I am a proud

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Squire Boone overwhelms us!

Campfire fun!
When our daughter invited us to join her and all of our grandchildren for a Memorial Day camping experience we couldn't say,
"no". Some of our best memories are from campfire stories and conversation while camping with our children and grandchildren. We all agreed to meet after church and to make the one-drive from High Point, NC to a country setting just south of Mocksville, NC.

We had a great time during our camping trip. Hot dogs over the fire, so'mores, an all-terrain vehicle, fishing and some beautiful woods made for a great time. We even set up Becker's Blessing (GC4D2T8), a new geocache to help us remember this great weekend adventure.
Jr. Geocacher fits out for the hunt

We also set up a Jr. Geocachers Training event for our two-year old grandson. While mom and dad set up the pop-up camper and organized the camp, grandma and grandpa took littleman2010 on a mock geocaching hunt. I hid some regular sized caches in the woods near our camp site, gave him a play GPSr I'd made and off he went. My goal was to encourage him to discover the fun of the hunt, understand the concept of trading items and to get him hooked on the game so I'll have a partner later on. He enjoyed finding the caches and picking up swag but became distracted easily with the other camp activities. It was fun for us to watch him.
Found it!
We also took a moment to talk about the significance of Memorial Day. It would be easy to turn Memorial Day into just a weekend for picnics and cookouts....just another day off. As more and more of us are fortunate enough to have no loved ones killed in recent war, the tendency is for the day to loose its true significance. Our family could easily fall into this category. Although we've had many who have served, including myself, for the last almost 150 years we've all come home. We did take a little time to remember two family members, members
A little fishing fun!
whose names and a little of their history is all that we have.

First we remembered Joseph Meredith, our grandchildren's 6 great grandfather, Pvt, 6th Virginia Militia. He died on 25 November 1813 near Lambert's Point, Norfolk, Virginia in the War of 1812. Military records indicate that he, like many soldiers, died of disease. He died of the measles. We don't know where he is buried but we do know that his widow later received a land grant in Washington County, Tennessee for his service.

Second we remembered our grandchildren's 4
great grandfather Joseph Edwards, Pvt, 54th North Carolina Infantry Brigade (Confederate). He died in the last months of the Civil War in the defense of Petersburg, Virginia. When I began to research my wife's family, the only thing her grandmother could tell us about sumajhuarmi's great great grandfather was that he had died in the war and that he had been left out and died of exposure. I was fortunate to be able to find a widow's pension application dated in the late 1800's which identified his unit. A little research turned up a history of the units movements and battles. It was interesting to discover what I think is the answer to our little
mystery. On 6 February 1865 the weather turned unseasonably warm. Union forces began to maneuver after a long winter stalemate. Confederate forces moved to block them. At a small creek called Hatcher's Run they met for a brief but violent clash. As the afternoon wore on the weather began to change. Within a few hours warm spring weather became rain which became sleet. It was mentioned that many of the wounded died on the battlefield from the cold weather. We believe that our Joseph Edwards was among them. He is most likely buried in a mass grave to North Carolina troops at the Blandford Church Cemetery in Petersburg, Virginia.

Squire Boone grave
When we left the Mocksville area we picked up a few geocaches in town. We had to get home in time for another activity so we didn't have a lot of time to look for caches. I intentionally left A Grave Historic Site (GCYVW6) for last since it promised to be an interesting and historic site. As we pulled into the cemetery we saw the historical marker proclaiming that this was the site where Daniel Boone's parents are buried. Wow! We pulled into the cemetery and parked at a gate in a shady area. We tracked towards the GZ. As we went we saw the grave for Squire Boone. We stopped to read the historical marker next to the grave. It showed the lands he had received in the 1750's in various parts of Davie County. Then we took pictures of the graves themselves. The marker gave the history of Daniel Boone's activities in this area before he moved on to Wilkes County and later into Kentucky and fame as a long hunter and explorer. We hopped back in the car and headed for the Interstate. Soon we were
moving at Interstate speed for home. With our minds on all that we had to get done this evening we left Davie County, camping and Squire Boone and his family legacy behind.

About two hours after we got home; after getting a good shower, I settled in to log my cache finds. I always do them in the order that I found them. When I got to the last one I realized that we had been so wrapped up in the history of Squire Boone and Daniel Boone that we never even thought of finding the cache. When I mentioned it to sumajhuarmi she laughed. Neither of us had thought a thing of it. As much as I love geocaching I guess my love for history and historic locations got the best of me today. Others might say that Squire Boone got the best of us. Now we will definitely have to go back to look for this cache.

Our 2013 Memorial Day weekend was great! I hope your's was too!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Passing it on to the a new generation: littleman2010 finds his first cache

Oak Hollow Lake Marina
We've been blessed with the opportunity to care for our third grandchild two days a week while mom and dad are working. Since we have some time to do that we are happy to spend time with littleman2010. That's right, he's 2.5 years old but for over a year has been greeting me by asking if I've been geocaching and what I've found. I bring him little trade items I find in caches. Today sumajhuarmi and I loaded up the carseat (with him in it) and headed to the lake. His afternoon was filled with a picnic, the playground and a Over the Hedge (GC46YK6) up, he was thrilled. At first he wanted everything in the box. When we explained
Going in!
he could trade for one item he still wanted everything in the box but that he was going to share it with his little friends. When we explained it again he got the plastic lizard, palmed it in his left hand and picked up the Spong Bob toy, moved it to his left hand with the plastic lizard and took the key chain. It took him a while to accept the idea that he could only take one item. Spong Bob won out, we signed the log and off we went to the swing set. I'm pleased that his first taste of geocaching was fun. This was an easy one with absolutely no trekking, no bushwhacking, no pain. He's still too young for the trail but now he has experienced geocaching. Will he want to accompany me a year or two from now? I hope so!

I did it!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Lake Junaluska, Susanna Wesley and some geocaching

sumajhuarmi at Lake Junaluska, NC
It was great to have some time off to travel into the North Carolina mountains again. We had planned to come up to the Ridgecrest Conference Center just east of Black Mountain, NC back in October. A medical setback prevented that. So here we are in the rainy spring time. We set out from our home in High Point, NC about 7:30 a.m. We picked up a cache every hour so I could stretch my legs. Doctor's orders and all that. About half way through the trip the weather went from overcast to rainy so we changed up our plans a little. Instead of climbing at Ridgecrest, we decided to travel on to Cherokee, NC. On the way we planned a stop at Lake Junaluska.

We approached Lake Junaluska from the north. I'd never been there but remembered hearing about the United Methodist Conference center that was located there. Every time I traveled from NC to Tennessee I'd see the sign for Junaluka but had never visited. This time I had several things I wanted to see. I also had a few caches in the area I wanted to find. We pulled into the large conference center overlooking the lake and took a few pictures from the high overlook. From there my GPSr indicated that the first cache was along a walking/running trail that circles the lake. It was about 300 feet below us. We decided to drive down to a parking lot close by the cache. From there we walked to the GZ and began the search. As happens sometimes I looked at a likely location but didn't go over to investigate it like I should have. After searching in all the other places I finally went back and found it in the first place I'd looked. When will I ever learn to go with those first hunches? Along with sumajhuarmi I logged the find.

Chief Junaluska statue
We headed back to the car for a short hop over to the statue of Chief Junaluska. I recently discovered a website that tells about some interesting roadside sites worth seeing, the majority not being on the tourist lists. Check out Roadside America for some neat things to see when you next travel in the US or Canada. One of the recommended places to visit was the status of Chief Junaluska. It stands near a beautiful chapel near the lake of the same name. The story goes that Chief Junaluska of the Cherokee fought with Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horse Bend. He was among the "friendly Indians" that assisted Jackson in his fight against the Redstick segment of the Creek Indians in Alabama. It was recorded that Andrew Jackson expressed his gratitude and promised that Junaluska's people would always have their land. As the story goes Junaluska was among the Cherokee rounded up and forced onto the Trail of Tears march from east Tennessee to east Oklahoma in 1838. Chief Junaluska lamented having saved Jackson's life after the poor treatment his people received. Later in life Junaluska escaped Oklahoma and returned to his homeland in the mountains of NC. This lake, a mountain and the conference center are named in his honor.

Just a little further down the road we came to the Susanna Wesley prayer garden. It is nicely landscaped on the side of a hill running down towards the lake. There is a bust of Susanna Wesley, the famous mother of Evangelists John and Charles Wesley. John Wesley is perhaps most famous for being the founder of Methodism. Even more importantly was his emphasis of personal and small group discipleship methods. The story goes that Susanna had nineteen children. In order to give priority to her relationship with God she would take time sometime during the day to pray. The sign that her children should leave her alone for this purpose was when they saw that she had pulled her apron up over her head.

Susanna Wesley statue and prayer garden
Susanna also prioritized time for each of her children. She wrote, "... I cannot but look upon every soul you leave under my charge as a talent committed to me under a trust.... I resolved to begin with my own children, in which I observe the following method. I take such a proportion of time as I can spare every night to discourse with each child apart. On Monday I talk with Molly, on Tuesday with Hetty,...." (and so on). Susanna Wesley's example should encourage us all to seek God and to help our children grow in the knowledge of the Lord as well.

We parked the car in the parking lot to the World Methodist Museum. The Susanna Wesley Prayer Garden is just to the north of the museum. One of the first things you see is her bust. Not far away from there is a nano cache in her honor. It is well-hidden. Persistence helps. Don't give up! Go find Susanna Wesley Garden (GC325GX).

The lake was beautiful and the caching was fun. After about an hour around the lake we headed further southwest to visit Cherokee. That visit will be the subject of a future blog.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

101 Dalmatians series in Montreat, NC

Welcome to Montreat
Montreat, NC is a nice year round retreat area. The Presbyterians have a conference center in the heart of town near Montreat College. After climbing to the top of Lookout Mountain overlooking the town we headed to the Walk Jones park north and above Montreat so we could work south picking up caches, mainly those of the 101 Dalmatian series placed by Laineybug and now maintained by OzGuff. Our first cache attempt (unfortunately we could not find it) was Walk the Jones (GZ1388X). We pulled into a parking space at the Greybeard Trail Head. The GPSr indicated a short walk of about 100 feet up a path leading up a small knoll. What we saw on the top of the knoll was gorgeous! The cache page said it would be near the water and very low. I checked all the spots, even crawled up under the wooden walking bridge and getting down to the waterline on the creek and the small lake. Nothing! A muggle hiker walked up and
Walk the Jones...where are you?
wanted to know what I'd lost. I explained what I was doing. He works with youth in the camps during the summer and immediately saw and application for geocaching. I gave him the website, encouraging him to try out the sport and then introduce it to the youth. He had pass experience with Orienteering so he saw geocaching as a fun twist on a familiar sport. I guess the two are in the same general sports family. Well, no cache but we did get to promote geocaching.

101 Dalmatians #054 -- Cassie
The remaining cache finds were along Flat Creek descending into Montreat. In most cases there were good pull off locations to park and then under 100 feet to walk. In one case we drove up to the end of a small side road. The road ended at a gate blocking our way into a park/camp. We parked and headed to the large rock that dominated the landscape. The cache was somewhere around the rock according to the cache page. We began a search of the large rock, then we moved out to smaller rocks in the surrounding area. Still no cache. Then sumajhuarmi returned to the large rock and reached way back into a crevice at ground level. Out came the cache. We had 101 Dalmatians #054 -- Cassie!

We hopped back in the van and headed further down the road paralleling Flat Creek. The rhododendron completely obscured the view of the creek in most places. Between it and the rocks, there were lots of great hiding spots for sizable geocaches.  #059 in the 101 Dalmatian series was a fun one too. We parked in a small pullover, then we headed back into the rhododendron. We could see a slight geo-trail which assured us we were on the right track. Soon a large rock with a nice crevice covered by another rock, obviously placed by human hands, informed us that we were there. Sure enough, a nice regular size cache.

sumajhuarmi at Lake Susan
A short distance further put us into the Montreat College and Conference Center area. The next cache was a micro and purported to be a 3.5 difficulty. We parked and walked into the little park alongside Lake Susan. This man-made lake is surrounded by beautiful stone buildings for the Presbyterian Conference Center. The GPSr tracked to a gazebo near the lake. We began the search and soon had the micro in our hands. What was to be a difficult hunt was, in fact, a quick one. 

We grabbed another cache in the series at the local Post Office. Then we stopped for the last in our series. It was described as "Kebbler-ish". I pulled into a side road and parked. There were some muggle workmen nearby but they seemed unconcerned as I headed north on the walking trail that descended to creek side. Up the trail I found the place that elves would choose to live...and I found the cache! 

Flat Creek
Montreat is a nice place and the 101 Dalmation series provides a variety of cache sizes and difficulty ratings. They are well-hidden and allow you to see some beautiful scenery. There's nothing like the North Carolina Mountains! Ya'll come see us.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Downtown small town Kernersville, NC geocaching walk

The Guardian Angel

Black art
Well babyshowers are just not for me. sumajhuarmi knows that so she had no trouble letting me off the hook if I would drop her off at my sister's childcare facility one Saturday afternoon. She and our granddaughter had a good time celebrating the upcoming birth of our new great niece. In the mean time I parked
Urban Housing is for the birds

Kernersville Railway Station

Soiler - What's left of the Mighty Mountains here

Tavern of Jule Korner in the 1800's
the car and took off walking a pre-planned route through parts of Kernersville, North Carolina.

I found some interesting urban caches as I worked my way through this small downtown area. Some were, as you can see to the left, fitting urban housing for the birds. Others were a strange kind of urban artwork, perfect for a magnetic keyholder box. As you can probably tell from the picture, the Guardian Angel was overlooking a nice place to stash a cache.

Probably my favorite cache of the day was an earthcache located in the heart of downtown K'town. The Mighty Mountains of Kernersville! (GC1X47P) is located next to the old railroad depot near a flagpole. The landscaping included some old rocks that are of geological significance, thus the opportunity to learn something. Today you have to drive a far piece to find a mountain!

There were several frustrating caches. You know the kind; the ones that require you to abandon all pretenses of stealth in order to even look for them. There was one right outside the window of the police station near a statue commemorating the service the police provide to the community, It was a nice location but full of muggle observers. Add to that the fact that it wasn't an easy cache. I had to go with a DNF on this one and move on. Thankfully most of the caches were more rewarding.

Being on foot and having no map in hand I trekked down a side street thinking it would take me to a wooded GZ. I cut in behind some apartments and along a sewer line. The going got rough with briers so big that I couldn't keep going. I used to push through these and just take the punishment. Since going on blood thinners I've had to change my behavior a little. I pulled back to avoid the blood flow. I worked my way around the long way without having to leave the woods only to find that my path was blocked by an industrial fence. The only way to this cache would be by backtracking and walking a half hour around several blocks to get to the other side. So much for that cache.

Along the way I came up on a downtown mural that portrays an early tavern that served the stagecoach traffic through this community. The town got its name from the owner. The actual building stands along one of the downtown streets just south of the center of town.

All in all I had a good day. For me it sure beat sitting in the car waiting on sumajhuarmi. Or better yet it beat having to go to the shower. I received a call from sumajhuarmi a little ahead of my schedule. I wasn't through with my list of potential cache finds when she located me and took me home. K'town has some nice little caches, some best hunted by parking and leaving your car somewhere.

No matter where you are, if there are caches to be had there is a good chance that you can have some fun!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Revolutionary War Heros from Georgia...and a geocache

We were traveling up Highway 221 from Douglas, GA headed towards Augusta. Along the way we came through the town of Louisville, GA. On the outskirts of town there is a sign announcing the location of a Revolutionary War Cemetery. We pulled in a small paved lane that took us through a wooded area opening into a large cemetery clearing. The Spanish moss hanging from the trees of the well-kept cemetery was beautiful. The first thing we did was to walk to the GZ for Louisville Revolutionary War Cemetery (GC1KZ7H). The walk was easy and the cache was a large ammo can. We signed the log and then hurried back to the main attraction: the cemetery itself. We began to walk among the headstones. These are men who fought to establish our country. Who were these heroes? Some had settled in Georgia before the war began, others came here to set land granted to them as a result of their service. There were approximately 13 veterans of this war buried here. I did a little research on line and found that there is little recorded to tell us about the lives of most of these men. I did, however, uncover the following about two of the men buried in the cemetery:

Paddy Carr
Patrick "Paddy" Carr -- Born in Ireland but settled in Georgia before the Revolutionary War. According to Draper, The Heroes of King's Mountain, Carr was involved in several battles and forays against the British and their Tory supporters within Georgia. Most notable was his participation in the Battle of King's Mountain among Major Candler's men. He was known as a valiant fighter, often refusing quarter to surrendering troops. Claims are that he killed over 100 Tories during the war. He was murdered in August, 1802. It is said his death was a revenge killing by descendants of a Tory he killed during the war.

Brigadier General James Gunn -- He served as part of the Virginia line. After moving to Savannah, Ga he rose through the ranks. He became one of Georgia's first US Senators after the war. He is most notable for having challenged Nathaniel Greene to a duel over an insult Greene issued sometime during the war. To the best of our knowledge no duel took place between the men.

I hope you get the chance to visit this little town and its historic cemetery.

General James Gunn

A portion of the cemetery

Sons of the American Revolution marker


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Got oil?: A Texas Tea Kinda Earthcache

The well that started the boom
My new muggle friend in the GZ

Joe Roughneck Time Capsule
 Even with the rain we were able to get out and see some of the area. A new friend who had never heard of geocaching was willing to take me and sumajhuarmi to visit Pioneer Park, a pull off along Texas Highway 64 west of Henderson, TX. What's so interesting about this little roadside park with picnic tables and historical markers? First, it is set to commemorate the first oil well to be tapped in this giant oil field in 1930. A wildcatter well driller named Dad Joiner had already put down two dry holes. He was on his third try when he hit oil. The resulting boom in the search for oil and in hiring attracted thousands of oil workers from many parts of the US. The little towns around the region began to grow in every respect as roughnecks and their families came to town to do their shopping. Many lived in the oil company camps. Even today you can see the operating oil wells in the region. The number of derricks you see is much less.

Second, it is the home of both an earthcache and a small regular cache. We approached from the east we could see the small derrick shaped covers over the picnic tables. We pulled in and went to the GZ for Earthcache Got Oil? (GC2B6FZ). Upon arrival the requirements took us to the Joe Roughneck monument. It told of the role these men played in the oil communities. They were normally men who came in from outside the community looking for employment. They have a fame as a rough and ready crowd of hard workers. We gathered the information necessary to gain credit for the geocache. Once done I convinced my friend that we could also find a regular geocache just 140 feet away. We sat out in the light rain until we arrived at the GZ for this cache. I stopped, thought about where I'd hide a cache if it were me, and then I looked. It was right there in the first place I looked. I showed my friend how you sign the log and replace the cache. He was happy for me but I didn't see any lights going off so I don't think I have a convert in this friend.

If you get the chance to visit Henderson, be sure to head west a little in order to visit the Pioneer Park.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

World Wide Flash Mob X, 4 May 2013: Atlanta Style

sumajhuarmi and I left home at 6 a.m. We might be some of the earliest risers and travelers to get to a WWFM event in the US. We had to travel from High Point, NC to Evergreen, Alabama today. Since today holds special significance for geocachers around the world, and particularly for fans of the Podcacher podcast, available on iTunes, we just had to plan to attend one of those events somewhere along the way. I began by searching for events along Interstate 85. Soon I found WWFM X:Atlanta, GA: Dazed and Glazed (GC454NM). It looked like my best option since Ground Zero time would be 1 p.m. If we left at 6 a.m., calculating distance, speed, a ten-minute leg stretching break every hour to prevent blood clots in my legs (doctor's orders...and good orders at that), and a little time for food and gas, we'd make it in time to participate in our first stateside WWFM event. Last year we hosted Peru's first ever WWFM. We had a whopping four participants! Maybe this time we'll do a little better!

The good folks responsible for this event
We traveled south on Interstate 85 under overcast skies, stopping every 50 minutes or so to look for a cache. As we neared Atlanta we found that we'd made good time so we rewarded ourselves with an early lunch at Cracker Barrel. Once back on the road the rain picked up. Our next stop was a Krispy Creme Donut Shop in downtown Atlanta. Once off the Interstate we made our way through downtown Atlanta to the location of the event. We were early so we went inside to get out of the rain and sample the donuts. It looked like others had the same idea. We didn't introduce ourselves nor did we have the geocaching hats and shirts that others did. We were covert as you should be at flash mobs. We saw a well-dressed lady standing off to the side enjoying a cup of coffee. "Certainly she's not one of us", I thought. At 1 p.m. we converged at the GZ and met our host, Nixant, representing the Atlanta Area GeocachersWe were probably 25 participants in all. The well-dressed lady was there among us. It goes to prove that what Sonny and Sandy of Podcacher say is true. We geocachers are a fine looking group of people! After signing the log we each received a ticket for a drawing to come a few minutes later. Nixant had us tell our geocaching names and immediately had a helper draw a name from the hat. I rarely win at things like this but I had sumajhuarmi along and she usually does win. She was busy getting a photo of a travel bug tag when she realized she'd won the prize: a brand new WWFM X geocoin from Podcacher! Wow! I'm proud of her! We got a few pictures, took shots of several travel bug ID tags and headed outside to try to find another cache on the property. The owner of Krispy Kache (GC202R7) encouraged us to go for it in spite of the rain. Off the mob went. There must have been ten

sumajhuarmi (the winner) with Nixant
of us gathered around the GZ in the parking lot. One of the gang actually found the cache and tossed it thinking it was something repulsive. Suddenly we were all looking through a fence at the cache two full arm lengths away and out of reach. We were beginning to work like a team. I had my hiking pole extended to
The big prize!
the max and someone ran to the car for some duct tape. We were preparing to use the sticky part of the duct tape to retrieve the despicable cache container and get to the log. Just then the cacher who had tossed the cache appears on the other side of the fence. I have no idea how she found a way in as it looked completely closed off. She retrieved the cache and we all signed our names. The rain was coming down harder and we'd overstayed our time at the WWFM so off we headed in our car into more torrential rain as we headed south on I-85 into Alabama. As we crossed into Alabama the sun came out and the temperature climbed from 51 degrees F to 68 degrees F within a half hour. It was nice to see the sun again. We had a great WWFM this year!
I'm eager to hear about the total number of cachers who participated worldwide. Thanks Atlanta Area Geocachers for the event!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tex Ritter and a geocache too

Jerry McMath, our host this week

Inductee Kris Kristofferson 

Inductee Meal McCoy

Inductee Willy Nelson

Inductee Buck Owens

Famous Cowboy sketches
After speaking to a crowded room at a local church in Carthage, TX, we came across the street behind the church to visit the Tex Ritter Museum and Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. After paying the $5.00 per person fee we entered the museum. If you are like me and you like country music, then this will be a nice visit for you. The many displays ranged from inductees such as Buck Owens, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jim Reeves, Linda Davis, Jimmy Dean (yes, he has done more than sausage), George Jones, Kris Kristofferson and many others. I was surprised to find out that Kris Kristofferson served as a helicopter pilot in the same aviation battalion I served in while in Germany. He was in and out of there before me but I found it strange that while serving there this wasn't mentioned. It seems that the unit would have been proud of this connection. The museum contains a jukebox where you can select the songs of these great artist of country music to listen to as you browse around. The gift shop was great too! Out front is a larger-than-life sized statue of Tex Ritter sitting around his campfire and playing his guitar, his faithful horse in the background. Speaking of the background, just around the back of the museum is geocache Tex Ritter/Texas Country Music Hall of Fame (GC2J62R). We tracked around to the back and were able to located this micro with ease. The top was a little hard to get back on but so be it. We had a good time in Carthage, Texas. I hope you'll get the chance to visit sometime.