The Wiley’s Well Rockhounding District, occupying the northeastern part of the Colorado Desert in southern California, contains a number of well known rock-collecting locations. Without any doubt the most famous is the Hauser Geode Beds. Some, like the Potato Patch, which is known for its thundereggs, or the Opal Hill Mine, which produces outstanding fire agate, are almost equally notable. Other sites in the Wiley’s Well District may not be as well known, but can be just as productive.
Until the advent of the Global Positioning System and hand-held readers, getting to the collecting sites had always been a problem. Few were on main roads, and most back roads in the desert were unmarked two-track affairs that did not show on most maps. Moreover, because no one lived in the area, there generally was no one to provide directions.
Delmer G. Ross, a history professor at La Sierra University in Riverside, California, now offers GPS users a solution to that annoying difficulty. He not only pinpoints the collecting sites, but he does the same for every significant junction on the way to them. No maps are needed. One can find his or her way with ease and much greater accuracy than that offered by any map.
In addition to offering information on how to reach collecting locations and explaining what can be unearthed, probably because of his own interest in history, Ross also provides historical information on most areas. Knowing what has gone on before can enhance the pleasure of collecting.
Based on a well received series of articles on rock collecting in the Wiley’s Well District, this book can guide rockhounds to more than two dozen different collecting sites. Because it will add to their success and enjoyment, for rockhounds planning to visit any of the collecting sites of the District, this book is an absolute must!
About the Author: Having earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Delmer Ross began a career in teaching in 1970. At present he is a professor of history at La Sierra University, in Riverside, California. He is the author of several books dealing with the history of transportation, including Gold Road to La Paz, a mainly historical guide to the Bradshaw Trail, an old gold-rush trail in western Arizona and southeastern California.
Professor Ross, who learned to drive in a Jeep, is a four-wheel-drive enthusiast who enjoys driving his Blazer over old historical trails and roads. Portions of many are no longer in use and present interesting challenges to anyone who attempts to travel over them today. Ross found the Colorado Desertan extension of the Sonoran Desert in southeastern Californiato have many such old routes.
A rockhound from an early age, Ross also found the Wiley’s Well District in the Colorado Desert to be exceptionally rich in collectable material such as jasper, agate, and geodes. The problem has been reaching the good locations found by other rockhounds. He started writing articles about such places, giving their history and providing very exact GPS coordinates to guide others to them. The articles have been so well received that he has collected them, added to them, and now offers them in convenient book form to other hobbyists.
The Gold Road to La Paz
(The Bradshaw Trail)