Archive for July, 2011

MEAT-n-Greet Time

It’s that time of the year again…time for the Great MEAT-n-Greet.

The day dawned bright and hot and early….which is always the case for those of us on set-up duty. For a change I had not been up well past midnight working on t-shirts and other random prizes. I guess after this many years I may well be learning that slowly preparing beats last minute freak-out. (Although honestly sometimes last minute freak-out can be fun.)

As usual the set up team turned out in such vast number that not only did we get up super fast, we had time to just wander around aimlessly talking to ourselves (ok, that was me. People kept asking what I needed them to do, but I couldn’t come up with much.)

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Around 10:30 our first attendees started showing up…early as usual. And by 11, which was the official start we had a good number of cachers bearing delicious food items.

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This year we broke in two new grill-masters: SnowXracer & Gentleman-Carpenter. They kept a steady flow of MEAT coming at a rapid pace which was great since we had a rather ravenous and LARGE crowd. At one point I looked back at the line, snaking out of the pavilion and back towards the furthest pic-nic table and actually had a horrible feeling we were going to run out of MEAT before everyone was fed. Talk about a catastrophe in the making! How could The 6th Great MEAT-n-Greet run out of MEAT? Before I was able to launch into full on panic mode, more MEAT appeared and the grill continued to smoke….WHEW.

To mix things up a bit we introduced the frozen t-shirt competition. We’d had a successful trial run down at sMAGPI a few years ago. And this year since our forecast was for HOT and because I had actually remembered to freeze the t-shirts earlier in the week we were ready to roll.

We had a clear winner who managed not only to get the t-shirt on…but keep it mostly together in the process. Way to go babynubbins (or as I believe he was called hubbynubbins).

Little Wooden Boy once again ran Let’s Make A Deal which started off with a bang when the Wheel itself had a blow-out! Ooops.

After handing out many fabulous prizes it was time for the ever popular Ammo Can Toss and so I mustered the troops and we marched (ammo cans in tow) across the way only to find…We’d been invaded! Yep. We had squatters over in the Ammo Can Tossing area. Judging by the looks on their faces, they were more startled than we were. So what to do? What to do?

Well what we did is follow wvcoalcat past his Find the X field into a lovely swampy area of green goodness. Which meant quite a few things:

1. For people who have a hobby that involves hiking, there was an awful lot of complaining about having to walk to the field.

2. Swampy muck smells bad (yes I stepped it in over and over)

3. Swampy grassy goodness means the can does not roll.

4. Swampy grassy goodness means the can does not explode.

5. Nothing matters anyway because 89SC won AGAIN.

We did have a new winner in the ladies division…actually I think we have a different winner each year for the ladies division. A hearty congratulations to wvcopperhead and here’s hoping she doesn’t use the can to some nefarious purpose like 89SC will.

Having subjected so many people to strenuous ammo can throwing and forced marches, wvcoalcat then them back out to Find the X and found that….you have got to be kidding me…89SC was the winner in the field of flags. Fortunately the prize for that was NOT another ammo can. I mean really, we can only take so much.

We’d moved the event up a week this year in the hopes that we’d get to show off the Mountain State to some folks who were taking a long and winding tour on their way home Geowoodstock IX. Judging by the number of GW9 shirts that showed up we got a few takers! queenofscots and bobstaf joined us from the Richmond area.  And sent us the nicest email afterwards.

Since Greenie333 and SnowXracer are expecting a new little cacher of their own, they graciously let us include them in our games and merriment. For $1 anyone could suggest a geo-name for their wee-one. (Yes, they were smart enough not to offer to let us actually name their bundle of joy. Could you imagine? No. Let’s not.) There were quite a few hilarious entries…some of which of course were anti-Pitt (their alma mater) and the winner turned out to be Little Wooden Boy’s entry “SCREAMING KID”.  Watch for logs from Screaming Kid coming this November!

Many thanks to everyone who came together to once again, pull this event off. With well over 100 attendees this year, The 6th Great MEAT-n-Greet was hoppin’.

chris on July 24th 2011 in Geocaching

GW9 or BUST

Barely back from New England a week and a half, I found myself (list in hand) running around like a lunatic assembling GPS’s (two Garmins), laptops (two of those), a tablet, SPOT device, cell phones (two of those and really I didn’t need to worry about forgetting them), walkie talkies (two..of course), and a bluetooth GPSr. Clearly a sign that either we were planning on running away in the dead of night & did not want to get lost – although having a SPOT device kind of negates that theory – or heading to a big geocaching event.

And so bright and early Thursday morning I finished jamming all our geocaching gear into the little black jeep and headed to Warren, PA, sight of Geowoodstock IX. No, really. I’m being serious. Stop laughing. At any rate, we were heading to the middle of nowhere (approximately four hours away) so we could hike in woods that were quite similar to woods located much closer to home. Yes, it’s a strange hobby we (ok, mostly I…poor Chad he just got sucked into it by proximity) have. But at least it’s mostly good for our health (please ignore the multiple bushwhacking scars visible on my legs) and it gets us into the great outdoors (where I’ve stepped in bear poop one too many times) and takes us to see places we’d never have known about otherwise (Jake’s Rocks).

Back to the story. We arrived as early as possible, foregoing caching on the way up because I’d had some issues with the hotel. Thanks to Purple Monkey Dishwasher’s magnificent planning ability I’d book two rooms in NOVEMBER. Yes, that’s right SEVEN full months in advance. I’d booked them on the hotel website and I’d booked (as a wise person would have done) rooms to accommodate plenty of people – after all PMD and sidekick engineer have 400 Babies and a dog. As you may imagine I was slightly irritated, angry, seething, just shy of scorched earth insanely angry when I called to check on the rooms and was told (by several different people) that I had not in fact booked specific rooms and I would get best available when I showed up. So I should show up early. Did I mention the hotel was sold out? Right.

And so my goal was to get to the hotel no later than 1:00 p.m. and do my best to:

1. Not act like a raving lunatic about to go postal

2. Get the rooms I booked.

It actually worked out pretty well. I was nice and pleasant (I know…really it was me) and upon finding we had a King size room & a room with two doubles (er…really, so 2 adults and 400 Babies were supposed to fit in there where?) I marched down to the reception desk – where they handled reservations on paper, in a very card catalog sort of way – and requested a change. After about 30 minutes of me standing there smiling and trying not to act like a raving lunatic about to go postal, the nice (and slightly odd) person told me they could in fact get a better room but it wouldn’t be right beside us. Disaster averted. I guess it does pay to be nice after all.

Which means that yours truly was placated and it was time for delicious food before heading out into the great outdoors. Chad found us a local pizza place that had – are you ready for this? – Pizza Balls. Say it with me…Pizza Balls. How’s this? You can have pizza in ball form? I see…. Our review? Nom. Nom. Nom. Nom.

Nicely stuffed with Pizza Balls, we headed out to the nearest WMA we could locate because that’s the kind of cachers we are! You know, glutton for punishment. Because it was in the mid to high 80s and there were lots of bugs. LOTS AND LOTS of bugs. Chad does so love the great outdoors in July. Ask him. He’ll tell you.

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We set about to get a few caches that would culminate in a Spongebob Squarepants series. Each of the caches (which had a piece of coordinates for the final) were named after characters from Spongebob Squarepants and were supposed to have little stuffed likenesses of said character. I’m ready! I’m ready! I’m ready! Things were going well until a giant flock of gnats started stalking Chad and I discovered that someone had filched a few of the stuffies. None-the-less we persevered until we were able to free Spongebob – take that you stupid gnats.

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Dragging back to the Jeep I received the most pathetic text ever from wvhunter who wanted to know when we were gonna show up….he was sad and lonely and bored. Uh, newsflash Capt. OCD…we’ve been here for hours. Read our message board you goof. But since I occasionally show pity on the less fortunate I invited wvhunter to join us in our exploration of the fine and scenic woodlands of Middle-of-Nowhere Pennsylvania. After all, if we are going to be out sweating to death and fleeing giant hordes of gnats, why should wvhunter be sitting in his hotel room enjoying the luxury of a gnat-free, slightly chilled existence?

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Nothing like dragging two other people through the gnat infested woods! Especially when one of them looks at a slight decline on the trail and states he is staying there. Right. After I told wvhunter in no uncertain terms that he was coming with us (even if I had to shove him over and rolling him down the slight incline) he stopped his fussing and agreed. And so, aside from Loyal Sidekick leaving the keys in the jeep ignition at the parking area and wvhunter almost expiring due to the heat and hiking it was a good day. Well I thought it was a good day, and since the no one stole the jeep, Loyal Sidekick thought it was an adequate day (the gnat thing was getting to him). Wvhunter still isn’t talking to me, so I’m not sure what he thought. But since he’s not dead yet, I figure it must have been at least a nice day.

DAY TWO – THERE IS NO PLAN

And so Friday dawned bright and early and hot. Just what you want for a full day of caching…especially in the woods. In addition our little MAGPI cadre had grown by one since Aquacache was now holed up in the same hotel as wvhunter, LWB & myself. Since we needed a plan, and since MAGPI is not known for its good plans (please see any of our adventures) what we ended up doing was trying to satiate wvhunter’s desire for Earth Caches. That was our plan: get Earth Caches. Well you’d think our recent experience of the Earth Cache Brain Drain would have daunted me, but nope. Wvhunter was driving and all I had to do was sit back and try not to freeze to death in his “jeep” (he really uses that air conditioning).

And so our merry group headed out to the Kinzua Dam area for some Earth Caching. Wooo Hooo. Sometimes Earth Caches make my head hurt, but we did see some very nice spots and talked to some locals who volunteer at the Kinzua Dam Vistors Center. And (big surprise here) we ran into quite a few cachers – some of them over and over again. And that’s when we got sidetracked. Oh Earth Caches are all well and good, as are some nice walks in the wood, but when fellow cachers tells you they are working on a Busy Day Challenge and wvhunter is in your company you know things are going to get interesting.

“Busy Day Challenge? What’s that”, asked The Bastard, with a gleam in his eye.

“Oh,” said the cachers that we really did NOT want to hate, “is when you get as many types of caches in one day as possible.”

“As many types,” wvhunter repeated, while ringing his hands in glee, a far off look in his eyes.

“So how many would you say….” “Six,” said the cachers we were now really trying hard not to hate.

“I see…….” said wvhunter. “I see.”

And can you guess what we did the rest of the day? Oh yes, we went after as many cache types as possible. But there was a hitch. Down where we’d just Earth Cached was a Whereigo cache. Awesome! But….we didn’t have the cartridge (stupid thing to call it) downloaded. And one is NOT able to download the cartridge over the browsers we were using on our Android phones. Big deal, right? Just download the mobile version of Firefox (with which one IS able to download said cartridge).

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(What’s that bald eagle have to do with caching? Well the Whereigo cache was about Bald Eagles which happen to nest in the Kinzua Dam area, that’s what. The photo is not so great as I only had on the walkaround lense on the SLR.)

Sure, we’ll do just that. In the land of nearly no data. Yeah, that’s right. Minimal data available in these parts. So with Loyal Sidekick in charge of the downloading, wvhunter drove slowly until we found a scenic overlook that had decent data and we waited….and waited….and waited. (MAGPI: Where preparedness is overrated.)

Having finally managed to get the Whereigo cartridge downloaded and working we headed BACK to the site of an Earth Cache and pretty much retraced our steps. Ok. Good. We now had the following different types of caches:

1. Traditional

2. Earth

3. Puzzle

4. Whereigo

5. Webcam

There was a bit of goofiness at the Webcam – stand here for 7 minutes on the cacher’s porch looking at the webcam while flashing the peace sign (Loyal Sidekick) and holding a sign indicating where you are from (me holding LWB’s WVU baseball cap). Also, try to pay attention. And Aquacache don’t do a back flip over the railing. Right. We all know how that worked out.

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We knew we’d end up with an Event (or Mega-event) later that night and so we were on the prowl for a multi-cache in order to maximize our achievement and show off our awesomeness (especially since it was inevitable that wvhunter was most certainly going to be placing a Busy Day Challenge in the near future). Our first attempt at a multi which was so terribly close to our hotel ended in abject failure after the four of us gave ground zero – a gazebo – the shakedown of a lifetime. It was starting to get late, we needed to get to the Event over at the Warren County Fairground and we were getting desperate. After a quick regrouping we had a new target. Off we sped and oh boy did we do a MAGPI. Stage 1 – easy. Stage 2 – under the (apparently very amused) gaze of the gentleman across the street, we took the hard (stupid) way to the cache that involved muck. None-the-less we got our multi-cache. Onward to the event. That’ll be SEVEN different cache types in one day.

GWS Pow-Wow on The Little Brokenstraw Creek. Two words sum it up: Trackable ferrets.

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Little Wooden Boy signed the Teepee (hey a log book you could live in…nice)

As did yours truly. I signed a bit bigger than he did.

DAY THREE – GEOWOODSTOCK IX

Our troops were a little slow to muster to GW9. The previous day had been a little exhausting and there was that sun hangover with which to deal. None the less our little gaggle of MAGPI arrived before our self-appointed 11:00 a.m. photo shoot. Which was good, because I had stuff to see and cachers to wrangler and I was waiting to hear from PMD, sidekick engineer & the 400 babies (and Harper the dog) that they had arrived.

I was in the middle of force marching the MAGPI that had assembled (as per instructions surprisingly) near the ExploreWV booth when PMD alerted me to their arrival. Which put me in a conundrum. Here I was force marching people (albeit about 100 feet) who were not going to hang around unless they were yelled at and threatened (I’m good at both) but PMD was here. What to do? What to do? Send LWB after PMD while I got the MAGPI rabble into a semi-decent state and recruited a (very bemused) photographer from the throng of cachers.

Apparently our large group caused a bit of amusement…or perhaps the people were laughing at me as I threatened everyone with serious bodily harm should they not behave for our group photo! At any rate having been photographed I became concerned as LWB had not returned with PMD and family. Again, What to do? What to do? I’ll tell you what to do…I told the group they were in no way done and that they had to STAY THERE OR ELSE (or else what I have no idea…be publicly humiliated later when I tracked them down I supposed) while I went to see if I could hurry along PMD & family. Apparently I scared everyone enough because by the time I’d located the stragglers and gotten them back to our group photo spot, not only were the original participants there…but we had additional MAGPI join us. I suppose sometimes it is good to be feared!

That under our belt it was abject chaos. Well not really, but since I was way overstimulated that’s how I remember it. After all the trackable ferrets were back. There were all kinds of cool ideas to steal (t-shirts, stickers, trackable ferrets) and plenty of cachers to meet. Even Little Wooden Boy had some recognizition when a fellow Tick fan spotted him and wanted to talk SPOON!. And of course PMD & family were there. So yes, for me it was abject overstimulating chaos of the best kind!

Sometime around, it’s too freakin’ hot o’clock a splinter group – me, LWB, wvhunter, Aquacache, SnowXracer & Greenie333 – headed off to grab some caches. It was hot, it was humid. We had a tile saw in the jeep (best not to ask). But still we carried on.  We made ridiculous decisions (Let’s park our 4WD vehicles here at the bottom of this grass covered road to the cemetery). We made poor decisions (Yes, I will go down the side of this creek/drainage ditch and assume that Aquacache knows where he is going). We nearly DNF’d a cache I had literally stepped on until wvhunter started channeling wvcoalcat and came up with the container. None-the-less, we carried on until LWB voiced what everyone else was thinking – we need food and air conditioning before we die. Judging by all the lanyard tan lines quite a few of us were going to be in need of some aloe as well.

DAY FOUR – 2000 and BEYOND

My ritual for each night was to log my caches before falling asleep, otherwise I knew I’d have one heck of a backlog. In reality what would happen is I’d be logging away and fall sleep mid type. It made for a few interesting cache logs when I went back to review. At any I knew I was getting close to (what I would consider) a milestone. The elusive 2000th cache find. Now had I been back home among the hills, I would have planned to go after something epic – a 10 mile hike, uphill both ways that ended in a scenic view possible only in the Mountain State. But I was not home. I was here, among some other hills, when I noticed that Pennsylvania’s oldest cache – State Game Lands #109 (GC184) – was only about an hour away. Target acquired.

Not wanting to miss out on such an old cache, and because like most cachers he also lacks common sense, Aquacache threw in his lot with us. And so the three of us found ourselves in the crowded little parking area for State Game Lands #109. We set out through the tall-ish weeds (itch, itch, itch…so glad we hosed down with DEET) and soon were veering off course for this very old cache. Which meant I was one happy pony. Number 2000 acquired. And since there were more caches nearby (and by my measure they were REALLY nearby), we were not done. After all who were we to thumb our noses at the other caches?  Off we went, applying more DEET and trying to not sweat to death. It was tougher than one may imagine.

DENOUEMENT

All adventures must come to an end, as must all vacations. And this was no exception. Fun is hard work. Fun in the sun, battling bugs and sticking one’s hands in questionable bits of the wilderness is even harder work. Thanks for all the fun Geowoodstock – see you in Searsburg, Indiana.

chris on July 20th 2011 in Geocaching, Travel

Road Trip: New England

I admit it. I’m a bit obsessive about geocaching. I’m also obsessive about things such as lists and maps. And so when I look at the map that shows which states I’ve cached in, I do not like what I see. I don’t like it at all. Lucky for me, pbump feels the same way when he takes a gander at his map.

There’s an easy way to fix that.

ROAD TRIP!

 

And so that’s why on June 15,  I found myself behind the wheel of the Jeep, loyal sidekick Little Wooden Boy in the passenger seat, as we hurtled East on I-68, close on the wheels of pbump’s rock red Jeep.  (Yes, in this instance we must identify our vehicles by their color.) Our goal, at least according to the three page itinerary for Day 1,  was to overnight in Wilmington, Delaware. But first, there was some caching to be done.

Our first stop was probably not a good omen. We pulled in to park. I got out of the black jeep and, according to the cache description that c:geo promised was the closest cache to me, started looking for a tiny cemetery. Odd since we were very near a restaurant. Also, no one else seemed to be the least bit confused by the fact that we were in a parking lot and nary a sign indicating a cemetery was to be found. So I said, “I wonder where a small cemetery could be around here….”

Which was about the time Chad, Bump & Rena turned to look at me like I was some sort of idiot. And Bump said, “Cemetery?”  I said, “Well yeah….Searsburg Cemetery….” (please feel free to imagine the look of disdain on my face, there may have been some minor eye rolling). To which Bump replied, “That’s in Vermont. We’re in Maryland.” This statement was accompanied by a look that clearly indicated I needed to keep my eye rolling to a minimum. “Ah, I see.” Which I really did not.

Does this look like a cemetery to you? Yeah, me neither. Because it wasn’t.

Just over an hour into our trip and I hit technology FAIL. Excellent.

It was pretty late by the time we rolled in to (what turned out to be a super swanky) Comfort Suites in search of lodging for the night. Not even a full day in and our Grand Tour of New England was already running slightly behind schedule. That’s fine. We tend to consider The Schedule more as guidelines really.

MARYLAND – done and done (although really we already had Maryland)

Grand Tour – DAY TWO

Worst night of sleep of my life. An exaggeration? Of course, I sleep horribly all the time. But did I feel like I had slept no more than 3 minutes? Yes. That is exactly how I felt when Chad told me he was going downstairs for breakfast while I was still, quite literally, face-planted in my pillow.

Food devoured. Coffee mugs full. Jeep packed. Me clean & dressed. Check. Check. Check. And Check. Let’s get this show on the road. Which is easier said than done considering that I was really not awake yet at all. Not Awake.

Day Two pretty much guaranteed to be our worst day before it even started. I knew it was going to be the worst day because travel through NYC was on The Schedule. And while we do really consider it to be more of a guideline than a strict rule, some things would have to happen for this route to be followed. And going through New York City was one of them. The good news was that today was a Thursday and if we were lucky we’d hit that sprawling mass of humanity before rush hour.

Stop numero uno was the site of an iron furnance and it’s surround which just happened to be in the middle of a residential neighborhood. How hard could that be to locate? Funny you should ask because the arrow & the map kept saying it was THERE! But THERE looked an awful lot like someone’s back yard and so we kept circling until I spotted the trailhead. Whew. Turns out finding the trail head was the easiest part because finding the cache was a bit of an adventure. You know, those moments when you go…it HAS to be here, this place is screaming for a cache and yet the cache is most certainly not and you realize that you’ve been hanging onto a gnarly old tree on the side of a hill and sticking your hands in places you’d rather not for no good reason. Yeah, it was that sort of day. Delaware was officially colored in on our map, with more to come.

From there we headed out and eventually managed to demoralize ourselves DNF’ing what were supposed to be relatively easy park & grabs at  Far Too Early O’clock in the morning (no muggles you see).

But wait! It was New Jersey to the rescue. Yes, really. New Jersey. To the rescue. I know. You could imagine our surprise. We happened upon a nice park that had a series of letterbox hybrids and a trail marked with arrows. Make that a paved trail marked with arrows. I guess people get lost a lot in New Jersey…especially in the woods.

So having a few caches under our belt (more than a few by this time) and having earned some good karma by maintenancing a few of the caches in New Jersey we headed out for Conneticut and into the traffic snarl from Hell. Thanks Chad, for taking one for the team.

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Which is to say we hit New York City traffic at 4:30. That’ll do.

Our goal for Connecticut (ok, pbump’s goal and since he was our trip planner it became everyone’s goal) was to knock off the four ROAD WARRIOR SERIES CT I-95.  (also to stick his head in trees) It actually worked out better than I would have thought because just about the time we were ready to explode from vehicular stupidity, it would be time to exit I-95 drive to a nice little spot and find a cache. We saw one spectacular park in Greenwich (I’m surprised they let us IN Greenwich), Martha Stewart’s first Connecticut home, some giant ant hills and one of the filming locations from Mystic Pizza.

By then it was night, it was super dark, we were hungry, tired and rather filthy (I was, I assume everyone else was also covered in grime). Onward to food & lodging.

DELAWARE, NEW JERSEY, CONNETICUT – check.  (That’s 4 states cached in this trip so far.)

Grand Tour – DAY THREE

Day three was the beginning of what would eventually become us saying, “Where did we spend the night last night?”  Heck, at this point I wasn’t even sure where we actually were, let alone where we’d been. Thank god I had the handouts to guide me and my trusty tracklogs.

It turns out we were starting in Rhode Island and our esteemed friend Aquacache had “suggested” (and I use the quote marks because it was more like – you really need to do these caches) we head to Breton Point State Park and find a super old cache (placed December 12, 2000) and enjoy the area. As we wound our way through the very picturesque and quaint little village surrounding the park, Chad noted that apparently the dress code was shorts & a pullover. What good fortune we all had our pullovers along. You’d hate to get kicked out for not obeying the dress code.

We hit the parking area after a minor detour (I still say we should have just driven over the stupid grass) and found ourselves clad in shorts/spants and pullovers & getting misted upon. The mist soon turned to rain.

And we had THE BEST time. Soaking wet, taking wrong turns on trails, unnecessary bushwhacking, the most unbelievable old ruined stable and garage I have ever seen in my life, a cool old stone observation tower and spectacular views. Honestly, I had no desire to leave despite being very, very wet. This stop earned Rhode Island the coveted “Must Return” status.

But all good things must come to an end and we did have a few other states on our list.

In 1987 Dad drove me to Boston so I could see the Red Sox play at storied Fenway Park. It was during the Big Dig and traffic was wicked bad…or worse. I was not old enough to drive at the time, so Dad informed me that one day I was going to have to drive through Boston in order to pay him back. He didn’t say drive him, he just said drive. So today, June 17, 2011, I paid my debt. I drove the Jeep through Boston. But the Big Dig is done and we hit town early. Sorry Dad, but we zoomed right on through.

And so we soon found ourselves on our way to Maine. And of course our first stop was a nano that we DNF’d. Demoralization here we come! If called to testify in court I would swear that our group gave the hiding area (which pbump had confirmed by the cache owner) the ultimate shakedown. I can not believe we missed it. What I do wonder is if the gaggle of people in the car parked very nearby had the cache in hand. Oh well, a DNF is a DNF no matter what state. And since the purpose of our trip was to find caches in each state we visited, it was time to move on and look elsewhere.

On to Fort McClary. While Chad took in the fort, the Bumps & I searched for the cache and very nearly DNF’d this one as well. The coords were a bit iffy, pbump himself got attacked by something itchy and painful (no idea what it was) and I smashed my finger. The usual. The sun had finally started to peek from behind the clouds and by the time Chad joined us we had signed the log and were well on our way to taking in the views of the sailboats on the water.

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From there we hit Wiggly Bridge. Which, quite frankly, was not very wiggly. At least not very wiggly when judged on my scale of  Otter Creek Not Wiggly at all Bridget  –  The Jug Wiggly Bridge of Doom. Still obtaining the cache was interesting to say the least.

A few more quick grabs and it was on to New Hampshire and Odiorne Park which was spectacular. Beyond spectacular. And it had an extra cache in it to boot. Yay for Chad using c:geo and live map. Because while the Bumps & I were hanging out enjoying a spectacular sunset Chad got bored and said he was going to look for the cache nearby. Cache? What Cache? There’s no cache. Yeah…he said dismissively, it’s right over here. Sweet.

I’ll leave our the epic story of our little misdirection trying to get to the salt marsh, but suffice to say one should read the cache page before one sets out. Also, looking at a map might be good too. Since we were all carrying very expensive maps (GPSr) with us.

And so it was time at long last to close this day. It was spectacular and fun and wet and long.

RHODE ISLAND, MAINE, NEW HAMPSHIRE – been there, done that (up to 7 states this trip so far)

Grand Tour – DAY FOUR

We were up. We were unsure what state we were in (physically and mentally). And we were not looking forward to more seat time. But when you wake up in…Vermont and you had previously been…well wherever and you need to end up in Connecticut (again) there’s not much choice but to saddle up and head out.

Our first stop was what we assumed to be a small park. There was a letterbox hybrid and it seemed like an easy grab. It would have been easier if we had figured out the proper place to park.

While I was doing my thing – signing the log, trying to rehide the cache better than I found it, Chad pointed out there were some other caches up the way. So up we went. First find…this critter. Which spooked us all at first. Really lifelike right?

Hot and tired we thought we were heading back to the car, but then Chad says, WAIT! There’s more! Ok. Huff, puff, sweat, huff, puff, sweat. Man they have some strange animals in these parts.

Bump asks if we can roll backdownhill yet. Nope says Chad more caches and only a short ways away (uphill). Huff, puff, sweat, itch, swat…repeat. Search, search, search. Why can’t we find this hide? Search, search, search. Read logs. Oh, look up not down. Search, search. Sweat, grumble, itch. AHA! Thank god.

Not yeeeet says Chad, there’s one more just a short hike away. Ok, says Bump, clearly defeated by Chad’s live mapping technology. One more. Up, sweat, huff, puff, itchy, repeat. And finally, for pbump the coveted number 2000. Man they really do have some strange critters in Vermont.

One more state down. And back to the blessed air conditioned jeep for the Bumps (us, we had the top down). Onward and downward to Massachusetts. Natural Bridge State Park here we come!

On this part of our journey I will be brief. Three hours to do three Earth Caches. Wicked cool spot, but my brain hurt.

We were fortunate back in April to have some Massachusetts cachers join us for a MAGPI event in Fairmont, WV. So we really wanted to go after a few of their caches. So we found ourselves in The Berkshires and on the hunt for The Berkshires: A Four-Season Destination! and since Pecks Falls was so nearby we nabbed it too!

no images were found

As we drove in I spotted this large object on the top of the hill. We couldn’t tell if it was a lighthouse or a monument or what. It was big and shiny but no information was to be had. After we got home I emailed gworol to find out about that thing on the hill. Her response was nothing short of hilarious since it was in fact a lighthouse that marked the highest point in Massachusetts and I had referred to it as a hill. Oops!

After finding a local food establishment which which to fill our bellies and slake our thirst we headed out to Connecticut (again) to pop in at an event cache. And then to lodging.

Another long day in the bag. A little more road weary and ragged. A lot more tired. Time to face plant.

VERMONT, MASSACHUSETTS (that’s 9 total now)

Grand Tour – DAY FIVE

 All good things must come to an end. And this trip was no exception. We were ready for our final push home.

With a quick grab in New York (more were to be had for the Bumps in a few weeks) and a rest stop nab in Pennsylvania our caching trip was now complete. It was time to head home to the mountains of West Virginia and the sweet relief of no more driving.

NEW YORK, PENNSYLVANIA (11 states cached)

TRIP SUMMARY

11 states total

9 new states

1624 miles on the black jeep

1696 miles on the rock red jeep

chris on July 14th 2011 in Geocaching, Travel