FEBRUARY 16, 2011 – Australia in Barstow

Recently I found the Phonetic Alphabet Series in Yermo. On Sunday I went in the same direction to find the Australian Cities series near Barstow. These are named for Australian cities, A to Z. The first few caches were scattered, not on the road straight in from the off ramp. I drove past Adelaid (GC2NCJ4) before I realized that Brisbane was closer. The mass of crisscrossing trails was confusing.

After Fremantle, the road was clear. It was straight ahead and then veered off to the left at the top of this picture.

Unlike the Phonetic Alphabet series where caches were usually within 100’ of the ‘road’ on the south side, the cities were mostly AT LEAST 100’ away, on either side. Some were more than 300’.

ALL of the Australian City caches are 7.62mm ammo cans.

My Element floated slightly on a few sandy patches but I never felt in danger of getting stuck. Still, I recommend NOT stopping in these areas.

About 2/3 of the way in the flat landscape gave way to an increasing number of rocks which often marked a cache site. There were some shooters a ½ mile away from the rocks below. They ceased fire while I was visible. They started again when I was 2 more caches down the road.

Here’s the uphill at Uluru (GC2NCTW) where I almost turned back. It’s loose rock covered and much steeper than it looks in the picture. But there were 5 more caches ahead to so I drove up and over. The cacher who recently did it in a “geo-Camry” was brave.

Beyond the hill the rock formations got more interesting. There’s a cache here too.

At the final cache, Zeehan (GC2NCWB) there was an unexpected view of a small city 4 miles away. Later I learned that it was Helendale.

I found all 26 city caches (thanks Alan victor) and 3 non-series caches in just under 2-1/2 hours. The great weather and the prospect of finding another string of (easy looking on the map) caches one off ramp North kept me from going home early. The trailhead for the Tank Series was at the “Stoddard Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area.” All of my desert caching has been in absolutely vacant areas so I was surprised to see a dozen ATVs. I didn’t know whether an entry permit and/or special safety equipment was required. And even if they weren’t I don’t know anything about off road etiquette in congested areas. To avoid potential problems with a very different demographic I decided to leave the tanks to find on another day with a knowledgeable group.

I drove a few miles South to the Sneaker Series. The towers there reminded me of the Phobia Series in Primm Nevada that I found last April. After finding ammo cans all day I was amused to see that the sneaker caches REALLY ARE sneakers. Near the second cache I saw 2 trucks blocking the road. Were they utility workers on Sunday? I hung back until the trucks continued ahead. They stopped where I thought the 3rd cache was hidden. But 5 minutes later after I’d found cache #2 the trucks were gone and I never saw them again.

The sneakers are spaced about a ½ mile apart. I passed a complex of abandoned buildings that looked like they’d been used for paintball years ago.

I found 5 sneakers and the road ahead looked easy. But I decided to call it a day to get home before dark.

I need a change of pace. I’m going beach hiking/caching next.

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5 Responses to FEBRUARY 16, 2011 – Australia in Barstow

  1. geocass says:

    So interesting to see the landscapes and terrain in your photo. Totally different to what I’m used to seeing in the UK! one question… What’s a “sneaker”? Is it another word for a nano? 🙂

    • oldweeb says:

      Nanos in the desert?! That would’ve been fun (not)! “Sneaker” is an obsolescent Americanism for an inexpensive, light duty, all purpose shoe, (also called “tennis shoe).” The 5 sneaker caches I found were a shoe, filled with hard foam, with a 35mm film container embedded in the foam.

      • geocass says:

        Ohhhhh! I see! I know the term “sneaker” means trainer in the UK, but never thought it’d mean finding a cache in a shoe! I’ve not found one in a shoe before!!! You live and learn! 😉

  2. RoadKill says:

    Thanks for another fun read on your adventures.

    A sneaker = a trainer in the UK 🙂

    happy trails,
    RoadKill

  3. BigDaddyGRC says:

    Thanks again for sharing your adventures!!! You got to love that GeoCamry. She is now retiring from the offroading stuff, bought a Jeep recently!

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