Tucson, 2006
By John Cornish
February 23, 2006

As I begin, I've been home now for one week. One week and a hand full of hours and I can feel it, Tucson is slipping away. That relentless, overwhelming, exhaustingly awesome rush that is the World's largest gathering of all things mineral is slowly, calmly and steadily defusing from my system and I'm coming down.

Now that I've had a chance to rest, had a chance to breath, to enjoy a full night's sleep, to tell my wife I love her, to pet Buddy my dog and curl up with our cats Belle and Katerina, now that I've had a chance to ground myself, I want to go back. Now that I've had a break from the show's 29 day assault, I want more!

But that's the way of things, they start, they end. Thank goodness for yearly cycles! That's right, it all starts up again in a bit over 300 days and where will you be? Me, I'll be right back in the thick of things. And I can't wait!

This year began, as ever, with a huge drive crossing from one end of our beautiful Country to the other, from the wet and green of western Washington State to the dry desert climes of Arizona. My trusty steed, my 376,000 mile 1983 Chevy S-10, and I. We left early on the morning of the 18th of January and two days later, we pulled into Quartzsite, Arizona. We'd endured rain, falling snow and a thousand plus miles to arrive in the basking sun of this little hiccup in the middle of nowhere. My goal, head for the two shows of Desert Gardens and Tyson Wells ( http://www.tysonwells.com/ ).

After pulling from the highway, I made a phone call and hooked up with my friend Pat at his space in the Tyson's Wells show. Both he and Todd were sharing a spot, offering up their combined treasures. Here, out in the open, they had a designated area which both made for selling room and camp. They'd endured high winds over the last couple of days prior to my arriving and were quite happy that things had finally settled down a bit. And I could believe it too! Totally exposed as most everyone was in these shows, weather could really make a mess of things and drive everyone not trying to save their own places, to cover. I was thankful today was a better day.

I asked the guys about crystal treasures in this, and over at the Desert Gardens show, and was unhappy to hear their rather bleak report. Still, it was my first time here at Tyson Wells and last year's quick visit to the Desert Gardens show hardly allowed me the chance to really check things out and without much to do, soon thereafter I was off and away.

The Tyson Wells show was really a glorified garage sale to my way of thinking and I was very much underwhelmed with the gold plated coffee cup holders with matching trailer hitches. True crystal specimens were all but absent and the only real bastion of treasure I found was within the building of Moroccan Imports, Inc. Here, amidst the glues and epoxies, I found a scattering of fossils and took a few photos to share with friends back home.

Ironically, when I returned back to the guys echoing their earlier sentiments, Pat pulled out his best find from the show, an attractive Moroccan brittlestar plate and said, what's a guy to do?

The bustling aisles at Tyson Wells.

Neat fossil sharks teeth collections.

Artful(?) Mosasaur jaw and teeth creations.

Beautiful brittlestars from Morocco.

After chuckling a bit, I once again grabbed up my gear and took off, this time for the Desert Gardens show, west down the frontage road on its opposite side a couple miles. Here I found easy parking, much easier than over at Tyson Wells (which also really hadn't been that bad), and set off looking for treasure. This is where my friends Robbie and Tamara ( http://www.antaresfossils.com/index.html ) offer their treasures and there, while not a crystal specimen, I did see a killer fossil, the best of both shows in my opinion. It's a 49 inch long (about 1.25 meters) Amia pattersoni; what a fantastic specimen! This came from the Green River formation near Kemmerer, Wyoming, a place dear to my field collecting heart (see my 11/16/2001 paper, Kemmerer, Wyoming and a 2001 Field Trip Report). This is considered by many to be the finest Amia ever recovered from the Green River and was a real thrill. Not much else here really beckoned, though I did snap off a couple more photos.

Monstrous, perfect Amia pattersoni.

Chinese cave formations by the pallet.

Several clever crystal bearing creations
were available in one tent, dump trucks,
wheel barrows and yes, even backhoes, with
many strategically within large amethyst geodes.

Rainbow quartz, to learn more,
check out the following link...

Afterwards, back with the guys, they invited me to share their camp and stay the evening rather then push on to "take in the true Quartzsite experience". I should have run! :-) Essentially this meant we tried to go out for dinner during the same time everyone else was going. We ended up, thank goodness, at Subway for sandwiches and Dairy Queen for blizzards. Back at camp, the guys cleaned out the back of one of the trucks and gave me a blanket and a sleeping bag. We bs'ed for a couple hours before finally calling it quits for the evening. I said my good-byes and told the guys I'd be heading out early in the morning.

No truer words have I ever spoken. You see, the temperature dropped to about 15 degrees that night and while I was thankful for the blanket and the sleeping bag, they just didn't cut it... I froze! Now, truthfully, I may have been a bit of a wuss, but I know I'd have been a lot better off if only my shoulders had fit into the sleeping bag! Brrr! At 5:11 I was back on the road for my final leg to Tucson.

There, just before 10:00 in the morning, I pulled into the Inn Suites parking lot right outside my room ( http://stmarys.innsuites.com/ ). With breakfast still being served, I caught a quick bite before checking in. My room was ready and with no further to do, I hit my room and began tearing it down for the show. I called the guys over at Tucson Store Fixtures ( http://www.tucsonstorefixtures.com/default.htm ) next and soon had my 3 six foot display cases delivered and set in place. What a smooth move in, now with a bit of grace, maybe my set up will go as well. And so, after a refreshing shower, that's exactly what I set to doing.

This is a crazy time, one where I take a perfectly good room completely apart and make a show room of it where I hope to sell my crystal treasures. For the next 24 days, this will be my home and the home of John Cornish Minerals. But for now, it's time to get to it! With the electrical fixtures removed from the walls, the beds broken down and the t.v. disconnected and moved away, the cases come in and the fun of cleaning glass begins. Hours/ days later, my cases and their 24 shelves were all sparkling and my rocks could come in, after unloading my truck, I worked next to stock my shelves with treasure. And then, finally, I even had space enough to lay down my mattress and collapse.

And so it begins...

Next comes the cases...

Then comes the rocks, after all
the glass has been cleaned...

And the shelves slowly start to fill...

Until the cases really start to shine!

And finally, can I collapse now?

Report continued . . . . . . .

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