E.T. Highway, part 2

3 11 2011

Before I get in to the Saga of the Second Day, here’s a link to a recent news story on Connie and her mom, and how geocaching has single-handedly revolutionized the economy in Rachel, NV!
Cashing in on Caching

With literally nothing between Rachel and Tonopah other than geocaches and wide open desert, day 2 was all about finishing the run. This turned out to be rather problematic, as we were plagued with a random technology issue that would have shut the expedition down had we not brought two vehicles. Originally, this was for logistical purposes, as the six of us were coming and going in different directions and times before and after the run.

My Prius was the target of the aliens on the first run last year, but this time, the Prius prevailed and the van was the victim. On the way out of Vegas, all of the GPSrs in the van ceased to function! We spent some time at a gas station trying to solve the issue, but we never really figured it out. The problem mysteriously went away just before we got to the Alien Highway, but we did the run with two vehicles just in case. The van was the primary caching conveyance, and all finding and logging were done from there. The Prius followed with extra supplies and provided a respite from the desert dust that permeated the van. We all rotated through the positions of driving, finding, and logging, along with eating, taunting the rest of the group, and maintaining high levels of verbal jousting.

The weird GPS issue was mostly not a problem until about 200 caches before the end of the run… as it was getting dark! The only way we could run a GPS was if we kept it a couple hundred feet from the van! Any unit near the van would give out crazy readings and be utterly useless.

We quickly devised an ingenious two-car team method that proved to be fast and efficient. I drove with my functioning GPS to the spot on the road parallel to where the next cache was, then the van would pull up next to me, and I’d speed off before my signal got jammed. Since the cache hides were so consistent and close to the road, it was easy to find them without a GPSr in hand, so the van team would jump out, find and log the cache, then drive up to where I was waiting at the next waypoint. With this method, we cached as fast at night as we were during the day!

We did them slightly out of order so we could get photos here during daylight:

Here’s the official site for the run, past, present, and future
E.T. Highway Official Site
Here’s a map of the whole run, courtesy DavidT&Fisherwoman.
ET Trail-map

We started at the lower right corner and worked up the map to the loop at the top, which is all on dirt roads. We skipped the alien head and UFO side trips, as they are more for hiking than power caching, but we did take a few minutes to find the oldest cache in Nevada:


We also saw old hiding places from the original E.T. cache run:

Although most of the area is cattle ranches, we didn’t see too many of the beasts this trip:

We were surrounded by rugged scenery:

… and we were followed by a moon shadow:

Who knows when I’ll see this on my screen again, but somehow, I don’t think it will be too long!



2 responses

3 11 2011

It was shocking to see the satellite signals simultaneously drop to zero on all of our GPSrs. My pseudoscientific explanation is that some combination of electronic processes in the van intermittantly generated a harmonic signal across the GPS band, and “jammed out” the satellites. That signal radiated far enough to affect GPSrs in the Prius when it pulled up alongside the van.

21 11 2011
Geocaching with Tru2Cntry

Love your blog on the ET Highway!! And CONGRATULATIONS on your 27,000 cache!!! Way2Go!! Tru2Cntry

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