Bicycle Parts in the Desert?

I really don’t know what made this pop into my head, but likely it will help make a point about tracking the old timers some. Years ago in the Yuma area a friend and I were following a lead looking for a spot that had produced nuggets in the late 1800’s and our luck had not been to good all day checking washes and benches with our detectors.

I was working my way back to the truck and was in a new wash when I began finding odd stuff, first a bicycle pedal, some spokes, then I saw a rim with no tire sticking out of the bank. Curious I began excavating what I expected to be an old bike left in the desert for some reason, but why?

As I dug this old relic up it started to be quite apparent it was what was left of an old homemade puffer drywasher and was made from a tricycle since there was one small wheel on a camshaft also hand bent for the bellows and one large with a crank attached to a pedal stem for the owner to make the assembly work. Where the pedal I found had come from I figured. Wish I could have seen it working.

Looking back I wish I would have taken photos, but not having cell phones a camera was not always to hand. After finding this cool old drywasher I slowed down my hunt and after finding some more parts I hit a nice penny weight nuggets in the bank. This are produced some pretty nice gold over the years and still does to those that hunt low and slow.

Guess the point is the trash you find can be a very good indicator of those that passed before and though at first an odd find it turned out to slow me down knowing the old timers were working here too even though time had erased almost all the tailings they had left in the wash instead of on the bank in this steep sided gulch.

Pay attention to what the desert tells you my friends….

Leave a Reply