It was mid-June at 4 am in the morning and we were on our way to meet another couple in Benson, AZ. From there we were heading to Virgin Valley, NV to look for Black and Fire Opal. We had been planning this trip together ever since we saw the show, "Best Places To Find Cash and Treasure," on the Travel Channel with host Becky Worley.
The mines that we planned to visit were "The Royal Peacock" and "The Bonanza Opal Mine." They were about five miles from each other. It was a Friday morning and the reason for leaving so early was that we wanted to get through Phoenix before rush hour traffic. We did have a lot of miles to go but we all decided that we would focus on enjoying the trip rather than how many miles we went a day. We got there about 2 or 3 in the afternoon.
We pulled into Battle MT and after a night of a little casino fun and a good meal we were ready for our arrival at the Royal Peacock Mine the next day. We got there about 6 pm on Sunday night. They have their own RV park and we were assured after calling them on the phone that there would be spaces for us to set up. Not exactly so. They only had one spot left with hookups. Fortunately it was wide enough for Bob to park next to us and tap into our electric for the night. That evening we met several people who had been to the mine and paid the fee to dig or $45 a person to sift through the tailings. The next morning Bob and Barbara were able to get their own space with hook ups. Now it was time to sign up, pay our fee, and head up to the mine to try our luck at finding beautiful Black Fire Opal. We didn't find much. I dug in the bank and so did my friend Bob. From what I remember he didn't find anything and all I found was bits and pieces and I mean bits, smaller than a couple mm wide. My wife Julie didn't have any luck whatsoever in the tailings. There were many things about this mine that tells us we won't do it again. I may be a little harsh in my judgment as I know there has to be luck involved also. I just feel the mine manager could have done more to promote the success of the paying customers.
We did have more luck at the Bonanza Mine, which we went to the next day. Even the people there were more than anxious for you the customer to have good fortune. The fee there was $45 to dig in the tailings, which were dug out of the banks years ago and the opal in them was naturally dried over a long period of time, which now makes them stable enough to cut and polish. The picture above is a piece that I found at the Bonanza Mine. It's about 1-1/2 inches long and 3/8 of an inch in diameter. It's a nice blue/green with fire through out. The fire does not show in the picture. We found other small pieces and were very satisfied with our day.
We do plan to go back soon. All the people who care for the mine and greet and help the public are Shareholders. The work and time they put in is all voluntary. Thanks to all at the Bonanza. We recommend this mine to all who would like a less expensive and rewarding day of digging.