DECEMBER 30, 2012 – “Uneventfully Short Series,” Victorville

December 30, 2012

OK, so I had a miraculous recovery from knee surgery. The surgeon said that after 4 days of rest, I would “be gimpy for 4 to 6 weeks.” But I walked very carefully the next day and drove and did errands on day 2. On day 5 my limp was completely gone. I never needed crutches, a cane or painkillers.

Today’s day 11 and I went on a mini cache run to Victorville. My goal was to find 26 caches to reach 1,200 for the year. Heading N on the 15, I exited at Stoddard Wells Road…and saw that I was still 3 miles from the first cache. I got back on the freeway & drove to another exit for Stoddard Wells Road. There are two exits with the same name on the same freeway in the same direction, 3 miles apart.

The 2nd exit was only a few hundred feet from Turn Here for an Uneventful Series (GC3J524). Immediately I was confused again, this time by the 2 signs at the beginning of a dirt road to the 13 cache “Uneventful Series.” Plainly, the local authorities know about geocaching, but the other sign read, “No Off Road Vehicles.” I stayed on the paved road as it veered away from the caches.
I tried to reach the N end of the series but was blocked by a “Private Property, No Trespassing” sign at Quarry Road. (see map at bottom) So I drove around finding random caches E of Stoddard Wells Road. There were 2 easy caches down the street from this abandoned house.
Back on Stoddard Wells, I finally found an unmarked dirt road pointed directly at Uneventful Cache #8. (see the red X on the map)
Then I saw a reassuring sign that it was OK to drive through.
A side trail led to #12 & #13 so I found those first and then worked S to #1 and several non series caches. At #1, I was shocked to see my purple stamped smiley on a log showing through the transparent 35mm cache. SOMEBODY brought the container from another series. From the freshness of my log stamping I suspect that it was from the RV series about 20 miles NW. Someone also spelled “Pox” with large white rocks. Is it an archaic curse? Is it significant that I saw a 3 eared hare running nearby?
After a few non-series caches at the S end of cache #1 I emerged from behind the “No Off Road Vehicles” sign back onto Stoddard Wells Road. Then it was a 2 minute drive to the top of the “Smiley” geoart series. (see the map again) I stayed on well used 4 wheel vehicle (as opposed to motorcycle) trails and reached a few caches but not the face outline circle.
Only a few caches short of 26, I parked and hiked to the mouth where I found #26 for the day and 1,200 for the year. The hike was COMPLETELY flat. The temperature was in the low 40’s. Much like a walrus, I’m well insulated against the cold so I probably could’ve hiked for all 25 caches. But with my year end caching goal completed I chose to go home.
Here are today’s 30 finds. A big percentage were camo’d plastic rx-like bottles big enough to hold a month’s supply of horse pills. And speaking of horses, crap!! I have to go downstairs to get that geocoin that I grabbed, out of my car.
Thanks to bigdaddygrc for the “Uneventful” series and I think for some/most of the “Smiley” too. And HAPPY NEW YEAR geofriends!!


DECEMBER 18, 2012 – RV Series geoart, Barstow

December 18, 2012

After the Route 66 Shield adventure I stayed another night in Barstow to get an early start on the new “RV” series, just South of the Planes Trains & Automobiles. The usual early morning noise in the motel parking lot got me checked out and on the road by 8am. Going East on Hwy 58 I passed a sign. Somehow it just looked right for the area. No, I didn’t stop.
To reach the RV series, I drove through the previously logged PTAs on the familiar, arrow straight Open Route 4800. I didn’t see anyone else the entire time on the road.
Eight miles later and a turn South brought me to the Northwest corner of the RVs. Notice that the ground is redder and, here, more compacted than in most of the PTAs. These conditions and the wide road remained the same on the geoart outline. Some very considerate dirt bikers slowed down when they saw me walking from a cache. Thanks for keeping the dust down.
There was a wide variety of micros and a few smalls. One of the caches was beyond a rodent colony. Here’s evidence that the ‘ground hogs’ made things hard for prior finders. I’d learned my lesson the day before so I knew where NOT to step.
Another area was strangely bare. Maybe the surface was a concrete foundation from some long ago house and not dried out mud.
Geofriend Retrofit told me in advance that the windshield section was almost undrivable. He barely made it through in his Suburban. I didn’t want to risk it in my Element. I was out of time anyway. I’m going back to hike to the rest of the series.
On the way home, just down Hwy 395 I stopped at a fun cache WIN-WIN Situation (GC427HB). It was a totally isolated easy find. There were 2 more easy caches down the hwy and I ended the ½ day with 68 finds.
I’m having knee repair surgery this week. Unless the recovery is miraculously fast my next post will be in January. Until then, Happy ChrismaHanuKwanzavus.

DECEMBER 12, 2012 – Route 66 Shield “Geoart”

December 12, 2012

After completing the 800+ cache Route 66 series last year I didn’t think that I’d go back to the area for a long time. Then Team Stevecat hid the all-hiking, 200 cache Route 66 Shield geoart series just North of the mid-point. And then Buka2 (Roxanne) scheduled a hiking event there. Donuts in the Desert (GC41ZQE).
How could I NOT go? I stayed overnight in Barstow and then met f0t0m0m (Jim) and foomanjoo (Josh) at their motel’s parking lot. We left Barstow in 2 vehicles, in total darkness and saw the sunrise during the easy 80 mile drive to the Kelbaker Road offramp.
From there it was a 1 minute ride to the event. I knew that the group assembled there planned to split into 5 subgroups to find 40 caches each. And then everyone would log all 200 caches as found. I understand that people play the game differently. This was TOO different. There’s no way I’d hike to 40 caches and log 200 finds. If I did that, my geocaching point total would be meaningless. So after a short stop to exchange greetings and donate to the group raffle the 3 of us drove just over 2 miles South to the bottom right of the shield.
Our first cache was Route 66 Geoart Supply Depot (GC3NTXE). It was filled with replacement caches. Fortunately we didn’t need any because we found every cache we visited.
Almost immediately we crossed paths with a 4” tarantula who was going the other way at a steady pace. I was glad that there were no arachnophobes with us.
Almost all of the caches were bright green prescription bottles attached to bushes by wire. They were easy to spot. Some were visible from over 200’ away. Only one was a near-DNF because its wire was missing and it was on the ground. Thanks Jim for supplying the round stickers with our caching names on them!
Here we are with Prince Albert in a can. We found him in a suspicious rock pile. It looked like he’d been there for a VERY long time. He was still inside but we couldn’t get him out. Josh took the can home to open carefully. Josh, what did you find?!
Jim kept stepping into rodent tunnels, several times sinking in to his knee. By the end of the hike we learned to recognize where “groundhog” colonies were likely to be and we hiked around them. Tortoises seemed to be faring worse than groundhogs with crushed tunnels. Throughout the hike we saw upwards of 30 dead ones. The rigor mortis tortoise below was still intact but most of the others were bleached broken up shells. We didn’t see a single live one.
I took a picture as I stepped over B2 rock.
The hike was mostly flat. The only ‘obstacle’ that we crossed (several times) was a 3’ high embankment at a dry wash. My legs were so rubbery that I almost fell off at the last crossing.
In exactly 6 hours we hiked 12 miles and found 100 caches. We’re going back next year to hike the top and the right hand “6.” Thanks Jim & Josh for physically opening all the caches and for slowing down a little near the end. And thanks Team Stevecat for the tremendous effort to put this series together.