Richardson’s Rock Ranch in Madras, Oregon

Richardson’s Rock Ranch in Madras, Oregon and the Lucky Strike near Prineville

My good friend Pat Dolan supplies these wonderful photos of rocks he once collected at Richardson’s Rock Ranch, now closed to digging.

Richardson Rock Ranch in central Oregon was long noted for their thunderegg fee-dig on the Priday agate beds. That activity has now ceased, the fee-digs permanently closed by the ranch as of last month. This is perhaps the sunset to fee digging for thundereggs in America, since the Baker Egg Mine in New Mexico has been filled in for some time.

Update: Pat supplies this: Hi, Tom. There is one other pay to dig site up there in Oregon. The Lucky Strike Mine. It’s way smaller than Richardson Ranch. And much more difficult to get thundereggs. This is from their Facebook page:

“The Lucky Strike mine will be open to the end of September. We will be open Thursday – Sunday. Thursday’s 9am-4pm Friday and Saturday 8am-4pm Sunday 8am-2pm. This is the last year we will be open to the public.”

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Local-Business/Lucky-Strike-Mines-1142109869241670/

They are located “outside of Prineville, Oregon.” That would be in Crook County. Here’s the map Google that Google provides. I would triple check my directions and call first before going. The good news is that the mine is located within the Ochoco National Forest so you should be able to order that map and get fine driving details.

 

Original Post: Back to Richardson’s

Richardson’s continues to operate their rock store, however, with material they dig from their beds.

I don’t know why they shut down their fee digs, however, it may be due to liability insurance being too expensive or perhaps a lack of personnel to supervise the operation. Both understandable reasons.

Some closed fee-digs may continue operating through rock club field trips. A club usually carries its own liability insurance so operators are more likely to open for them on a case by case basis. Last year the Ottesons of Tonopah, Nevada conducted fee digs for turquoise and variscite for both the Southern Utah Rock Club and the Las Vegas Gem and Mineral Society. Even though they were not operating public fee digs.

Pat Dolan said the Madras Rockhound Pow Wow has dug at the Ranch before. But that group has no outing planned anywhere until September, and that for agates a good distance from the Ranch. Pat also mentioned the Prineville Rockhound Pow Wow in Crook County, Oregon but their 2020 event has also been cancelled. Truly, this is a year of do it yourself field trips.

Here’s information on the Richardson’s Rock Ranch

Richardson Agate Co. LLC
6683 NE Hay Creek Rd
Madras, OR 97741
Phone: 541-475-2680
800-433-2680
Fax: 541-475-4299
After hours emergency or text:
541-633-3889
richardsonrockranch@hotmail.com

GPS
N 44 43.956
W 120 58.564
Elevation 1,845

“WARNING: Do NOT search the internet for driving directions as they are currently incorrect. Use the directions on this page. We are located 11 miles north of Madras, Oregon. Simply take U.S. Highway 97 north from Madras – or south from Willowdale – until you see Mile Post 81 and the Richardson’s sign. Follow the signs in for about three miles and you’ll be at the shop!”




Richard Ranch Blue Bed



Richard Ranch Blue Bed



Richard Ranch Blue Bed — more plume


Richard Ranch Moss bed


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Joe’s Rock Shop in Orderville, Utah

Text from my Places to Visit and Collect in the Southwest file

Joe’s Rock Shop
425 E 100 N or HWY 89@100 N
P.O. Box 116
Orderville, UT 84758
435-648-2737

37°16.671′ N 112°37.818′ W

https://www.facebook.com/joesrockshoputah/

Joes Rock Shop has been family run since at least 1952. It specializes in digging, cutting, and polishing septarian nodules, petrified wood and more. Rough and finished stones of all types. Custom rock cutting done. Located in Kane County whose county seat is Kanab.

Septarian nodules are limestone rocks filled with calcite and aragonite. Decorative patterns are revealed when cut open. Some show crystals from the outside. Orderville is the most famous locality for these uncommon stones. The owners provide local rockhounding directions when asked. They also ship by mail and are closed in the winter. A rock yard and eccentric oddities sold in the store itself.

A “glamping” campground with Yurts was operating across US-89 from Joe’s Rock Shop when I visited in the fall of 2019. This area is picturesque and somewhat close to Zion, now charging thirty dollars to drive through. At least three other rock shops are along Highway 89 in Orderville. Maynard Dixon’s summer home and a museum to him is further down the road in Mt. Carmel. If you don’t know who Maynard Dixon is, I weep for you.

Update: June 1, 2020. Judging by their Facebook Page, Joe’s is fully operational. You should go. Now. Pretty country. Dixie National Forest nearby with camping and some interesting road cuts. 

My purchases. The one in the background has been polished on three sides and also left naturally open to display its crystals. The second is unpolished broken rough. Mild cream colored response to SW UV.



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Rock-A-Buy: Rocks and Gifts in Duncan, Arizona

Update: I posted a link to this article at the Rock Connection on Facebook. It was pulled by the admins, all of them, as it was linking to a commercial site. “It’s in the rules. Read them.” People like Doug Barlow deserve the support of the entire rock and gem community because he supports them.

I don’t get any money for promoting him and he is totally unaware that I am posting about him. Rules are good to prevent chaotic behavior but I see nothing in this post to be alarmed about. My response from rockhounds on rock shop posts is 100% positive. The admins left up my post about Jim Gray’s Company, a much bigger outfit. Nothing makes sense from these admins and I have quit the group.

This is from my travel list:

Rock-A-Buy: Rocks and Gifts
809 SE Old West Highway
Duncan, AZ 85534
928-215-1641

32°42.791′ N 109°05.921′ W

http://www.rockabuyrocksandgifts.com/

Doug Barlow is the affable owner of this east-central Arizona rock shop in Greenlee County. Fire agate is the big draw in this area and Doug will show you samples of what to look for. He will even provide a map of promising locations for anyone who comes into his shop and signs his guest book.

BLM’s Round Mountain Rockhound Area is close and Doug has advice for anyone heading out. Ask, too, about Black Hills, another BLM rockhounding area. Call to make certain Barlow’s shop will be open when you visit. He’s a great guy. He gave me a piece of calcite he had named the “The Volcano.” Gifted it, mind you. It glows beautifully under short wave. I treasure that piece.




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Version 9 of the Southwest Travel List is Out!

My latest list of Places to Visit and Collect in the Southwest is the best ever.  This post may say Version 9 but I have since done Revision 10.

https://southwestrockhounding.com/sw-travel-list/

Or get it here:

Version 10, November 6,  2019

This page always has the latest version of my Places to Visit and Collect in the Southwest. (And beyond!)

.pdf (Printing and desktop work)

Version 10 , November 6, 2019

SW_Places_To_Visit_Or_Collect_10A_

 

 

 

.mobi (Kindle format for mobile devices):

Version 10, November 6, 2019 

SW Places To Visit Or Collect 10 – Tom Farley


 

 

 

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Rock Related Places to Visit and Collect in The Southwest

This 1.4 meg .pdf contains descriptions and locations of rock shops, fee/digs, BLM and USFS district offices, museums, traditional collecting areas, and many more rock related places in the United Southwest.

Seventy pages from my book. Already in its second revision. Discard previous files and keep checking back for the current file.

Please distribute freely but make sure to send in corrections and additions. Thanks!

Southwest_Places_To_Visit_Or_Collect_02