I am a proud

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Lynchburg to Danville, VA geocaching run

Our daughter just finished her first semester at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Paula and I made a trip up to help her move back home for the Christmas and New Year Holidays. It is great to have her with us now. We took her to her new favorite restaurant, Panera, to celebrate. She and her mom took off heading home in Rubi's car and I drove home in our car so I could hit a number of geocaches along the way. On several trips to Liberty University I've passed by a cache that is on a trail near a wayside park area. This time I stopped and found J.P. Phillips Wayside (GC4D65). The weather was crisp and cool in the afternoon hours when I hiked up the hill to find this one. It was hidden in a tall stump from a fallen tree. I stopped in Altavista to pick up several other caches. One was 3P Micro (GCF611), located just off Highway 29. I'd stopped the night we drove back from taking Rubi to start school at Liberty University in August and couldn't find it. It was night that first time. My daughter Beth and I got mixed signals on the GPSr and went fumbling around in the dark, only able to light up the guardrail where we thought the cache was hidden with cell phone screen lights. We kept getting signal indicating that it was near and then it would shift to a couple of hundred feet away. With all the night traffic whizzing by we gave up and headed home that summer night. This time it was broad daylight and obvious the mistake I had made the first time I looked. I swung up on the exit off of the highway, turned right and found a small road to the right which wound back down to an area near the highway guardrail. The cache was hidden in a site not too far from the originally searched guardrail but on a different road and a different guardrail a stones throw away. It was an easy daylight find for me. Others might have done better at night than me. As the sun was beginning to set I arrived on the eastern outskirts of Danville, Virginia. I stopped in at the Dan Daniel Memorial Park. Danville has some "Dan's" to commemorate it seems. I found Danville Veterans Memorial (GC1WYDZ), a nice memorial to our fall war heroes. Just a short trot up the Turkey Trot Trail in the park took me to Turkey Trot (GC412D). There are a number of nice caches listed for this park. I wished I had more time to spend here but the sun was setting and our family had some celebrating to do tonight now that Rubi is home. I set out to make it to Greensboro, NC and family.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blue Ridge Parkway Winter Caching - Fancy Gap to Roanoke, Virginia

To celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary Paula and I took off up the Blue Ridge Parkway for an overnight trip to Roanoke, Virginia. We got a late start after a leisurely morning and a lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. We traveled up past Pilot Mountain, NC and up through Fancy Gap, Virginia. The view of Surrey County, NC all the way back to the Pilot is incredible from Fancy Gap. We picked up a few caches along the highway. At Fancy Gap we picked up the Blue Ridge Parkway north to Roanoke. It was overcast and cold but with no precipitation. Our first cache was called Jasper (GC16B4D) hidden deep in the Rhododendron along Round Meadow Creek. We had to hike in along the trail and then bushwhack in. The problem with Rhododendron is that to get through it you either have to crawl or walk all hunched over. We had about a 100 foot bushwhack so it was a chore. As we worked our way in along a particular heading we lost satellite signal. We came back out on the original trail. Once we got some signal again we started back in and quickly lost signal. This time we tried to measure our steps for distance and hold the heading as best we could. Then Paula saw the ammo can sitting beside a Rhododendron. Nobody is going to stumble on it out here unless they come looking for it. Nice cache! From here we headed a few miles further north to Millin' and Stillin' (GCH61V), a virtual cache at the famous Mabry Mill near Meadows of Dan. This was a neat place. We learned the history of the mill and took some pictures. This is the most famous mill and photo opportunity along the parkway. We completed the requirements for the cache and headed on. Soon we arrived at Rocky Knob. The large rock formations in the fields along the road begged us to stop. We took a few pictures before heading on down the parkway. Our next stop was Grandparents Visit (GCAF9A) as we got near Roanoke. It was an easy overlook cache hidden in a traditional way. Along the way we saw 20 deer grazing in the fields, some close to where we passed. They were not afraid of us, only lumbering away as though we were bothering them. I guess we were. The parkway winds down from on high to the valley at Roanoke. As we came down the day was ending and we could see the familiar Peaks of Otter Mountain further up the parkway. We found our hotel and settled in for a comfortable evening.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Caching Day with my Grandson

There's nothing like being able to get out into the woods with my grandson. Today was a warm, sunny day during the Thanksgiving holidays. Our primary goal was to hide two ammo cans my grandchildren painted at the North Carolina Geocachers Organization Fall Fling at Murrow Mountain last month. A little later in the day we discovered that the NC Reviewer suggested we move one of our caches as it was too close to the final stage of a multi-cache. The reviewer understood that having not done the multi-cache we couldn't have known where the final stage was. We headed out on our own quest for cache finds after hiding the ammo boxes. We visited several caches placed by a local cacher named White Dragon Clan. He has some great caches in the Piedmont Environmental Center along the trails and near the lake. Brandon enjoyed the swag. As we pushed south from the center we came into the High Point City Lake Park. At the south end of the park we found an historical house that stands from the early 1800's. Across the street from it is the Mendenhall Plantation. This was a Quaker farm dating from the Revolutionary War period. One of our favorite caches was Historic Jamestown (GC1MP8B). It was hidden in a small community of shops, all decorated to reflect the appearance of the 1800's. Just off the parking lot we found the cache in a hollow in a tree about eye level. I normally cache alone. It was great to have Brandon along today!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Emerald Isle, NC geocaching run -- a warm November Sunday!

Thanks to an invitation to speak in a church in Maysville, NC we had the opportunity to head over to the coast for a short 1.5 hour visit on Sunday afternoon before driving across country to Wadesboro, NC. It was an unusually warm November Day. It was only a thirty-minute drive from Maysville to Emerald Isle. We parked at the pier and went out for a while. There were lots of fishermen on the pier. There were even a few folks in the surf it was so warm. Paula even took off her shoes and waded in the water for a while. From Emerald Isle we headed into Jacksonville, NC to stop at the monument memorializing the Marines whose lives were taken in a terrorist bombing in Beirut almost 30 years ago. We visited the memorial and looked for the geocache there. It is They came in peace (GC12ZHW). We weren't able to find it but took some time to look at the memorial and remember that some paid the high price of their lives for our freedom. We traveled through towns like Wallace, White Lake, Lumberton, Laurinburg and Rockingham to get to Wadesboro well after dark. The sun goes down at 5:30 now! We stopped along the way to pick up a number of caches, mostly park and grab types. It was a great day topped off by a visit to Wadesboro's brand new Waffle House with Paula's Aunt Claire Ann and her cousin Tammy. I slept in late the next day.