Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Gadsden Who???

James Gadsden, the U.S. Minister to Mexico, negotiated an agreement with Mexico, finalized in 1854. The United States agreed to pay Mexico $10 million for a 29,670 square mile portion of Mexico. This provided the land necessary for a southern transcontinental railroad and attempted to resolve conflicts that lingered after the Mexican-American War. Without this purchase, Tucson and Yuma would be in Mexico.

In April, 2020, a Tucson based geocacher developed a "Challenge Cache" based on the Gadsden Purchase. It required finding at least five caches in each of the 11 current counties that included land from the Gadsden Purchase. I already had finds in all 11 counties, but in five of them, I did not yet have at least 5 finds. In a couple of the others, I had over 1000 finds but that didn't help!

I spent some time studying the map with one eye on county lines and the other on potential geocaches that would be relatively easy to find. I added a handful of others, just because I was going to be driving by and they were cache types that interest me. I developed a plan in Cachetur which told me it would be 720 miles. First stop of importance was Santa Cruz County where I logged the caches I needed and spotted some pronghorn on the hill keeping an eye on me.

The next caches I "had" to have were in New Mexico, but I wasn't going to pass the the chance for a couple Whereigo caches, including one that highlighted some of the remaining neon signs in Benson.

The Texas Canyon rest stop was a worthy stop where I studied some of the granite boulders for an Earthcache. It's amazing how much geology I've learned from Earthcaches. Makes me wish I'd studied some geology in school.

I knew I wasn't going to want to try to do this as one massively long day so I started late enough that Hidalgo County, NM became a good spot for a boondock. There were a couple caches at exit 4, and I knew that there were some defunct businesses there, but the area was less inviting than the last time I was through here.

I wandered down to exit 11 where I found some waterfront property for my overnight boondock, just as the sun was setting. It got down to 34 degrees overnight, but I was expecting that.

I headed east as the sun rose the next morning, grabbing coffee in Lordsburg and then heading to Deming where I logged the caches I needed in Luna County before turning back to the northwest towards Silver City.

I picked up several in the Silver City area, completing what I needed for Grant County. In the process, I solved a puzzle cache and got a bit of education at Western New Mexico University. Geocaching is certainly easier when classes aren't in session!

By noon I was back in Arizona, enjoying the twistiest road of the trip, headed for the last cache I would need to meet the requirements of the challenge.

Once again, I got a chance to see things I wouldn't have seen otherwise, and enjoy some socially distanced windshield time. Life is good!

Monday, January 25, 2021

Who was Dylan?

The last couple months, a new geocacher has been placing some interesting caches, primarily near the west end of Canyon Lake. I've driven the twisting road several times this past month, either with BJ or with another geocaching friend. 

The caches are generally located within 1/4 mile of the road, but take you to very interesting viewpoints. The hills are mostly volcanic tuff tipped up on edge.

Some of the caches had beautiful views of Canyon Lake. Based on some of the log entries, these caches are placed in memory of a son & brother. Mom is picking some really special places to hide these caches.

Many of them involved some exercise. The view points usually aren't located in the valleys!

BJ and I managed to get First to Find on a couple of them.

One of them was located near a small abandoned mine site. We've driven past this for 30 years and never knew it was here.

Spotted the remains of what I think was an oil bath air cleaner, but nothing of any significance. Did a bit of research after this trip but couldn't find anything about a mine in that location.

Got a test run in on the Silver Subie. Glad to have the engine rebuild finished. It's almost time to change out the break-in oil.

Loving the change to do some local wandering and seeing what's around the next corner.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Wandering, But Not Very Far

The Scamp hasn't been out of the garage since February. I haven't been out as much either. Early in November I headed out looking for a spot that might make sense for an EarthCache.

I enjoyed the early morning wander, and managed to find a couple geocaches I'd ignored, but didn't find a view point that depicted what I'd hoped to feature. 

Another day, BJ and I headed out to Goldfield Ghost Town. We've been there before, many times, but on this visit noticed things we'd never noticed before.

Crowds were light enough that I could get a picture without people in it. Those that we did see were all masked up but we didn't see anyone wearing spurs or sidearms.

We had several major fires in the area this year. BJ and I headed out for a geocache that was a potential First to Find. It was obvious that the trail we used had served as the fire line. One side was crispy, the other side still had its normal vegetation.

Yes, there's a bit of a theme. A friend and I headed out just as the sun was adding some color to the sky. We were on a mission.

The goal for the day was to visit surviving sections of the original highway that ran from Mesa to Payson. Some portions have remained in use as Forest Service roads. Other sections left signs of cuts on the hillsides, but the road surface had disappeared.

We found what we were looking for, and got to learn a bunch of interesting history while completing several short hikes. All told, a very good day!

Last week we headed out to visit the area along the Hewitt Canyon road. BJ and her SAR friends know the road well since it heads to a couple of the wilderness trail heads. 

I had no idea we had an arch in the area until we went hunting a geocache. Not far from the road, but uphill was the primary descriptor! A beautiful spot that I wouldn't have noticed if not for the geocache.

As always, there are questions. Which came first, the crack in the boulder or the tree root? I'd show more of this area, but I'm hoping I can jump through enough hoops to get permission to have an EarthCache here.

Meanwhile, I'm seeing if any of my "ancient history" skills and knowledge can be revived. When I started adapting the Silver Subie, I knew an engine overhaul was in it's future.

I got it all broken down and was super pleased to see very minimal wear internally. The cylinder heads are at the machine shop and should be ready today. Most of the parts have arrived and the rest should be here by tomorrow. I'm loving doing this on my schedule. I suspect it will be a couple weeks before I have it back together - the nice thing is there's no rush.

Guess this sums it up!