Wednesday, November 28, 2012

25 August 2012 Chalk Graffiti

24 August 2012 Rest Stop in West Virginia

22 August 2012 Salisbury

My usual hotel was booked in Salisbury so I ended up at the nearby Holiday Inn. It was a tired and uninviting place. Despite being in a non-smoking building, my room smelled of cigarettes for my entire stay. The real story of how sad this hotel is was at the end of the hall. When a hotel needs to put bars and grates on the vending machine inside the locked doors of the hotel, it is a rough place. I was glad to pack and leave at the end of the week.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

19 August 2012 Stark Day

We wanted to find a few puzzle caches in Canton so we started there. I have never really visited here except to stop in at the local auto museum many years ago with my dad. Being Sunday, most of the downtown was quiet. The restaurants appear to be closed on the weekend so the downtown really lives for the people who work here. There are many types of local art works on display. Most of them are cute, bright, and light.

We continued with some visits to local parks including a new park called Fairhope Nature Preserve. The caches were great and the walk in the park was a fun journey. Besides really nice trails, Fairhope has the dubious distinction of being closed in the summer of 2011 after numerous reported mountain lion sightings. Ummm, sure.

We also made a stop at Molly Stark Park. It was a really bizzare stop. The park location is the site of an old sanatarium for tb patients. I can't imagine it ever being inviting. It was a scene from a scary movie. It made me pause for a bit and think of all the souls who spent their days there.

We balanced off the visit to Molly Stark Park with a last stop at Mogadore and a wonderful sunset. There was a time years ago when I used to boat that this was one of my two favorite inland lakes to visit. It was a quiet place to spend lazy hours of a summer. It's been thirty years since I put a boat in this water. I suspect I was too young to know it would be an endpoint.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

18 August 2012 The Other Side of the Red-Eye

The trip back from Spokane is always a killer for me. No matter what time I leave Spokane, I seem to arrive in Cleveland in the evening. If I am lucky, stores and restaurants are just closing. If there are any delays, I am driving with the bar traffic. This trip I was able to spot a red-eye back home. I had to make two stops (Spokane-San Francisco-Chicago-Cleveland) rather than one, but it meant an early Saturday arrival in Ohio. I had to run for my connection in San Francisco, but made all my flights.

All was super until I got back to Cleveland and experienced that sinking feeling of my bag not arriving with me. It was all made worse since I had left my truck keys in my checked bag. The bag was in Chicago (funny United screwed up the easy leg - not the tough connection in Frisco). By 9 something I was on my way home. We celebrated by caching the afternoon in Lake Metroparks with the geodogs.

It's lonely in Cleveland Hopkins on an early Saturday morning.

A much better way to spend the day.

Friday, November 23, 2012

17 August 2012 Felts Field

Felts Field opened in 1913 and was Spokane's airport for a number of years before giving way to the much larger Geiger Field for passenger traffic. It still logs about 1,000 flights each week and has a very unique water runway on the Spokane River. I was making my way to the other airport for a red eye back to Cleveland and stopping for a few caches along the way. The neon sign must look great in the evenings. The art deco clock tower points to an era long gone. These runways must have seen a lot of Ford Trimotors, DC-2's and DC-3's over the years.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

16 August 2012 Not Mount Spokane Part 2

Almost everyplace I stay now offers a "free" hotel breakfast. They vary from location to location and are not all created equal. The breakfasts included at the Oxford Suites are way above the other offerings. The super bowl of strawberries below was a great part of breakfast this morning.

I made another attempt at visiting Mount Spokane this evening. It was a less spirited effort than the evening before since I was tired after a week on site. I had a back-up plan this evening to visit the McKenzie Conservation Area if I didn't reach the park. I stopped my trip to Mount Spokane and made it to McKenzie in plenty of time to enjoy a long, peaceful walk on the trails.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

15 August 2012 Not Mount Spokane Part 1

It's less than twenty miles as the crow flies from my Spokane office to Mount Spokane. After multiple years of traveling here, I was going to have a window where I had time to drive to Mount Spokane and get two to three hours in caching and hiking the trails. I was psyched. Between the small item of "as the crow flies", mountain roads, and my useless sense of direction, I had managed to consume a fair bit of my cushion. About three or four miles from the state park entrance, I should have realized something was amiss with the caches loaded in my gps since there were none. Never fear, I'll just use my Iphone. Oops, there's no coverage at the mountain. Faced with a stiff admission charge for a couple hours hiking and no caches, I pushed aside my plans for Mount Spokane. I stopped for a couple of caches in a dfferent landscape on the way back to the hotel.

It wasn't exactly Mount Spokane. On a plus note, I rented a Chevy Sonic. I think it's the successor to the Chevy Aveo which I had been refusing at rental counters after a few scary incidents with them on the road. The Sonic was the complete opposite. It was well behaved and well equipped. I usually don't come away from rentals with a good feeling for a model, but this rental was actually fun.

I really liked the spot on the dash that was a perfect fit for holding my gps.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

14 August 2012 Another Warm Evening in Spokane

I started my evening at a park along the Spokane River. The pictures show quiet places, but the river was a gathering point for many locals this evening. I stopped for a cache along the trail and completed a rare (for me) earthcache about the geology of the river.

After my walk along the river, I moved on a nearby county park for a hike in the woods. The park was also home to a local scout camp. I had brought a scout-themed travel bug west from Ohio with a goal to visit scout camps. The area was host to the World Jamboree in 1967. This camp was the home of a large totem that had been carved by the local scout troup in 1967 to mark the Jamboree. I thought it was a lucky find while carrying a travel bug that wanted to visit scout camps. I dropped the travle bug in the nearby cache placed by the scouts and headed off for a hike along the trail. I spotted a new flower on my walk. The desert trumpet was within a few feet of one of the local Ranger Rick caches.

I closed out my evening with a short walk to a cache at another small park along the Spokane River at dusk. After that I was off to the mongolian barbeque for dinner. It's a little strange when the staff of a restaurant over 2000 miles from home recognizes and greets you as a regular. The food was good and my fortune cookie said a lot this evening.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

13 August 2012 102 Degrees

The car thermometer said 102 degrees when I arrived at the park. It was a new park, and I love hot weather. It was a great adventure.

Standing on about a 4" ledge at a cache site. It's a long way down.

5 August 2012 View from a Rail Trail

4 August 2012 A Short Day on the North Country Trail

We hadn't expected or planned for a surprise thunderstorm while out today.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

31 July 2012 Lonely Cache

I've cached in Cortland enough to know it is one of the places to go for lonely caches. There's a high percentage of caches in the area that rarely get visited with 6-12 months between a visit common. It rained a lot this afternoon so I stayed behind at the office to solve Photo Tour of Cortland. When the rain became lighter I headed off for the find. I found the cache in great shape and no signatures on the log for over thirteen months!

I also spotted one of these near the cache location. Maybe these things are still common, but it was the first I had seen in years. I had assumed they were long ago made redundant by land lines and cell phones. This one still looks active. I remember being a youth and often taught in school how to use these (and how not to make prank false calls). They seem like a throw-back nearly as big as fall-out shelter signs.