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Living My Dreams!

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I was on the airplane yesterday headed back to my home here in White Plains, NY, reflecting on life and thinking about just how much mine has changed in the last three-years.

My Brother and I grew up goofing around back in the Superstitions, the White Mountains, Mogollon Rim, Bradshaw Mountains, and the Weaver Mountains. Back in the 1960’s through the early ‘70s, we would hike from Lake Pleasant to Prescott with our Father every year, picking up the old “Swilling” trail above the present day lake in the Bradshaw foothills. It would take us a few days, and we would always meet prospectors and old hermits back in there that my Dad knew.

One spring, we met an old timer who gave us honey from a wild hive up the hillside from his hand-built rock cabin. It was about 10-feet square, and he had at least 15-glass mason jars FULL of gold nuggets! As you can imagine, to a 13-year-old boy it was pretty impressive! My Brother and I dreamed of being like Walker, Weaver, Wickenburg, Champe, Peeples and Swilling.

In 1973, I graduated from Alhambra High School in Phoenix, went off to the Army for a few years, came home and started working as a tower rat, or “smoke watcher” for the Forest Service up in Prescott. Boring? I couldn’t take it any more after only four-months - so I quit. I walked out to 89, stuck out my thumb, and hitch-hiked through 38-states. My good karma ran out on the Bronx River Parkway, just outside New York City, when I got in the wrong car.

She was driving a new, Hunter green, Mercedes convertible. The young woman was tall, blonde, and had really pretty green eyes. She looked safe enough, but I never knew what hit me. When I woke up I was married, had a bunch of children, bills, and serious responsibilities. For the next 30-years though, my dreams never stopped. I always longed for the desert and mountains of Arizona, no matter where I laid my head.

Then one day, I got my 50th birthday present. A trip home to Phoenix, and the chance to hang with my Brother on Rich Hill, for 14-days back in Jan-Feb, of 2007. It was during that trip that we formulated the ideas that have become Arizona Gold Adventures. Since 2008, over 700-men, women and children have been our guests at the AGA gold prospecting school in Congress, and I am now actually living the life that I was only able to dream of since I was nine-years-old!

Part of my original vision for Arizona Gold Adventures, was to deal only with the best equipment manufacturers and retailers, and to try and stay as local as we could in order to generate cash back into the economies of Congress and Yarnell - as well as the state of Arizona. Last week a huge piece of that vision fell into place, and became a reality.

As some of you know, Tesoro Metal Detectors in Prescott, Arizona, agreed to become an AGA sponsor a couple of months ago. Last week, Tesoro President Vince Gifford, along with Casey Stern and Rusty Henry, treated my prospecting instructors and me to a personal tour of the Tesoro factory. We were able to meet the people behind these great machines one-on-one.

As I talked with the Tesoro team members - whether they were in the office or on the factory floor wrapping coils, assembling control panels, or creating the intricate computer boards that run the machines, I couldn’t help but be infected by their shared enthusiasm and professional pride.

Many of the folks I met have worked at Tesoro for a decade or more. What they all have in common is a real sense of pride in “their” detectors, and a dedication to “doing the job right every time.” I guess that’s the reason they can still offer a lifetime guarantee in this day and age.

After lunch at the Prescott Brewing Company downtown, my instructors and I were treated to an entire afternoon of personal training on the Lobo SuperTraq, by Tesoro’s Service Manager of almost 20-years, Rusty Henry. While Rusty may not be familiar to some of you, he is a living legend among metal detectorists and gold prospectors.

Rusty Henry used his first metal detector in 1968, as a Navy Frogman on Underwater Demolition Team 22. That machine was built by Telex in New York, and cost the Navy $3,800.00! He got his first “civilian” detector, a Garrett Master Hunter BFO, in 1969. From 1969, through 1974, Rusty was a Navy Seal Team 2 member, and averaged three-hours a day, 250-days a year detecting! By 1974, Rusty had found over 500-rings, countless Civil War relics and over 50,000 coins!

After leaving the Navy in 1978, Rusty became Vice President of Bounty Hunter Inc, in Tempe, AZ. He hadn’t been there long, when the first report of a gold nugget found with a metal detector in Australia came in. The nugget was found at Cue, in Western Australia. That first report was followed in weeks by even more spectacular finds there, and in Victoria.

Rusty folded his tent, and he and his family immigrated to Australia! He spent the next 10-years swinging a metal detector 8-10 hours a day, 200-250 days a year! It is estimated that by 1995, Rusty had over 35,000-hours of experience using metal detectors and gold nugget shooting.

While at his home on Thumb Butte, overlooking Prescott, Rusty showed me a 3.6-oz Australian nugget he found that is almost pure. The color is so rich and yellow, as to be almost impossible! He told us about a 17-pound patch he found! SEVENTEEN-POUNDS! And that was just one of the stories he shared! I was simply in awe of the gold, relics, coins and jewelry Rusty has in his collection.

It will be so much fun passing on to our guests the tips and tricks Rusty taught us! We also have a much greater understanding of how the Lobo SuperTraq automatic ground balancing works - and reacts, to different soil mineralization. Meeting Rusty, a true American hero and a legendary gold prospector, was the highlight of the entire event for me personally. His knowledge, hospitality and life experiences just blow me away, yet he is the nicest, most down-to-earth and giving man you’ll ever meet!

On my drive back down to the airport in Phoenix that night, I almost had to pinch myself to see if I was just dreaming! I am here to tell you that if you have a dream, never let it go. Even with all the craziness in the world today, there are real rewards to be gained – and real treasures to be found. It took 44-years, but I’m living my dream! God Bless - Terry


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I'm glad for you. To be able to finally do your hearts desire is one point in life that no one forgets.


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I've known,been a dealer and wrote reviews for TESORO and RUSTY rocks-he'll get ya the goodies ya need. QUALITY ARIZONA products guaranteed forever--well as long as ya live anyhow-John

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Congratulation Terry, on fullfilling your dreams..............Its great to have a company like Tesoro in AZ, their service is great & they have a great line of detectors.


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Thanks for the story it was great reading :thumbsupanim:brows: .... Got the Pictures you sent me of my son Dakota and I out on the AGA claim using our Tesoro Detectors, Loved the Video.. Had a great time that day and look forward to our next get together when I get back from Afghanistan..Good Luck for you and the boys glad you all got a chance to learn from the best...

Very Respectfully





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A BIG thank you to all for the kind words! Tim you keep your head down and let those kids pull the wagon for a while. We'll be out there nugget shootin' in no time :thumbsupanim - Terry

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