Saturday, September 22, 2012

1 Year Later

What a difference one year can make! I got hired at SkyMall in October 2011, got tired of Tim's lies and ended the relationship in January 2012, had a wonderful time with my daughter Faith on vacation in March, moved in with some of the best people I have ever had the opportunity to meet in May, found my 20,000th cache in August and am now preparing to enter ground school to become a flight attendant next month! I know almost every blog/blogger says this but... I want to start chronicling my upcoming adventures, both in geocaching and in aviation, so here is to resurrecting this page and posting on a regular basis. Wish me luck!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Favorite Cache of the Week / August 29 - September 4, 2011

It's miserably hot here at home in Phoenix or as Tim likes to say THTC (too hot to cache) still. So he picked up a long (37 hour) layover in Calgary and off we go on my first visit to Canada!

We concentrated on the Legacy Trail caches put out in conjunction with the Best of the Bad Mega Event.

Favorite Cache of the Week / August 22 - 28, 2011

Alien Search Party - The 2nd Invasion! Oh my, what an adventure! Will write later about this incredible experience.

Favorite Cache of the Week / August 15 - 21, 2011

Okay, so now that I am more caught up I'll allow myself to return to a 'weekly' theme. August was such a busy, busy month.

On August 20th Groundspeak held a Geocaching Block Party in Seattle. The event was very (almost exactly) like the event they held last year after GeoWoodstock. The only major difference was the addition of 'challenges' to get the puzzle piece souvenir. Challenges don't interest me at all but icons do. I want the icon.

So, Tim took me down to the airport early Saturday morning and I got on the flight just fine. Took the Seattle light rail to a bus and voila! I'm at the party. Mingle around a little bit, see a few people I know, checked out the challenge thingee, sign the log book and back on another bus and the light rail again. Easy peasy, right?

Except I get bumped from the flight home. (My flight benefits are for standby status.) Then I try for a flight to Charlotte and one to Philadelphia. No go. It's a long night on a Sea-Tac bench for me. It wasn't too bad but by no means great either.

I get checked in for the 5:30 a.m. flight to Phoenix and it doesn't look good for anyone. I didn't get on and a bunch of other stand-bys didn't either. I'm starting to think it could be a looong time before I get out of Seattle. But the next flight to Phoenix I was very, very, and I mean very lucky and got home.

The icon was worth it.

Favorite Cache of the Week August (part 2)

The second weekend in August and Tim really had wanted to go to the Mega event West Bend $1000 Cache Ba$h 2011. We had attended in 2009 and it was a lot of fun meeting new people but it wasn't super high on my list of things to do this summer. As it turned out since I still am not contributing to our financial well-being as much as we would like, Tim decided it would be best to go to work this weekend.

He was able to get a long layover in San Francisco and invited me to go with him. I planned the caching / walking route for us as I wanted to go to Little Saigon to get a Bánh Mì.

We started out with The Transamerica Overpass which we didn't find the last time we were here but I was convinced we would find this time. We did! I was misinterpreting the name and it wasn't that difficult once I just read it correctly. Always good to rectify a DNF and it does have a good over'view' of the Transamerica Building from the over'pass'. Raw Sally was a nano in a super busy spot in Chinatown but Tim found it fairly quickly. Nice hide in a historic alley.

S.F. Cable Car Barn was great! The cache is placed right outside the San Francisco Cable Car Museum and shows that you don't need a virtual cache just because it is a museum. Traditionals work fine! We spent at least an hour in the museum where you can see the winding wheels pulling the cables. It was very interesting to see and it's free.

Now to get to Little Saigon from Chinatown, well... you have to walk through the Tenderloin. I let Tim know in advance we would be going through the 'Loin and it was as bad as we anticipated. We looked for one cache kinda and got through the area without incident.

Tim's sister Karen met us at the Saigon Sandwich Shop and had lunch with us. She lives in Oakland and she was so nice to come into the city today to visit. Karen also joined us in finding a couple more caches before she headed back home.

Two more caches I really enjoyed finding on our way back to the hotel were Throw It Out! and Bamboo Alley. Throw It Out! is hidden on a installation named Defenestration. Wonderful! Like the neighborhood the artwork resides in, it is in need of restoration and I'm glad I got to experience it today. Bamboo Alley is a mystery/puzzle cache which I usually ignore but this one was so interesting I added to the route. The cache is a series of watercolors painted by the cache owner which guide you along like a visual multi-cache to a camo'ed Altoids tin. Something that could have been so ordinary transformed into extraordinary.

If you find yourself in downtown San Francisco for any reason and have a few moments to find a cache there are many wonderful ones to find. I hope to return soon.

Favorite Cache of the Week August (part 1)

Well here it is already September! We started out August with a fantastic weekend in Big Bear, California with friends Lori (LovOrca) and Robert (tartanite). Unfortunately Tim (JohnnyCacheAz) was unable to take the time off of work and we had limited funds at the beginning of the month. I am so thankful for him everyday and I missed him terribly that weekend.

I flew into Orange County Thursday night and Lori picked me up at El Torito across the street from the airport. She remembered that she had placed a cache at the restaurant next door a year ago but never published it. We went over to see if it was still there and it was! Took some fresh coordinates and it went live that night: Gulliver's Travels. It'll be a good one to get next time on a SNA layover.

Spent the evening visiting and in the morning packed up and headed off to the mountains! We went up to Big Bear on State Route 38, a very pretty road I had not been on before. We went over to the home of friends of Lori's who had done a beautiful job remodeling a old house in Big Bear City. After a tour of their home we went out to lunch at B J's. Found a couple of caches after lunch and got over to the cabin that Lori had so graciously invited not only me, but Marsha (Smoochersmom), her husband Jeff, and Julie (IWillFindIt!!) to stay as well. Got unpacked, settled in and off the the event - Black_Cat's 15,000th Cache Celebration!

I was so honored to have a friend like Lori throw an event for my milestone! It was her first event held and everything turned out so perfectly. The restaurant, Sonora Cantina, had reserved the patio for the party and set up a yummy taco bar right outside for the guests. Bunches of people showed up and I had great time. Thank you again Lori and Robert for making the entire weekend so special!

The next morning Julie arrived and we all went to the Big Bear Airport Air Fair (except Jeff who played a round of golf) and it was a huge event. Hundreds of planes and vintage automobiles. Julie and Marsha even got to take a ride in a biplane! Airshows and fairs always remind me of my grandfather Lieutenant Colonel Cecil Walton and how much he is missed. Admiring so much aviation made me also miss Tim even more.

After the air fair it was time to find some caches! Particularly this one: Cattin' Around - Salute to Black_Cat's 15,000. I loved it! Thank you soooo much to Mandy's Mom for helping make my milestone special. Back down to town to attend the Big Bear Cache Bash 6! Tim and I went for the first time last year and it is a wonderful annual get together. The potluck/barbeque/picnic and raffle are among the biggest I have seen anywhere. Perfect weather too!

When getting ready to leave Lori notices a cache nearby called 15,000! Well, there is no way we can pass up that one! Thanks Badgerdawg! Super cute cache and I can post a picture (finally) thanks to Elin (EMC of Northridge, CA) and her fantastic blog:

Socialized a little bit at an after-event party / spaghetti dinner. What a great day with friends!

Next day was off-roading with Lori, Robert and Julie. Very beautiful on the forest roads and superb views of the lake. My favorite caches of the day were Little Croaker by Mandy'sMom and “Can’t grow a Spruce on a Cliff” by pphacker.

Little Croaker is in such a pretty spot, surrounded by flavored pines with a little stream and waterfall running by it. Luckily the cache was in a spot where LovOrca looked as it was no where near where I decided to search :) “Can’t grow a Spruce on a Cliff” is a very well done hide and it's their first. The cache owners have a view of the cache from their patio and were happy to watch us try to find it. Great job and I hope they hide more caches soon.

Had some tasty pizza at the Big Bear Weekend Checkout II held at Village Pizza and it was time to head home. Thank you so much to everyone for making me feel so special! Especially Lori for being such a great friend with whom I hope to have many more adventures!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

California DeLorme Challenge (Southern & Central) Progress

I'm almost finished with the California DeLorme Challenge (Southern & Central) requirements!

One nice weekend in the Monterey/Salinas area will take care of pages 19, 20, 31, 32, and 33.

View Larger Map

Plus I would get to visit the Giant Artichoke and of course a virtual cache is there: The World's Largest Artichoke

Hope to go in September!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Favorite Cache of the Week / July!

What happened to July??? It's already August!

Well, my favorite cache in July was the entire GeoWoodstock experience!

Back on track this month because we have some great times planned: Big Bear Cache Bash, Groundspeak Block Party and the 2nd Coming of the ET Highway.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Favorite Cache of the Week / June 26 - July 1, 2011

June 28th marked the start of our vacation and the beginning of our trek to GeoWoodstock IX. We started off with my first Taste of Chicago and another attempt at the virtual cache: Cloud Gate aka The Bean. Two years ago we took the picture incorrectly (with the Bean in the background of the picture rather than a reflection off of it). This time we actually read the cache requirements and were good to go. Days later the camera died and we have not been able to get the pictures downloaded. So.... it looks like another visit to Chicago and maybe the third time with this virtual will be the charm for us!

After a drive through Indiana and Ohio, lots and lots of Spirit Quest caches, a stay in Amish country, and a visit to the Tristate Marker, we arrived in Warren, Pennslyvania, site of GeoWoodstock IX.

Tristate Marker - Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio.

July 1st was a three event day! Got up and headed over for breakfast at Come Meet the Mama's II at Richard's, a local restaurant down Route 6 in Youngsville, PA. This little place was prepared for the massive crowd of geocachers by offering a buffet and setting up a large tent outside with tables for seating. We opted to skip the buffet (the line was moving but very long) and found a place to sit for table service. We sat next to and met a wonderful local geocacher, hunters2, who shared information about the area and it's caches.

After breakfast we went to meet the train riders of the GeoWoodstock Express at the Oil Creek State Park. Could not believe how many people were on that train! Wow! With so many people waiting in line for lunch, JCAZ and I decided to walk over to Petroleum Centre Cemetry even though we don't normally do multi or mystery caches and this one is a little of both. Before heading up to the cemetery we were joined by friend Maingray and his entertaining son Seth. These are the times I love at GeoWoodstocks! Spending time visiting and caching with friends whom I may only get to see this one time a year. As anticipated, finding the cache was not difficult as during most large events like this it is more standing in line to sign the log than it is actually searching. Even so Petroleum Centre Cemetry was one of my very favorite non-event cache finds of the week because of the company.

After visiting at the event, JohnnyCacheAz and I continued caching southward towards Oil City before starting back up to the fairgrounds to attend GWS Pow-Wow on The Little Brokenstraw Creek the meet-and-greet event for GeoWoodstock.
Log 'book' for the GWS Pow-Wow on The Little Brokenstraw Creek was a tepee!

Favorite Cache of the Week / June 19 - 25, 2011

I have gotten really behind on logging my finds. Again.

But I'm fairly close to getting current so here are my favorites from three weeks ago!

Summertime means most of our caching is done in cooler climes than the ridiculous heat of home in Phoenix. This week Tim's overnights were in Reno and Boise. So, I have two favorites this week, one in each city!

In Reno we enjoyed a late champagne brunch and then set off on foot to explore and find a couple of downtown caches. My favorite was Sweet Tooth, a simple but effective hide. Sometimes it's not about the hide itself but the place it brings you. The cache name is a play on the location, near a business called 'The Chocolate Bar' and a dentist's office. Cute! The cache can be reached from sidewalk but is not recommended for the shy geocacher. It is hidden inside the railing of the bar/lounge's outdoor patio very near the tables. Stealthiness was required. While signing the log Tim and I were intrigued by the The Chocolate Bar as it is not at all what we expected to see in downtown Reno. Evidently this area has gone through a revitalization as this place is modern, dark and even a little swanky. We sat at the bar near a big flat screen showing (in gorgeous black and white) Sabrina and discovered it was miraculously Happy Hour. Perfection on warm summer day we ordered a pitcher of Sangria for $10. The bartender made it with fresh fruit, a nice merlot and peach schnapps, wonderful! Without a cache placed here we would have never discovered this local gem.

Later in the week we traveled to Boise, rented a car and cached north of the city around the Horseshoe Bend area. My favorite cache of this trip is Bread Loaf Rock. The cache is located a couple of 100 feet off of the scenic Summit Ridge Road. From the cache site is a great view of the local landmark the cache is named after: a rock formation that looks just like a loaf a bread with a slice taken off. Someone went out and painted the inside of the "loaf" white years ago. Here's a pic from the web of how cute it is:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Favorite Cache of the Week / June 12 - 18, 2011

Since I am a chronic C&P (cut and paste) cache logger (and I feel badly about it) I have decided to pick a favorite cache from my weekly finds and write more extensively about the experience.

This week is one of those weird off weeks for me as the combination of moving and being over 100 degrees everyday kept me from going out. Although I only found six caches this week, one stands out as a favorite regardless of the quantity.

Android Cache is an unlikely pick for me. The cache type of Unknown / Puzzle / Mystery makes up less than a 0.5% of my total cache finds. The cache owner, AZcachemeister mentioned to me last year when he placed it that since I too had a Android I should find his cache. Now that I no longer have a smart phone due to budgetary constraints, it was indeed the perfect time to find his cache!


The puzzle itself is a very straightforward QR code hidden on the cache page. Since my Droid Dosen't anymore, I used an online barcode reader. Just upload the image and shazaam! there are your coordinates. The coordinates listed on the cache page (not where the cache is located) send you to a great little parking area for South Mountain where I have started many hikes into the park and as the cache page states, a great place to start this short hike. Once it got dark I headed out and parked in the empty lot. The moon was not yet out but I would not be going deep into the mountains. The darkness made the city lights sparkle even brighter. I followed the trail until the compass arrow pointed me to a rockier part where I could not discern a specific path. When I got to ground zero, there were many, many places to hide a cache but I didn't lose faith because the cache owner is an experienced cache hider. I was pretty sure the hide would (a) be hidden logically, (b) be rated correctly, and (c) not be some evil micro. I was right! A trademark AZcachemeister hide - cookie tin! Sat down, enjoyed the city lights and the breeze while signing the log sheet. On the way back to the Jeep a couple of good sized javelina crossed the trail about 10 feet in front of me heading for the lusher vegetation of human development. I love hiking the desert at night!