DECEMBER 3, 2016 – WEST OF BARSTOW (+ YERMO)

In late December 2014 an off road flat tire near Yermo ended my caching for the year. Because it was Christmas vacation and a replacement tire wasn’t available until January, I couldn’t complete that year’s goal of 1,200 finds. Though I eventually bought all-terrain tires I didn’t put them to serious use until last weekend.

I went back to the desert west of Barstow to find an add-on set of caches in the Planes Trains Automobiles & Ships series. The day started on a familiar road south of Hwy 58.
112516_00_ptas_road
As I drove to look for a way to reach the new caches the horrifically revolting stench of a massive manure farm almost made leave. See the long poop pile across the middle of the picture. It was a mile away and the air still reeked. When I picked off a few stray replacement caches I learned that swarms of flies can function in 41 degree weather. I feel sorry for whoever goes caching there in warm weather.
112516_01_manure_farm
Eventually I reached the northwestern most cache and found that the new caches were cross country, along what appeared to be abandoned airport runways. I parked and started walking and finding a cache every 600 feet or so.
112516_02_runway
This one fooled me. I picked up an ancient SPAM can expecting to find a log inside. But it was empty. The real cache was a big decorative lantern a few feet away. Oddly, one of the last finders on the log was “Team Spam.” Maybe they left the old can.
112516_03_spam
Some cachers are driving (illegally, I believe) cross country. In these cases I walked on the tire tracks that invariably stopped at every cache.
112516_04_illegal
Occasionally there was a large cache. They were stuffed with swag but no geocoins or pathtags were found.
112516_05_big_cache
Most of the caches were smaller cube shaped tins. I exchanged signature items in some of them.
112516_06_series_cache
After 37 finds with no DNFs I drove back to my motel in Barstow.

The next day I drove north on the 15, exited onto Fort Irwin Road and drove to cache: Boring (GC22YRE). It marked the exit for R. Boring Rd, a way to the back end of the Phonetic Alphabet series. Caution – Starbright Mine Road is a more direct route but the parts I saw were overgrown and had deep soft sand with no end in sight. R.Boring Road, on the other hand is sometimes rock strewn but was easily passable in my Subaru Forester.
112516_07_boring
The alphabet caches placed since my 2014 visit were quickly found and I turned east toward Paradise or Devil’s Well (GC5H63D). It was a few hundred feet off road.
.112516_08_rocks
The arrow points to my Subaru. I was lucky to find the big cache right away. If it had been small and or if the coordinates hadn’t been so accurate, I could’ve been there for a long time. This was my 11th find of the day.
112516_09_found
A half mile farther southeast I found a small hilltop and set up my low power (5 watt) ham radio and new loop antenna. The usual city background static was absent in the quiet desert. I was surprised to hear so many stations. I talked with some on the east coast and one on Washington Island in British Columbia, Canada. Then just as I noticed the ants crawling on me a stream of 17 motorcycles and ATVs roared by and some peeled off to ride up the back side of “my” hill. All of them were incredibly loud and kicked up HUGE clouds of dust. So I packed up and went back to Barstow. The timing was good because it started to rain an hour later. 112516_10_radio

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One Response to DECEMBER 3, 2016 – WEST OF BARSTOW (+ YERMO)

  1. Jim Carleton says:

    It’s interesting… aside from a few dirt bike tracks, I didn’t see much in the way of tire tracks when I hiked those add-on PTA caches, three weeks before you were out there. I guess I just wasn’t looking :-/ Yes, those are abandoned air strips, from WW2 and after. In one of my logs I wrote about my research on it; it was used for bomber training. I also smelled nothing like a manure pile, so it must have been pretty new. Glad I missed it 🙂 I’m also glad that I didn’t see another soul out there; I needed the P&Q. I’m concerned about a geocoin of ours that I dropped into one of the caches. You said that you didn’t see any at all. I have to hope that the Team Spam group picked it up and just haven’t logged it yet, or that you missed it. Thanks for the info on the Fort Irwin Road area; we’ve not cached out there in many years, but it’s an area I want to visit.

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