Finally: The Southern California DeLorme Challenge Final

5 04 2012

Death Valley is a destination unto itself, but the primary impetus for my initial journey was to complete the massive “California DeLorme Challenge (Southern & Central),” a 109-cache epic requiring a find on each page of the lower half of California.

California DeLorme Challenge (Southern & Central)

f0t0m0m had found all of the caches, but he was gracious enough to revisit these last pages so we could assail the Final cache as a team. This turned out to be a very good idea, as it’s up a 4×4 road out in the wilds of the Nevada/California desert.

It was windy and cold, yet the 360º view was worth it.

We spent most of the rest of the day working on a series of caches on states and state capitals. The terrain was more rugged that we’d anticipated, so we ended up leaving a fair amount to come back for.

As tiring as it was to negotiate the hills, rocks, and spiny plants, we did find the three unique caches that most appealed to me: those dedicated to the “State of Jefferson,” which is where I grew up!
State of Jefferson
Yreka, JE
Redding, JE

There have been a number of states that didn’t make it for one reason or another, but the State of Jefferson has a long history of trying to become one! See the cache pages for more on this.

Bonus photo! We saw a pair of healthy coyotes near the road in Death Valley, and I got a great shot of one of them:

8 Years of Geoacaching

5 06 2011

I celebrated this milestone and my mom’s birthday by taking one of my favorite road trips all the way up the state of California to Yreka.

I found a few new caches in town with my Dad. Here he is in Discovery Park…

… where I played on this swingset as a kid…

… and where we enjoyed learning new bits of history at the cache there:
"A Mighty Town"

We also enjoyed a stroll around Greenhorn Reservoir, where the weather was perfect for taking in the views:

The mountain out there is Goosenest.

The wild flowers are in full force.

The rest stop just north of Weed has an earthcache about the ancient rock formations made by Mt. Shasta, and bit of more recent history on display nearby:
Ancient Mt. Shasta Debris Avalanche

This was also Memorial Day weekend, and I’m truly grateful for the folks that defend my country and our exceptional freedoms. Without them, I would not be doing what I do.

Late Summer Geocaching: The Discoveries Continue

4 09 2008

I am continually amazed at the unusual, crazy, and fabulous places I keep discovering as I geocache around the Southland. Here’s what I found this week alone!

The coastal fog comes all the way through Santa Paula and Piru in to Santa Clarita, keeping that city foggy on some mornings. It was a welcome surprise to see it in August, and f0t0m0m and I chased it out to Ventura as we cached our way west. Our day started at a plaque marking the Ridge Route, which not only preceded I-5, but Highway 99 as well.

The Ridge Route

According to the plaque, the creation of the Ridge Route may have prevented California from being divided into two states, north and south, which is actually an issue still debated today. For more information on an aspect of this and my favorite part of California’s history, see The State of Jefferson Story.

Along highway 126 that day, f0t0m0m and I encountered an antique bridge from 1902:

1902 Railroad Bridge

I like the fog in that photo. We then stopped at a local honey farm where we could watch bees inside a glass box making the stuff and got to try a variety of flavors. I went with Buckwheat honey. It has a unique tang.

Honey, Honey

On the way to a string of caches on a back road, we drove by a cactus farm. I don’t recall ever seeing one of those before, although I’ve seen plenty of nurseries and decorative plant farms. We were also treated to a delightful yarn on this cache page:

Battle of Bardsdale Memorial Cache

I just love entertaining and inventive storytelling. It’s kind of a “lost art.” Another stop was at one of those giant marble sphere-on-water sculptures, and we, of course, just had to get it spinning in a different direction.

Granite & Water 2

Another day took me out to the Santa Monica Mountains to successfully attempt an FTF on a new multicache with Don J.

Raven’s Roost

More coastal fog, this time in the Topanga canyons:

The fog envelopes Santa Monica to the south from Mulholland Drive:

The cache was hidden along this rugged, rocky trail:

I’m no mountain goat, so I let Don J retrieve the final:

Hey, SOMEone had to stay down on the trail to take photos, right? Here’s DonJ getting that FTF:

The next day, OLdweeb, DonJ and I headed out to Ventura for some beach caches. On the way, OLdweeb insisted that we stop at the recently placed cache honoring his 5000th find. He accused me of sneaking out there ahead of him to snake the FTF! I assured him that I was innocent and that I hadn’t been out to find the cache at all yet. “I may be crazy, because I’m really stressed out,” he said, “but I’m sure I saw your sticker in the FTF spot.” Sure enough, when we opened the cache, there was an EMC of Northridge sticker at the top of the log sheet!

An LPC in Irwindale, (NOT)

BUT WAIT! It was a clever forgery! The font and color matched exactly, and it was on a clear sticker, but the clipart cat was different. Someone had played a great trick, and the three of us left baffled as to who that might have been. I sent a couple of accusatory e-mails during the day, but was unable to uncover the culprit. It was a couple of days later before I discovered the architect of the elaborate ruse, but I’ll reveal that shortly.

The centerpiece of our day was a string of caches out in the dunes by the beach. As we approached one of them, OLdweeb alerted us to a sunbather about about 150′ from where the cache coordinates were. The guy was, indeed, reclining in the altogether, so we did our best to avoid further, er, observations as we approached our goal. I retrieved the cache from under a log – it was a toy killer whale – and then we remembered the name of this particular cache: “Free Willy”. The three of us did our best to stifle guffaws, but were rather unsuccessful.

Mandalay to McGrath #6:Free Willy

NO, I did not get any photos there! Sheesh. Here’s one of the beach, though:

This is one of two antennae gathering information on the tides via radio waves:

As we returned along the shore, OLdweeb dashed out after a retreating wave and picked up a big handful of sand…

In it were dozens of tiny sand crabs!

The award for the most unique cache of the week goes to:
As Time Permits Again

In order to log a find here, one must obtain a one-hour free parking permit, sign it, and place it in the drop box for the permits!

A couple of days later, f0t0m0m and I headed out to the City of Industry/West Covina area. The hides were all pretty standard, including lots of LPCs. We like those, as we don’t tend to DNF them! However, it was a day full of unique locations!

A Buddist Columbarium, part of a very large cemetery:

A close-up of the bronze friezes:

Buddhas all over the place!

This is a fake McDonald’s where they shoot commercials, as they were doing when we drove by:

This is a functional drive-in movie theater!

This donut shop takes its architecture seriously:

The Prius enters the donut vortex:

Finally, to get one of the caches, we had to take a long walk into a golf course/resort area and were surprised to find a funicular railroad in the middle of it. I’d left my camera in the car, though, darn it.

OK, the culprit.

(drum roll, please)

OLdweeb himself! He did a very sneaky job of pulling the wool over my eyes with his “I might be crazy” act. With that, I leave you with a little video of the beach. OK, it’s not my best cinemetography, but it will have to do for now. Cache on!