NOVEMBER 25, 2012 – MORE Planes Trains & Automobiles, (Barstow)

November 25, 2012

In January I found almost all of the appx 250 cache Planes Trains & Automobiles series by Team Stevecat. Since that time others extended the series with 100+ additional caches variously named after ships, spacecraft and even a bicycle. And several smaller cache series were placed nearby.

My first stop this time was “011” (GC3MANE). Thanks SHELBY-DAWG for hiding it next to a very convenient unlocked gate along Hwy 58. I used it to get onto the trail system.

I quickly fell into my solo desert caching routine.

“Cross Country” travel is prohibited. So it was always reassuring to see signs indicating that I was still on an official “road.” Most caches were within 30 feet of the road. Some were up to 300’ out. I walked to all of those. Tire tracks at EVERY ONE showed that multiple cachers ignored the rules and drove directly to them.

There were a few Albackore-designed mini decon containers. All of them were in good shape, showing no signs of hardening, cracking or UV deterioration.

Cachers continue to prove that the series can be done in low clearance 2WD cars. But there were some deep sandy segments where I was glad NOT to be driving my Prius.

(Mostly) ship named caches were hidden at each set of double poles. I skipped USS Utah & USS Texas because there was an armed encampment between them. I slowed and waved and got back only cold stares. So I kept going. I didn’t want to become the second person I know who’s been shot while caching. But now I see that a group of 3 others logged the caches that day. So maybe I was being paranoid.

Almost all of the original series consisted of 35mm film cans or very similar containers. Many of the ‘new’ caches were different!! This one was found at the end of day 1.

Day 2 started much earlier than I planned. At 5:30am a dozen dirt bikers shouted their good mornings to each other and started their motorcycles in the motel parking lot. They revved their engines for 15 minutes before the last one rode off. Oh well, this was Barstow after all. I checked out and drove West on Hwy 58 and then South on Hwy 395 to the West end of the PTA series. The first few finds were to clear a small string of DNFs from my January visit. This time they were all easy finds. The suspicious rock piles were NOT there when I DNF’d.

Now it was 10AM and the morning chill was gone. I crossed over Hwy 395 to the Dream Series of 24 caches leading up to the ruins of an uncompleted hilltop luxury home. The home is at the left edge of the picture, at the dark outcropping.

As I stopped at each cache, groups of motorcycles and ATVs passed by and choked me in their dust. At least they all waved. Eventually I reached a junction. Turn right up the hill for 8 caches and a visit to the dream house? Or go straight onto the suddenly rocky road for the last 2 Eastern caches? I REALLY REALLY wanted to visit the house but there were people moving around, vehicles coming down and more motorcycles going both up and down. There was just too much activity so I chose the rocky road caches.

Back on Hwy 395 I went South to the next cross “street” and turned left for a cluster of 3 caches. 029 Joshua (GC3MAJN) was a quick drive up find.

Steps to Nowhere (GC1NA2G), only 0.1 miles N was clearly visible. I’d found it in January and revisited to look at the interesting ruins again.

I found 136 caches on my ½ + ½ day mini expedition with no DNFs. Four caches were ‘fun’ containers made to entertain finders. The highlight of my trip was the cache pictured below. I’ve always wanted to hide one just like it. My geo-friends would enjoy it. But I worry that cachers who I don’t know could react badly, ie…”78 year old grandfather suffers fatal heart attack while protecting 12 year old geocaching grandson from fake snake. subpoenaed for hider’s identity. Charges to be filed. Family plans civil suit.”
I’ll stick to putting rubber lizards into Altoids caches.


NOVEMBER 18, 2012 – Liberty Canyon / Talepop, Calabasas

November 18, 2012

After months of crazed, overheated BBT caching, another low intensity, nearby hike was in order. We started walking from the South end of Liberty Canyon Road onto the trail. The beginning was paved.

Clear skies and a cold morning seemed to indicate a cool day ahead .

We took a short side hike to Phantoms (GC1DXB6). If I’d remembered from 2008 that it’s a Don_J cache I could’ve told the group where NOT to search. EcuaDeb found it quickly anyway while I looked on with Foocachers/Jr.

There wasn’t much shade and the temperature unexpectedly reached into the mid 80’s. At least the hike was mostly flat.

Sissopolis pointed out an enormous foot & a half wide Maitake mushroom growing on a stump.

I was glad to show my friends the gigantic oak tree at Roble Grandisimo (GC217H4). It would take appx 6 horizontal EcuaDebs to circle the trunk. (2 Π EcuaDeb) = 6.283 EcuaDebs circumference.

When I found the cache a year ago there were lots of paper strips with wishes on them tied to the lower branches. This time there were only a few of those. A handmade wreath and an odd looking ceramic piece were prominent though. The cache ended up being MIA so we replaced it and notified the owner.

On the 2nd southward leg of our counterclockwise paper clip shaped hike there was some elevation. We stopped at my Calabazilla Calabasas Viewpoint (GC17MKD). The namesake Calabazilla

And the view…

The trail was well maintained throughout and given the season, I was surprised that I didn’t have to pick foxtails from my socks. We ended the 6-1/2 mile hike with 4 to 19 finds, depending. Plus I logged 4 betas hidden by Foocachers/Sr and 2 by EcuaDeb.

Lunch was at Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewing Company.