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Archive for May, 2009

GW7 – Home at last

Strangely enough, after driving around all day on Sunday, we woke to find ourselves in Tennessee again. Tired, bedraggled and confused. Ok, that was me anyway. Our plan was to nick North Carolina and Virginia and head home. And it was a good plan. A grand plan even. Until the rains hit. And we were somewhere in…um…Kentucky?…no wait, that was yesterday maybe. Which is why I was very confused to find myself leaving Pisgah National Forest.

At any rate we woke up in Tennessee, drove around in a few more states, I fell asleep again and woke up in North Carolina as pbump screeched to a halt nearly mashing me (and the laptop on my…lap) into the back of the driver’s seat. “We’re in North Carolina, by the way,” he said glancing at me in the rear view mirror. “Is there a cache here?” I asked groggily. “Dunno, you’ve got the map.” His geo-sense was ON because there was indeed a cache in that particular cemetery. Go figure. It also afforded yet another wonderful view and gave me time to become coherent enough to resume my job as navigator. Because at some point I did want to get home and being coherent while reading the map was definitely going to help me acheive that goal.

As we hit Cocke County (pbump, this picture is for you)

we saw a field of micros and at least one traditional cache on the screen. We hit the traditional which was in a place you may not normally expect to find an ammo can. And it was a darn good thing it clearly said AMMO CAN in the description, otherwise, well I’ll just leave that to your imagination, for we are a motley crew of cachers. Which was terribly exciting and cool. Especially since I had a few horse shoes I was trying to find homes for. And the micros…well…any micro called DEMON CHICKEN is all right in my book. 

and the container wasn’t exactly a micro, it was a large purple bison tube. and by large, I mean significantly bigger than a test tube. Oh yeah, and at night the Demon Chicken’s eyes light up. Sadly we didn’t have time to stay until night to catch the full glory of the Demon Chicken (can you tell I like to say that). Demon Chicken, DE-MON CHICKEN, DEMON CHICK-ENNNN!!!

Ok. Now that it’s out of my system for now, back to the narrative. Somewhere around 3:00 it became obvious that we were going to hit Charleston a little later than we’d thought. But that was pretty much ok because we were in the midst of some beautifully lit mountains (ok for me anyway, i wasn’t driving)

and soil so dark and rich it made me want to go home and putter in the garden. [where we have significantly less exciting soil comprised of mostly clay and random rocks]. At the next to last cache stop of the day we encountered only our second caching critter of the entire expedition.Only he wasn’t in the tree when I saw him. Mr. Snake was in fact beside the trail. Which means we probably walked right past him on our way TO the cache. Upon spotting Mr. Snake I did what I typically do in said situations.

I shouted, “Holy #$^&!!!!” and did what I like to call my Touchdown Dance – it’s a high stepping affair and I move rapidly for about 3 yards. Quite a sight. So, after my heart stopped racing I did what any normal person with a sweet camera would do, I went to take pictures. Which is when Mr. Snake headed to the tree. And i was not the only one in persuit of a great shot to post on MAGPI. pbump was right beside me….

being backed up by Knight Who Says Ni. Because, we are, if nothing else, a TEAM. And pbump had the keys to the car which is why we also did not leave him in the ditch at the final cache, even though it appears through photographic evidence the Mrs. Bump considered it.

For the complete story, check out the gallery. DEMON CHICKEN!!!!

post script: we arrived in Charleston, WV around 9:30 where KWSN’s husband was waiting on her.  He kindly transferred my luggage to the not-so-Might Ion which then refused to start. Not that I was shocked or anything. I’d abandonded the car for several days and it was wet, wet, wet out. Which generally means I have to wait for the stupid security failure to reset so the car can start. But you have to wait 10 minutes and apparently I wasn’t waiting 10 minutes. Or I wasn’t holding my hand just right or perhaps I didn’t ask nicely enough because it wasn’t until 10:30 that the *&#$%^*#@$ car started. I think it was the threat that did her in. I said that if she did not start and I had to sleep on the sofa in KWSN’s office, when I got back to Morgantown the Ion’s days were over.

chris on May 29th 2009 in Geocaching

GW7 – the Long Drive home

As GW7 itself wound down on Saturday and we limped back to the Arrolet B&B (good job Knight Who Says Ni) , pbump wisely pointed out that if planned properly and executed well, we could manage to cache in a grand total of 8 states on this trip. Before you ask I’ll lay it out for you – WV, OH, KY, TN, VA, NC, AL and GA.

After saying goodbye to our fellow cachers who were staying at the inn (The Crows & dontworknomore) we piled in the little car and headed out in search of film cannisters, match holders, ammo cans, tupperware, bison tubes and key holders. Let the fun begin! With the tablet running DeLorme Street Atlas, Mrs. Pbump’s Colorado & my 60CSx running Mapsource we were prepared. Yes, yes we were. Take that world!

And despite all of that, we still made tons of planned and unplanned, wheel screeching gravel spewing stops. Because caches are suddenly “Hey back there!” much faster when you’re driving than when you’re walking. Thankfully I’d packed dramamine. Because if  I’m going to navigate from the back seat, it’s best I’m not barfing all over the computer.  Getting tangled in the cords, yes. Barfing, no.

Since about 3/4 of the folks who had attended GW7 pretty much had the same idea as we did (fill in those maps people, fill them in) it was not unusal to pull up to a cache only to have another car come careening into the spot beside you. It’s scary when it’s a big vehicle. And your still not sure if you’re in Kentucky or Tennessee or why there was a sign about Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

In one instance we even had help from one of the cache owners who ended up having to call the other cache owner to help us out. Despite the fact that she’d just been out in the driving rain the previous night to help some other cachers. Now THAT is a well hidden cache.

We did some needless stair climbing at one point and took many slight detours to find some cool spots. i don’t think we did an unnecessary bushwhack which greatly saddened me as most of you may know. In fact, I didn’t have much opportunity to even try to follow the arrow because since I was deep in road navigation mode, Knight Who Says Ni was tasked wtih being in charge of the 60CSx (her blue garmin not having a USB port for us to load coords)

it was an awesome day of caching until we hit that wall of tired. You know the one where you know there are more caches to be found because you can see all the taunting little green pins on the map, but you just can’t work up enough strength to care. That’s where we were. (and we were hungry too.) 

We staggered into a randomly selected hotel and asked the rather odd man behind the counter if there were any vacancies. Seriously, even though I asked if he had any rooms with 2 doubles and pbump asked for a king size, weird guy (who was sporting some very 19th century hair and facial hair, but odd pointy Dracula like fingernails – was he a Civil War reinactor with a fantasy twist? Confused. ) looked at the 3 of us and could not figure out who was with who (Mrs. pbump having stayed in the car). Oh boy.

No rest for the wicked, tomorrow starts early. We have a lot of miles to go my friends! A lot! (Which is why my refrain from this trip thus far has been, “Where the hell are we? Kentucky?”)

chris on May 28th 2009 in Geocaching

Geowoodstock 7 – Bell Buckle, TN

Well, we attended Geowoodstock 7 and survived. We went, we cached, we drove around, we tried not to kill each other and we had fun.

First things first, we had to assemble. Then reassemble. Then assess where things were and make a plan. Do you know how small Bell Buckle,TN is? it’s small. Very, very small.  However, when describing where I was standing, “over by the tie dye” didn’t quite work. Why, you may ask? Because I was referring to the tie dye t-shirt dispensing booth, and pbump thought I meant the tie dye clad cachers. And so I said, as I was explaning I was “By the tie dye, to the left with the big group that’s now waving,” three other groups started waving. Honestly.

After assembling and forming our plan, which pretty much involved using cell phones (this later proved to be a not great idea due to bizarre signal ebbs and flows), we took in GW7. That meant shopping for cool containers, backpacks (we had a lot of stuff), stickers for the cachemobile and ice cream floats.  And you had your obligatory lie swapping / cache recommending. MAGPI bragged up the ever popular Gadget’s at Decker’s Creek as best we could (this was more difficult than you may imagine since some of the gang haven’t found it and we didn’t want to give anything way.)

no images were found

And very importantly we remember to sign the log – which was a map. Which was cool because my signature covered all of Mon county and probably part of Marion too. HA!

The only sour spot we hit was the enormous line for lunch. and by enormous I mean so unbelievable that it snaked down and out of sight before wrapping back around to where the food was being handed out. And it was hot out. Very hot out. Which for some of us who love this type of weather (me) was awesome. But normal people were starting to get hot and sweaty and possibly cranky. Even the heat lovers among us were getting cranky (me). so we headed out for greener, less crowded, more barbecue-o-rific pastures. And caching.

And, as you can see, an oil change and lawn tractor inspections.

[Originally this post ended with the following thought: And now I’m still in Tennessee, but via Alabama (but why did we pass a place called Pittsburgh on the way?)]

chris on May 24th 2009 in Geocaching

Geowoodstock 7 – Day One

We made it to Bell Buckle, TN, caching the way down. We made many stops.  One of the most memorable being Escape from Walter Reed because dudes, that was the biggest Zombie encampment I have ever seen in my life. True, I did not SEE the Zombies, but that’s not unusual. They tend not to be super active in the daylight. I mean, after indulging in brains all night  they have a tendency to sleep during the day.

Also. it would have been helpful for some of us (ME) to have managed to load the necessary caches. As it was, with GC.com being down I was sort of prepared. And by sort of I mean I had loaded 6 on the way caches and had fresh batteries! Yay me. But since pbump was prepared and had the Mighty Colorado I pretty much figured I’d do what I always do in such situations….follow the person instead of the arrow.

One random picture and then I’m off. so you’ll have to make up a story as you look.

It’s late, I’m tired and here are the pics! Enjoy. More to come.

chris on May 22nd 2009 in Geocaching