DECEMBER 28, 2013 – Return to CadizCaching4X (CCX4 series)

December 28, 2013

My annual caching goal is 1,200 finds. In most years I end up scrambling frantically at the end of December to reach that number. This year I was 189 caches short with 10 days left. Determined not to let my caching obsession consume my entire Christmas vacation, I drove East across the desert again, toward Barstow. The Football geoart series (GC4510X) by JimHaa was my first target. After great difficulty finding access, I was surprised to see a very wide newly graded road across the center of the football. I found 21 of the series caches and moved on.
A few miles farther East I saw a strange piece of desert debris. Incredibly, there was another almost identical one an hour later.
Trash dumping is a big problem East of Palmdale. I briefly looked for the cache here but left before finding it because I didn’t want tetanus to ruin my vacation.
With 42 finds for the day, I spent the night in Barstow. In the morning I drove 80 miles East on Route 40 to Kelbaker Road and passed next to the familiar Route 66 Shield series. Ten minutes later I was on Route 66 itself.
This is just after the Cadiz Road turnoff. There are 20 caches between here and the start of the CC4X series. Of the 20, 10 are hidden by Canadians to honor the top 10 British Columbia cachers. I wonder why Canadians need to commemorate their own cachers by placing/naming caches for them in another country. Oh well, I’ll take the points. 4 miles from the picture below I crossed into the series (GC47A93).
In May I’d found #000 to #084 in my Honda Element and walked across a 300’ sand wash to find #085 on foot before turning back. The segment #000 to about #100 is mostly rocky with a few washouts. Driving the Forester I worried more about getting a flat tire than getting stuck in sand.
This is the 300’ long sandy wash at #084 where I’d stopped in May. Every time I thought about the sand barrier I got aggravated. It was a big part of my decision to trade in my Honda Element (& my Prius too). This time, in the Forester, the sand wasn’t even slightly intimidating. I got through easily.
The road improved soon after and I found caches (almost all 35mm and prescription containers) in rapid succession. Bring replacement containers! The white 35mm film containers are disintegrating. I replaced 17 of them!

There were 2 non-series caches to break up the routine. Despite the People’s Liberation Army (China) insignia on this one it was a standard US ammo can.
The road continued past this concrete block building.
The decades old abandoned remains of an industrial complex can be seen at #153. The picture’s scale is deceiving. The doorway is human sized.
I found #214 to finally reach 1,200 finds for the year and added 2 more in case of miscalculation. The sun was low on the horizon and night time creatures started to emerge.
I turned around and headed back toward #000 and pavement. The fading light seemed to intensify desert colors.
This spot is especially photo worthy. I took a picture here in May too. But I didn’t want to be here alone after dark. (chupacabras and alien abductions)
I reached the pavement at Cadiz Road exactly at sundown with 150 finds for the day (replaced 1 that was truly missing – empty pile of rocks at GZ). Conditions were ideal. I drove a new, high clearance AWD vehicle. The weather was cool (low 50’s) clear, dry and non-windy. There was zero mud. I had a strong Verizon 3G signal every time I looked at my phone and I had a dual band ham radio in reserve. Still, it’s best not to cache here alone because of the extreme remoteness. Help is hours away, something to consider for medical emergencies. Only 1 vehicle passed by in 5 hours!

Thanks Jim (f0t0m0m) for hiding the series. Eventually I’ll find the remaining 184 caches, probably alone and from the South end.


DECEMBER 3, 2013 – East of Palmdale

December 3, 2013

The last day of my Thanksgiving vacation (12/1) was spent solo caching in the desert East of Palmdale. I left home at 9:30am and found my first cache at 11:00 and my last at 3:25pm. It never got above 53 degrees.
All caches were off pavement. There’s a horrendous amount of trash strewn in this part of the desert. But at one cache, KZ-Hub Central (GC3Y63J) the trash is semi-organized.
Light rain the day before kept the dust down on dirt roads without leaving any mud. Rare for desert caching, I was able to keep my windows open. Sandy stretches were no problem for my Forester. As an 8 year former Prius owner, I can say with confidence, “leave your Prius at home or you’ll get stuck here.” See the Northwest quadrant of the map at the bottom of this post.
Some caches were within steps of the (unpaved) road. Most were 150’ to 200’ out. Small square plastic tubs predominated. Genuine Rubbermaids were dry inside. Gladware-types were often cracked and usually wet inside. There were a few PVC bush hangers and 2 no-neck bottles. Extracting logs sheets from these bottles wasn’t easy.
In 4-1/2 hours of relaxed park & walk caching, I found 36 caches and DNF’d 4. I skipped the ones close to houses on the assumption that people who choose to live miles from their nearest neighbors are likely to be especially unhappy to see an obvious non-local snooping around, even 200’ away. Note the tops of the “Z”s in “Hazzard.” Some caches were several tenths of a mile from even the dirt ‘roads.’ They can’t be reached without driving ‘cross country.’ I walked to a few of these by following the tire tracks of cachers who DID drive ‘cross country.’ I skipped the rest. Note the first “A” and the middle of the first “Z.”

There was another hour of daylight but my traditional post-caching In-N-Out Double Double called my name. (This time I had a Double/Single – cutting back on cheese…)
197 caches to go to reach my annual goal of 1,200 finds.