So I will start the Fourth of July Megablog talking about geocaching, as has been my wont lately until colorful explosions started lighting up the sky. I've met some ants along the way, but there were a lot of ants guarding this cache, and they were none too happy about being disturbed.
The cache was near this RC Flying Club (www.pegasusrc.com).
I showed you that Pegasus so I could show you this one. It's on a sidewalk in Hagerstown. It was once featured in a Herald-Mail contest that is sort of a photo scavenger hunt. This was the only entry I could not find. It didn't have the whole image, it was only part of it. Everybody recognized it as a Fairchild logo, but nobody knew where to find it. Well, nobody I knew, anyway.
You can see some common themes evolving among my geocaching pics. This is one of the bizarre ones. Again, another park in the north end of Hagerstown, another stencil graffiti picture of Reagan. You'd think conservatives would appreciate property rights, public or otherwise. Actually, you'd be right. I've got no idea what these vandals are thinking.
I found this while hunting in a pine tree. Again. If and when I ever do decide to hide a cache, I do not think it will be in a pine tree, or any other sort of evergreen.
This light is also very near a cache. It is perhaps the first of several pictures with vivid color in this blog.
I tend to stay up late. I am writing this right now at 3:30 a.m. Which means I tend to sleep in. Which means I run out of daylight to do my geocaching. It's a vicious circle. I actually attacked the cache here in daylight, but had a couple of problems. One, I didn't think I would have to go back into a wooded area in town. I was wrong. I followed a trail back into the woods, flicked a tick off my shin along the way, but decided to bail as mosquitos started buzzing me and I realized I would have to cross a muddy stream to get to the cache. There was another way that did not involve crossing the stream, but I did not get there until after dark, owing to my running some errands after my first attempt. Errands like eating dinner and acquiring some more bug repellent. This picture is a little more green than in real life, but it was about this dark. And there was a storm with lightning in the distance and wind blowing through the trees. And the added excitement of knowing from trash encountered on my earlier visit that one or more persons, presumably homeless, enjoyed drinking liquor back in the woods. Or at least pitching the empty fifths into the woods. Well, and whatever nocturnal animals happened to be about. But back into the wooded area, behind this deserted office building (at least at this time of night) I went. Actually, except for the trash from the vagrants, it was a really cool spot. Who knows, it might be enjoyable in the daytime.
That was Sunday last week. Because I was out late, I didn't have time to write about it. Today I went geocaching again, in the Fairgrounds park. This cache was the last cache I had to find there. It keeps disappearing, which is a shame. I'm not sure whether it is rain washing it out, groundhogs tunneling it out, or people who want to spoil the game taking it out, or some combination of all or some of those elements. At any rate, I am able to cross it off the list now.
The Fairgrounds park had a fireworks show yesterday. This is an empty shell from the display. There was paper everywhere where they set them off, and a couple pieces of paper with foil on one side. They had the area roped off last night while they were setting them off, so I could not go find the cache. They also had the area roped off this morning while they were cleaning up and presumably clearing the area of any unexploded shells. Spoil sports. So far, I have not had to dodge any explosives while hunting. Electrical hazards, water hazards, and the threat of several diseases carried by the many bugs I encounter, sure, but no bombs. Maybe some day.
Taken at a local elementary school. One wonders where the busses drop the kiddies off. And how far down they tumble into the school.
The local state police barracks, with my geocaching Intrepid in the background. Yes, there is a cache hidden in here. I was passed by three police cars the first time I tried to find it. The other one just sort of parked and watched me leave. But today, I only spied one MSP car going by me, and he seemed to be in a hurry. Another passed by as I was standing next to my car, getting ready to leave. So I waved at him. He waved back. I look somewhat less suspicious around a police barracks during the day. This was the first cache I found on my way down to watch the 23rd Annual Salute to Independence at Antietam National Battlefield.
Hagerstown is in Washington County, Maryland, as is Sharpsburg, where the battle of Antietam was fought. We're not quite this rural. This is a museum exhibit of sorts.
Hmm. But maybe still a bit rural. Nevertheless, a cache is hidden away somewhere in here. And now I know where.
I also get to see lots of churches and graveyards while geocaching. This one was entirely appropriate, as it was a Halloween-themed geocache and dedicated to Edgar Allen Poe. This cache had some style. Style you might like if you don't mind hanging out in graveyards. Which I don't. Seeing this cross fallen over seemed a bit odd. But that's the way it was. And it had been for some time.
Another church. Another graveyard. Only this one has a story in addition to the cache nearby.
In the graveyard of this church lies the body of Craig Wibberley. He was killed in the attack on the U.S. Cole in Yemen in October 2000. His willingness to serve and that of others like him are why we have our independence to celebrate. I'm glad I got a chance to find this cache today. You can read more about Craig Wibberley in the description for the cache "Seaman Apprentice Craig Wibberley."
This is the grave marker of Craig's paternal grandfather, Thomas B. Wibberley. He died less than a month after his grandson. That is a lot for one family to go through.
After leaving the graves, I resumed my trek down to Antietam. Luck was not with us this year, because storm clouds were rolling in.
Eventually the blue sky disappeared.
No more blue sky.
Antietam National Battlefield, home to the Salute.
The MSO plays several popular patriotic musical numbers, culminating in the 1812 Overture.
This girl was taking a picture of the flags. I think. So I took a picture of her taking a picture. It appeals to my sense of recursion. But I digress.
I was here to take a picture of the cannons.
This was as close to the business end as I could get.
As I am now passing the first year of my blogging, and as I have gone to all but one of the 23 Salutes, I have written about these cannons before.
As well as their updated bretheren.
And as before, this is why you do not want to be opposite the armed forces of the United States.
The fireworks aren't all in the air. I got lucky with this picture. It could have been taken with a better camera, but I don't think it could have been timed any better.
Usually I try to beat the traffic out, but this year, I was stuck in it because the rain drove a lot of people back to their cars early, and nobody was hanging around after the fireworks went off.
Did I say fireworks? Actually this is from the previous day's celebrations at the Fairgrounds.
Playing with the zoom again, I got this picure of the shooters as they were getting ready to light off the fireworks display. Shortly after this picture, they lit up their flares and got to work.
I only managed to take two more pictures at the Fairgrounds because my camera eats batteries like nobody's business. Of the two, I think this one is more sinister. I think it looks basically like a giant fireball being hurled towards the camera.
For some reason on this night, maybe because I was as close as I was, the fireworks kind of overwhelmed the fireworks setting on my camera. This one's less sinister, though, because the giant fireball has exploded and now all that is headed my way are lethal fragments.
From there, we move on to Antietam. Because it was going to rain, they skipped some of the pieces they were going to play (actually, two new original compositions that they were going to debut) and shortened up the 1812 Overture to just the cannons. I like the whole story told by the overture as much as the cannons. I don't care if the composer hated it. It's a simple story. I can understand it. I like it. But if they had played the whole thing, they never would have got the fireworks off before it started to rain hard. I really appreciate the effort that all parties made to see that everybody got to see something (or maybe several somethings) that they enjoy.
For some reason, these fireworks came out really colorful. Maybe it's because it wasn't so dark when they started.
But for whatever reason, you can really see colors in these pictures.
And shapes in some cases. This one has something in it that kind of looks like a Black-Eyed Susan.
And this one kind of looks like a koosh. Also, it's kind of freaky because it looks like there is a smiling face in the upper right, yes? Human brains will see faces everywhere. And mine sees one there.
There were also little explosions amongst big explosions.
But mostly there were colors. This one I think is kind of gray.
This one is kind of yellow.
This one I said was kind of purple, which, maybe it is.
I'm arranging these colors for effect, if you haven't noticed. Or at least I'm trying. This one is orange.
This one is green. Seeing the sky filled with green smoke and fire is kind of freaky. I'm not sure it was this green in real life, but there is the picture.
And last, red. Kudos to the fireworks guys (Bay Fireworks).
Saturday, July 05, 2008