Friday, May 21, 2021

Clean Up on Aisle 5

About 18 months ago, I stated playing with a trip plan, hoping to intentionally visit some counties that I'd never visited with my GPS in hand, and even more important, attend a couple major events in Seattle and Abbotsford, BC. Of course, we all know how that went. 

For the past couple years, I've picked away at California counties, including a bunch in Eastern California from my quick trip last summer and a small handful more just last month. Most of what is left is up the central corridor, the area that's typically our third choice for travel. That white area is enough to bug me into trying to clean them up.

In normal years, Oregon gets visited, but you can see the spots that have been ignored, primarily in the corners. There would have been another blank in the SE if it hadn't been for last year's quick trip.

As a Washington native with family ties to the state, I was a bit surprised to see how many counties I was still missing. I'm especially looking forward to getting some caches in San Juan county since I haven't been to the islands for years. Thanks to some other very interesting caches, I'm going to end up with a very circuitous route.

By the time I get finished cleaning up these three states, I should head directly home, but I have two more states where I've found caches in more than half the counties. There's certainly no straight route to getting the remaining 24 counties in Idaho, but I'll get to see lots of backroads and beautiful country in the process.

On last summer's trip I visited all the counties on the west side in Colorado. This summer, I'm hoping to finish up with the east side counties that I'm missing. With BJ's blessing, I'll take a couple extra days to visit the Colby, Kansas area as well, to drop some ink on the world's oldest existing geocache.

Eighteen months of planning and dreaming. There are nearly 1400 caches loaded in the GPS. The route totals about 8500 miles and I expect it to take 36 days. It will certainly be a great test of the Silver Subie's boondocking capabilities. I won't find all the caches I've loaded, but I expect to clean up the white spots in all five states.

Wheels should be rolling June 1st.

Monday, May 3, 2021

California is Challenging

Day three started with a beautiful sunrise after a night that approached freezing. The overnight air temperature didn't matter - my down sleeping bag was warm! The weather forecast was for high winds and low daytime temperatures.

I was glad that I'd thrown the sweatshirt in at the last minute. It was definitely a three layer morning. Thankfully the wind held off, leaving a beautiful, clear day. 

There was a line of about thirty challenge caches about 20 miles east of my overnight boondock. The open desert made the short walks to the caches easy.

I ended up skipping one by mistake, and not finding another. I also skipped a few that I didn't qualify for, and doubted that I ever would! I managed to pick up the vast majority of that series much quicker than or I expected. 

With that series done, it was time to let the trip planner point me in the shortest direction to Palm Springs for the next cluster of caches. I had to stop at this corner for a picture. The area looked sort of abandoned, but it left me with questions about what the owner had hoped to do with this.

The Palm Spring series was quick and easy, except for this one. My GPS says three feet, leaving me wondering if the gardner got it??

The original plan had been to overnight again just south of Joshua Tree, but I was running well ahead of schedule so I kept going. I knew I wanted to remove and archive 7 of my remaining caches in Quartzsite, but even then it was too early to stop.

I finished the day about 500 miles and 37 challenge caches after I started it, with the Silver Subie parked in the driveway. With those three counties turned green on the map, it makes my trip planning for a major road trip this summer much easier.

Did I say how much I love the flexibility the Silver Subie provides??

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Another Short Bit of Wandering

With vacinations out of the way, it was time to make a long weekend trip. I figured the distance was too long for an overnight, so I positioned to some BLM land just outside of the south entrance of Joshua Tree National Park for my first night. Found a spot just about the time the sun was setting, fixed dinner, and went to bed planning an early departure. 

The intent of the trip was to get caches in Orange, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara counties.

The next morning I left at 0'dark thirty to time my first Orange County cache at first light. I got a letterbox and a multi out of the way before stopping for a virtual at a Vietnam War Memorial.

I also picked up a challenge cache and a mystery cache before leaving Orange County.

My first stop in Los Angeles County was for a challenge cache. I picked up another challenge and a traditional that started with "X" to help me out with another challenge. I'd hoped to stop at the Getty Museum for an Earthcache, but Covid continues to make some things difficult.

I didn't "need" any caches in Ventura County because we'd picked up a few when we camped along the beach on an RV trip a few years ago. That didn't stop me from getting a beach picture just because I could.

'Sides that, there was a series of caches in a Bird Sanctuary that had caught my eye when I was planning the trip. I ended up doing three of them (a Wherigo, a challenge, and a multi) but cut my time short because I had already heard about construction and slow traffic on the way to Santa Barbara.

My first stop in Santa Barbara county was a bust for me. There was supposed to be a challenge cache somewhere near this burned out tree, but I was never successful in finding it.

I did manage to find a cache in one of the nicer areas of town and left before they could tow the Silver Subie. 

From Santa Barbara, I backtracked a ways and then headed east. Didn't find another challenge cache I wanted, but eventually ended up in an area with a bunch of hand made fake rocks that I wanted to check out. 

Home for the night was a boondock outside of Palmdale. 435 miles for the day and 3 new counties. It was only as I was doing this blog post that I realized I never logged a virtual and an earthcache that I visited, but now I've lost those notes. Oh, well - there will be others.