Monday, September 29, 2008

18 September 2008 Playing Tourist in Maine

We started and spent most of the day in Portland. Maine's oldest cache is located near Portland Headlight. It is a very old lighthouse and the most photographed in the USA. Guess what, it has been photographed even more now :-). The area around the lighthouse is also known as Fort Williams. From a time pre-WWI through WWII the shoreline was protected with large artillery bunkers. The ruin sites of the armaments are a true bit of history as is the old mansion that was a residence/NCO club in war time. We really played tourists here with even a stop at the gift shop. We grabbed lots of information for Waymarks, found the oldest geocache and scooted off to another local park for another old Maine cache find and a nice park walk.

Our last stop in Maine was at Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine. I felt really out of place in Perkins Cove. It was a tourist place that didn't really want tourists. The walk along the waterfront seemed to exist so that the locals could take a stroll on their way to a restaurant. Alone, I would have not even bothered to park, but the town is the home of a friend's family and a childhood memory. She will be certain to ask Ali if we made a stop.

Unfortunately we made our way back to New Hampshire and our stop for the evening in mostly darkness. On our way to the hotel, we passed through a number of gorgeous New England towns that certainly looked like what we missed on our first pass through New Hampshire. It was too late for photos and too late to explore with a little Waymarking.

Friday, September 26, 2008

17 September 2008 Portland, Maine

At the start of our trip, Portland wasn't even on the schedule. Ali opened an e-mail from a very close friend and was surprised to find she was in Portland for a conference. Since she lives out west, Ali rarely gets to visit so I wasn't about to whine. On the previous evening, we had gotten into Portland after dark and didn't see much. We walked to the adjoining restaurant so we passed even the short ride into town.

The next morning was the only window for visiting so we were off to downtown Portland for breakfast and sightseeing. I wish every unplanned detour were this pleasant. We were both taken by the town. It is really attractive. Small town with enough big town feel to have a little edge to it. We had a great breakfast on the waterfront. After that we visited the best farmers' market we have ever seen. The produce looked amazing. The baked goods were amazing.

We finished a wonderful visit and continued to walk around the town and take in the sights. Our downtown trip concluded with a visit to the LL Bean store and a very nice wind-up LED for me for night caching.

We spent the afternoon and stayed until sunset at Sebago Lake. Sebago Lake is huge. It supplies over 15 percent of the household water for all of Maine. There are a number of caches to find in the lands around the lake and for us this evening, a very nice sunset to enjoy along the shore. Even a really, bad dinner couldn't offset the outstanding day.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

16 September 2008 Little Rhody and Moving On

We did it! :-) This was our first challenge cache completion. Our walk to the final was fun. We had been near the final during our trek, so the trip back wasn't surprising. When we finished the challenge, we moved on to a couple nearby older caches. They were outstanding woods caches. One of them took us to Cars Pond. It really got to me to see how clear the water was on this trip. Cars Pond was a quiet pond with a BIG rock about 10 feet from shore. I waded/jumped out to the rock and just sat. This was a place I could have spent the day. On the way out from Cars Pond, ali spotted the small water flower in the photos.

After leaving Rhode Island, our journey moved to New Hampshire on our way to Maine. I was really disappointed with this section of New Hampshire. The traffic was awful. At least, our first cache was at a pleasant pond with an egret. From there it went downhill quickly. Our remaining stretch in New Hampshire this evening included a stop at a small park. Once we got into the woods, we realized that the hide location was a teen hangout with a huge porn collection, stolen park equipment converted to furniture, and drug graffiti sprayed around. The park was just beyond soccer fields attached to a school so we were a little taken back. Our last visit took us into the woods in a local park. This area was also a local teen hangout. We retreated to the car (and Maine) when we heard an approaching crowd of youth.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

15 September 2008 Rhode Island and a Touch of Connecticut

We needed five more pages to finish Little Rhody. We got them. We also took time for a visit into Connecticut for a few caches and waymarks. This week we have been impressed with the numbers of orchid leaves we have seen. It seemed like most of them had sent spikes. We've also been surprised by the numbers of chestnuts we've seen and their size. None that have defied the blight, but still a number in the 20-30 feet range that still appear healthy.

Today was a good time to remember why we geocached. Our Connecticut visit started at a very nice park with a simple, quiet cache and pleasant wetlands. I later took us to Stonington with an old cemetery and an amazing chapel. We also got to hunt a few caches in a park that was once an old naval airbase in WWII. It was quite a historical moment to stand on the runway and envision the WWII naval planes taking off and landing. The tarmac was still configured to stage the planes. As I stood there, I could envision the carrier fighters lined up with their wings folded. The old runway light fixtures were still in place on the field.

Our last stop of the day was at Newport. I was taken by Newport. We arrived close to sunset and didn't have the time to park the car and visit, but I wished we had. It was a town that begged to be walked and begged to be visited like a tourist. Our last cache to qualify for the Little Rhody challenge was in Brenton Park just outside of Newport. It's a park where people go to relax and watch the sea. Ali found the oldest cache in Rhode Island as our qualifier for the Little Rhody. After that, we just enjoyed sunset. On the way back through town we stopped at a small park in Newport and soaked up the town and a beautiful evening. I hope to return some day.
14 September 2008 A grey day in Rhode Island

One thing no one gets to do when they go on vacation is pick their weather. When we got going this morning, it was raining, a lot. We're cachers, and we were on the Little Rhody mission so we were going caching. Our first stop was a long, bike trail with four caches spread over a two and a half mile walk. It rained the whole walk. As we walked the trail it went from light rain with happy optimism from us to massive downpours. Ali's rain gear held up and she stayed dry, but my waterproof jacket gave up about a half-mile into the venture.

The worst thing about the rain was that we were on a great trail. Rhode Island's bike trails are by-far the best I've ever seen. They are nearly perfect in their quality and condition. The trail ran along water which had a huge number of birds. It was the most we saw at any location. With the intense rain I had no hope of a few photos. We grabbed the four caches along the trail and made our way to the oldest cache in Rhode Island. It is in a heavily wooded local park with two other caches. The park also has a nice trout stream. By this time we were seeing light rains and grey. By the time we left the park the day had turned to just an overcast day. We soon found a large shopping center so I could get dry clothes while Ali hunted the multi :-).

We finished the day by finding some puzzle caches Ali had pre-solved. The caches took us to some nice places including a small pond and a lake. One of the puzzle had fake coordinates for a nearby covered bridge so we used the coordinates to visit the nice bridge. While we were there we made friends with a really gentle springer spaniel. She wanted to go with us when we left. It was tempting...

We are now two days into the Little Rhody Challenge. We got two pages on day one and five pages on day two. We are hoping to finish the last five pages tomorrow.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

13 September 2008 Rhode Island

It was our first day in Rhode Island and our start of the Little Rhody Delorme Challenge. Our plane was late (considering the terrible weather in Texas we considered late to be better than canceled.) We had time for a few caches and two pages of the challenge. We were also able to grab a very old multi. The birds were plentiful although they were at a distance where clear pictures were tough.