My Summer Workamping in 1972 to 1975.
As a destitute student attending the University of Wyoming in Laramie, I spent three to four months Workamping in my 1967
Ford Bronco 4x4. During the school year I had my GI Bill monthly check of $366.
I would collect fossils on Ranches in Western Nebraska and Eastern Wyoming. By rowing hay I could get meals and gasoline for my truck, a great camping spot in the middle of the Badlands and collect fossils. I became very good at understanding the geology of the area and I knew which places were the best for finding fossils. Some Ranchers wanted a small daily fee to hunt on their ranch.
Many fossils I could prepare with dental tools at camp. Others I kept in the original matrix as that made them very showy as a specimen and a display piece.
I have no artistic talent. But have a very good sense of value, quality and rarity. I should have... I did it all.
There would be a Rock Show in Hot Springs, South Dakota. I would stay at the hotel in the smallest room available. It was more of a large closet, but comfortable for someone traveling solo and stuck in a snowstorm or emergency. Buyers came from around the World to buy from local collectors. I would bring them out to my Bronco, and display my finds, haggle and leave empty.
I did this for three years. I miss those years as I was independent, the Ranchers were glad to see me come to do light chores and I knew where the best water sources were in the region. Young and having a vehicle, large canvas "campaign tent", probably WW2 surplus... it was my home.
I paid for my education and it beat going to Alaska with other geology students for the Salmon fishing jobs or minimum wage in town and spending it all on rent.
I could identify a fossil mammal just by a piece of tooth exposed. Or a small rodent, lizard or snake skull by the shape and size in a small clay nodule. Even an occasional "bird egg" the size of a chicken egg. This cannot be done today as these Ranches are all now Corporate or lease their Badlands to company collectors.
Even the fossil fish quarries of Kemmerer, Wyoming will accept labor for... fossil fish. They keep the higher value, rarer specimens and in your spare time, prepare smaller ones to sell somewhere else. I call this "sitting work" and my Badlands collecting was "walking work". I did not like sitting and splitting limestone... but loved climbing and hiking all day for... Badlands fossils.
So those of you who are scratching your head for an idea... you do what you enjoy. I like finding things. Fossils, coin operated machines and whatever would catch my eye as being marketable. Some can do it... most cannot. Buy junk... sell it as an antique.
It is possible. You might find something you wished you discovered decades ago to do. I miss those years of hunting fossils in Nebraska, Wyoming, Kansas, Missouri and where ever there was an interesting rock outcrop. Would I do it again... you bet.
This year my wife and I will be taking other Trailer owners out to explore the back country. Something might catch someone's attention... a seasonal camp host or work at a Dude Ranch... but it is out there. I have done it all, it seems out of necessity. Today I do it because I still enjoy exploring, but willing to share my experiences that were hard earned.
And... there is no age limit to find your pot at the end of a Rainbow. You have everything it takes... but not taken the effort to trip over what I did. Some are bored their entire life doing what they do not really care to do. Myself... there are more Rainbows and things to entertain me for years. It is just over that next mountain...