SpotX Update — Important News For Mac Users

I’ve written about my SpotX device before. It has a major firmware revision out for the Mac but you need to be cautious. You must download the latest firmware program before updating your device. In other words, download the newest installer first, then go from there.

I had problems updating which in the end required a new unit to be sent to me. But the folks at Spot did that for free by overnight mail. They may have their problems, like any other company, but they earnestly work on solutions and they do not ignore you.

Here is their message regarding this problem:

Dear SPOT X Customer,

If you are a Mac user, a manual download is required for the newest SPOT X Updater (v1.11.10) before you complete the firmware update that was released last week (v1.6.8). To download the latest Updater click here and follow the prompts.

Failure to do so will require a Factory Reset of your device at a minimum.

If you require assistance, please contact Customer Relations at 866-651-7768.

If you have already successfully updated your device, please disregard this message.

Support As They Reach For Their 2018 Goal


They reached their goal! Thanks to everyone for your support.

Original Post:

As they simply put it, “ is the world’s largest open database of minerals, rocks, meteorites and the localities they come from.” It is one of the two or three most essential online resources for rockhounds and prospectors.

You can keep it free and open by giving a few dollars before year’s end. I sponsor their agate page and you can be a sponsor, too, of one of hundreds of available mineral pages. They are extremely close to meeting their fund raising goal. Please help.

Mining By Mail

This photograph shows twenty pounds of mine tailings from either the Ocean View Mine or the Pala Chief Mine in San Diego, County, California. The mines are open to the public for a fee a few days each week but I’ve been unable to schedule a visit.  Perhaps this box will introduce me to what the mines have to offer.

Although the cost may seem high, a hundred dollars plus shipping, a trip to San Diego County would involve gas, three nights of hotel or camping accommodations, and of course the entry fee once I finally got to the mine.

As a hobbyist, I don’t expect my findings to pay for my expenses. It’s the experience, the excitement of discovery. Small bits of aquamarine, kunzite, and tourmaline are inexpensive bought outright. This is just buying into treasure hunting at home.

I’ll go through the material today and tomorrow. Screen and wash. As to what I find, sorry, you’ll just have to buy my book. If that sounds mean, realize that the more I disclose content here, the more I take away from someone having to buy my title.

My publisher would not be happy if I wrote up every experience I have at this website. If you review my previous posts, I think you’ll find I am sharing as much as I can. I have always been a fair trader with my writing and I hope you appreciate that.

Tucson and Parking

If you drop in for one day to see the The Big Show, properly known as the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, you will find parking  a mess. The convention center’s parking lot will probably be jammed, with nowhere to park your vehicle. Side streets will be filled, with constant traffic enforcement roaming the area. Plan ahead.

The Big Show’s dates are February 14th through the 17th. If you have a smartphone, put the Uber or Lyft app on it and use those ride sharing apps to arrange trips from your hotel. If you don’t have a smartphone, an alternative is to ask your desk clerk if they can call a ride. Better yet, get a smart phone and learn how to use it. In a city it is your best communication, information, and navigation tool.

Most people will want to check out the variety of vendors operating out of satellite locations around the city. Be advised that many of them start packing up for the Big Show a few days in advance, so that dealer you want to see may not be around if you come in close to the 14th. Also, the shuttle bus service may not be running the weekend of The Big Show. This website promises that it will be, but I would definitely call first and make sure. Why do this?

To get around to the satellite dealers you’ll need to find each location, often a hotel, and move your car from spot to spot. Traffic will be a zoo in Tucson that week and you won’t want to be driving in circles, looking for parking, while you try to find venue after venue. Take the shuttle. Preferably, come in several days before the Big Show Weekend when you know both the shuttle and all the locations will be open. The city bus system is also an option. If you must drive because you are carrying lots of heavy items or selling same, check out parking lots before going to a venue, not while driving to them for the first time.

I know this may involve more time and effort than you want to expend, but Tucson is huge and three or four days will give you time to experience a great deal of what it has to offer.

Again, parking. And traffic. You have been warned.

The Tonopah Historic Mining Park Part 1

The Tonopah Historic Mining Park Foundation has begun fund raising to physically secure what’s known as the Silver Top Headframe, one of three located at the Mining Park. A headframe is the signature feature of any large mine, permitting the hoisting of workers and ore from deep below to the top of the complex. A very few 2019 calendars, printed to help raise funds for the Foundation, are available at the Mining Park Visitor center for purchase.

While it may be winter, planning a park visit can start now by checking out its website or by reading up on Tonopah’s fabled mining history. Make sure to stop in if you’re heading to Quartzsite in January or Tucson in February. There are other reasons to go to Tonopah.

Anyone going to or leaving the Southwest by way of US 95 in Nevada should stop for many excellent reasons. The first is fuel, since the nearest gas stations are 100 miles north and south of town. After you’ve topped your tank, consider visiting the Central Nevada Museum in Tonopah, the city’s best kept secret. After that, stop by Whitney’s Bookshelf, right on 95, a fine used bookstore, often with excellent mining books. Hometown Pizza is across the street if you are hungry, usually serving pizza by the slice. If you’d like different fare, try the Pitman Cafe in the historic and period restored Mizpah Hotel. If you’re not in a rush to get out of town, think about getting a room at the Mizpah. I like the corner room on the fourth floor, the one with the claw foot bathtub. I think it is 409. But I digress. The best reason for any prospector or rockhound to stop in Tonopah is the Historic Mining Park, owned by the city and operated under regular, dependable hours.

Tonopah was America’s last great gold and silver strike. You’ve heard about the Gold Rush of 1849, the Comstock, and the Klondike. But there was also Tonopah in 1900 and for years thereafter. The visitor center and the the park grounds highlight this stupendous and spectacular hunt for precious metal at the turn of the century. The park is right behind the Mizpah Hotel. The entrance road is best approached in larger vehicles by Burro Street. The visitor center parking lot has room for two or three RVs and the exit road is a pull-through, so there is no worry about having to back up.

The grounds offer a self-guided tour. Pick up a map at the visitor center which also houses a terrific rock, gem, and mineral museum. As for the grounds, hiking the park at 6,000 feet can be tough at times but take it slow and take some water. Great opportunities for photographs. For those out of shape or mobility challenged, tours on a Polaris with a guide can be arranged. Call for current availability and charges.

As to the Foundation’s principal project, securing the Headframe, Eva La Rue, Administrative Assistant for the Tonopah Historic Mining Park Foundation, told me this story in an e-mail:

“Because the Foundation was created to basically help preserve the Tonopah Historic Mining Park, this has become one of our projects. The Silver Top mine includes not only the headframe, but the hoist house and the ore house (grizzly) too. Basically, the headframe is currently supported by four cement blocks, that were poured around the legs of it to help stabilize it years ago. The problem is that the only thing underneath the blocks of cement is some rotting wood. So the wood has rotted away and now the cement blocks are sinking down. A few years back an engineering company out of Vegas reported that it appeared to be in danger of total collapse. So, the plan is to take it apart, piece by piece, and build a cement pad or base for it to stand on, and then re-erect it, anchoring it in place. So, this is a HUGE project, and the costs are high, especially when the equipment and manpower must be brought in to work on it. But the alternative was to lose it.”

Visitor Center

Desert Queen Mine and Hoist House