Thursday, May 23, 2019

Oregon Outback

We were thankful that we didn't have to buy gas as we cut the corner of California on our way from BorderTown to Oregon!

We elected to drive a section of highway that we'd not traveled before. The Oregon Outback Scenic Byway lived up to its name.

A couple places along the way we noted building that had outlived their usefulness, but were still photogenic.

We stopped in Lakeview, Oregon to observe their geyser. It wasn't the most tourist friendly stop, but it was interesting to observe.

We overnighted at a rest area in Summer Lake. This one was wonderful - just small enough that semis didn't have enough room to maneuver. There was another family there when we pulled in but they continued on down the road and we had the whole place to ourselves that night.

BJ noted there was a cache nearby so we had to check it out. Unfortunately, there had been a brush fire and the container had melted enough that it couldn't be unscrewed. I tried to contact the cache owner to see if he wanted me to place a temporary log but never got a response.

The next morning, we added an old personalized plate to the collection of license plates at another cache location.
We found a spot on BLM land near Redmond that we claimed for a couple days while doing a couple separate series of caches (including the NAFTA Challenge Cache that I mentioned in a previous post,) and visiting one of BJ's hiking friends.

This is the first place I've ever found a ammo can geocache in a tree. I've often found other containers, but never an ammo can in a tree. Clearly, we've left the desert behind.

We made some observations at the Crooked River Gorge while we were in the area,

and took advantage of a sign at the airport. I've been carrying a Smokey Bear 75th Birthday trackable to Alaska and then we picked up a second one in a cache in California, so we've been looking for Forest Service signs to document their travel. This one seemed especially appropriate!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

The Costs of Being Cheap

We headed out of town about 8 a.m. with our route heading us north and west. We stopped for a bit at Hoover Dam to fulfill the requirement for a virtual cache with an interesting story. The story was more interesting that the immediate location of the cache, but I always like walking across the dam and thinking of the times we've launch on river trips below the dam.

We spent our first night at the RV campground at Lake Mead for the all important hookups. The AC ran all night, but we expect that this time of year.

We headed out of Vegas on Highway 95, stopping along the way for views, caches, and exploration. I didn't see any information posted, but it looks to me like the town of Goldfield must have been planning a subway.

Being a cheapskate and now at a higher elevation for cooler temperatures, I planned to stay at the rest stop in Luning our second night out.

The rest stop is built on the old railroad right of way. We carefully picked a spot next to a pile of gravel thinking it would reduce the number of people parked right next to us, but understanding it could well be an 'earplug night.'

At 4 a.m. I finally had to see what was creating all the racket. A refer rig was parked immediately behind us. :-(

By 5:30, it was light enough to try a picture out the side window. The pile of gravel worked - at least that direction!

Looks like the place to park for a night's sleep is to the north of the rest area!

It wasn't all bad. There were two caches within easy walking distance, one of which featured rust and history.

Our route took us through Yerington where we stopped to visit this old school building. I considered parking behind the local, but decided it really didn't look appropriate.

The highlight of our short time in Yerington was doing a Wherigo cache developed by Ranger Fox. While I've never met Ranger Fox, I have used tools he developed to create some Wherigo caches of my own. The really fun part was to see how small the world is - the folks who were the last finders before us, are the ones that gave me the cache containers mentioned in a previous blog post.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Will Planning Pay Off?

This is my third opportunity to drive to Alaska, the second trip for BJ and the Scamp, but the first since we started geocaching. In addition to the default Milepost and Alaskan Camping books, I've spent a lot of time researching interesting geocaches that might take us to places we wouldn't have visited otherwise.

In addition to earthcaches* and virtual caches** that are often at points of interest, challenge caches*** have influenced the northbound planning. For example, there is a small series of challenge caches about 50 miles south of Reno. Since we haven't driven north that way, we'll route through Reno this time north to see some different country.

There a series of challenge caches near Redmond, Oregon that caught my eye. One is called the NAFTA Trade Route Challenge. It requires that you be able to chain a series of counties together to reach from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. We're missing just one county to make it work - that's right, we need a cache in Washoe County, Nevada (Reno's county) to complete that challenge. (It's the orange one in the map).

Northwest of Kelowna, BC, some geoart caught my eye. The grizzly bear is created from 100 challenge caches but there are some that we'll likely never meet the requirements. Ahead of the bear is another geoart called Run Cacher Run, created from 45 puzzle caches.

I've solved all the puzzles for both the bear and the cacher. The actual locations follow along logging roads outside of Kelowna. We'll spend a day or two cherry picking some of the challenge caches and hopefully complete the RCR art before continuing north.

In addition to all the route planning, we've been busy creating some custom swag to leave along the way.

The southbound proposed routing ignores challenge caches, instead concentrating on coastal views in a few places, more family and friend locations, and a bit of wandering to visit counties that we've rushed through before.

Unlike last time, I don't expect to be as prolific with blog posts, but hope we'll get one posted at least once or twice a week. We've got air in the tires, groceries in the fridge, and water in the tanks. I guess that means we're ready to go.

* An EarthCache provides an earth science lesson through a visit to a unique geological feature.
** A Virtual Cache involves gathering information at the site instead of finding a hidden container.
*** A Challenge Cache requires seekers to find an associated physical cache, and to find an additional set of geocaches as defined by the challenge owner. Challenge caches encourage geocachers to set and achieve fun goals.