The Oceanview and Pala Chief Mine in Pala, California

Click on photos TWICE to call up the largest image

The Ocean View Mine and the Pala Chief Mine
37304 Magee Rd, Pala, CA 92059
Jeff Swanger, Owner, Chief Operator, and Hero to Small Scale Miners
760-415-9143

http://www.oceanviewmine.com

$75 a person

Special instructions to reach the mine at their website and also discussed below.

Oceanview Mines, LLC offers two fee/dig experiences in the Pala Mining District. Commonly found are tourmalines, kunzites, and morganites, along with other sparkly things like pink lepidolite. The Pala area, a pegmatite mining district, has been actively worked for gemstones since the turn of the 19th century.

A screen and wash activity is held three times a week in season throughout much of the year. Online videos produced by Jeff Swanger and crew show the entire process. This easy-to-do activity will return attractive stones.

The second experience is held twice a month for part of the year. Bring your own tools. The Pala Chief fee/dig allows rockhounds to search through old tailings and mine dumps, along with hacking at the side of Chief Mountain itself. At some point the mine operator might work an excavator, digging a six-foot deep trench to bring up fresh dirt and rock for searching. Anything found can be kept.

Follow website directions with care. Their directions start in Pala and go east. First, get to Magee Road using Highway 76; the mine’s entrance road is a few miles from there. Only Magee’s south entrance from Highway 76 should be attempted. Do not take Magee Road if you are driving south from Temecula. In Pala there is a Magee Place that is not Magee Road. If Magee Road is not in one’s navigation device, try looking for the Pala Raceway. Magee Road is further east on 76.

If you have the time, locate Magee Road the day before so you won’t worry about finding it on the day of your dig. The countryside is beautiful and the Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala itself is a Kodak moment. The California Mission chain is well known but their extension churches like this one are not. On this day before you can also try visiting The Collector or the Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Museum.

The mine property road is rough but I saw a Mini Cooper negotiate its entire length. Staff will happily load people and gear into a buggy if a driver does not wish to drive the road. Bring sunscreen even if it is overcast, snacks, and tools if you are doing the Pala Chief. Full details at their website. Driest weather month may be May if you are planning a trip from across the country.

Resist taking too many photographs, instead, dive into digging or screening as long as you can and as hard as you can. You are going to find something wonderful. Oh, and if you can’t go, you can order a bag of pay dirt if they are still offering it. I found enough nice things in what they sent to convince me to go in person.

Magee Road and Highway 76 coordinates:
33°21.830′ N 117°03.440′ W

Google map link to Magee Road and Highway 76:
https://goo.gl/maps/hxKNCWGxSzdK1Kxv9

http://www.oceanviewmine.com

For further adventures, read my file on Places to Collect and Visit in the Southwest:

SW_Places_To_Visit_Or_Collect_5_

I am ashamed that I took vertical video but here it is.

Pala Chief Mine in Early March, 2019 from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

Version Five of Southwest Places to Visit and Collect is Out

I’ve made a substantial revision to Version 4. The interactive table of contents continues to be built out. More clubs, more Google Map links to make for easier driving. Discard all previous versions.

1. The Acrobat .pdf file is essentially bulletproof. Great for printing and desktop work. Download here:

SW_Places_To_Visit_Or_Collect_05_

 

 

 

2. The Kinndle .mobi file is for mobile use. Anyone with a Kindle app or reader on their phone or tablet _should_ be able to use it when downloaded from here but I can’t guarantee it.

SW Places To Visit Or Collect 05 – Tom Farley

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Back To The Nopah Range

Back to the Nopah Range. I was at Emigrant Pass on the Old Spanish Trail in Inyo County, California. Flew my drone for the first time in two years. Forgot the controls. Soft crash landing. Military controlled air space? It might be due to China Lake in Riverside County. That’s a Naval Air Station. But at least fity miles away. I spent some time later trying to read this map:

I thought land maps were complicated! Here are two versions of my doomed flight.

The first is video that Dji did automatically with their online editing footage. They added sound as well. Which means they probably compressed the file and then Youtube compressed it some more.

The second video is the original raw footage, looking dark on a dreary day.

Both videos are pixelated but the original shows well on my monitor. I bought some video editing software yesterday to see how it might lighten the darkness in the film. Some other stills from the North Nopah WA also below.

Watch for NOTAMs. Notice to Airmen. Real pilots and us drone operators.

A thin granite marker from the early 1920’s stands watch over the Old Spanish Trail in the background, now paved and not marked by the ruts of wagon wheels.

Broken yet intact. Why I don’t have to find gemstones or gold to love rockhounding. As my geologist friend RC said, “This is where sand comes from!”

Thought this was chert but it is not. More like deeply stained shale. Leached out from the soil mound uphill. Two hundred yards from here is shale in road cuts which yield partial trilobite specimens. That shale cleaves into shingle like pieces with a brick hammer. The stuff here simply falls apart into powder.

Just because it is black and craggy doesn’t mean that it is volcanic. These mountains fooled me when I first came here. These are actually limestone boulders, the entire area is made up of marine rocks. Check Macrostrat.org for the geology in any given area. Here’s a screenshot from their app.

How do you know if something is igneous? Generally, nothing igneous or volcanic will react to a bit of acid. Unless the rock has calcite encrusted on it. Which is everywhere in the southwest. Test different parts of a rock to be sure. Never approach a geologist with an ID question if you haven’t done an acid test. That’s the first test they will expect you to have done.

Here’s a photo of some acid bottles I made up for field work. 10% hydrochloric acid although you can use toilet bowl cleaning fluid in a pinch if it has HCI. That will probably be blue and not clear. A dropper bottle contained inside another bottle is a great way to carry an acid bottle anywhere.

Here’s the overall collecting area. This is about twenty minutes from Tecopa, California which has a must stop, the China Ranch Date Farm. They let you wander through their commercial palm tree orchard. And they serve date shakes. Really. Be prepared to wait in line for those.

You have arrived at the ranch.

And a view of the ranch in the distance. Most vehicles will have no problem with this road.

 
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What is Twenty Acres?

Twenty acres is a common mining claim size. But any large area is hard to visualize.

Look at the photo below.  That rectangle is approximately 20 acres. The north/south direction, or long way, is about .25 miles. The east/west direction, or narrow way, is about .13 miles wide.

These are two individual properties, both once horse ranches, the dividing line running down the middle the long way. Each half ten acres.

Consider the southeast quarter. That area could comfortably fit a professional soccer pitch, those around two acres or so, no official size established.

That quarter could also easily fit any professional American football field. It could accommodate most high school football fields AND any stadium around them.

The house in the northeast corner is about 3,000 square feet. The buildings in the southwest corner are large, too, a house and barns and such.

Google Earth lets you measure areas in acres by drawing a line around an area. That’s how I confirmed these measurements, although I knew first hand the acreage involved.

I was an estate gardener on the property on the right. Although “only” ten acres, I can assure you that it took forever to walk the grounds. I was usually lucky to have what’s called a Gator, a working ATV, or one of two tractors.

This was a good job for me until the owners decided to move to another ranch fifty miles away. 100 acres!

 

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Mapping It Out

I’ve moved from organizing my rocks and minerals to getting my maps and pamphlets together. Thought of this solution last night.

The black fiber-backed over the door organizers were $4.88 each at WalMart. The individual pockets normally hold shoes so multiple maps will not be a problem. The garment rack was $14.88. It has wheels!

The three door organizers span four feet and the top bar is at six feet.

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Latest Spot X Firmware Update Available

Time for all Spot X users to update their firmware. Let’s make certain you know how to do this.

1. Download the device updater  to your computer and then install it. Run the program. Do this first. THEN

2. Connect your Spot X and follow the instructions presented.

Again, download the latest version of the updater program first, then connect your device. DO NOT USE an old updater. You must download the newest updater first.

My device appears to be working well after the update.

This is what Spot X says in their latest e-mail:

In our continued effort to ensure the best possible SPOT X user experience, we have made some updates to the device firmware V1.7.14 and the device updater 1.12.8 to improve usability and overall intuitiveness. You need to first download the latest SPOT X device updater. Next, connect and update your SPOT X firmware to start benefiting from these upgrades on your next adventure. Below are some of the update highlights.