Thursday, September 22, 2011

4-Wheeling by Ourselves!!

Where's the dust? Where's the blue jeep! How will we find our way? What if something happens to us? Where are we? When can we do this again? All questions we asked ourselves today on our first 4-wheeling trip since my sister was diagnosed with her fatal disease. It was a sad trip but it was a good trip. We learned that we didn't have to stop doing something we enjoyed just because we didn't have someone to do it with anymore.

For the first time we had to plan our own route. My brother-in-law, Mike, used to do that for us but he has moved on to other things. We also had to make sure we stayed on our route. No more relying on their blue jeep to show us the way. It was definitely challenging and helped to build our confidence. We are ready to do it again! We survived and we feel good..

Our trip really wasn't a biggie. We needed a cache to fill in another square of the Fizzy challenge. It was up in the Kingsbury grade area near Lake Tahoe. We had plenty of paved roads to get us to the beginning of our dirt road. Then we were in 4x4 and winding our way over rough roads. We didn't have too many turn choices so we just kept moving forward. It was strange to have the dust only behind us. We didn't have to roll up the windows and we could actually see the road in front. we did have to weave around a few obstacles but we did it!

Of course we have been in this area before and we thought about continuing on to the other side but we were running out of time and we weren't sure on timing so we turned around once we found our required cache and retraced our route. It was a lovely drive. We only saw two other people out there and they were on dirt bikes. The weather was perfect and the views were great.

It was a good adventure! Here's to more!!

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Kayaking at Rancho Seco Park

Aaaahhhh! Wonderful day! We headed down to Rancho Seco Park for some geo-kayaking. We had the whole place almost to ourselves. We counted two fishermen and one family at the picnic area. They are behaved and did not interfere with our time on the water. Our goal was to find 6 caches. One of them would give us a square on the California Fizzy Challenge. We were successful in finding all the caches.

The wildlife was incredible. The dragonflies were there in droves until I pulled out the camera. We had one blue heron that surprised us both and flew up right in front of Larry--no cameras ready. He (or she) was absolutely huge. I'm not sure how we missed seeing it but maybe it was couched down in the reeds. This was the first time we have ever heard a heron squawking! Someone suggested later that maybe there was a nest near us. That would explain why we didn't see the Heron until the last minute and why it was trying to attract our attention as it flew away.

Besides the dragonflies that were black and blue (beautiful colors), we saw some drab ones and a few small purple ones. At one point a few butterflies fluttered by and the red-wing blackbirds attracted our attention often. We couldn't be distracted too much, though, because the creeping water plants were taking over! We could go into some of the outlets, but trying to get out was another story. It was weird! They didn't want to let us go!

There were plenty of egrets--they even hung around for pictures. That was one of the good points for going out by ourselves. Normally we are in the back of the pack and any wildlife has been startled away by the first kayakers to approach. Today we were at the front, middle, and back so we had full up close and personal contact with the egrets. We did get some good pictures of them flying away.

We had fish jumping all around us--certainly an argument for a webcam on the kayak! They were all different sizes. Larry claims to have see one with a girth of about 4-5 inches. That equates to a nice size fish. One of the fishermen said he was fishing for bass. If there are bass in that lake, one could have been "that big". At one point, I saw a fish literally walk on water. He came up and scooted along the water for about 2 feet. It was weird to watch but it was definitely a fish and not something else.

As I said, we found all the caches we had intended to find. We replaced three geocache. We had advance permission for two of them. Several people had reported "Did Not Find" so we expected the caches to be missing. We gave it our best effort to find them before we replaced them. The third one, we replaced and notified the owner that we were pretty sure it was missing. We are waiting for their approval.

It was a beautiful day! We could have stayed around longer but the sun was getting hotter and our arms were getting tired. I learned later, that my sunscreen was not protecting me as much as I thought it was. Time to change my sunscreen, or try to remember to apply it more often.

Friday, August 12, 2011

You can geocache with a cold if you have Kleenex

I have a cold. My nose has been running non-stop. I told my son I wouldn't catch his cold! HAH!!! I was supposed to be on a bike ride today. it is impossible to ride and blow my nose at the same time--I'm not one of those no hands riders. Plus, where would I put the box of Kleenex? The problem was solved when we decided to go geocaching! With my Kleenex box and my package of antibacterial wipes we were all set.

We needed a couple of geocaches for some challenges we are trying to complete. One was in Manteca and one was way over in Tuolumne County. We could do it in a day and we could pick up some more along the way. Of course, it would have been easier if we had started earlier but when your nose is congested it is hard to think about moving faster!

Our first stop was probably the highlight cache of the day. It was a virtual cache at a Quickstop market invaded by aliens. They were everywhere! Their space ship had crash landed on the roof. The visitors had taken over the store and they were grabbing everything in sight. What a sight! If you are ever in the neighborhood-- check it out! It's called "Don't Panic" (GC4140). We were having such a great time we didn't have time to
even think about panicking.

We continued trekking down the road and eventually ended up on Hwy 120. We could have continued all the way to Yosemite but I didn't have that much Kleenex with me. The geocaches we found were not spectacular but there were a few interesting containers. The real interest, though, was in the sky. The clouds were incredible. And wouldn't you know it, our camera was back home. I had to resort to taking pictures with my iPad! Surprise! We got some good ones!

We kept going until we arrived at Jamestown and opted to return via Historical Hwy 49. It wasn't the shortest route but it was the more scenic from an historical point of view. We arrived back in Sacramento just in time to compete for our place in the Friday night rush hour getaway traffic. I think it took us longer to get through Sac than it did the rest of the trip. Not to worry. I still had some Kleenex left. Maybe that means I am on the road to recovery. Doesn't matter. All I know for sure is that you can still geocache if you have a cold--and a box of Kleenex!

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Please Bring Back the Virtuals!!

A few days ago we traveled to San Francisco to concentrate on finding all the virtual geocaches there. We found close to 20 (there were some earthcaches thrown in for good measure). What a day!

We saw sights we had never seen before and we have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and surrounding communities all our lives. Treasure Island, for example. We can now say we have been on Treasure Island! We even spent some time gawking at the oversized sculpture. I'm sure it is art but maybe not our form of art.

We checked out the Embarcadero and discovered some new things to us. Of course, we found our way to Fisherman's Wharf and spent some time reminiscing. We stopped at the beach near the old Cliff House and shared a picnic lunch with our friends Dennis and Dorothy (aka 2Dee2Dee).

The Presidio was a must see. We visited Inspiration Point and loved the view in the distance. This virtual required we be creative and post our log as a poem. I'm glad we were able to get a little inspiration while there.

Along the way, we made it to Coit Tower, Mission Delores, Golden Gate Park, and so many more highlights of San Francisco. We didn't have to search any bushes, lift any lamppost skirts, turn over any rocks, or beware of muggles. We just traveled the wonderful streets of SF and took in the incredible views and added to our memory banks. We shared the stories of what used to be compared to what is.

It was such a fun adventure! That is one of the things we love about geocaching. Virtual caches take us places and give us information and don't require that we leave behind any evidence of our visit. Virtual caches are definitely environmental and user friendly. They will slowly disappear as Groundspeak is not allowing new ones to be "hidden". What a shame! Maybe we should start a campaign to bring them back. We certainly enjoyed every one we "discovered"!

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

We survived our first camping trip in 20+ years

Sadly, it has come to an end. But, what fun we had and what memories we will carry with us!

We were out on the lake early this AM. The lake was like glass and we just wanted to sit there and take it all in. We leisurely paddled down to Gary H's favorite fishing hole and watched him try to reel in a gigantic trout. It was a nice one! Unfortunately, it will only be a figment of our imaginations as it made one gallant effort at the last moment and made its escape. Maybe he should put a fishing net on his wish list.

We paddled slowly in the other direction. We didn't see a single magnificent bird this morning. Do you think they knew the weekend crowd had started to arrive? They were probably soaring over the more secluded forest areas.

Check out time and we were all packed. We said our goodbyes to our camping buddies, Gary & Vicky, Jim & Jackie, and Gary and Anne. We thank them for making our adventure so much fun. They showed us we can still enjoy the great outdoors.

Would we do this all again? You bet. We have our list of all the things we will remember next
time: jackets, warm clothes, matches, newspaper, hiking shoes, and much much more. We may even own a tent by then! Wouldn't that be something!

Thanks again dear friends for sharing your spirit of adventure and your enthusiasm. We will continue to strive to make it to 24!

Location:Little Grass Valley Reservoir

Our Geocaching Day Starts with a Paddle and ends with a Game!

Up early and out on the lake! Beautiful! Almost as smooth as glass. The mist was drifting off the lake in the morning sun, creating a feeling of intrigue. One swish of the paddle and the kayaks slid along the water leaving a small ripple in their path. It was quiet and you could hear the call of the birds in the distance.

We headed down the lake, following the shoreline. Our eyes were searching the tree line for any activity. Aahh, a moment of beauty as a bald eagle came swooping from behind. We could only enjoy the moment as the sun was directly behind the eagle, preventing any pictures.

We paddled a little over 2 miles. We saw several osprey along the way. No matter how intently we watched, they always took us by surprise--usually coming from behind. They were so graceful in flight, we couldn't help but be entranced. So mesmerized that by the time we remembered the camera, it was too late. Let's hope the memories linger a while.

We will also have memories of mama duck and her babies all in a row. We encountered them as we pulled into shore at the end of our paddle. They seemed undisturbed to have us so near. We could get close but mama would keep them herded together just out of reach. Never hurried, but certainly avoiding any possible harm. Casual in their movements, they gave us ample time to take plenty of pictures.

The best time of the day to paddle. A moment we wished would last a while. We knew, however, the breezes across the lake would soon increase and our beautiful moments on the water would be over for the day.

Our adventure for the day was a drive to Quincy. A couple of us needed a Quincy cache to complete a Challenge Cache. We were so close, how could we not go. Several of us piled into Gary & Vicky's new car. Our trip was up and down a long windy road with lots of switch backs. Good thing those of us in the very back seat didn't get car sick! This may be a geocaching/kayaking/hiking vehicle, but there are limits on what is acceptable. We managed to pick up several geocaches and saw some points of interest. One old bridge had us intrigued and we had to stop twice before it gave up the cache. We failed to find a couple that must have been missing, but we did find the one Quincy cache we needed. Success.

The fun really began when we arrived back at camp. Gary C. had stayed behind to catch up on his poetry reading and to create a Ladder Golf Tournament Ladder for us. We were all set to play but first, Gary H. & Vicky hosted our cocktail hour and dinner. Another hit with pulled pork sandwiches and home made coleslaw! It was good. Eventually, the game was on. It was a double elimination so we each played at least two games. It went back and forth. Some of the games seemed to take an awfully long time. It wasn't our fault that we missed the ladder or we kept canceling each others scores out. Everyone just had to be patient. So patient, in fact, we were still playing well after dark. We could barely see the ladder against the trees. Time to bring out the lanterns and head lamps. The game kept going. At last, Gary H. was declared the winner. It was a well fought battle between Gary and Jim. They had established their skills practicing the night before. They were definitely at the top of their game.

Fortunately, we were finished just shortly before 10:00. That is "curfew" time in the park. It is time to settle down and avoid any loud noises or celebrations. We calmly took our places around the campfire. Time for more cowboy poetry with Gary C. Ok, some of the choices this evening were questionable. Just take me at my word--you wouldn't want me to repeat them. But one was about friendships and the forming of new ones. So very appropriate for us on this last night of our camping experience. We take home a lot of memories and definitely a more solid friendship with everyone present.

Location:Little Grass Valley Reservoir

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Pancake wine for breakfast?

We were all responsible for one community meal. Our meal was breakfast this AM. Of course, we opted for pancakes (blueberry), bacon, smokey links, and a variety of fruit. In keeping with the spirit, Vicky brought her bottle of wine with a fun label: Pancake wine! It fit right in. We opted to save it for later, but we did enjoy mimosas with our pancakes.

After breakfast we went kayaking on the lake. We actually spotted a bald eagle! It was beautiful! It wasn't long before we also spotted a couple of osprey and then deer on the hillside. What a way to start the day! In addition to our sightings, Anne spotted a Western Tanager and Gary H. and Jim caught their limit of trout!

That afternoon Gary & Vicky, Gary & Anne, and Jim hiked to to top of Mt. Baldy. Jackie, Larry, and I just enjoyed relaxing at the campsite. They told us about the spectacular views and we told them about our experience. We had two military jets fly over. They were so close and so loud we were sure they were coming in for a landing at our campsite. Fortunately, their speed prevented them from staying very long! Quite a sight!

During cocktail hour we brought out our ladder golf game. instant hit. Gary H and Jim quickly established their superiority. It's all in the technique and clearly Larry and I have not mastered it!

Dinner that night was another special treat. Gary & Anne were in charge and they set the standard high. It was Anne's birthday. Their campsite was decorated in the spirit. For dinner we had stew that was delicious. The hit, though, was the wine they brought to the table: Plungerhead. And to go along with that, the birthday party hats were plungers! It was quite a sight to see 8 older adults sitting at the table with plungers on their heads. Even the camp hosts came to see! We asked them to take our picture to commemorate the moment.

The evening ended with a couple of rousing games of the Answer Game (can't remember its real name) and more cowboy poetry from Gary C. Fun! Fun! Fun! And all before park quiet time at 10!

Location:Little Grass Valley Reservoir

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And so it begins

The great camping adventure actually started last week with the planning/packing part. I know we used to have one of every necessary camping item . It must be somewhere, but where! I give up. Guess we will have to buy one and add it to our collection wherever it may be.

The car is packed and we are ready to go. The plan is to meet at Awful Annie's in Lincoln and caravan from there. So far so good. We only had to go back home once before we really truly could say we are on our way. We spotted the others immediately. It is hard to miss a line of vehicles parked along the road with kayaks on top. Lunch was great.

Our destination was Little Grass Valley Reservoir. It is somewhere between Marysville and Quincy off LaPorte Road. It isn't that far away should we want to return. Our kayaks were in the water shortly after our arrival. It was a little wavy because of the afternoon breeze, but we still enjoyed a paddle around.

After our paddle we sat around the campfire and visited. In an earlier discussion we decided that each couple would plan one community meal. In addition, we would bring wine for everyone with unusual labels. We had more fun with that!

For dinner our first night was hosted by Jim & Jackie Spriggs. They make a mean steak with beans and a cucumber salad. I definitely need the recipes!

It was campfire time the rest of the evening. I don't think Larry and I have ever experienced a poetry reading on a camping trip. Tonight was different. Gary C had his Cowboy poetry books with him and read several exerts to us. We all listened intently. The others have enjoyed poetry readings from Gary before (always cowboy poetry). I think we can add this to our list of likes. They did make so much sense when you considered the subjects.

Location:Little Grass Valley Reservoir

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Should We or Shouldn't We?

It has been a while. Is it time to retire our limited art of blogging or is it time to start describing our activities again? We are doing so many more things since we first started geocaching but we seem to be geocaching less. Our emphasis has changed. Numbers are no longer important. What is important is to enjoy whatever it is you are doing. Walk a little slower along the trail between caches. Take time to "smell the roses" and watch the wildlife. Life is too short to rush from one spot to another just so you stay ahead of the rest of the geocachers. It is definitely time to regroup. Enjoy the adventure and if there is a cache nearby, go for it. If not, continue to enjoy the adventure. Take advantage of today as tomorrow may never come!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Road Trip

It was such a beautiful day and we hadn't had an opportunity to geocache in a bit so we really only had one choice today. Where should we go? We decided to make a road trip up to Lincoln, over to Newcastle, down through Rocklin and back to Roseville.

Along the way we met mama and papa goose and their four little goslings. We met the family in stages: mama and papa first as they walked along the bank; and, the babies one by one as they each peaked their heads out of the grass. It wasn't until they took to the water that we realized there were actually four babies. They cruised along and eventually disappeared under the bridge. This was a great place to relax and enjoy the surroundings. There was a cache nearby but we think it was under the bridge. We never really had the chance to look because the swallows were nesting under the bridge and they certainly were not happy with us being so close. We didn't mind just staying back and watching all the nearby activity.

We checked out another nature preserve in Lincoln. We were restricted to the walkway along the edge but we were able to enjoy the geese and the ducks. The biggest excitement for me (L2) was the two geese on a nearby building roof. I guess I've never seen a goose on a roof before. They are always on the ground, in the air, or in the water. They were honking like crazy the whole time we were there. I was convinced they were calling out for help because they were stuck. L1 (Larry) assured me they were quite capable of getting down by themselves. He turned out to be right. As we were leaving, they flew down to the pond below.

Lunch was at Awful Annie's in Lincoln. This is a favorite spot of the locals and we often stop here if we are in the area. Today, we took a little more time for lunch than expected because the server messed up the order. She blamed it on her allergies. I guess her head was so stuffed she didn't hear me and couldn't see where I pointed on the menu. She also couldn't remember the entire discussion we had about fruit coming with my selection so I didn't need to order it on the side. She apologized and I eventually got what I ordered. As usual, it was delicious.

We traveled on 193 between Lincoln and Newcastle. The wildflowers were out in force, including the beautiful California poppies. Too bad we didn't have a chance to stop for pictures. No place to pull over and there were a lot of people out enjoying the nice weather.

We actually, got lost in Newcastle. That is pretty hard to do as Newcastle is a pretty small town. We kept going in circles and missing the road that we needed. I think the residents were beginning to question our number of trips on this same circuit. Fortunately, we found our way to the road we wanted and headed back to Rocklin. This wouldn't be so unusual, but I pride myself on my navigational skills and they let me down today. I think it was the sun, the heat, and the thrill of the trip that got in my way of finding our way. Good thing I came to my senses before we made that circuit one more time.

Our day was about over. We had one more cache to find near a local nursery. Looks like this was a good day for working in the garden because everyone was trying to get in or out of the parking lot at the nursery. The cache was a multicache and the first stage happened to be in their parking lot. We did get in and find a parking spot fairly quickly. but when it came time to leave, we had a totally different experience. The line to the exit was long and all we could do was join the line and wait our turn. When we finally got to the road, we pulled up, looked both ways, and couldn't believe our eyes. The road was totally clear in both directions!! We quickly pulled out and eventually met the rest of the crowd at the next major traffic light.

We were not the only ones out on a road trip! We were almost home when several turkeys decided to cross the road. This event was occurring a few cars ahead of us but it did result in a few cars swerving and drivers stomping on their brakes. We were one of the brake stompers. Yes, we all had to stop so the rest of the turkeys could proceed across the road. We had a little traffic jam going but it didn't last long. The rest of the turkeys didn't waste any time completing their journey across the road.

It was a beautiful day to be geocaching and a beautiful day to enjoy a road trip! We traveled 54.7 miles in 5 hours and 45 minutes and were entertained at various locations along the way. And, we found 7 caches! Not many for a six hour day, but enough considering the fun along the way.