Found Alaskan Heaven thanks to an Alaskan Angel & Geocaching

I can’t believe I get to write another story about the luckiest boy in the world going on a road trip. Once again, I packed up my favorite camPERVan, Pervvie, this time the destination is Alaska. A teenage dream is finally coming to realization. Driving from home in Maryland to Alaska. Geocaching goals are pretty limited for this road trip. I say that now yet somehow, geocaching will find its way to consume me. Probably some challenge that I don’t even know exists yet (turns out, that thing is chasing D/T’s). My top goal is my last remaining year 2000 in the USA (DONE!) . That’s in Sitka. Other than that, I hope to find all the types in each state and for each date when possible. The top 1000 favorites, I’m getting close to 70% I think. And then of course anything else awesome that catches my eye for no apparent reason. Other stupid checklist goal, playing frisbee in each state. I hope to check off a few of the northern states as I make my way across the land (also done!).

This is the story of me being visited by an Alaskan Angel named Ed. He descended upon me in an ‘87 Toyota Corolla. He first ridiculed me for my chosen location, and then directed me to a spot I was sure I could not get to. He ridiculed me for thinking that as well. What at first was a failed attempt at finding a 10 year lonely multi geocache, turned into 2 days in heaven.

This is mostly just my log from a geocache I found:

This is the story of a lonely multicache that I was excited for, then depressed over, then it changed my life forever. I’m going to start by saying that both stage 1 and 2 both look like they could have been placed yesterday. Recently at an Alaskan Event, I heard conversation that had 3 key words in it. Multi, lonely, and Star Wars…or Trek, I dunno). Multicache is what really grabbed my attention. At the end of the event, we formed a human pyramid, took some pics, and parted ways. I researched this multicache. The puzzle looked straight forward. Thankfully, my best pal Josh is just the kind of dork I needed for this puzzle. He said it took even his nerdy ass a lot of googling to come up with an answer. I took his info out to stage 1. I looked for quite a while, in all the wrong directions. Then as I hung my head with sadness, there it was. I opened it, thinking I might be the first in almost 10 years. What if the puzzle is unreadable? Nope, looks like it was put there yesterday. Amazing. Been here since 2005 I think? Wow. I did the homework and got new information. I plugged it in and started my way to the final. I got to an intersection that locals know well. I as a traveler did not. I turned back. The weather was awful, raining, dreary, just not that pleasant. I could not see 100 feet due to fog. But I was in Alaska having fun! Whatever I was feeling over this lack of multicache, let’s call it depression just for relatability, I need to get ahold of myself. Depression could also be coming from a recent retarded, yet important, loss to the universe. I pulled into a rock quarry that had 2 higher than normal DT’s. I was going to treat myself to those, a nice climb and stretch, get out of this multi-funk. I made a short loop out for those 2, great climbs, quick finds. Then I returned to the van and restrategized. As I sat catching up on real life a bit, watching a funny video my Juggalo pal sent me, and enjoying a smoke, a drunken Alaskan Angel descending upon me in an 87 Toyota Corolla. His name was Ed. He was giving me crap for having this nice van and camping out at a rock quarry. I made sure to let him know I was not doing that, told him there were geocaches here, he told me I was wrong, I told him where I wanted to go, down the road a bit. Ed then gave me hope in life and told me that even though that sign said one thing, people tow boats that 14 miles all the time. Great news! I don’t even have a boat in tow. I immediately got restarted with such a vigor. Socked in with weather almost the entire day, the clouds broke a bit for views from the top. Gorgeous. What a view. It was a loooooong search for the prize. I almost gave up. I am not used to that kind of a hide. Sounds silly now that I type it. The pressure that was released upon opening, such a sweet sound. And I am pretty sure that trackup&glacierkitten left a toot behind as a 10-year surprise. A happy dance occurred. What a great adventure, thanks for providing. Favorite point obvs.

After the multi experience I continued alone to the end of the Bennett Highway. Thanks to Ed, I knew I could. I’m in a 4wd lifted, and well-prepared sprinter. It was a tough road in for sure, not our worst. The rain made parts treacherous. At the end was by far my most amazing spot of heaven that I have been directed to yet. I have found a lot of amazing places because of GC, but this was b/c of a local, so much better, I think. Once I got there, the skies cleared completely. I had perfect blue skies, grazing wispy clouds, and a river singing to me. I could not believe it, again Alaska shows me all the weather options in a single day. It remained perfect, with just enough breeze to keep the skeeters off my peter. I could not believe my luck, and at the same time could. I do claim to be the luckiest boy in the world. I can’t wait to see how that bites me in the ass one day. I stayed there the day, overnight and half the next day. My time there I saw 3 other humans, 2 boats, and I swear to your dog, a partridge in a pear tree. When I left, I stopped for a couple other 4 year lonely hides along the Bennett Highway. I only left for other nonsense GC checklists. Believe it or not, another multi.

CAM season in Maryland again

It is that time of year when Maryland hosts our Cache Across Maryland. They outdid themselves this year. Usually CAM consists of 10 locations scattered around Maryland. This year is a visit to all 26 Maryland counties! I have been hip deep in traveling everywhere, including zigzagging every nook and cranny of Maryland lately. I am almost done CAM, and still have a couple good road trips and hikes to look forward to. It goes without saying we had some of the best days of our lives recently. I put up a bunch of pictures, mostly the dogs, from recent CAM travels throughout Maryland HERE.

Table Rock South Carolina Wedding

I was so fortunate to have been invited to a friends wedding in South Carolina. It was at Table Rock State Park. It was in October, perfect leaf peeping season. The weather was perfect. The couple is beyond adorable. This is a place I never would have ended up on my own. Here are some of my favorite pictures I took.

Most road trips comes to an end

Day 89:
20,590 miles, and I will stop counting after today.
I woke up at Burke Lake in Arlington, only 2 hours from home, but still not home. And I won’t be home until 5pm. I have a 5pm arrival appointment at home with some very important people. I will see my wife and dogs for the first time in 3 months. I can’t wait to embrace her and roll on the floor with the dogs. What a long strange trip it’s been. I don’t understand why, and stopped worrying about why I am so lucky. I will just ride this wave until the rug gets ripped out from under me. That could be tomorrow. As I was pulling out of a pre-sunrise Burke Lake, the first thing I saw was frisbee baskets. I think that is a sign that my normal life is already returning. I had originally planned to play frisbees in every state I visited. Turns out I only played 1 time. It was very weird how I spent 3 months, nonstop moving and doing, and it somehow feels like I just spun my wheels in place.
My plan for the morning was to head into an empty, Sunday morning DC. I was going to ride my bike around and gather up all the fun there. I got into town, and everything was perfect, the streets were empty, and the weather was amazing. Out of nowhere, and for no reason, I decided I did not want to do that anymore. Instead, I head straight for home base. I had plenty of things I wanted to do before 5pm. Today is the first day in 3 months that I was driving without the assistance of navigation. I saw “95”, knew I could not get lost, and got a bit depressed that the interstate numbers were so high.
On the drive home I stopped by the national park at the harbor. I finished up a couple pieces of geocaching business there, that I had both started, and been unable to complete in past visits. After that it was back to my home area where I dropped off my bike for service, picked up a bunch of crap from work, visited my mother, took a few phone calls from friends welcoming me home and wishing me a happy birthday, and then finally home for a family reunion.
I guess today is the last day I will write a manifesto each day about my activities, photography options, and geocaching adventures. I hope it is not the last time ever, but even if it is, I have lived a much better life than anyone (especially me) deserves.
Thanks for the memories.

I literally just got done adding photos to the photo album HERE.

Selfies Can Be Dangerous, So I Hear

When I take these type of pictures of myself, I have always been able to say I was completely safe. My wife would see these pictures and get anxious, even though it was long since over. I have had people call me “brave”, because I was willing to make pictures like this. I was not trying to be brave, I have no friends. I WISH someone would get up in the dark and walk uphill with a headlamp alongside me. But alas, people don’t get along with me, and I am usually flying solo. I have always been able to claim safety, and play down how dumb I am, because I was acting very safe. I always use a shutter release. It is a button I can hold in my hand, and make my camera take a picture whenever I want. Possibly the most innovative piece of technology we have seen since the Supersonic Concorde. This evening I forgot my remote in the van. The van was a mile away, straight downhill. For these pics I used the built in, 10-second camera timer. I had to sprint into this position. I almost tumbled to my death each and every time. I said each and every time was the last time, but then the light kept getting better. I can not turn down the opportunity to get a better shot. Thankfully I did not die this time, but I will have to die sometime soon. Hopefully while failing at doing something awesome like this.

Playing in Western Maryland to end an epic Roadtrip

Day 88:
20,370 miles and counting.
I woke up this morning in western Maryland, at the high rocks trailhead, the bottom of the hill from the 2001 geocaching hide. I took sunset pics until late, so made camp there.
I never would have dreamed in a million years that I would finish a 90-day road trip by doing one of my favorite things. Playing in the autumn-colored woods of western Maryland, looking for ammunition boxes. I don’t know that life gets a whole lot better than this. I temporarily moved from my country-wide checklist to my Maryland checklist. For some reason I made it my purpose to find every active CAM cache. It’s something I’ve been chipping away at for a couple years. Now that I am done caching across America, it is time to cache across Maryland. I will get back to America tomorrow.
This morning I went straight to Dans state park where I didn’t see another human being at all, on a beautiful fall Saturday. Today’s weather was perfect. Blue skies, lots of clouds passing, 50° maybe 55 in the sun. After a quick stop first thing this morning at Dan‘s mountain I then went to Rocky Gap State Park, where I spent most of my day. I didn’t plan to be there as long as I did, but either this bridge being out is fairly new, or I did some of the poorest route planning of my life. In the end it just resulted in me walking a bunch more miles through the autumn-colored forest in western Maryland. I ended up being there about 4 hours and covered 7-8 miles. Rocky Gap was a two-fer. There was 2 in there I wanted. Then I went to Green Ridge Forest and then Orleans. Those 3 stops were very aggressive, and I thought I might run out of daylight. I made out fine, and still had time to drive to Burke Lake in VA. It was a very long day, and possibly one of my most productive.
There is one more piece of Geocaching business left, if I complete it then I will have had the most successful circle of the country I could imagine.
Wow, I created a very aggressive geocaching wish list map when I left. I never imagined getting so much fun stuff done. I made Burke parking lot my home for the night. Tomorrow at 5pm is when I will see my wife and dogs for the first time in 3 months! I am very excited. I am not sure how I will fill tomorrow. I might spend the morning around DC. Maybe Sunday morning is empty, and I can get some fun stuff done?

I have added a lot lately to the photo album HERE.