Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day (Observed)

Killing time between lunch and grilled hotdogs & sausages, guess what I did. If you guessed more searching for caches, you guessed right. I found the one here, in spite of the fact that this corner has seen some heavy work recently. I had looked for this one before and not found it. In fact, I found three caches today that I had looked for before and not managed to find. So that was good.

The building here can be leased.

It needs a little work, though.

Vandals also spraypainted a picture of . . . Ronald Reagan?

After three successful finds, I tried to do a forth. No luck. I almost stepped on this dead bird. Of course, this isn't the first picture of a dead bird with green bottle flies crawling on it that has made it into my blog. It appeared to be a recently departed bird. The fact that it looks like it died in mid-flight seems especially disturbing somehow.

You might think that would be the only repeat, but it wasn't. At the park, I saw that vandals had spraypainted another picture . . . Richard Nixon? I can't tell. I am being influenced by the first picture I saw.

To complete the cycle of life, I will post here a picture of a fawn laying in some grass near my parents' house. It received a good bit of attention today. It may be cute now but in another year or two it will probably be somebody's hood ornament. My family does not live in a remote area.

Monday, May 26, 2008 

Category: Life

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Virginia: We're full of blood-sucking parasites!

I was in Virginia over the weekend to attempt to complete my open-water scuba certification. I failed to do that because I had to abort my dives because it felt like my left eardrum ruptured. The doc said no the next day, but that sure isn't the way it felt. I had planned to do some geocaching after the dives, anyway. I just got an earlier start. What I didn't expect was to have to be picking hordes of these beasties off of me all day while I searched. What is worse, of course, is picking the ones I missed off myself later on. Sometimes my camera can pull off getting good detail on tiny things. This one was about the size of a 12 point font letter O. And it was probably one of the bigger ones. I'm still not completely sure I got all of them. I'm sunburned, too, which doesn't help because it itches and feels like stuff is crawling around on me even though there isn't anything there. And I am taking antibiotics because, even though my eardrum doesn't have a hole in it, there is now suddenly all kinds of fluid behind it and it either is or stands a good chance of being infected. So, with all these little buggers, not to mention the mosquitos battling for their spot, and of which I crushed several, I thought maybe Viriginia might want to adopt "Virginia: We're full of blood-sucking parasites!" as it's state motto.

So the first cache I tried to find was near this spot. This was at the base of some weird looking radio tower that tens of thousands of people drive by every day on I-66. At least there will be plenty of video of me wandering off into the woods to go geocaching. And picking ticks off of myself.

So far I've been warned about water hazards and electrical hazards. Now radio. This one seems to suggest that the chain-link fence is somehow protecting me from the giant tower . . . er, towering above me. Or maybe if somebody who wasn't qualified climbed up the tower, they would microwave everybody on I-66. Either way, this wasn't the way I had to go.

Looks remote, huh? But it's not. It's just a patch of undeveloped land between two very busy highways. There were only sounds of cars (mostly on I-66) and that was it. No other animal sounds. They were probably all dead from tick-borne illnesses. But in fairness, the page announcing this cache did say there were ticks here.

So. I think this is poison ivy. I'm not really sure. The only way I know for sure is that later on, I have an allergic reaction to it. I've got a little bump on my thigh that looks like a blister from poison ivy--but it makes no sense for it to be there because nothing on my thigh would have come in contact with anything that touched the plant.

From there I went to what I suppose was downtown Haymarket. Ahh. No ticks. No poison ivy. Just people. Of course, people are sometimes more of a problem. But not this day.

It was around here where I made my second cache claim for the day. From there, it was on to James S. Long Regional Park, and back into the woods. And more ticks.

They have odd trees in the park.

While I was wandering around, picking up ticks and searching for the cache, I saw many trees that had been chewed through.

This seemed like it might have been a good spot, but it wasn't. And neither were lots of other spots I looked in. I found stage one of this multipart cache, but never did find stage two. Maybe if I go back to the area to try to dive again, I will give this cache another try as well.

Saturday, May 24, 2008 

Category: Life

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Walk In The Parks

Today I managed to find a couple caches I wasn't able to find before. For instance, you might remember an entry in my blog that had this picture in it. This is how Pangborn Park looked when I first started searching for the cache here.

And well, this is how it looked today when I found the cache.

From there, I proceeded to another nearby park. Just to confuse things, here is a picture of a pile of snow in the park.

The gazebo here holds another cache. The snow is in the lower left corner.

The park has several caches. One's here.

Finding the tree was nice, but it was on the other side of the park. Although it looked a lot like rain, it didn't rain much at all.

Did I notice?

Yes. Yes, I did.

Here is a picture of another spider--a recurring theme in geocaching, apparently. This one is rubber, at least.

I left that for yet another park, this one I had no recollection of ever having seen before. It was very small, but it had a cache in it somewhere.

Would the GPS take me to the nice merry-go-round, surrounded by cut grass?

Or would it take me back past this rusting drum into thick underbrush? If you guessed past the drum, you were right.

I found this random metal plate with a number 7 in the middle of all the brush.

I found the cache. This was in it. I don't know what it is, exactly.

I was getting hungry, so I went here to get a sub for dinner.

On the way home, I stopped by to get another cache that had eluded me before. This bat is a rubber bat stuffed between a down spout and the wall of a car wash. Nobody knows what it is doing there, but a lot of people who find the cache also find the bat.

This was the last cache find of the day. A neat container. It was pretty muddy, though. I would be remiss if I didn't point out the spider crawling across the eye.

Sunday, May 18, 2008 

Category: Life

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Volunteering and Thrash

With CAM 2008 behind me, I had little rest to start off this weekend. Friday evening, I first went to a get-together of local cachers to meet some of the people who did CAM 2008 and others involved in the activity generally. After that I headed to the Bonanza Extravaganza to help support the ambulance company I volunteer for, Community Rescue Service. That was a nice idea, except that I volunteered to work the late shift, forgetting that the next morning I had to get up at 0615 to go back to CRS to leave to go down to a MCI training drill at BWI. That is where I snapped this picture.

The drill let out sometime after noon, so I went and had lunch with the crew I was with on the ambulance (Dennis and Keli) and then went down to the Westfield Annapolis Mall, where I figured I could kill some time and might be able to find some wireless internet to download coordinates to my GPS device. There was wireless, but it was kind of spotty. Ultimately I completed my downloads in the Towson public library. Yes, with time to kill before the concert I was going to, I decided to do some more geocaching. This is the view from where I tried to find the first cache. It was a steep little hill next to the parking lot of a diner. The hint for this cache said I didn't have to climb up the hill, but I didn't read that before I got home.

This tower was near where the cache was supposed to be. I say "supposed to be" because I never did find it.

I saw this container, which looked big enough to hold a cache, and was already partially open. I didn't let the lettering dissuade me. I opened it fully to find out that it contained--poison, just like it said. Oops!

Frustrated by that cache, I went on to seek the next one. This is the grave of a lady named Schmuck, right smack in the middle of everything being built up in downtown Towson. Unfortunately, I didn't read the descriptions for these caches, and I learned when I got home that this was just the first in a series of locations which held clues that could be used to solve a puzzle to get the coordinates of the cache. So I found what I was supposed to, but didn't find a cache, because (I guess) there wasn't one here to be found.

While I was walking all around Towson, I came upon the abandoned storefront of a CompUSA. Remember these?

I also came across this on my way to the concert. Who owns this sporty little Mustang GT? How about the Maryland State Police. See those little blue and red lights in the windows? I'll bet this car gets a lot of people in trouble.

Arch Enemy
Rounding out the evening was the reason I was in Towson, namely the Tyranny and Bloodshred tour! Headlining was the group Arch Enemy. They put a lot of energy into the performance, right from the start. It was really pretty cool to see. They did a really good job. Firewind had a pretty classic metal sound. Dark Tranquility was OK, but the vocalist looked kind of wasted. Happy, but wasted. Divine Heresy sounded more hardcore, grindcore, or whatever blahcore you want. Maybe they were great if you like that stuff, but I don't. Anyway, I'm happy I got to see Arch Enemy this time around.

Saturday, May 10, 2008 

Category: Life

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Little More On CAM 2008

I attended the CAM 2008 picnic, held in the McKeldin Area of the Patapsco Valley State Park. There were over a hundred people there I think.

This is the path I took to get to the picnic. Depending on how you want to look at it, the picnic was either a little over 60 miles from my house or something over 1700 miles away, which is how many miles I wound up driving to all of the different caches. Or somewhere in the neighborhood of $250 to $300 in gas. Ouch. Google Maps estimated the total driving time at 33 hours. Some other places I could have visited by driving 1700 miles (one-way): Minot, North Dakota; Denver, Colorado; Corpus Christi, Texas. I could have just about driven round-trip to Daytona Beach, Florida.

I didn't take pictures at the picnic. It was kind of well underway by the time I got there. It wound up mid-afternoon, which left me daylight, which of course meant that I went after a few caches before I headed home. The first was on this trail. There were a half dozen different cachers there by the time I got there. Somebody else made the find here.

These are the rapids for which the trail is so aptly named.

The second cache I found was on the top of a ridge in the park. Stepping past this tree, which is just past the location of the cache, would be a bad idea. The picture doesn't quite do it justice. It kind of looks flat. Just trust me it was steep.

Just some trees I saw along the way to the third cache I was looking for.

And this is the container for the third cache I found.

It was on this trail. That's a nice sign at the start of this trail. The only problem is--this isn't the trail I went in on. But I managed to walk along roads almost the entire way back to my car, so it wasn't too bad.

Sunday, May 04, 2008 

Category: Life