How Many is Too Many Geocaches?

25 09 2009

Well…. I’m not sure…. not yet….

Here I am finding cache #20,000 –
MAtM13 Insane Brody Dredd

This was one of 50 caches I found that day with Team Marzipan:
teammarzipan
That’s Albackore, BWidget, and f0t0m0m.

We tied for 3rd place in the days festivities, a puzzle-solving, swash-buckling, pirate-talking romp around Burbank and Hollywood, in pursuit of the answer to the question: “Who murdered the matey?”
Murder Among The Mateys – A Murder Mystery Event

Thanks to the event’s instigator and mastermind, a whole bunch of us had a great day of caching, and I got to celebrate my 20,000th find with friends:
20000cache

and a special container that I now have at home:
20000cachecontainer

Oh, and I even met up with a real pirate along the way:
bathroompirate

So… how many is too many geocaches? I have no idea. I haven’t found enought yet. The caching just gets better with time!

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Viva Las Vegas!

17 09 2009

There’s a lot NOT to like about Las Vegas, and I won’t list all that here. The trick to enjoying this burg, at least for me though, is to find those things that are not what the typical visitor encounters. This makes geocaching in and around Sin City irresistible. I know I’ll find something unusual somewhere at a cache, and the sheer numbers of caches all around are available for every level of ability and interest.

I’m spending the week here for three reasons: first to get to 19,999 finds so that my #20,000 is at a special Event Cache, Murder Among The Mateys – A Murder Mystery Event, this weekend, and second, to visit and dine with one of my best friends, a self-proclaimed bon vivant, Bob, and his buddy, Rex. He certainly taught me everything I know about wine, and for him to pick the restaurants for dinners is the best way to find culinary nirvana.

The third reason is to do some research and photography for what I call Season 2 of my Twitter novel, The Adventure of Helen and Daniel. I should be starting that up in a couple of weeks, and to read it, you can follow me on Twitter, or read whole chapters after they are “broadcast” – please contact me for links for that.

I’ve opted to do most of my caching out of the city, away from muggles…
Population 57
pop57

and in the scenery of the surrounding desert…
desertvista

and mountains….

… where everything is about the smiley:
S18

Most caches are typical desert hides:
cacheinrocks

… but this one was worth the drive up the mountain road to find!
GRIDLOCK!
gridlock

Only in Vegas can you REALLY go from the sublime to the ridiculous:

I even got both at once, when I spent a ridiculous amount of $$$ to try the most incredibly sublime Kobe beef from Japan. Wow. It’s hard to describe, but the flavor was not beefy as we know it. It was mild and…. creamy… and marvelous.

Until next week, may you enjoy ridiculously sublime caches!





The Alaska Adventure, part 4 of 4

10 09 2009

It’s rather hard to top the story I posted last week, both literally and figuratively, so I guess the next best thing is some time traveling…. back to the Alaska trip of about a month ago. This final installment has been worth the wait – I guarantee it! I have three thrilling threads of subject matter for you: flora, fauna, and flu… and of course a few cache finds. I’ll start with those and work backwards.

FINDS
Here are the four caches I found on my last day in our 49th state:
Beaver View
Forget Meat? Not!
Inlet View
Anchorage TB Drop

That day, I took a rental car out for a spin up the gorgeous Turnagain Arm, just south of Anchorage, and finally got in to some serious scenery:
finallyscenic

Fields and glaciers were all over the place:
fieldglacier

I watched a gondola ascend from the nearby hotel, taking folks up for an even better view, I’m sure:
gondola

I didn’t have much time to look around, but I did see this bit of honesty:
touristtrap

FLU
Ah, yes, I got to experience the dreaded, all-to-common-on-tours-and-cruises Norovirus. Don’t ever get it. Since I did get it on a tour, though, they had me go to the hospital and everything. I wouldn’t do that again, either, even though I was well cared for. There are other adventures that are more worth having. I must say, I did get some nifty jewelry:
hospitaljewelry

FAUNA
The only difference between caribou and reindeer is that the former are wild and the latter are captive. These would be the latter:
reindeer

The only moose I saw was this stuffed specimen:
moose

… and I thought the only real Alaskan wildlife I would see was this guy, one of our bus drivers:
alaskawildlife

… but I was so wrong! Heading back along Turnagain Arm, I glimpsed a bear crossing the road! He was foraging in the tall foliage by a bike path, and as I pulled over to see if I could get a better camera shot, here he came! I shot this with the windows up and engine running, but he was only interested in the weeds, and his mom was nowhere to be seen:

Now THIS made my whole trip, made up for wacko schedules, illness, smoky air, ALL of it. Wow.

FLORA
To close, here are some shots of some of the really beautiful things that grow around Alaska:
grasses

redberries

raspberries

purpleflowers

Until next week, happy caching, be they few or feverish!





413 Geocaches in 24 Hours?? YES! We did it…

3 09 2009

50 years ago (or as the card my sister gave me expressed it “A Long, Long, Long Time Ago”), on August 29, I breathed my first taste of Terran air. What better way to celebrate than with a crazy, exhausting, record-setting day of geocaching??

For those of you who have never attempted real power caching like this and wonder how on earth it can be done, here are the most essential things for achieving light speed:

1) density – there must be a LOT of caches in a concentrated area

2) ease of transition – no traffic lights or muggles, but an open country grid of roads

3) complete pre-planning – all puzzles solves and the entire route is mapped out for maximum efficiency

***I have to give Steve of the Ventura Kids great credit for handling this part!***

4) ease of finding and logging – not too many nanos, no tricky hides, no vegetation hides, no multis

5) high level of maintenance – lots of folks finding them recently, no DNFs in the history

6) excessive good humor – it’s a LONG time to be driving around… if it ain’t going to be fun, don’t bother!

7) tenacity – especially as the sun is going down again and your hourly cache count with it, you need to know you and your team will stick with it to the end

There’s your basic recipe for a wild and woolly ride through a cosmos’ worth of logbooks.

Here’s a peek into how our day went. Well, first of all, I was picked up at the airport the day before:
DENairportpickup

We found 15 caches that afternoon, then we all ate dinner and rested up for the coming marathon. At 11:15pm, we regrouped in the hotel lobby. Steve fortified himself with coffee:
DENstevecoffee

We loaded up the trunk with food for the day:
DENstartphoto

and we were off! We did 5 “warmup” caches before midnight, at which time the other three sang “Happy Birthday” to me!

Here’s our first official find of the 24-hour period of August 29:
’34 Gold Wing
DENfirstcache

Cache find 100 was around 5:30am! It was still dark.
Mondo’s Silver Bullet LV

Here’s Jim signing a log on the other side of a ditch while Steve sets his GPSr for the next one. Efficiency is the name of the game, for sure.
DENtreehideinmorning

Many of the caches were in the late summer’s overgrowth of weeds:
DENfind100

and we got to experience the truly vicious variety of stickers that grow all over this place:
DENstickershoe

Speaking of stickers – we used a single group one:
DENgroupsticker

I tried to reserve my energy whenever possible:
DENgassnooze

There were some interesting views at cache #200
Colorado Eastern Railroad
DENfind200

We could see the airport from there and pretty much everywhere all day:
DENroadviewat200

and these wildflowers were all over:
DENwildflowersat200

They’re a smaller version of these guys:
DENsunflowerfieldat200

Cache find #300 was around 4:30pm
Shadow and Sandy

Sandy of the VKs wants to call Jim “Shadow” now:
DENfind300

Steve observes the log signing ritual behind me. Why did he park so far from the cache??
(hahaha)
DENsteveat300

Somewhere along the way, we stopped for gas, and f0t0m0m presented me with cupcakes! They did not light the candles since we were at a gas station – whew!
DENcupcakes

The sunset looked similar to the sunrise, just in a different part of the big, broad sky:
DENsunset

Find #400, at just before 11pm.
Cachonomic Stimulus Plan #2
DENfind400

We were a little worried earlier in the evening that we might not pull this off, but now we knew we were in the clear! We found the record-breaking #407 at 11:30pm and continued to midnight to nab 413!
Douglas #12 Hungate

Oh, and here’s a short video that shows you basically what driving up to each and every cache was like:

Here are our per hour stats (listed from the beginning of each hour):
midnight = 15 
1 am = 11 
2 am = 23 
3 am = 20 
4 am = 24 
5 am = 21 
6 am = 19 
7 am = 17 
8 am = 17 
9 am = 15 
10 am = 20 
11 am = 27 
noon = 18 
1 pm = 17 
2 pm = 13 
3 pm = 14 
4 pm = 16 
5 pm = 20 
6 pm = 14 
7 pm = 16 
8 pm = 12 
9 pm = 15 
10 pm = 17 
11 pm = 11 

We also had 24 DNFs!

We don’t know how long we’ll hold this record, but we hope it will stand through the winter. Come the longer days next year, though… who will go for it??

YOU???

P.S. The Daily Reviewer has me on the list of top geocaching blogs! Here’s the *LINK*. I’m honored!

p.p.s. here’s a jpg of our route! (Steve lost his track, darn it…)
World Record Speed run Aug 29th 2009 2