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Frank C's old White's GMT

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Early this spring I decided to sell a few unused toys. I had collected a bunch of very cool stuff over the years and much of it was sitting unused on shelves. I had two small buildings filled with good stuff that needed a home... A truckload of scuba gear, a half acre of mid 70’s Toyota Landcruisers, and a closet with metal detectors stacked like cordwood. Spearguns, deep sea fishing gear, a couple of aluminum boats and a host of other sweet equipment.

I set out on Craigslist and the local ad papers to unload these items. I dealt hard and dodged the scammers. I was doing well and having fun but it was an emotional undertaking. Many of the items had a long history. All had a story. A lot of it was good stuff that I HATED to part with but simply had no good reason to continue storing it.

On the auction block were several metal detectors. One was a Whites GMT that I had bought from Frank C. several years back. I had used it to find a few Glorieta irons and some metal arrowheads. It was a backup machine for me but Frank had used this detector for many years. This was his baby. He had a real history with this machine that included lots of meteorites and more nuggets than most guys will find in a lifetime.

When Frank sent this machine to me it came in the original box and had a test meteorite and a test nugget with it. There was also an autographed copy of Jim McCullough’s book. I had kept this stuff all these years and packed it up for sale just like it was when I bought it.


One evening I got a call from a woman who wanted to know about the detector. She said she was translating for her brother-in-law. His son was in Mexico and was interested in buying the detector. We discussed details but it was unclear if there was much communication going on.

A few days went by and the woman called again. She wanted to bring her brother-in-law by to look at the detector. We were able to communicate much better in person. They indicated that they were interested and his son would contact me soon.


A few of days later I got a call. My Spanish is very poor and this fellow was speaking some sort of Indio dialect that I could not decipher. He asked that I come to Juarez to make the sale and I declined. I agreed to meet him in El Paso and he said he could do that. We then proceeded to try and agree on a meeting spot… He did not know El Paso and I could not communicate well in Spanish, but I was sure we knew where we were meeting when we hung up the phone.


At 9:00 the next morning I was in El Paso at a sweet little taco joint waiting for him to arrive. They were just opening up and had the tacos al pastor sizzling. The phone rang. It seems this guy was in Sunland Park, New Mexico. I told him to stay put and I would come to him.


30 minutes later I called him again from Sunland Park. He had found a translator and the guy told me they were at a bar in Canutillo, Texas. I was a bit peeved. I told him that I would wait for another 30 minutes in Sunland Park and if he did not show up I was on my way back to Las Cruces. I hung up the phone. I figured they were drinking.

About ten minutes later I get a call. This fellow is frantic. He has no idea where he is but he wants me to wait. It is not clear to me that he even understands where I am at. I told him to stay put and get someone that speaks English to talk to me. There is confusion for a moment and then I hear a “Hello!” on the other end.

In a sweet voice a young lady explains to me that they are on a bus. For the fist time I realized that this fellow did not drive across the border. He was trying to locate me using public transportation. I arranged to meet him at the next bus stop. They were a few miles away on Mesa St. in El Paso.

When I pulled into the lot I see this skinny Indian kid in a puffy down jacket obviously from way backwoods Mexico. He was about 19-20 years old, tiny teeth, big smile and a thousand miles in his eyes. He looked up at me and he instantly knew I was who he was looking for. Before the truck was stopped he was already walking my way on shoes worn as smooth as your fanny.

He approached me and with his eyes lowered he apologized for missing our meeting place. He wanted me to know he was not from Juarez, but from Durango. A medical student enrolled in the University at Lerdo. As I digested what he was saying I realized that this young man had walked almost a thousand miles from the most remote mountains in Mexico to buy this detector. He waited for a visa, crossed the border, got on the bus and was doing his level best to make it happen. 

I asked him to come with me to a better place to make our deal. While we drove back to the taco shack way out in west El Paso he told me his story. He had found gold on a hillside deep in the Sierra Madre and had recovered a pocket full of nuggets by eye. He did not want to do too much digging for fear of someone discovering his spot. He figured he could hit the big ones with a detector and do quite well without anyone noticing. As we were pulling into the taqueria he was telling me about his journey from his mountain homeland and the three days he waited in Juarez for a visa to come across to buy the detector.

I pulled the box with the detector in it from behind the seat of the truck and handed it to him. I convinced him to come inside and have some tacos with me. When we got inside he opened the box and checked out the detector. As they shaved the BBQ pork and pineapple off that big spit for our tacos he put the detector together.

I went out to the truck and got some batteries I had in the console. When I came back in he had his money in a neat stack on the table and the tacos had been served.  I noticed they had a nice fried jalapeno and pickled radish garnish. He loaded the batteries into the machine and flipped it on. It squealed loudly and he grinned. I took his money and I must admit I felt a bit guilty. But those tacos looked good and we need to get business out of the way.


As we ate tacos I explained the best I could about the book from Jim McC. There was no way that I could begin to explain the machine to him in my slang Spanglish. He had lots of resources at the University though and assured me that he could get the book translated. Also, there were gringo prospectors in Durango that were fluent and could help him. Some even used a GMT.

After the tacos I offered him a ride to the bridge. I wished him luck and apologized to him for being such an arrogant bastard when he was trying to find me.  I am not sure he understood every word but I know he understood what I was trying to say.  He stepped out of the truck and smiled, uttered a blessing and headed over the Alameda Street bridge with the detector under his arm.

There is no doubt in my mind that this young man is going to find huge gold with that machine. Great big Mexican nuggets from the most remote mountains in Mexico.  He walked over a thousand miles and crossed into a foreign country to chase down a gringo with a detector for sale. Paid for it with U.S. dollars earned by finding nuggets by eye. Then he headed home with his prize under his arm. That was a lot more difficult task than finding gold with a GMT on rich ground in Mexico. He should have zero problems.


On my way home I thought about Frank and all the hours he must have spent with that rig. I figured that if I ever got the chance to tell this story I would take it. For many guys just meeting a fellow like this is as close to real adventure as they will ever get. Passing a detector on to a fellow like this is a neat bonus. Like a nugget with sweet character or a little olivine in the iron.

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That young man will have no problem making a good pile of gold ... Frankie's gold karma and yours as well will continue on ... NOT that that young prospector really needs it! Great job and story Bob!

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Don't mean to rain on anyone's parade but I just hope he makes it back home safely. With all the lawlessness in Mexico, I'd be surprised given the circumstances.

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22 hours ago, Bedrock Bob said:

Are you into a kinky paddling these days? Riding the bucking Tupperware? 

You bet! And loving it! Miss nugget hunting but that will come again in the fall! For now I am fishing for fun and some tournaments from my kayak! Even qualified for the national championship held on Kentucky Lake earlier this year. My last big tourney here in the east will be September 1st .... the Charles River Open from Millis to the Esplanade in Boston ... about a 60 mile stretch of river in MA. Glad to see you posting again ... Rebel that you are! :inocent:


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I like to kayak fish as well Mike. I am big into setting trot lines in the Rio Grande with that strong current flowing. Really tricky but worth the risk... until you set a big hook in your leg and get pulled of your Rubbermaid boat in a strong current. Unhooking those turtles while your fighting a current and hanging on to a tornillo branch is beyond adventure. So far I have never returned from kayak fishing without blood dripping off my elbows, although I have managed to avoid spinning around in the current while gut hooked and tied to a tree. So far so good.

I like the yak in the lake but can certainly catch more fish in my skiff. I have a sweet 16 foot aluminum that is the perfect lake fishing rig. But for the miles and miles of Rio Grande the kayak is about the sweetest thing since honey. Paddling upstream in that river for a mile or so will really make your boobs stand out if you know what I mean. And we don't have much water here so a shallow water boat is sweet. I don't even need water for my kayak Mike. I can paddle that thing around a Jeep stuck in the sand!

Caliche Chris and I are going on a big yak trip tomorrow down a remote section of Rio Grande. I doubt we will fish or do much prospecting but we will take in about 15-20 miles of curly river ending up in a big bosque above the lake. Big fun. Mostly flatwater with some narrow side channels. Acres of bosque with little channel networks to paddle. Tiny rapids. Lots of hazardous banks with sweepers and strainers but for the most part an easy paddle. 

I am working on travelling the entire Rio Grande (in sections) from Elephant Butte to El Paso before the summer is over. The only thing standing in my way of that goal is bowfishing catfish and bullfrogs in the mountain lakes. It takes up so much of my time there is hardly a chance to float the river. If I don't work hard and stick all the fish and frogs in the Gila with arrows I will never float all that river before elk season. That is a hard deadline. It is a lot of responsibility and the weight bears heavy on my shoulders. I am doing my very best.

It is good to hear from you Mike. Start a kayak thread and tell me about your fancy ass boat. I know you have some pedal rig dripping with high tech crap. I will show you my $200 Craigslist Ocean Kayak Prowler and tell you a story that will make the follicles on your gizzard stand up straight. It'll be a hoot! 

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Hey Bob ... Don't have a Peddle boat yet working on it though. My first boat was an Ocean Kayak Trident Angler 13 ... Great fast paddling fishing platform in the Saltwater and very good boat for the Freshwater. Currently have an Old Town Predator 13 which is a great lake/pond boat for what I like to do fishing in the 'salad' and standing up sight fishing for Bass. It is a really good Saltwater boat as well. I have had it in 4-5 foot swells with no problems. I'll take a few pictures of the boat rigged next time it is fully rigged and post a new thread as you suggested. Lately I have been doing minimal fishing just using a couple different baits and one or two rods on the boat. And I am sure there will be a number of folks besides us that kayak fish. You and CC have a great time running the Rio ... if I was back in AZ I would join you. Oh ... And ... As for my next boat ... it will be an Old Town Predator PDL which is a pedal boat. I will be keeping the current boat too! Peddle boats don't do well in the salad aka weeds!

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That's a really great and touching story, BB ... Adds dimension to our great hobby... Cheers, Unc


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