Sunday, February 28, 2010

20 February 2010 Geauga Parks Intro to Geocaching Event

Sunday, February 21, 2010

19 February 2010 Caching Cumberland

Do I have to jump that?

My plans for the day were to stop at Bedford Springs to grab at least one cache to complete our requirements for the Pennsylvania Delorme Challenge. On Thursday I found a cache after dark. It was an lpc with a travel bug tossed under the light pole cover. When I got back to the hotel, I realized the travel bug was the key to a mystery cache. It was supposed to stay in Perry County. I decided to try leaving it somewhere near Carlisle which was at least the same county where I had found it and only one county from its goal. I had been to Middlesex Park before and figured I had the best shot at finding a cache there to drop the travel bug before heading to Bedford Springs. It's a nice park and the day was filled with sun, but the snow in Carlisle is really deep this year. A half-hour walk became almost two hours with a pair of dnf's. By the time I got back to parking my boots were soaked and my feet were bricks. I eventually found a cache near the edge of the county wearing a spare set of tennis shoes and no socks. I really wanted to cache my way home, but the tone was set for the day. After three dnf's in the deep snow at Bedford Springs and another in Bedford, I gave up and headed for Ohio.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

17 February 2010 Upgrade

I had planned hoped to be home tomorrow night. Things did not work out. I needed to extend my stay. I was a bit surprised to be told that someone had requested my current room 223 so I would need to move to a new room in order to stay an extra night. I like my new room much better. I happen to think that lazing alongside the water in an adirondack is a super way to spend a quiet moment so the picture suits me much better than room 223's tire meter. Oh, the room's not bad either. ;-)

My Old Room

My New Room
16 February 2010 Another Week... Another Hampton

I have a new goal. I am trying to stay in a room at the Hampton with each of the goofy pictures on the door number. The sad thing is, if I had started these photos when they started the pictures, I may have collected the entire set by now.

Last week, we saw the movie Up In The Air. I really liked the movie, but it got me thinking too much. Without spoiling the plot, the male character in the lead has a sideline of doing motivational speeches where he uses a backpack as a prop to tell the audience to get rid of the excessive baggage they are carrying with them. It's a bit similar to the analogy a drunken woman posed at a wedding of a friend years ago. She walked up and asked if we were from the toybox too. Her analogy was that people carry around old relationships and items like a kid keeps a full toybox. It's too cluttered to find anything (not that one would ever want to), but it's too much pain to clean it out. So at events like weddings, the old friends from the toybox get dragged out for one more round of play. She was a bit cynical, but she had a point.

I had always kept my toybox clean and my backpack light until a few years ago. Now comes the bad part of the movie. It made me start thinking that my backpack was weighed down too much and needed a serious cleaning. In a strange way, I started long before the movie (almost one year ago) without thinking about this when I walked away from a local geocaching web page after a few personal attacks on the site. This weekend I happened to see a couple of friends had joined a truly, ugly hate page on Facebook. That made me realize that Facebook was a part of my life I could do without. I deactivated my account. When you think about it, how much more impersonal can a social network be than one where the majority of your contact with "friends" says I am too busy to contact you personally so come read my wall. I had been trimming the page anyway to get rid of friends' obscenity-filled discussions of how drunk someone was over the weekend, how many tattoos had been gathered, or seeing polls discussing how many embarrassing things people had done in their lives.

The backpack is a lot lighter, but nowhere near where it needs to be. I've never really been a person to look back. I hate the thought that the prospect of fewer years remaining than those that have passed sentences one to a remaining time of looking backward. Think about it. If you've heard the best song you'll ever hear, seen the best movie you'll ever see, found the most exciting geocache you'll ever find, than what's left? If there isn't hope for something newer and brighter on the horizon, what's the point of the journey? We may never find that better song, movie, geocache..., but if we stop the hunt, we stop living. Likewise, if our backpack is so weighed with the past, how can we hunt new adventures with that burden? A few years ago, a friend commented how that person had lost friends over the years and regretted never reaching out to bring them back. I thought of that a long time as I began to purge the toybox. That friend was wrong. I've reached back a few times since she made that statement and discovered that those I reached for had taken a different path and didn't care to be a part of the journey.

Who knows, maybe this blog is a part of the backpack that gets cleaned. Its hits have dropped a lot over the last twelve months, so maybe others have moved on too. We'll see. I'm still pretty easy to find if anyone wants to e-mail. I'm always up for hunting a few caches. It's pretty easy to see on this page if I've found some new, good music to enjoy or what I'm reading at the moment. In the meantime, I think I'll keep my social side off the social sites. Hopefully, sunsets will continue to grow later, and I'll have more light for photos and less space to babble.

“It’s not that we have a short time to live,

but that we waste a lot of it.”

-Lucius Annaeus Seneca
15 February 2010 "...It's in Ronald McDonald Land."

I needed to travel to Carlisle today. The weather forecasters couldn't get their story straight, but most said it wouldn't start snowing in northeast Ohio until 2-3pm. Great, I thought. If I leave at noon, I can get within an hour of Carlisle before the snow gets going. They were wrong! I was stupid for believing.

I was about an hour from Snowshoe when the show started. By the time I reached Seven Mountains, we were driving in a pack 20 miles an hour behind a Penn DOT cinder truck. We were all going slowly enough in the eastbound to see that a big semi in the westbound lanes had mangled a car. For the next five miles or so, I got to count the emergency vehicles heading up Seven Mountains, 1,2,3,4...

Despite the weather and a bit of slow moving on the road, I still made it to Carlisle only two hours later than usual. Since I wasn't certain where I would stop for the night with the weather, I had not made reservations. My company requires us to make on-line reservations with a service that shall not be named so I needed to find a WiFi connection. There's a McDonalds less than a half mile from the hotel. I don't eat at McD's but will do just about anything for a WiFi connection so I stopped. The usual WiFi sign wasn't on the door so I thought I would confirm they had WiFi before placing my order. To my surprise when I asked about the WiFi connection the guy at the counter looked at me and said, "We do, but it's in Ronald McDonald Land and we're about to close that section." Huh? Is this so parents can surf while the kids play? Who's the webmaster, Mayor McCheese? I scooped up my laptop, spared my body the indignity of McD's and headed five miles down the road to a different establishment with WiFi (and better hot chocolate ;-) )

The evening had some bright spots including the open-for-business Twin Kiss Creamery. Yes, it was snowing, but I turned back and went in for an early taste of spring. Yum!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

14 February 2010 Happy Valentines Day

We were trying to decide between a cross-country ski or a walk in the park. Since Gwen and Eva seemed to enjoy Saturday's walk, a walk with the Geodogs won out. We headed for Whitlam Woods and location number six of our planned puzzle series. We found the hiding spot and had a good walk.

Gwen gets playful after rooting in the snow.
13 February 2010 A Day of DNF's and DNH's

We were both excited to have a free day to head out with the Geodogs for some serious walking and cache hunting. We didn't think the snow in Trumbull County would be a big roadblock to finds, but we were both wrong. We piled up a few did not finds and more than a few did not hunts where the parking areas at Mosquito were too snowy to even park.

We ended the day with what may be our first Did Not Hide. We stopped at The Rookery to find a location for the second last cache in our series we are planning for the Geauga Park District We got about 2/3 of the way out to the area we were hoping to place the hide when Gwen's pad fur finally grew ice balls large enough that she stopped walking. After a few attempts to clean out the ice, we called it a day and brought her gently back to Subie.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

7 February 2010 New Cache Hides

The ice on Lake Erie was visible from the observation area at Orchard Hills.

We were still hunting for hiding locations to place a series of caches in Geauga Parks. Today we stopped at Orchard Hills. It was a perfect day for a lot of walking.

This park has a little bit of history from its old days as a golf course. (Readers who may geocache in Northeast Ohio can consider this information a spoiler for the puzzle that will be related to this cache.) The photo below is the 16th tee and the place where Piero "Pete" DiGravio met his demise in 1968. As he stood at the tee preparing for this dog-leg hole, a hit-man hiding in the nearby woods with a rifle ended the foursome by fatally shooting DiGravio.

This is the straight portion of the fairway where DiGravio was lining up his drive when the end came.

I wonder who was winning the round?
6 February 2010 Looking for Signs of Spring

...and Not Finding Any

Saturday, February 06, 2010

4 February 2010 So Far Away

Traveling around sure gets me down and lonely
Nothing else to do but close my mind
I sure hope the road don't come to own me
There are so many dreams I have yet to find
But you're so far away...

Carol King

3 February 2010 Indiana Spirit Quest

It seems as though every other crossroads in the farmlands of Indiana has an old cemetery. Each one seems to have an Indiana Spirit Quest cache. Denver Chicken Farmer and I grabbed a few after-work caches before sunset. Most of the headstones in this old cemetery were still marked and readable. Normally these old cemeteries are filled with faceless stones worn down by years of dirt blowing off the fields.
2 February 2010 After work Cornhole Tournament

Denver Chicken Farmer keeps the game close.

It's too cold for the after work horseshoe league so the Columbia City team gets a little exercise and does a little socializing with a cornhole tournament in the warehouse.
1 February 2010 Bath Time For Ariel

It seems like the road crews are using a lot more salt this year than in previous years. We've actually had a lot less snow than average, but it hasn't stopped the road crews. On the drive to and from Edison Woods the day before, the air above the highway actually looked hazy from all the dried salt being kicked-up from traffic. Tuesday was travel time so I stopped for a cold weather bath for Ariel.
31 January 2010 Caching Edison Woods

Caches found in January before today: 7
Caches found in January after today: 33

It was as cold as it looks. What's better than a little bit of winter caching and a visit to Tofts for some tremendous ice cream.

Friday, February 05, 2010

30 January 2010 New Hides?

We have a new idea for a series of caches and spent the day walking in the woods looking for new locations for hides. Now all we need to do is get the permits...

The Park District has completely removed the steps at Metzenbaum. They were heavily damaged when a large tree fell on them at the end of December.
29 January 2010 Moonrise

A great looking moon rising in a clear sky on my drive home told the story of a cold morning coming. When I walked the dogs early the following morning the thermometer said 1 degree.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

23 January 2010 AGT Warren Winterfest

Liz, Wes, me, and Ali at the sign-in area.

I'm not sure I want to do this... (Note the guy in the lower, left corner carrying a fish.)

The ice may be 12" thick, but why are there cracks?

Night falls on Chapman Lake. By the time the event was done and our guests had left, this was all that was left of the day.

This has become the little event that grew. The first Winterfest Geocaching Event in 2007 drew less than 75 people. This year's was 165 and has started to draw from multiple states and Canada. We've always been co-hosts with our friends Liz and Wes, but I think we have grown past a four person operation. It seemed as though we were busy the entire day with the exception of spending about a pleasant hour and a half with our friend Chris who had driven from Ohio. In the earlier years, we could walk with friends or watch the dog races. Without a lot of help for next year, four may have been the last.