Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for August, 2010

Looking out over the valley from GZ on one of the caches (with quite a few farm workers in the field)

Looking out over the valley from GZ on one of the caches (with quite a few farm workers in the field)

We’ve been doing other things for most of the vacation so thought we’d have another day caching as there are so many caches to find around here.

Where's the F in hill? ;-)

Where's the F in hill? ;-)

I’d been looking at the 126 on 126 series before we left the UK as it was in a more rural area and there were tons of caches to potentially look for. It’s about a 45 minute drive north of where we are staying in another valley and is essentially 126 caches set along Highway 126. The caches themselves are set on quiet adjoining roads as the 126 itself is way too busy to cache comfortably along.

Signing the logbook at a cache earlier in the day

Signing the logbook at a cache earlier in the day

On the way we stopped off at an unexpected Earthcache we spotted on TomTom as we passed. This turned out to be great fun and a really interesting spot with lots of unusual geology. Link: Grimes Canyon Burnt Shale.

Huge cactii near to one of the caches

Huge cactii near to one of the caches

Once on the 126 on 126 series itself, we got off to a quick start at #39 in the series. The numbering of the caches seems to be a bit random so we just took the route that looked best to us on the GPSr. The whole area was really scenic, with lemon, lime and orange groves along with quite a few palm tree and what looked like cactus farms.

Which cache do we go for next? So many to choose from!

Which cache do we go for next? So many to choose from!

The caches were great fun with a HUGE variety of hides and containers. Quite a few of the caches involved climbing down into gulleys or stretching high up for the cache. You never knew what to expect next :-).

Love the graphics on this sign - a "really" rural farmer ;-)

Love the graphics on this sign - a "really" rural farmer ;-)

Along the way, we did various other stand alone caches, including two virtuals in beautiful and historic Fillmore. We stopped here for a look around the lovely old town and some much needed drinks.

One of the virtual caches in Fillmore - a lovely wooden statue of a Chumash native American.

One of the virtual caches in Fillmore - a lovely wooden statue of a Chumash native American.

Towards the end of the day we ended up in Santa Paula and opted to cache our way round town, doing quite a few non-series caches as we went along. Apart from a string of about 5 DNF’s in the foothills, nothing was too difficult here.

Signing the logbook at one of the caches towards the end of the day

Signing the logbook at one of the caches towards the end of the day

We ended up the day with 131 finds and a really fun time was had by all. We really enjoyed the massive variety of cache hides and the challenges actually getting to some of them.

Read Full Post »

After completing the ET Highway series in Nevada over the last few days, we fancied something a bit different today.

We realised we were pretty close to the corner where Nevada, Arizona and Utah all met, so decided to go off and see if we could find a cache in each of these three States and then add a cache in California later in the day.

Here are the photos of “Isaac with the cache” from each of them. It might be a few days before we get chance to log the caches as we have a backlog of about 1200+ caches to log.

Arizona: Heart Break Hotel

Arizona: Heart Break Hotel

Arizona: Heart Break Hotel

Utah: Benchmark: HO0385 ” B 366 “

Utah: Benchmark: HO0385 " B 366"

Utah: Benchmark: HO0385 " B 366"

Nevada: Off the Reservation

Nevada: Off the Reservation

Nevada: Off the Reservation

California: Desert Country

California: Desert Country

California: Desert Country

We also did a few other caches while on our travels, including a virtual on the strip in Las Vegas.

Read Full Post »

Us part way through the series, standing right next to one of the caches

Us part way through the series, standing right next to one of the caches

One of the things we wanted to do on this summer’s holiday was to try the massive ET Highway series in the Nevada desert.

TomTom showing all the caches laid out along the road before us

TomTom showing all the caches laid out along the road before us

We decided to do it at the start of the holiday so stayed overnight near LAX after arriving from the UK and caught the red-eye to Las Vegas very early the next morning. Once we’d picked up the hire car, we did a few warm up caches around Vegas before driving north for just over an hour to our hotel in Alamo.

Signing the logbook and checking the next cache

Signing the logbook and checking the next cache

Once we’d settled in, we could not resist making a start on this HUGE series. We started off at #001 and got as far as #101 before the jetlag started to take it’s toll and we needed to get back to the hotel for some food and more importantly some sleep.

A non-series cache we picked up along the highway

A non-series cache we picked up along the highway

The next day we woke nice and early and after a hearty breakfast at the hotel, set off to try and get 300+ caches in the day. We started where we left off last night at #102 and ended up carrying on all the way to #753, picking up a few non series caches along the way.

The ET Highway

The ET Highway

The caches are all very close together and quite a few at the miniumum 528ft required for listing on GC.com. We were expecting them to be all the same container (they were – 35mm film cans) and the same hide – they were not – there was some variety:

  • at the base of the marker posts that are along the side of the road
  • under piles of rocks (known as un-natural rock piles in these parts)
  • in the top of marker posts
  • in the top of these plastic tubes that had been banged into the sand
  • probably a few more that don’t spring to mind
Discussing tactics while signing the log

Discussing tactics while signing the log

All were pretty easy finds but the rock pile ones took slightly longer to find than others. During the day we topped out at about 60 finds per hour but most hours it was more like 50 finds or so (still very good by normal standards).

A non-series cache at the start of the ET Highway

A non-series cache at the start of the ET Highway

Day 3 dawned and we had another hearty breakfast before starting out to do #754 to #1022 and then tackle the 51 Alien Head caches. These were great fun as they are arranged in the shape of an alien’s head off-road in the desert – it looks really good when you view them in Google Earth.

Finding the 1000th cache in the series

Finding the 1000th cache in the series

All too soon (well, actually a good few hours) we had come to #1022 and finished the ET Series. It was a bit surreal seeing no caches on the TomTom ahead after two and a bit days of never ending cache symbols stretching out before us.

Which way next?

Which way next?

We drove the 50 or so miles back to near the centre of the ET Series and set off around the Alien’s Head series. Isaac was set the task of navigating and after a fun few hours we had all the caches found.

At the far end of the ET Highway - cache #1022

At the far end of the ET Highway - cache #1022

On the way back to our hotel in Alamo we stopped to find a few stand alone caches around town. I’m not sure of the exact number of finds each day but it was something like:

  • Day 1: 122
  • Day 2: 658
  • Day 3: 322
The whole area is an open range so you have to watch out for wandering cows as you drive along / get the caches

The whole area is an open range so you have to watch out for wandering cows as you drive along / get the caches

A really fun few days in a very different place for a vacation. We absolutely loved where we were staying – the Windmill Ridge in Alamo – as it had individual log cabins with great views all around. If anyone is going to do this series, you’d do a lot worse than stay here.

Read Full Post »

Looking down the canal on the Shep's Walk series

Looking down the canal on the Shep's Walk series

Ooops – I nearly forgot to write about this one…

The day before our holiday I had to pick up a computer from the Apple repairer’s in Stoke so decided to do some of the many caches that have come out recently while I was there. This was mainly cannonedwards’ Oranges series around Lyme Valley Park but also Shep’s Dog Walk series near to M6 J15. Along the way there were a few stand-alone caches.

Looking down into Lyme Valley Park from GZ at one of the Oranges caches

Looking down into Lyme Valley Park from GZ at one of the Oranges caches

I picked up a quick cannonedwards Puzzle cache (link) on the way into Newcastle and a nearby Traditional before going straight to pick up the Mac. After that I did a few quick and easy caches on my way back down towards Newcastle and the Oranges series. Nothing too taxing here.

A cricket match in full play, next to Lyme Valley Park

A cricket match in full play, next to Lyme Valley Park

Once in Newcastle, I parked the Jeep at a nearby Homebase store and set off on foot for the Oranges series. This is a set of 6 or so caches around the really nice Lyme Valley Park. We’ve been here for other (now archived) caches so knew our way round and the caches were all quick easy finds, with just one DNF on a cache that was missing. Some fun hides on some of them too, which is always appreciated.

Love this public art over the River Trent on the Shep's Walk

Love this public art over the River Trent on the Shep's Walk

Next, I headed over to just south of M6 J15 for the Shep’s Walk series. This is a set of 11 caches set around a local cacher’s dog walking route, including sections along a canal, along the River Trent and through some more urban housing areas. I had a great walk round all the caches and found them all without too much trouble.

The Britannia Stadium - home of Stoke City FC. Seen from the canal on the Shep's Walk series.

The Britannia Stadium - home of Stoke City FC. Seen from the canal on the Shep's Walk series.

After I was finished, I still had an hour left so decided to head up towards Keele University to try for some of the new caches there. As usual when I go here, I could not find anywhere to park as you seem to need student permits to park without getting your car towed away. In the end I opted to drive the Jeep down a Byway by the M6 and come into Keele Woods for the two caches there from that direction.

A lovely pool in the middle of Keele woods

A lovely pool in the middle of Keele woods

I had great fun bumping my way along the pot-holed Byway and parked up by a handy entrance to the woods. A nice walk through the lovely woods then took me to the first cache. As I approached, it was clear two other cachers were there already looking for the cache. It was the Water-Rats – great to meet you both.

We did this and the next cache toegether before parting and I then headed home to pack my bag for our holiday tomorrow.

Read Full Post »

Me with one of the caches in the series to the south of Stafford

Me with one of the caches in the series to the south of Stafford

This morning I had to pop into Stafford to pay some cheques in at the bank so decided to clear up all the new caches around the town while I was there. This involved 9 caches in total, so it should not take too long.

The first cache was on the way (well, on a scenic version of the way with a bit of a diversion from my normal route to Stafford ;)). A nice quick find was had and I was soon parking up in Stafford.

After I’d finished at the bank and grabbed myself a free coffee from Starbucks courtesy of a voucher we got from a Starbucks in London last weekend, I went off to find the only other town centre cache. This was a quick find and a very audacious hide in plain sight on a bench in the middle of a roundabout that must get used by muggles all the time.

Very wet and cloudy views to the south from one of the caches

Very wet and cloudy views to the south from one of the caches

The remaining caches were all to the south of the town and nothing presented a problem apart from the last one. I’ll copy my log for the cache below, which explains things:

I won’t embarrass myself and say how long it took me to find this one.

Oh, go on then… it took me quite some time and two visits!

I’d arrived at dinnertime and the car park was really busy with people arriving with children to have dinner at the pub very near to GZ. My GPSr was actually pointing a short way up the bank towards the roundabout at the motorway junction so after a quick prod around in the car park I drove round to there.

Nowhere sensible to hide a cache up there and nowhere safe to park either. The cache MUST be in the car park somewhere. I returned but even more people were hanging around in the car park and it was near on impossible to search as a lone male very close to parked cars. The last thing I wanted was someone spotting me and thinking I may be about to break into a car.

I reluctantly gave up the search and walked away muttering something about people hiding caches in busy car parks in lots of (e)vil, right by where people park their cars.

After I’d done the next cache, I decided to check the cache page for this one on my iPhone and spotted a picture from the FTF’s log. This confirmed exactly where I should be searching so I decided to return for one last look.

This time I went right to the correct GZ and looked slightly away from the corner and spotted the cache – phew!

I returned home felling pretty happy with myself for clearing up all the caches in the town and surrounding area. This was shortlived though as I was sat eating some dinner when in came two new cache notifications and both for caches to extend the series I’d just thought I’d completed to the south of Stafford.

Oh well, at least I’ll have some caches to find the next time I have to go to Stafford :).

p.s. the (e)vil I refer to in my log above is the ROT13 of ivy with an extra e added to perfectly describe the hide. It’s the UK equivalent of a Lamp Post Cache (in that it’s a boring and un-imaginative hide) and not a fun hide as there are a lot of possibilities to check to get the cache found.

Read Full Post »

A short break in London

Isaac and Freya with one of the traditional caches we found

Isaac and Freya with one of the traditional caches we found

We headed off to London for a long weekend this weekend as it was Isaac’s birthday and we’d also been promising to take Freya to London for ages. We booked a hotel near to Baker Street and off we set.

Friday 6 August 2010

We caught the train to Euston station and travelled the short distance by underground to our hotel to drop our bags off. We then headed off to do some touristy things (and find a few caches!).

By the Houses of Parliament, not far from a virtual cache

By the Houses of Parliament, not far from a virtual cache

First stop was Buckingham Palace, from where we walked down the Mall to Trafalgar Square to bag a new Earthcache at a statue in the square. A bit of an odd place for an Earthcache but great fun nonetheless – there was even a fossil to find in some stone at GZ, which the children really liked.

Us on the London Eye

Us on the London Eye

We then headed down Whitehall to do a virtual cache near the Houses Of Parliament, on the way to a trip on the London Eye. After we’d rode the Eye, we did a few more caches round the Waterloo area before heading over to Victoria for a few more caches, including one outside the old home of Ian Fleming, who was the famous author of the James Bond books.

Saturday 7 August 2010

First stop today was St Paul’s Cathederal as we’d all wanted to climb up to the Whispering Gallery for ages and it seemed like a good time as any to do it. The fact there were lots of Virtual caches in the area might have helped the decision too ;-).

At the very top of St Paul's Cathedral at a virtual cache

At the very top of St Paul's Cathedral at a virtual cache

From St Paul’s we headed down towards the River Thames for one more Virtual and then the Little Quest cache that represents London. This is a series of caches, one in each county of England, all leading to a final bonus cache hidden somewhere in Lancashire. We’re never ever going to finish the series, but do try and do any from the series if we are near them.

At the top of the monument to the Great Fire of London on Pudding Lane

At the top of the monument to the Great Fire of London on Pudding Lane

The last cache of the day was a Virtual at the top of the HUGE monument to the Great Fire of London in Pudding Lane. This is somewhere Freya has wanted to see for ages – in fact ever since she did about it at school.

Sunday 8 August 2010

We were running out of touristy areas with many caches left to find today, so ended up heading off to look round the Tower of London in the morning. We managed to find our way into the City and do a few caches around the area after coming out of the Tower.

At a Sherlock Holmes themed virtual cache near to where we stayed

At a Sherlock Holmes themed virtual cache near to where we stayed

From there, we headed off to do a webcam cache at Oxford Circus before hitting the shops for a few hours. Just our luck, the wevbcam was down for the few hours we were in the area, so we took a snap of the webcam down image and took our own photo of Isaac at GZ anyway. Thankfully the cache owner has let this stand as a find under the circumstances :-).

Freya with a Beefeater at the Tower of London

Freya with a Beefeater at the Tower of London

The last cache in London was a cache we’d DNF’d on our last trip to the area, just off Regent Street. This time I’d studied the photos on the cache page and we walked until we could match the photos and had an easy find.

Great artwork near to an urban cache near Waterloo

Great artwork near to an urban cache near Waterloo

Just time for a visit to the MEGA-HUGE new Apple Store that opened in Covent Garden yesterday (did I say it’s absolutely HUGE? ;-)) and some tea before we had to catch the train home.

A great few days away with lots of things seen and done, but not that many caches found. Then again, we were not expecting to find that many caches as that’s not the main reason we went to London :-).

Read Full Post »

Isaac with a cache near to Stoke On Trent

Isaac with a cache near to Stoke On Trent

We don’t usually do much caching in the week but with the school holidays on, we inevitably end up finding a few.

4th August 2010

Isaac and Mrs Bolas Heathens had a few errands to run in Stafford and Stoke, so stopped off to find a quick three caches. Not much to report from what I hear apart from 3 easy finds.

5th August 2010

I had an hour spare just after dinner so decided to head out and pick off our closest cache to home – a cache by RAF Tern Hill, an active airfield and army barracks. I was a bit apprehensive about the cache given it’s proximity to MOD land and the very real risk of armed guards wondering what the heck I was up to. Thankfully it was an easy find, but it was (just about) on MOD land which is not allowed. I see now a Reviewer has archived the cache, which all things considered is very much the right thing to do. The last thing we want is our hobby coming under scrutiny for all the wrong reasons.

Me with one of the caches in Whitchurch

Me with one of the caches in Whitchurch

I was enjoying myself so decided to head off to Whitchurch to clear up the (quite a) few new caches that had spriung up recently in the area. On the way I picked up a straggler cache near Malpas in Cheshire that we’d been meaning to do for ages.

Not much to report on the Whitchurch caches apart from lots of very tricky and camo’d micros in ivy (not our favourite type of find at all). Two of them do stand out though as they were decent sized boxes full of decent swaps and hidden in nice locations.

Our FTF in a very dark Warrington

Our FTF in a very dark Warrington

I’d been working on a puzzle cache called Blank Canvas just to the south of Warrington on and off for the last few days and just after tea today I had a flash of inspiration on the final part of the puzzle and the cache co-ords were then revealed. I’d not normally drive just over an hour for FTF but given how many people are currently working on the same puzzle, I could not resist.

A quick call to Allun from the Shropshire Seeekers to see if he wanted to tag along and we were on our way. By the time we had arrived it was dark, so out came the torches for the walk over the fields to GZ. The cache was an easy find and we were delighted to see we were FTF :-).

Read Full Post »

Us at an Earthcache on a hill overlooking Perth

Us at an Earthcache on a hill overlooking Perth

We’d been umm’ing and ahh’ing over whether to go to the Mega Scotland event in Perth this weekend as it’s a heck of a long way to drive for one event, even if it is a Mega Event. By Friday afternoon we’d hatched a plan to fly to Edinburgh and then hire a car for the trip to Perth (and to give us easy access round the many caches in the general area).

On Friday night we flew up and picked up one quick cache by our hotel in Glenrothes before retiring for the night.

Arriving in Edinburgh - it's already dark at home by now!

Arriving in Edinburgh - it's already dark at home by now!

Saturday 31 July 2010

On Saturday morning we were up quite early and picked off a few caches on the drive to Perth, which was about 25 mins drive away from where we were staying. We arrived at the Mega Event with 55 minutes to spare before the Opening Ceremony so decided to dash round the town centre caches as quick as we could.

Views over towards West Lomond (the round topped hill in the background)

Views over towards West Lomond (the round topped hill in the background)

Nothing too taxing here, apart from having to miss out one cache where you had to go down a tunnel on the banks of the River Tay. On the way round we bumped into the Lydford Locators, One Last Look, Browni and The West Viewers plus a few other cachers we can’t remember the names of!

Looking down to Perth from Picnic Hill

Looking down to Perth from Picnic Hill

Back at the Mega Event, we arrived in time for a quick chat with friends before the festivities got underway. A lone piper signalled the start of things and lead the Commitee, Jeremy Irish and Signal The Frog into the event area. Once the speeches were over, we had a quick look around before arranging a caching trip out with pete37038 and the linedancers.

Cachers line to up sign the logbook at an urban cache in Perth

Cachers line to up sign the logbook at an urban cache in Perth

We opted to head for a series round the hills to the south of Perth – a series called Picnic Hill and then another set of caches around the intriguingly named Witches Hill. All were quick finds with some great fun and banter along the way.

Isaac with the Mega Event logbook

Isaac with the Mega Event logbook

We said goodbye to our companions back where we parked and Isaac and myself headed off to do a few more caches before returning to the event. On the way round these, we bumped into delta68 and stopped for a quick chat.

Isaac with unowho67 outside the Mega Event

Isaac with unowho67 outside the Mega Event

Once back at the event, we bumped into lots more caching friends and quite a few more cachers we’d not yet met (but had seen the names in logbooks) came over to say hello. One of the best things about a Mega event is meeting just about every caching person you know (and more!) all in the one place :-).

Our trusty Volkswagen Polo rental car for the weekend

Our trusty Volkswagen Polo rental car for the weekend

Once the event was over, we did a cache in the car park by the event before heading off for a few more caches in the countryside between Perth and Glenrothes. The highlight was doing a cache with a cacher from Norway. Love the way you get to meet international cachers all joined by a common love of caching at Mega events!

Look at the colours on the hill and the fields - stunningly beautiful!

Look at the colours on the hill and the fields - stunningly beautiful!

We ended the day with a few final caches near to our hotel and topped out at 60 finds for the day.

Sunday 1 August 2010

We were due to fly home this evening so had a full day to cache our way around the area. We aimed to take full advantage of this and this is exactly what we did as we ended up with 52 finds, plenty of time for dinner and still had a spare half hour before our flight to relax over an Iron-Bru at Edinburgh airport :-).

First cache of the day - at an old well in the village of Scotlandwell

First cache of the day - at an old well in the village of Scotlandwell

We started off by heading over from where we had stayed in Glenrothes towards where the Mega camping event at Kinross as there looked to be lots of caches around there.Among the first caches of the day were some on a lovely walk around a wooded nature reserve at Portmoak Moss near to the eastern side of Loch Leven. What a cracking place for caches – we loved it.

Rugged, but absolutely stunning countryside - great for caching in.

Rugged, but absolutely stunning countryside - great for caching in.

We then did lots of drive-by’s, cache and dashes and a few longer walks around the area, starting off in Milnathort, then Kinross, then off towards the fably (is that a word?) named Crook of Devon, before returning towards Kinross. We were surprised not to bump into many cachers along the way, given how many must be camping nearby.

This sign amused us - not often you get two currencies named on one road sign!

This sign amused us - not often you get two currencies named on one road sign!

Time was getting on by now, so we started to head gently southwards via yet more caches. We took in an excellent Earthcache along the way at this hill that looked like a monkey’s face when you looked at it from the stated co-ords – great stuff :-).

The money's face Earthcache - if you look closely, he's even got eyebrows!

The money's face Earthcache - if you look closely, he's even got eyebrows!

Once in Dunfermline, we stopped to have some dinner before our flight home. Finally, just before the airport we did one final cache of the trip in a little village called Kirkliston.

Last cache in Scotland - in Kirkliston near Edinburgh Airport

Last cache in Scotland - in Kirkliston near Edinburgh Airport

103 caches in total for the weekend and an absolutely great time was had by both of us meeting lots of old friends, lots of new friends and doing quite a bit of caching. A massive congratulations to the Committee who organised the Mega Event as they did a great job.

Read Full Post »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.