That D353 engine is just about as bullet proof as they come, at 1300 rpm they will run forever.
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Old February 05, 2019, 08:11   #64
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Sprockets are in good shape, pins and rails are pretty much new. The only gripe against the undercarriage is that the shoes are a mix of worn standard duty pads and new severe duty. Don't know if I might just build up the worn grousers with rebar or not worry about it. At +/100hrs use a year it'll probably be fine. What I don't want is to have the tracks slip on worn pads and suddenly catch on the good pads,......because, finals.









I've still got my neighbor Randy out there checking it over. He's spent his life running and working on Cat equipment and is spending some time with it before I get out there in the spring. Had to dismount the blade to haul it in and some parts were diverted so it's still not reassembled. Randy will make a few weld repairs, rebuild some pins and remount the blade. Replace some weepy seals(one ripper cylinder is a gusher), and check fluids/filters. You might notice some oil around the right drive,.....that appears to be from a recent leak at the hydraulic tank. There's a fresh weld repair on a fluid return elbow so I'm assuming all that oil either came from the cracked elbow or more likely when they removed the elbow to weld it up. Don't know much of anything about rippers, but I haven't been able to find anything online with a ripper like this one. The shanks are free to pivot which would seem to allow you to do some slight steering while the shanks are dug in. It's a mystery to me. One side is full of grease fittings and the other side has the grease points that were never drilled out and threaded for fittings? Don't know what that's all about.

Moving the thing was a project and that's what kept me out there for four weeks. Had the dozer up on three different trailers/tractors before we got it on one that was close enough to legal to move it. Overweight, too wide, too long,....we did them all. Finally brought it down with the blade removed and only one pair of axels 2k# over,......evidently close enough. Had to route it through the Bay area because I-5 around Stockton/Sacto couldn't handle the weight. That was a surprise. At one point I considered giving up the ripper to keep the weight down and the dealer offered to cut $1500 off the price and keep the ripper. Uh,....no thanks,....we'll figure it out.

Randy wants my old F800 Ford so he's going to do the assembly/repair work and push off the top 12'-15' of the half acre I want to mine and give the dozer a good shakedown. He'll probably have 20-30hrs on it by the time I get back out there. Hope. Then all I need to do is dial in the new washplant and start digging and washing gravel.
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Old February 05, 2019, 16:27   #65
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Makes the TD15E I have out back look like a puppy.
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Old February 05, 2019, 17:15   #66
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The track shoes will work just fine for a couple thousand hours
I wouldn't weld rebar to the pads
Buy some rebites , they are harder
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Old February 05, 2019, 19:02   #67
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The track shoes will work just fine for a couple thousand hours
I wouldn't weld rebar to the pads
Buy some rebites , they are harder
Those tall grousers will make for a bumpy ride in smooth hard pack. plus they will beat the hell out of the rollers. Depending on the percentage of high grousers to low grousers, I would either cut down the tall ones or build up the low ones. I have used rebar for a couple low ones and had good luck with it. Welding on regular grouser stock for 3/4 of an inch isn't worth it.

I see the sprockets now, not bad looking stuff there. That should be a great machine for 100 or so hours a year.
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Old February 05, 2019, 19:26   #68
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Kev,

I know it is a lot of work and can be stressful, but you sure look like you are having fun. Maybe you can catch the attention of the folks over at Gold Rush now that fat Todd Hoffman is gone and let them foot some of the bills for you. By the way you write while telling the tales of your adventures I am sure you would be glib enough for a TV "Reality" show.
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Old February 05, 2019, 20:15   #69
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Kev,

I know it is a lot of work and can be stressful, but you sure look like you are having fun. Maybe you can catch the attention of the folks over at Gold Rush now that fat Todd Hoffman is gone and let them foot some of the bills for you. By the way you write while telling the tales of your adventures I am sure you would be glib enough for a TV "Reality" show.
Uh,.....no. Just no. Not interested in inviting that trainwreck into my life. The last thing I want to be is a "TV personality".The beauty of this whole deal is that I don't need to have 14 'helpers', 29 million dollars worth of leased equipment and a film crew. If you study Gold Rush and Yukon Gold like I have you see what those guys are doing(and spending)to roll up those impressive numbers. Every one of them is pushing through 20' to 30' of often frozen overburden to recover 100oz/acre. With leased equipment, hired help, Yukon priced diesel and parts,.......royalties and restoration work,......every one except maybe Tony's bucket line dredge is losing money hand over fist.

No smooth packed ground where this thing is going to roll. It'll be in nothing but basketball sized round river rock from top to bottom and if the dozer ever does hit bedrock it gets massively worse. The bedrock is hard as flint and undulates wildly. Here's a strip of exposed bedrock along the river's edge. Looks pretty much like that all across the county.



I've done some reading about building up grouser with rebar. Seems to work pretty well if you use grade 60 bar rather than whatever you can find at the salvage yard. We'll see how the first spring pushing goes before we start worrying about the little things. If the gold's good enough I might just spring for another thirty new extreme duty pads.
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Old February 05, 2019, 20:39   #70
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Thirty pads? what were the previous owners thinking? At work I have a D9N and a D10N to spoonfeed, so I'm not exactly new to this stuff. I just wonder what else has been covered up now.
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Old February 05, 2019, 23:06   #71
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I didn't count them but it's about half and half new versus old. Don't know what's up with that but maybe they were trying to save $2k on a $25k undercarriage? It is odd. They spent the money on sprockets, rollers, chains and carriers. Probably idlers too,.......and half the shoes. Looking at the worn ones they kept I'd hate to think what the throwaways looked like.
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Old February 05, 2019, 23:36   #72
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That is odd, it's been my experience that grousers all wear at the same rate. I've replaced 2 or 3 from boulder damage but that's about it. If I used new ones they got cut down to match the rest, if they were used they may have had rebar added to match the rest.
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Old February 10, 2019, 14:50   #73
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Very interesting thread so far, thanks for updating it.

I always like threads like this, in another year or so I'm going to start doing some prospecting also, after we sell our Cali property. Left Cali a year ago, moved to Alaska.

My condolences on the loss of your parents, my mom passed in '14, dad back in '85.
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