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.