April 28, 2012
Today ended up to be a much better day than the one I thought I had ahead of me when I awoke. The #1 item on my to-do list today was the General and the Extra Amateur Radio Exams. I had the tests scheduled for 9:30 in the morning. Everything was ready early so I got started with the General at 9:15. If I passed it, I’d be able to take the Extra test. 35 questions later, I passed and was able to take the next test. The Extra is a 50-question exam and I passed it with not much room to spare. But a pass is a pass.
Wendy was scheduled to be in Los Angeles for a good part of the day, so the rest of the to-do list was probably working around the house. But Wendy had a scheduling problem and was able to come home early. We decided to drive to Ventura to run an errand. The drive turned into an impromptu geocaching adventure.
I picked up a quick cache in Ventura, then several along Ventura Avenue as we drove north out of the city, before turning east onto Canada Larga Road. Canada Larga Road is a quiet country road through cattle country. Because of the recent rains, the area is sporting a new coat of green and the thistles are growing big and are blooming.
Some of the cattle are behind the barbed wire; others are just roaming along the road.
I found 8 of my 16 finds today along this road. There are more caches, but I’d already found them. I think there are 16 or 17 along the 3-mile road. I recommend this short detour. It’s a nice byway to visit–and to cache.
We finished the drive with a quick visit to Carpenteria, then a drive home along the coast. And a few coastal caches. After the recent weekend rains and a busy schedule, it was nice to grab a few caches on such a nice day.
April 7, 2012
My wife and I took a quick geocaching trip around Santa Barbara County for my birthday Friday. We had a great time driving along the byways from Buellton to Lompoc to Orcutt to Solvang before retuning home. Friday night we had 49 caches in the bag.
We had too many DNFs–some weren’t there, some where too far into the poison oak, and some I just couldn’t find–or we would have been close to a cache for each candle on my virtual birthday cake.
This morning, Wendy announced that we had to find 10 more caches–the birthday celebration would be completed until 59 finds were counted for the weekend. Driving through the San Fernando Valley running errands and to and from West Los Angeles made the 10 caches pretty easy to find. (I still can’t locate Bart’s 164.)
I started this geocaching thing after buying a GPS for my birthday in 2001 and found my first cache in May 2001. This birthday plus one day has my geocaching total at 7576.
Happy Birthday to me and my geocaching hobby!
April 1, 2012
Empty Circle 5.0 Challenge GC28YT2 is certainly a challenging cache. It requires finding all active caches within 5 miles of your home. When I found the actual cache and logged a Note on November 12, 2010, there were 469 active caches within 5 miles of my home. I had found 341 of them. Today, I finally finished finding all the active caching within the radius. I have found 643 active caches and 235 that have been archived within my radius. 26 of these finds were FTFs. I also have 27 active caches within that radius.
I found my first geocache on May 6, 2001. GC2CC Sage Ranch Park is 2.56 miles from home. My second cache, found on the same day, was GC217 Rocky Peak, 2.47 miles from home. It was the closest cache to my home. Today, there are 241 active caches closer than Rocky Peak’s 2.47 miles. Times sure have changed.
Because of where I live in Simi Valley, many of the caches are accessible only by hiking. No complains here; I really enjoy hiking. A DNF on a hiking cache can pose some problems when doing a challenge like this one. For example, GC1RF24 Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo, even though only 2.68 miles from home, requires a 6-mile round-trip hike with a 2200-foot elevation gain. I had 4 DNFs on this cache before finally getting it into the Found column today. With this find (finally), I’ve now qualified for the Find on this cache.
Puzzle/Mystery caches added another level of difficulty. Once I realized that GCM5B1 Viper’s Hummingbird Mystery and GC7F3A the dragonfly scroll were within my 5-mile radius, I decided that the Empty Circle Challenge was going to be impossible. I had long had these 2 caches on my Ignore list because I knew there was no way I was going to solve them. When I got them both on December 10, 2011, I thought that the Empty Circle 5.0 Challenge was once again a possibility.
This has been a fun Challenge cache. I think the best part of geocaching is going to places that would otherwise stay a mystery. This is especially true when those places are within 5 miles of your home.
Thanks, Mike & Heather, for the challenging cache.
April 1, 2012
Today, I found Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo. This find followed 4 DNFs. The first 2 DNFs were done when I was in the area hiking and finding other caches. The next 2 DNFs were done with Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo as the primary reason. It’s a 6-mile round trip hike, so it takes a big effort to DNF this cache. Normally, I would just chalk up a cache as a “Well, I tried” after a couple of DNFs, especially if it takes a 6-mile hike, but this cache is special. It’s within a 5-mile radius of my home and I’ve been on a quest to qualify for Empty Circle 5.0 Challenge, which requires finding all the active caches within 5 miles of your home.
Special thanks goes to Mike and Cheri–lightningstar. Mike had found the cache a couple of years ago and offered to show me where to find the cache. We had been having a tough time coordinating schedules, but today was the day to head up the hill. I also want to thank the cache owner, Mark (GoinHikin), for encouraging me to keep looking by offering me special hints and even offering to take me to the cache and show me where he hid it.
The morning was cool and calm, great conditions for hiking up to the cache. As we approached the Rocky Peak road and the ridge, we started to feel the strong winds that had been forecast for the day. The wind was blowing hard enough to made it hard to walk at times.
When we arrived at the site of the cache, it took 40 minutes of looking–often too close to poison oak–to find the cache. Mike was the one that found it. And I’m glad that he did. I was about to declare another DNF because we weren’t getting much other than blown away by the strong winds. But Mike soon had cache in hand and we had a quick celebration before heading down the hill.
My blog on the Empty Circle cache is here: Empty Circle 5.0 Challenge. It’s been a great adventure, even with the 5 trips up the hill to find Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo.