Ep.4 Rockthumpers



RR: Ok, can I bowguard you for rock talk? Do you- are you into rocks? I know you’re into rocks. Are you into rocks?

Mike: Into rocks?

RR: Yes.

Dan: Are you a rockthumper?

Mike: No, I should be though, sounds like it.

Dan: You’re fine.

RR: You’re great. ‘Sup Kent?

Kent: Hey, how are you kids doin’?

Mike: Doin’ good, old man.

Kent: I know, right?

RR: So, Dan, tell me about your rocks.

Dan: I don’t even know where to start.

RR: Ok.

Dan: I have boxes of them. I have travelled with them for years and years in all kinds of different places. Um, I’m a geologist, I went to school for geology.

RR: Oh!

Dan: I don’t practice geology, but still enjoy it, but I wouldn’t- I’ve been collecting rocks since I was a little kid. Like it’d be,…even go out and visit my aunt. On her gravel driveway, I’d be pickin’ out agates out of the gravel driveway.

RR: Where are you from?

Dan: Portland. Portland, OR, born and raised.

RR: Willamette?

Dan: Yup.

RR: Yup.

Dan: Willamette, but..

Kent: She’s not from here.

RR: Sorry!

Kent: Willamette Oregon, no such place, but whatever.

Dan: T-guard, Twillateen(sp?), I’ve heard ‘em all.

RR: Whatever.

Dan: I was the exact same way when I moved out here. I’s be pronouncing stuff- I didn’t know how to pronounce Ponderay(sp?) for years.

Kent: That’s how he got his name, Box-o-Rocks.

Dan: I’m about as smart as one.

Kent: Our house is full of rocks.

Dan: Oh, yea?

Kent: We buy ‘em. Collect ‘em and buy ‘em wherever we go.

Mike: Another rockthumper!

RR: Yea! You wanna tell me about your rocks? I…

Kent: They’re hard, and big, and…beautiful.

RR: Cool.

Kent: A lot of ‘em are from South America.

Dan: Oh yea, so like a lot of nice gemstones?

RR: So like, crystals?

Kent: Agates.

RR: Wow.

Kent: The….what’s that green stuff that’s poisonous? Has little swirls in it?

RR: That’s…such a vague….I….

Kent: No,…there’s a lot of green rocks that are poisonous…

Dan: There’s a lot them.

RR: Kryptonite, maybe?

Dan: Malachite, serpentanite,….Serpentanite might be poisonous.

Kent: Yea, the brain’s…..yea, it’s malachite. It’s a big green rock we have. It’s about this big, and it’s polished and it’s gorgeous. But yea, a lot of…a lot of South American stuff.

RR: Why… do you like rocks?

Kent: Huh?

RR: Why do you like rocks?

Kent: Why do you like the outdoors?

Mike: You’re being interviewed.

RR: I have entire blog about why I like rocks. So when I say, “Why do you like rocks?” you could say, you just like rocks. That’s fine. But like I’ve got some philosophical ideas-

Kent: When I grown up we had a guy on the street,..

RR: That’s cool.

Kent: …who did some rock work. And he’d put out these piles of rocks for kids to go through.

Dan: Mmhmm.

Kent: And so we’d dig through for agates. Ya know, we’d go to the coast a lot, go to the San Juans a lot, and we’d find rocks on the beach there. Ya know, who doesn’t like crystals and agates and anything that’s shiny?

RR: A lot of people, turns out.

Kent: Who don’t like it?

RR: A lot of people do, but I think that people tend to outgrow it. Because it’s like a “kid thing.”

Kent: So, we went to a rock show in Madras, OR, um,…..couple summers….six, seven summers ago. And, ya know, all these people just- like a big flea market, there’s hundreds of tables of material.

Dan: Mmhmm.

Kent: Ya know, the problem becomes -like the gun shows I go to- you don’t know who is going to be taking, ya know. And everyone’s trying to get something for what they have so, ya know what I have is gold but what you have is dirt. A lot of it was beautiful. But one thing I bought was actually a sphere-making machine. I haven’t used it yet.

RR: Cool.

Kent: They’re expensive and they’re hard to find and I was thinking I’d get to it. Cause spheres are my favorite, uh, shape rather than natural.

Dan: Yup.

Kent: Um, so, some day maybe. I’ve got the grit for it and all that other stuff. Of all the other things I could’ve chosen to do as a hobby, making spheres would have to be the hardest one.

Dan: Mmhmm.

Kent: Guys were shakin’ their heads when they saw me with it, so.

RR: Do you have thunder eggs?

Kent: I grew up with those.

RR: Well, right, but like Madras, OR…big thunder egg territory-

Kent: We actually….was it Anderson’s Ranch?

RR: I only know of Lucky Strike and Richardson’s.

Kent: Oh that’s what I meant. Anderson’s is a flyfishing name in Boise. So, ya, Richardson’s Ranch…we went there and it was close. But it gets hard on the joints when you’re our age and you start hammering rocks with hammers while you layin’ on the ground or kneeling on the ground or something. It’s like oh my god, just give me a backhoe. So much easier.

Dan: That’s cheating.

RR: Last time I was there, somebody had like a power tool. They brought a mini generator in their truck. They had kids!

Kent: That’s one way to do it.

RR: They had like a teenager and like a small kid and like….

Dan: Rock hammers work great if you know how to use ‘em.

RR: Mason hammers or rock hammers?

Dan: Rock hammers.

Kent: Real rock hammers?

Dan: I carry a- well I don’t have my mason hammer with me- but I carry that just ‘cause I like to paddle on it. Like….dig through stuff. But the rock hammer, with the pick-

Kent: I’ve got one of those. What’re they made by the company with the blue…

Dan: Estwing?

RR: Yup.

Kent: I’ve got one of those. There’s a…when we would go up to Curlew Lake, ...just outside the town of Republic. They’ve got, ya know, the Civil Mines(sp?)- part of the park.

Dan: Yup.

Kent: And you can go hammer there.

Dan: That’s my favorite thing, I love seeing what’s in rocks. Pullin’ back layers…..road cuts are the coolest thing to me….cause you see all the see that a lot on the water…

Dan: Yea…

Kent: You can imagine all those layers of sedimentary rock, being laid down…none of ‘em are in a straight line.

Dan: Right.

Kent: Right? And you always wonder what’s in there.

Dan: You can find some pretty cool things.

Kent: ?????

Dan: I found a bunch of garnet in a road cut once.

Kent: Oh, nice.

Dan: And it was… you wouldn’t know unless you were out there, but once you got close to it and you started hammering away from the face, it was there. You saw the little red crystals.

RR: What is purple?

Dan: Hm? Red.

RR: Oh.

Kent: You know they’ve got a bunch up in the St. Joe River, right? There’s a garnet mine up there.

Dan: I didn’t even know that.

Kent: It think it’s closed now, but it’s …….when I was fishing, Lisa would go through the rocks and you’d end up with all these tiny little shavings. These little pieces of garnet.

Dan: Yea.

Kent: I guess they use them a lot in sand paper.

RR: That’s awesome.

Dan: Hard grit.

Kent: So, yea I guess,….I’m not…I don’t know much about rocks. I just know that I like them and..

Dan: Yea…

RR: That’s enough.


Mike: My experience with rocks was when I went gold panning, one time. It was the most boring four hours of my life that I will never get back. I did like be outdoors at least.

Dan: Yea.

Mike: There’s the silver lining.

Dan: There’s that.

RR: Cool.

Kent: Yea, I should get a picture of that malachite piece I have, cause it took a lot of talking to get it from the lady.

Dan: Yes.

RR: You should.

Kent: It’s this big…

Dan: Oh, nice!

Kent: And it’s polished and it undulates and….I guess you can…if you breathe too many of those fumes when you’re working with it, you’re in trouble.

RR: Somebody I worked with at RTR said that there’s a roadcut, like, out in the Spokane area that has radioactive some…radioactive mineral, I don’t remember the name of it. But, he had a friend that like knew where it was, and they had to like wear masks to go collect it. He keeps it in like a jar in his storage unit.

Kent: Wonder where that storage unit is.

Dan: Is it a common radioactive thing, like granite?

RR: Ya know, I don’t know, but he pulled it up it up on Google and he was like -this was like after a 12 hour day out in the field- and so I was just like, “OO!”

Dan: Cool.

Kent: That’s where radon comes from, it comes from the dirt, right? So maybe from the breakdown of that product…I don’t know.

Dan: That’s pretty cool.

RR: Yea.

Dan: It always makes me laugh because people like their granite countertops. And that stuff’s radioactive.

Kent: Cool, that’s why we have it.

Dan: Yea.

RR: I didn’t know it was that radioactive..

Dan: I don’t think it is, I don’t think it’s enough to -it’s enough to register- I don’t think it’s enough to worry about.

RR: I didn’t know it’s enough to register! That’s awesome!

Dan: Yea. So you should remember that when you want to put your granite countertops in.

RR: Like I will ever be able to afford granite!

Dan: I know, right!

RR: Thanks, Kent! Can you say- can you introduce yourself? For me, please?

Mike: You’re being interviewed.

RR: You’re being interviewed.

Kent: You’re recording this?

RR: Mmhmm. I don’t hafta, I can delete it.

Kent: No, my name’s Chris Donely.

RR: I mean, I can also just edit out the part where you’re talking, which is fine.

Kent: I don’t mind.

RR: Ok.

Kent: I just wish I knew more about it.

RR: I ask for people’s stories and then I put it up and I use big words like ‘opulent’ and ‘epoch.’

Kent: I’d use a bigger word like ‘antidisestablishmentarianism.’

RR: No, but that’s…no, I could! You’re right! I could.

Kent: That would be kind of tough if you’re talkin’ about rocks, though. Or you could just start throwing rocks at people. Just stone ‘em.

RR: Anyway.

Kent: Well, my name’s Kent Meyer.

RR: There we go! Thank you. And you like rocks.

Kent: I like rocks. I love rocks. My neighborhood was so tough, we didn’t have snowball fights we had rock fights.

Dan: ….a little side story for ya..

Kent: We didn’t have any participation trophies or anything like that just…big boulders on your head.

Dan: Black eyes…

Kent: Yea.

Mike: There was a rock show that I really liked. Metallica was here in December!

Dan: Oh!

Mike: That was amazing.

Dan: Different kind of rock. That kind of rock’s cool, though, too.

RR: Do you have a favorite rock? ……What?

Dan: I’m not prepared for that question. I, um,…there’s so many of them….

Kent: Don’t say they’re all your favorite, because that’d just be cheating. It changes over the decades, actually, …is what happens.

RR: Yup.

Kent: Things become popular and then they kind of fade away. I like labordite(sp?) a lot. It’s green and we’ve got- we’ve got another big piece of that, and then a smaller one. Cause it has so much blue in it. And then I’ve got a third one that’s a sphere, that’s about six inches in diameter. It’s just sitting on a little sphere mount.

Mike: I never wanna help you move.

Kent: No.

RR: Oh yea, it’s a thing. It’s a whole thing. My brother-in-law hates my rock collection.

Kent: I bought a, um, when I bought that sphere machine, I also bought a grinder, a wheel grinder.

Dan: Mmhmm.

Kent: That,…one side is hard, one side is soft- for buffing. So, you begin to work the rocks down. I mean, I don’t like…..I like polished rocks. Ya know, I grew up with a lot of (???) and stuff, but unless it’s in it’s natural form it’s really hard to tell what’s underneath.

Dan: Oh gosh, yea.

Kent: I know there’s one show that had these thunder eggs. They’d sell to you for three dollars, and then they’d crack ‘em for ya, and so you ended up with this game like Cracker Jacks or the Lottery. This rock that’s unopened, but for three dollars, they’ll give it you and they’ll open it for you and then you get to see what kind of crystals or whatever is inside. Ya know, I’ve got a big amethyst tower kind-of-thing at home, too, that’s got a white crystal inside. That’s pretty rare I think.

RR: Like an intrusion? Like it has a white crystal intrusion inside the amethyst?

Kent: Yea…

RR: I have never seen that.

Kent: But it’s not truly an intrusion because there’s no other crystal anywhere else on it. I don’t know how it got in there to seed. But it’s pretty.

RR: Pictures….take pictures…

Kent: I can. And we also has neighbors in Port Angeles, who would drive over the Owhee(sp?) Basin, which is a long drive. And they’d take their 4x4 And they had this particular creek bed, and they’ve take these 60 or 70lbs thunder eggs that are…huge, and the guy had a harness to haul those things up to the car. And they had a trailer and come home with them. But they had a huge……was it an 18 inch saw? So they could slice out the thunder eggs. And so they’d take the center slices and then we would buy a couple ends from them.

Dan: Mmhmm.

Kent: And you couldn’t tell, unless you knew what the exact diameter was over the ridge, you’d never know that slices were taken, ya know, right? Like the interior doesn’t change that much. So, we would buy some of those huge thunder eggs from them. And they sold ‘em cheap.

Mike: Well Mister Rock Guy- what’s a thunder egg?

Dan: Huh?

Mike: What’s a thunder egg?

RR: It’s a specific kind of geode that’s solid instead of hollow.

Mike: Oh. Ok.

RR: It has a really distinct, thick crust.

Kent: Guess I need to take pictures of that, too. So when you cut ‘em open it’s like a multi-faceted agate. And then you shine it up or polish it. There’s all kinds of things to see there. It’s not like picture jasper, which looks like a picture, but there’s a lot of different colors and motion to the rock. And from the outside they look like a dinosaur egg. Right? I mean, for lack of a better….

Dan: Right.

RR: Oh, they totally do.

Dan: Yea.

RR: And they’re like lumpy too.

Dan: Yea.

Kent: Yea, those little pimples on ‘em. Sorry, I didn’t even think about that for a minute.

Mike: It’s alright, you’re talking about rocks so.

Kent: Well, no, but who doesn’t know what a thunder egg is?

RR: People who are not from this part of the country.

Dan: Well with this statistic, 25% of people.

Mike: There you go! Probably higher than that.

Dan: Yea!

Kent: Which is just shocking to me, I guess.

RR: I think rockhounding out here is like a cultural phenomenon.

Kent: It’s how we grew up.

Dan: Mmhmm.

RR: Like,…

Kent: So, the amount of geology in Oregon that is unique is I think what started this. Ya know, Dan grew up there, too, and the columnar joints, the basalt, are some of the only ones that exist in the world. And they exist mostly in Oregon. The huge lava flows that are on the eastern ridge are unique. Portland is the only city in the nation that’s got an active volcano in it. It’s an old, dead, chilled volcano, but none the less it’s within the city limits. You have to know what you’re looking at. Most people don’t, they just see a hill.

RR: Hm.

Kent: And then we had Mt. St. Helens and that got people goin’.

Dan: Mmhmm.

Kent: Ya know, we grew up seein’ stuff -like I saw one the other day in storage unit over here. I’ve got a friend, and I was helping him with his trailer, and I look down and I said, “Hey I think that’s a piece of pumas.” And sure enough, I took it home, put it in a thing of water and it floated!

Mike: Pumas?

Kent: It’s a floating rock. So, you know what it is? I’m not talkin’ the stone that you rub your feet with, but this is just a little thing, about this size, you set it in water and it floats. And it’s a real rock. That’s a pretty rare thing.

Dan: It’s volcanic, it’s got a lot of air pockets.

RR: It’s a piece of magma that cooled so quickly that the air bubbles just…expanded.

Mike: That’s very cool.

Dan: Sandstone.

Mike: Is that what it is?

Dan: That’s my answer.

RR: Sandstone….is a kind of pumas?

Dan: No, no, that’s my answer for Favorite Rock.

RR: Oh. Really? Can I take your picture?

Dan: Yea, sure. Oh wait, hold on...


RR: I want to hear about your sandstone by the way.

Kent: The Morrocan stuff, it's brown and black and stuff...with the round seas creatures. I don't remember what those things are called.

RR: Concretions?

Kent: Huh?

RR: Concretion? Er, and ammonite?

Kent: It has ammonites and it also has...nautiluses. I got that when a store closed. It was cheap so I grabbed it, but it's a pretty good size. The one I think I probably paid the most for -it's a sphere that's clear crystal but its' got...I can't even remember...it's got three or four facets coming into it. You can see the lines- if you look into it you can see the lines where the different growths all came into it.

RR: Wow.

Kent: And I guess that particular set-up is really rare as well. That you have three different rocks growing into one.

Dan: Mmhmm.

Kent: And it's all the same material.

RR: So you shop around for them a lot?