E.T. Highway Revisited

27 10 2011

The call of the power trail is irresistible.

For the second time, I made the manic, epic journey across the hills of Nevada to find the 1500 caches of the resurrected E.T. Highway Film Can Caching Extravaganza. This time, not only have I been there and done that, I got the T-shirt:

This series is all about cruising through over 150 miles of desert at an average of 9 miles per hour. One does really soak in the scenery that way. LOL!

I came out here for Round 2 with Team Perks, Albackore, deeznutz, OLdweeb, and BWidget. We found 525+ on the first day, and 975+ on the second to complete the entire run. After stopping for supplies and fuel in Alamo, about an hour north of Las Vegas, our first cache was at this entrance sign to the highway.

The aliens were immediately present, ready to haunt us and taunt us along our way.

Some cachers had put their stamps or stickers on the sign, so we followed suit.

This alien guards the first official cache of the run:

0001-E.T.

I had a chance to get a 360º video of the highway and the surrounding scenery:

I hit two milestones on the run, and this was cache #26,000:
0236-E.T.

The biggest event of the day was our lunch stop in Rachel, at about the 300th cache in the series:

We found the cache in the coffee shop there and the new earthcache outside:
QUARK'S
Groom Mining District

We also talked for a while with Connie, one of the owners of the place and the real hero of the day. She single-handedly got the E.T. Highway run reinstated after the Nevada Department of Transportation decided to just pick up the first caches. The plethora of visitors from all over had boosted their business so much that they were hiring an extra person for the winter. The gas stations, restaurants, and hotels in Alamo and Tonopah, on either end of the run, had noticed a significant uptick, too, so Connie took on “city hall” and won.

Here’s an article about the controversy:
http://www.aolnews.com/2011/04/22/conspiracy-theory-why-really-did-nevada-remove-geocaches/

This is an interview with the cache owners on the return of the run:
http://onlinegeocacher.com/issue/real_time/article/the-return-of-the-et-highway

Thanks to Connie, business is again booming and cachers are flocking in from all over the world to the teeny tiny town of Rachel, and the Little A’Le’Inn:

http://www.littlealeinn.com/

The other big event was finding a big cache filled with toys!
E. T. Toy Box

Thanks to f0t0m0m for placing this so the boys could play.

Next week: more photos and how we coped with a very real interference with our GPS signals that threatened our chances of completing the run….

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Diary of a Mad Power Cacher

17 02 2011

aka
The Route 66 Cache Run Reportage

825 caches in 13 hours
along the historic and largely abandoned Route 66
between Barstow and Needles

Feb. 13. 2011

5:15 My iPhone alarm wakes me, and I blearily get dressed and head to the hotel lobby.

5:30 The rest of the gang arrives: f0t0m0m, Foomanjoo, & 1/2 of the VKs. I grab a cheese omelet & some sausage, fill my coffee mug, and load my day’s supplies in to the Xterra, and we’re off to the first cache.

6:15 We find the first cache – 001-Route 66

7:15 @ 080-Route 66 = 81 finds for the hour since we interpolated this extra cache: Excuse

7:29 We have found 100 caches.

8:04 @ 153-Route 66, Steve of the Ventura Kids celebrates his 26,000th find

8:15 Our find count for hour 2 is 83.

8:58 We have found 200 caches for the day so far.

9:00 We encounter a… well… curious individual walking a decorated and heavily-laden bicycle and 5 very active dogs. It was a challenge to avoid the dogs with the car, but Steve managed. He’s the only other person we encounter, other than maybe a dozen cars and trucks passing us until we get past Amboy.

9:15 Our find count for hour 3 is 69.

10:15 Our find count for hour 4 is 71.

10:26 At 316-Route 66 we celebrate another milestone as f0t0m0m bags his 28,000th find.

11:15 We only nabbed 67 caches in hour 5.

11:39 @ 400-Route 66, we are halfway through the series, and pretty much on track for finishing just after dark

12:15 Our system is now streamlined, and we maintain the same positions for the entire run: Steve drives, I’m in charge of stickering logs, Jim and Josh jump in and out to grab the caches. Our find count for hour 6 is 70.

12:30 we break for lunch and photos and gas in Amboy

1:15 Our find count for hour 7 is 45.

2:15 Back in full swing for hour 8, we find 67.

2:30 We find a very old cache up a hill near the road: lRoute 66 Pit Stop #1 It was placed in June of 2002, a year before I started caching!

3:00 Time for another celebration for yet another milestone, as I find my 25,000th cache!
Where is it?

Here it is!

587-Route 66

3:15 hour 9 = 65 finds
4:15 hour 10 = 54 finds, and yes, we are all pretty weary, but in a great rhythm. The scenery keeps us inspired:

5:15 hour 11 = 71 finds, and this is when we start losing our daylight
6:15 hour 12 = 63 finds, and Steve actually seems to have run out of specious and silly stories to ramble on about. You know it’s a long day when that happens.

6:22 Success! We find the 800th cache in the series!! The next hour and a half are spent on the way to the freeway and back to Barstow picking up another 9 caches to get a FOURTH milestone in, this one for Josh – #10,000!
Prize!

This type of adventure is exhausting and crazy and silly and exciting and boring and inspiring and relaxing… and most of all… a ton of fun! What a team and what a day!





Cachin’ in the Rain

23 12 2010

Gene, Debbie, and Donald barely scratched the surface of the fun you can have when it’s wet outside.

When the Primm Valley Resort sent several of us offers for free nights, no strings, we booked our nights. Just because it turned out to be raining cats and dogs was no reason not to go. As it turned out, the big day of caching in the desert was sprinkly, but it never got too bad, so we stuck with plan A, and found over 140 caches along a couple of power trails.

Early in the day, OLdweeb found his 8,000th cache. That’s a big number!

f0t0m0m, OLdweeb, Ventura Kid

Most of the scenery was similar to this:

… and no one was around, even though the dirt road was under some kind of construction, and we skirted big ditches, equipment, and supplies to get to some of the caches:

The caches were named mostly for places, both familiar:
Sacramento, CA

and unfamiliar:
Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas

The rain served to illuminate some of the colors:

All in all, it was fun opportunity to get out and play!

Merry Playful Christmas to you all!





Conquering the Aliens!

5 11 2010

Our original team +2 returned to The Alien Highway to finish the run, and a van with 6 people turned out to be the ideal setup. We left the side door open for easy jumping in and out, and took turns at all of the positions. Our technique of switching caches and stickering while in between was suggested by the cache owner, and many teams have chosen that method here. About 1/3 were placed at the 1/10th of a mile markers, as in the video, but the rest were 10-70′ from the road in rock piles that did require a bit of searching. Our best hour was 105!
E.T. 1021

Here’s some of the video I shot, condensing 8 hours and over 660 caches into THREE minutes. Enjoy!

music: “Journey in Time” composed by Dean Barrett & Judy Whittaker, Freeplaymusic.com
a couple of the photos were taken by deeznutz®
this is the first movie I’ve created on my Mac laptop with iMovie

For more stories on this run: E.T. 001





To Find or NOT to Find

21 10 2010

Last week, I found cache #23,000. I think I have an average DNF rate of at least 10%, so this means I’ve NOT found over 2,300 caches. Some days are really worse than others, too. I took a road trip the other day, and DNFd three before finding one. Ouch. I even DNFd two while trying to find #23,000!

DNF 1

Fruit of the Spirit: Self-Control

DNF2

Where the Sidewalk Ends…

Find #23,000, at last!

Gateway to Beaumont

To make up for it, though, are the easy breezy days of 100+ finds! I had a lovely day of 116 finds and NO DNFs on a run from Moreno Valley to Lake Hemet with OLdweeb and Albackore.

Breakfast of Champions

Find #1
2000 – Geocaching was Born

1916 – E=MC2

Up in to mountain scenery:

Find #116
1918 – Does Anybody Really Know What Time it is?

Where’s the next cache clump? Let’s go!





The Best Laid Plans: Thwarted by Aliens

9 09 2010

Out north of Las Vegas is a stretch of highway with no cel service, no services, and no crossroads. There are now over 1000 caches along a 100 or so mile stretch of it between Alamo and Tonopah, each about a tenth of a mile apart. I set out with a posse to do the whole run in one shot.

Well, the best laid plans of mice and men, as the saying goes… we got a great start and had ton of fun, but at Alien #353 (I think), my car started displaying a number of check engine warnings. We had to get the car towed back to Vegas.

We did get 355 caches in 5 hours. Our slowest hour was 48 and our fastest was 90!!

I also got to meet some other cachers doing the run behind us – a group from Pennsylvania. I look forward to reading their stories and those of my compatriots.

E.T. 001

Speaking of them, although our mission got derailed, our fun did not. Their attitudes and comaraderie were what the trip were all about. It was a day and half of geosilliness at its best!

Albackore, Team Perks, and RobbDogg:

We encountered an ancient life form:

It’s really called the E.T. Highway:

We loaded up on food and water:

There’s nothing out there but scenery…. and stars! There is no other light for miles and miles, so after the sun went down, the sky was brilliant and the constellations totally clear.

Even though we didn’t get through the whole run, we broke out the champagne anyway while we waited for the AAA guy to arrive:

After we got my car back to Vegas, we rented another one to drive back to LA. The next day, another geocacher, FishPOET, made a very generous offer to drive me back to Vegas to pick it up on his flat bed trailer that he uses for his Jeep! He is my hero
:

It was such a relief to be able to get my car serviced at my home dealership. It turned out to only need a simple computer reset, probably from the short starts and stops we were making. Either that unusual driving pattern messed up the system…. or it WAS the aliens…

This series is really an ultimate adventure and challenge. We will return, though, later in the fall, to grab the rest of them!





Oh, Hai! Geocaching: Weer doin it rite

3 12 2009

Lots of caches, empty dirt roads, spectacular views, fun friends.
Yep…
North of Ojai – a jeep trail that only permits 10 vehicles per day to drive on it
Ventura Kids, the Devious Max Power, Terra Girl, f0t0m0m, me
95 finds
THIS is geocaching:

That’s pretty much what we “had” to look at all day. Those are the Channel Islands out there:

Most of the caches were really easy to find, even under these potentially daunting circumstances:

The next one is over there somewhere:

We never could figure out what this alien beacon was really for:

It might have something to do with the lovely little pond nearby:

Steve shows us how to really look for caches. He said he could see it from there, down where we were. Hm.

A Devious Hide?

Snow! We did get out and play in it… sort of…

A little video view:

I look forward to more fun days with these guys!