Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Tucson, Again

I headed south at 7 a.m., headed first for the U of A campus in Tucson. I found a spot to park not far from the Arizona State Museum (that I should visit some day) and dropped my last two quarters in the meter to buy me 30 minutes. I'd intended to bring a handful of quarters with me but totally forgot until I was standing in front of the parking meter.

My reason for the visit to campus was to log the only webcam cache in the state. BJ and I have logged four others during our travels, but I needed one more to qualify for a challenge cache that was still waiting for a First to Find. With challenge caches, you not only need to find it and sign the log, but you have to meet the challenge qualifications before you can officially log it as found.

Unfortunately, when I got to the published coordinates near the south door of Old Main, I discovered the cache had been moved to a different location another half mile to the east.

After repositioning the car and feeding another meter with the credit card, I waved at Lute Olson

and ignored the felines as I walked by.

I finally ended up where I needed to be to successfully log the webcam cache, and immediately thereafter claimed the FTF on the challenge cache that I'd signed 10 days before.

With that out of the way, I wandered around the desert for the rest of the morning as the temperatures climbed into the triple digits.

Both figuratively and actually - it was the end of the road for my desert wanderings and time to start chasing some

'neon' multi caches. These were done by the same cacher that did the neon related caches along Main Street in Mesa. The advantage of saving these for the afternoon was that much of the work could be done from the delightful air conditioning in the car.

Some of the neon was getting very worn,

but it brought me to this appropriate piece of Americana - Paul Bunyan flying the flag for the 4th of July holiday instead of holding his normal axe.

The real reason I went to Tucson was that there was a geocaching gathering late that afternoon. I have one more challenge cache to be placed in a series that I've put out, but the final cache can't be published until I meet the qualifications. I need five more event caches to meet the quals, and events are rare enough that it was worth the drive.

The sun was setting as I headed home after a long, but very enjoyable day.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Main Street

I've finally gotten around to doing a few of the local Wherigo caches, in part because many of them can be done from the air-conditioned comfort of the car until you get very close to the final cache. A couple of these highlighted some of the vintage neon signs that still survive along Mesa's Main Street.

At one time, four highways converged and traveled the length of Main Street.

Most of these businesses continue to operate although I wonder about the cash flow.

Buckhorn Baths is very well known. The original owners have passed away, and the property was recently purchased with the intent to restore and reopen the motor court.

I'm not sure how much more time this sign has. Bill Johnson's was a fixture when we moved to the valley nearly 30 years ago. This one (and perhaps all of the locations) is now closed and the property is for sale.

The highlight at the Kiva Lodge wasn't the neon as much as the "refrigerated" highlight. Air conditioning sells, especially this time of year!

I found this one hiding just off Main Street.

This one isn't neon, but it was memorable.

Now I know where old transmissions go to die. They make them into pizza!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Historic Florence

As usual, I was out of the house and on my way as the sun was developing its glow behind the Superstitions. I like it because it's cooler (that's a relative term!) and quieter that time of day.

One of the goals for the day was historic downtown Florence. Florence is one of the oldest non-native settlements in Arizona. Founded in 1866, it serves as the Pinal County seat.

The town has done a lot of work to beautify the downtown area. You can see the advantage of an early start. The sidewalks have been unrolled, but the majority of the townspeople are still on their first cup of coffee.

Among other things, I wanted to do a Wherigo cache that highlighted some of the historic buildings in Florence. According to Groundspeak, "Wherigo is a toolset for creating and playing GPS-enabled adventures in the real world. Use GPS technology to guide you to physical locations and interact with virtual objects and characters."

Along the way, I spotted a few memories in the window, but mine was a red International tractor.

Of course, I had to take note of a fine example of neon advertising along the way. I've not been there at night, but I suspect this sign still works.

The large buildings in town, including the Catholic church, are constructed of red clay brick. although some of the earlier buildings are adobe.

I'm enamored by the former courthouse. It's been restored, and the offices are now used by the county supervisors. The clocks on the bell tower never operated because they couldn't afford clockworks, so the hands are painted on, and are correct twice each day!

It was a nice, quiet tour of town and then I was on my way to goal #2 for the day which wasn't very interesting.