Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Finally found annoying DNF!

While looking for something to do Tuesday night, Fred asked us to take him to the hardest cache we weren't able to find. So, we did - and we found it. I've been out there at three other times, in the daylight, with no luck. On a cold night without a good flashlight, found in less than five minutes. I think the main reason is that I had knowledge that my caching buddies (James and Lisa) had found it, so I felt more forceful about finding it. Anyways, goodbye DNF and I hope to never drive by this spot ever again.

Cascading Stone Tube

Monday, December 26, 2011

Visting Stanley

Stopped by Monday to introduce Fred to Stanley. He also grabbed the nearby cache while he was there.

Christmas caches

After a long (kid-free) day with my family, we headed out after dark for some caches on Christmas with Fred. Thankfully, we dressed very warmly, because this turned out to be a very cold night with a large amount of time spent outside of the car!

Started off with a quick PNG, then did some walking for our next cache, Zippity Do Do Dah (GC11BDJ). This one was pretty neat, especially since it was not anything like what we expected to find.

Headed to a nearby area that I must drive by at least two or three times a week. I've seen people parked there for lunch, but never really thought much of it. A neat place to explore and imagine what different parts of the area might have been for - isn't often that I see an outdoor tiled floor with no covering. Check out the cache description for more if you are curious: Dreams Turned Nightmare? (GCKJFP).

Next for our first driving night cache - Knight Rider Night Cache #3 (GC31368). Neat concept, definitely recommend a couple of folks so that one can drive and the other direct. Might be a little tricky otherwise. Also (SPOILER), be tall - I say this because I'm 5' 4" and had to be lifted by two people to get this and even then it took several tries and arrangements to get it. Was quite interesting and felt accomplished (and freezing, because at this point it was not only cold, but also drizzling).

Decided to try for the normal walking night caches after this, although the first was disappointing because someone added a lot of barbed wire and it didn't sound like a good idea to climb through it. So, on to the next one, which was actually in a neighborhood - N8 like the stars (GC1APAT). I grew up in that area, so it was neat to go to one of the newer places that has been built up since I moved away. Also, hard to stay quiet since we didn't want to wake anyone.

Then, our last cache for the night, Howler II: Night Cache. WOW. We arrived to the spot around 11:30PM and right away saw the first set of dots. Walked on paths for what seemed like forever before finally hitting the spot to walk into the woods - and then quite a bit more of walking in high grass and broken tree branches. But, find it we did. And get out, clearly, we also did. When we got back to the main road, it was 12:45AM...so this really did take quite a while. But, perhaps my second favorite night cache I've done so far (and that because I still think my first will always be my favorite).

Caches for this outing:
Zippity Do Do Dah
Dreams Turned Nightmare?
Knight Rider Night Cache #3
N8 likes the stars (NIGHT cache!)
Howler II: Night Cache

Monday, December 12, 2011

Caching in New Mexico

Flew into Albuquerque and drove to Santa Fe to spend the weekend for a very cold and snow covered time. Ate a late dinner at Epazote - fantastic!

Got some sleep, then woke up sick and found out I didn't pack any shirts. So, a quick trip to the store for things to clear that up. Then breakfast, and then some exploring and caching.

We started with a cache near our breakfast spot, then did the Santa Fe Geocaching Challenge. A fun way to explore the city and accomplish something at the same time. After this, we grabbed lunch and then relaxed some.

Decided to hit up some book stores (Santa Fe has a large number of these) and then found some more caches. These were all pretty good - one png, but all interesting or at least a good story.

Sunday, we work up early and went out in search of the ghost hunt series. Also an interesting show of the city, and it was interesting to hear the stories. I recommend this ahead of the one by the city, but both were good adventures.

Caches for the weekend (at least, the interesting ones):
Clock Tower
You're in Good Hands
Santa Fe Ghost Hunt #1: La Llorona
Santa Fe Ghost Hunt #2: Julia Staab
Santa Fe Ghost Hunt #3: The Old Hospital
Santa Fe Ghost Hunt #4: Grant Corner Inn
Santa Fe Ghost Hunt #5: State Pen Spirits

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Caching with Fred

A coworker and friend, Federico, is in town from Argentina, so we headed out caching since it was something he had heard we did and was interested in it. A quite cold and wet night, but quite successful. We found five caches in all, all different types.

My favorites from the night:
Clearance Clarance
The Fish Pond

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Stuck in the sand

After our cruise, we decided to stay an extra day in Galveston to relax and enjoy the beach. And why not find a cache, too?

We headed towards San Luis Pass and drove around to explore the area. Found some flamingos, found a cache, and generally explored the sand dunes. Evan decided to take a path into the softer dunes; this did not end well. A few minutes later, we were stuck in the sand and had to wait for a tow truck. Jennifer and I took this as a chance to walk the beach...for two hours...and get sunburned.

After getting unstuck, we headed back to the dock and watched the next cruise leave. We got Donnie and Angela (who had just arrived back in Dallas) to login the the Galveston Harbor Cam and take a screenshot for us for the cache there. Was an interesting experience.

Caches this weekend:
As the Pass Cache
Harbor Cam Cache

Monday, September 26, 2011

Caching in Louisiana

Another weekend trip for some caching. This time, joined by Lesley, and headed to Shreveport. I have to admit, this trip would have been slightly better if I liked gambling...

Left Dallas Saturday morning and drove to Shreveport. Stopped for a few caches along the way. The first was about 10 feet inside of Texas, right by the sign. It was interesting to figure out the traffic flow here.

Found a cache on the way into town at a random dead end. We also stopped at a park and found a pretty neat cache there. The title of the cache was perfect for the signs that plastered the park - never seen so many limiting signs in one space, ever. After these, we checked into the hotel and walked around downtown. Not much going on here, but then we stumbled upon the most awesome cache (at least in terms of location) I've been to in a long time. When finding the cache, there is a HUGE painted mural on the side of a building, with signs and instructions, and everything.

As I said, pretty awesome.

Lesley and I surprised Evan with a nice dinner and we had a relaxing evening. The next morning, we grabbed breakfast headed back to Texas. Along the way, we stopped at Caddo Lake to show Lesley the awesome views (and of course find the cache at the gates). There is something fantastically beautiful about Spanish moss growing in cypress trees growing in a shallow lake.

Since we were traveling in the Jeep, we asked the lady at the park check-in if there are any good off-roading locations nearby. Sure enough, there is the Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge. After quite a bit of exploring, we stumbled upon some old storage areas.

All in all, this was a great weekend. I loved the trip and the company, but pretty sure I won't make Shreveport a travel destination again.

Caches this weekend:
If It's Fun Don't Do It!
Highland Mardi Gras Cache

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Caching in Oklahoma

Took a weekend away with Evan and Dylan (my nephew), making it into a fun weekend for Dylan and some caching for me. This was actually Dylan's first time out with us, and so far I'll leave this with mixed reviews.

Friday night, we checked in and just hit the hay - or tried to. Dylan wasn't much in the sleeping mood, so really only some of us slept. Had to bribe him in the morning with the indoor pool to get him out of bed, but it was still quite amusing. He is at the age where he can hold his breathe in water or propel himself forward, but not quite both. But he sure thinks he can so this is a source of frustration.

After lunch, we drove up to Arbuckle Wilderness and took him to the drive through wildlife park. Quite fun, especially the llamas. Dylan was quite amused, said he liked it cause his legs didn't get tired, and that the donkey was the best animal ever. Quite funny to think he likes donkeys best.

Grabbed a quick lunch and headed to Turner Falls. Very glad I remembered the life jacket and swim shoes. It was quick fun, a lot of kids and music. Swam in the river and under the waterfall. I thought it was really fun, Dylan liked most of it except the sand in his shoes.

After the swim, took this as a chance to go get some caches. This being Dylan's first trip, we headed out to find some of the larger caches so there would be goodies in them. This took us to a cemetery, also a first for Dylan. I spent much more time explaining things to him than looking for a cache. Why do these people have the same last name? Why is there a tractor on this man's place? A lot of questions. Thankfully he didn't wander to the little lambs and I didn't have to think about that (that is by far my least favorite spot). Found the cache and he took a whistle, I left a glow in the dark lizard. He still has this whistle and loves to blow it, especially indoors...

Also learned on this trip that taking a four year to a port-a-potty is not a fun experience.

More swimming at the pool, and better luck with sleeping after wearing Dylan out all day. It was really fun and I'm glad this all worked out. Especially glad to have gotten some sleep.

The next morning, we hung out and swam some more, grabbed breakfast, and relaxed. We headed back around lunch and picked up a couple more caches on the way.

For this weekend, some goodies in these:
The serpent WAS here!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Caching in Arkansas

For Memorial Day this year, we decided to take a trip to relax in Hot Springs, AR. This was a great idea, so Lisa, James, Evan, and I packed up and headed out there Saturday morning. We found several caches on the way there, our favorite being one INDOORS. Took us a while to even think to look there - was different from what we were used to, and we appreciated it.

After settling in and relaxing that night with a boat tour of the lake, we got a good night's rest and set out Sunday morning with no particular aim in mind other than exploring the area. This of course meant driving in the mountains and finding geocaches. We ended up seeing some great sites, including the impressive gallery of a rock shop in the area (the quartz is quite amazing). We also found some rather large puddles of water as a result of the recent heavy rains, a couple of which forced us to turn around (we are in a CRV, but an old and grumpy one).

We visited the science museum and spent a lot of time there - very nice place, especially if you had kids to bring. Grabbed a cache placed outside of it, but wish we hadn't, as three of the four of us discovered ticks over the course of the next day.

We headed back to town and walked around the main drag (and, of course, cached along the way). I've been caching in a downtown environment before (Ft. Worth, TX), but this was a quite different experience. These caches are quite out in the open (to us, at least), but they've been there forever untampered by muggles. Quite impressive.

We also picked up a few things on the way back to Dallas, but more than anything, I got ant bites...

Some of my favorite caches from this trip:
Rock Hounds (owners are nice and helpful if you need it)
Upon The Arrival (great story)
Travel Bug Outhouse
GOOGLING HRPTY HRRS (neat carving on site)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter egg hunt - GPS style

So it's Easter Sunday and my beautiful girlfriend and our very close friend Judy setup a little Easter egg hunt for Evan and me. Today we were given instructions to meet up at the DART park and ride at the Parker Road Station in Plano to join forces and navigate around the city collecting eggs. At the end of our journey, a treat to share was promised.

So the ladies sent us to the park and ride, each with half of the required coordinates for the first find. Once we met up, I hopped into Evans fly ride and off we went!

It took us a little while to get warmed up, not knowing really what we were looking for but after the first egg.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Someone tampered with my hide

I apologize in advance if this comes across as a rant...

While doing some checking in on caches near my house, I stopped at one of my harder ones to see how it was doing. Everything looked normal when we pulled up. However, after getting out of the car, right away it was obvious that someone who had searched had disregarded the cache instructions and disassembled it. Inevitably, they did not reassemble it correctly. Now, I have disabled the cache and have to head and out repair it sometime soon.

Thank you to everyone who did this with respect to the cache. I have some other, inappropriate, words for whoever broke it.

UPDATE: This was fixed on 6/8/11.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Math school - part one

Lesley wanted to go out and do something active, so while searching in the area, I found this puzzle series called Math School. I printed out the pages - a LOT of math - and headed her way. Thankfully the guys were there too. After about an hour of math fun, we successfully completed the first nine coordinates in the series. We did not have much luck with the more advanced stuff, but we'll come back to that another day.

Since our heads were now sufficiently sore, we decided to head out and find the caches. They were actually pretty easy - the ones we could find.  Some PNGs, some worth spending a little more time at, some we couldn't find at all.

Our favorite was the one with the friendly llama, Stanley.  The cache was about 20 feet from him, and he sure was a friendly llama.  I'm betting he has seen a lot of us cachers, and he sure seemed to enjoy the attention we gave him.

All in all, that part of the series was pretty simple, and we'll finish up the others when our heads recover.  Mainly we just have one left for each of them anyways.

After that series, we made a few quick walk-in grabs near the Muddy Creek park (great park with some night caching, too).

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Caching in Arbor Hills

After a recent adventures, we figured we'd go out and make a nice afternoon of caching. We planned a route and started on our way. I had already been to this park and found some of the caches, but all were new to the rest of the group. So, we swung by a few of those that were on the route as well.

There was a lot of walking, a lot of tree climbing, a lot of sun, a lot of poison ivy...a lot of everything. I am going to let the pictures do the talking on this one.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Powertrail at night

Last night we set out to finish the power trail we started a couple of months ago with Lisa and James. This particular series is meant to be PNG, but we prefer walking, so we made a night of it. This meant parking cars at one end, driving one car to the other end, and walking back to the other cars (no pretty loops here - straight shot).

First cache for the series was in a busy intersection, but no one really noticed us because they were so busy hurrying to somewhere. We took the crosswalks here as a chance to cross the road. Sadly, there were no sidewalks for multiple parts of this trip, so there was a lot of walking on uneven ground or in the street. I am grateful for the blinky lights and reflectors I sewed onto my bag.

Made it to the second cache and looked around the area for a bit before we spotted the cache. Very neat fake sprinkler. If there weren't two more right next to it that were real, I may not have noticed it. I saw it, Evan grabbed it, and the wind threw dirt into Lisa's face. There was a note on the cache that the next three were the same type of container, so we moved towards those confident of our abilities to find them. However, no luck at #03 and #05, even after moving most of the camo a landscaping crew had placed.

Getting past the mud, we proceeded to the final two caches in the series. These were both quick grabs, for which we were glad after not finding two.

There were three more caches between us and the car that were not part of the series, but we grabbed them along the way. All were easy light post grabs, so a pretty upbeat (if boring) end to the searching for the evening.

Turns out we had good timing on the end of the search - less than five minutes after we arrived home, we got some nasty weather, including 60mph winds and golf ball sized hail. Very lucky we weren't stuck out walking in that mess!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

2011 caching goals

You could call these my 2011 new year resolutions for geocaching - I made some at the new year. But, in reality, they are an evolving target. I started the year with one simple goal: find 100 caches in 2011. That would mean 2 per week, and when I made this resolution, it seemed very reasonable. However, looking back now, I should have known that I could do better - it is only April and I've already found 154 this year!

Needless to say, this required me to update those goals. So, I thought about it, and in mid-March I set some new goals:
1 - find at least 250 caches in 2011.
2 - find caches in at least 5 different states.
3 - start my own travel bug.

I am not off to a bad start - now I just need to get to another state. Evan, James, Lisa and I are going to Hot Springs, AR for Memorial Day, so that is one chance. I also anticipate going to OK for some reason or another (one always comes up). So, where should I head for the other two?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Caching with cops...and other curiosities

Every time I head out caching, I expect to see interesting things and have a good time. Today certainly lived up to those expectations, and hopefully next time around I can handle things as well as I did today :-)

We started Saturday with a goal of finding 15 caches. Mainly, since my allergies are acting up and I'm on a ton of meds for them, we decided to stick to park and grabs. A very nice way to ease back into things. We grabbed 11 of them pretty uneventfully - the 12th was when things got interesting.

We pulled up to GZ, shifted into park, and a cop pulled up behind us. She comes up, asks why we're there since the nearby business is closed, and Evan decides to just tell her. Of course, he does this by saying "we are out geocaching, and there happens to be one in that lamp post." She stares at him like he's crazy, then he explains what geocaching is, shows her our map, the GPS, etc. Meanwhile, I grab the cache. I am SO glad it was actually there. I'm also glad it wasn't just a pill bottle, as is normal for lamp post caches. This one was a decent size and has a few goodies in it she could look at. She seemed to get a kick out of how many people had signed the log. When I signed, she headed back to her vehicle and left. Pretty easy to deal with, but HUGE adrenalin rush. I was always worried that my first encounter would go poorly, but I am glad Evan made the decision and we went with it.

We headed to one more park and grab then met up with some friends (James and Lisa) to help him move his travel bug eastwards. Drove east above 45 minutes then did a quick look for a large cache that we could drop the bug in. Found just what we were looking for near the Lake Lavon dam. It was a little odd to walk around out there near a tiger refuge with so close by, but we long ago purchased some bear spray...which was at home. As we climbed down the hill and walked across the field, we kept our eyes open. Needless to say, nothing really happened. When we got close by, it was pretty obvious where it would be, so I climbed to the center of a bunch of cedar trees and made the find. Then James climbed in to actually get it (I am not a fan of sticking my hands in holes...). Let the bug and helped move it further along in its goal.

In the end, we made 14 for Saturday. Not too shabby!

Sunday we had plans to meet up with James and Lisa again and go on a 'cache walk'. I made a path for the John Carter Park in Plano. It is a nice park with a ton of caches hidden along its paths. I made a path with ~20 caches on it and a loop, with the option to head back halfway if needed. Sent the starting address to James and packed up my walking gear.

Since there was still time to kill before meeting up, Evan and I went out for a few more park and grabs. First thing, we pull up to the GZ and there is a cop in their car sitting there. Needless to say, we decided to save that one for later. Did not need a repeat - how many times can you get lucky before having problems?

Hit up a few more park and grabs in the area, most were nothing special. The last one we found before meeting up with James and Lisa was my favorite - it was in a neighborhood park that was oddly empty (it was beautiful out!). I think I might go back and chill there with Dylan some day when I need something to do with him.

Then we headed to the park. Sprayed/applied the sunscreen and bug spray, made sure water bottles were full, and went on our way. Every cache we found was different from the others, and it was very enjoyable. After our 7th cache, we decided to exercise that 'cut back' option and leave the other half of the trail (well, slightly more than half) for another day. At that point, we had found 7 of 7 caches we'd searched for, although some took more time than others.

On the way back to the car, we searched for the last cache on the way - Rusty Bridge #4 (you have to be a paid member to see this one). The other ones we've found in this series weren't easy, but they were not like this one. We ended up looking for an hour and not finding it. After reading the logs, seems that is not abnormal. I'm sure we'll be back when we hit up the rest of the trail.

24 finds for the weekend. Not our best weekend, but definitely not our worst!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Evan caching in Argentina

I met Pablo for lunch. After that, we went and explored the city. I wanted to find a geocache that I had noticed before in the Japanese Gardens. The coordinates were off - I'm pretty sure its located in one of the telescopes, but we didn't find it. I kind of want to go back and look again, but its a LONG walk from here (considering you can't walk there as the crow flies).

After not finding that one, we decided to try for one in the botanical gardens. We found it fairly easily and I grabbed the travel bug from the case. That's the moment when I think that Pablo really understood what it meant.

Blog concept change

Evan and I have gotten a lot more active in the past several months, and one hobby that we've really gotten into is geocaching. I've been caching for a few years, but now you could call me addicted! You should be able to tell a lot about us from how we cache.

The concept of geocaching is simple. Someone hides an item, puts the coordinates online, and someone else goes and finds it. When you find it, you sign and replace so that others can continue to try and find it. Some are easy, some are hard, but we will try our best to document them here.

Thanks to all the great cache hiders out there!