San Juan Farm Supplement

30 10 2008

OK, per request, here are three more photos of the farm and my visit there!

Kitty!!

Those in the background would be future dinners… mmmm… lammmb…





Ferry + Tunnels + Apes + HQ = Seattle! (part 2)

30 10 2008

Another reason I went to Seattle was to reconnect with my eldest cousin. We couldn’t remember the last time we’d seen each other, but it had probably been 30 or 40 years! He looks like both his mom and his dad, and it somehow being with him felt like being with them, too. He and his wife live on a farm out on San Juan Island, where they raise kiwis, apples, asian pears, filberts, lambs and gourmet grass to feed them. I got a long tour of their whole operation and of the island, which has a curious history involving a dispute between the American army and the English army over a pig. The resolution of that dispute led to the border we have with Canada today.

I found one cache on the island with my cousin. It’s right near where I disembarked the ferry:
Ferry Godmother – Annie’s Corsets

I also picked up two near the ferry dock at the other end:
Ship Harbor Earthcache

Ferry Godmother – Saturday Cove

The ferry rides were great fun and superbly scenic.

I just couldn’t resist getting this shot:

The music of the waves on the pebbles is something I don’t hear in Southern California, which only has sandy beaches:

For all of my newer readers, a reminder to check out my monthly newsletter on my career as a professional singer: Elin Carlson.

Until next week…. cache on!





Ferry + Tunnels + Apes + HQ = Seattle! (part 1)

23 10 2008

I had multiple excuses to go to Seattle last week, and two of those were unique geocaches.

Of course, I had to make a pilgrimage to the headquarters of Groundspeak, where I got the 10-cent tour with a new local caching buddy, babj615. The magic screen that everyone talks about is very cool, indeed. It shows a Google Earth location of the most recent log posted each minute, so you can spend a long time staring at it while the logs pop up in various languages and you virtually fly all over the world to read them. There’s a giant cache inside to log and a couple of TBs to discover. Other than that, the office is very quiet, almost disturbingly so, as all of the folks working there communicate primarily just by IMing.

Groundspeak Headquarters

This was after we’d had lunch at the Space Needle….

… and I had the signature Lunar Orbit sundae set on dry ice!

The previous day, I walked through the legendary 2.5 mile old train tunnel to find the only APE cache on this continent and get that unique icon on my list of finds. There were originally several put out to promote a Planet of the Apes film, but only two are left, one in Seattle and one in Brazil ( I think).

Iron Horse – I clambered up a little waterfall to get this one
Micro Tomb Raider – the title and the hint helped, but it still took some due diligence
Mission 9: Tunnel of Light – the APE cache, with its coveted icon

The day was cool and drizzly, with low-hanging clouds in the mountains on the way to the parking area for the Iron Horse Trail that leads to and through the tunnel near Snoqualmie Pass. I had brought two flashlights with me from L.A., but… duhhh… left them in my room, so I bought one nearby and headed valiantly with it into the giant dome-shaped abyss.

It was truly creepy.

I was all alone with the sound of dripping water and my active imagination.

A few feet in, I paused and looked back….. then looked ahead…. the light at the other end seemed really, really tiny….. and there could be monsters… and…. could I do this? In the dark? With a flashlight that now seems really feeble? With the eerie noises and…. and… the lure of that singular icon on the other end drew me in further… and further… and as my eyes adjusted to the dark…. the flashlight became more effective and the tunnel was drier once I got past the entrance…. and I kept walking.

And walking.

And walking.

And walking…. now my fear had turned to boredom… and the light at the end was still really small…

And walking.

And walking.

And checking out the alcoves.

And walking.

And walking.

And finally singing to keep myself entertained… hey! My voice sounded really amazing in there!

2.5 miles, then outside!

I made fairly quick work of the other two caches on the way then came upon the ginormous APE cache. Mission accomplished!

Now…. I just had to walk ALL the way BACK through the tunnel…..

The colors on the mountains were pretty:

Creepy Tunnel

Walk with me… into the Creepy Tunnel!

My day was capped off by a visit to Snoqualmie Falls and the cache there.
Cache at Snoqualmie Falls





Ahhh… Ahmanson…

16 10 2008

It was a lovely, cloudy, cool day when I headed out to Ahmanson Ranch with OLdweeb to nab some FTFs and to check on a couple of his out there. We hiked about 6 miles RT on a mostly flat trail, but did get some nice hill climbing in at the upper end of the trail.

THREE COWGIRLS
See Hear & Speak No Evil
BEHIND THE OAK
The Lesser Pillar
SURROUNDED BY PEAKS
SHADE & WATER
SOLAR PANELS
Too Lazy to Proceed
Beyond the Boundary

The overcast weather kept us nice and cool:

The jimson weed is bloom:

There is a sulphur spring near the trail head, and here’s where you can really get a good whiff:

I stopped on the way out just to listen to the “music” of the place!

Until next week, get out, look at, listen to, and smell the geocaches!





Geoteaming

9 10 2008

Last week, I was asked to participate with the folks at Geoteaming as one of their geocaching pros. I’ll take any excuse to hang out in Laguna Beach for a day, especially if I can get a little cash on the side from it AND do some geocaching. I joined Got4x4, DopeyDuck, MissAmerica1, and jshults at the gorgeous Montage Resort, and we helped the teams of corporate executives from Land o’ Lakes in Minnesota learn teamwork and strategy by finding caches and meeting various types of challenges. There was a croquet station, a golf station, a kite-building challenge, a frisbee toss, and complex puzzle involving balancing nails along with more traditional caches to find. We made sure they knew how to operate the GPS units and the PDAs, and mostly just looked on with great amusement at all the fun they were all having.

The weather and the views were unsurpassed.

We all only had time for a couple of caches afterwards, and my favorite was across the street from the resort.

Is this Art or a Musical Instrument ???

The sculpture was a series of tall colorful hoops and partial hoops with wind chimes dangling from them. It’s quite unusual.

For more information on geoteaming, go to their website – GeoTeaming





The Glory of Geocaching in Glorious Scenery

2 10 2008

According to Clay Jenkinson, we as geocachers are part of what makes humanity strange and fascinating, and are to be admired as such. Check out his recent column in the Bismarck Tribune where I and all of you receive this honorable mention:
The Article

We’re right in there with the miracle of heart transplants, great music, and the world’s largest collection of Elvis decanters. LOL. But he’s right: our species really IS remarkable.

Yes, yes, I know I’m #3 and not #2, as he wrote, but someday I probably will be, so it’s close enough. I have a plan for that, you know. I’m going to outlive everyone. Seriously! I have a goal to be a healthy 103. Ha HA! That oughta do it…

Meanwhile, here’s what I’ve been doing just to try to stay ahead of the fast-approaching Team Snook, who have been rising through the stats at break-neck speed.

I grabbed 50 caches with f0t0m0m and Spoondoggie all around the Solvang area amongst the myriad wineries. We drove for miles through the vineyards and agriculture.

The best caches of the day were a nicely crafted fake pine cone, a bolt in a guard rail, a sneaky magnetic in a tree, and one in a part of a guard rail that we had to rotate to access.

The best FIND of the day, though was this guy!

f0t0m0m saw this sign elsewhere, but they needed one here, as I almost drove over the beauty!

I spent the last few days up in the Eastern Sierras, as I had a performance in Bishop with Beethoven’s Wig. I was surprised to find a large group of petroglyphs at this cache:

NOAH’S ARK

I was also surprised to get the FTF at this cache:

Streamside

I hope more people get out there, as it’s idyllically lovely.

This is the view from
Owens Bridge Cache

and I found this awesome chalk cliff as I was driving to

The Fisherman’s Cache


Get out and find more caches, all you strange and fascinating examples of humanity! Let me know what marvelous things you discover!