Stone Mountain Georgia, Home of Kenneth the Page

Day 79:
Today I met Diego, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
When I left home, I watched the interstate numbers count down from 95 all the way to 5. Then I watched the horizontal interstate drop from 90 all the way down to 10. As I head home, I see those numbers gradually climbing higher. I’m already back at 75 and 85. Booooo
I woke up at a truckstop where I got my van washed last night some north of Hotlanta, off I-75 south. For some reason last night was the first night in several months I just wasn’t able to sleep. I tossed and turned and then finally just started my day in the middle of the night. I zigzaged around a couple of spots of HotLanta before the world was alive. This allowed me to find one of the funnest, choose your own adventure style, multicaches I have ever done. Also happens to be one of the oldest around, dates back to 2001. It’s just hidden in plain sight where I’m sure thousands of people see it, yet it’s been there for over 20 years.
I visited a place that had to do with Hank Aaron. That has something to do with baseball, I know that. I know the place I visited looks really cool on satellite imagery, looks like a baseball field in a parking lot. Check it on satellite view: HERE
After baseball on to golf, something I know a little bit about. I wandered around a graveyard that had the corpses of Kenny Rogers and Bobby Jones. I was lucky enough to be at the Masters weekend 2009.
After a couple hours it was time for me to get the hell out of the city, just as the sun was coming up and other people were showing up. My next destination had the word mountain in it, so I knew I was gonna like that a whole lot better than all this asphalt and high-rises.
Before heading to Stone Mountain, I stopped for a nice sit-down breakfast at first watch, one of our favorite places. It was delicious, hopefully gave me the energy I need to summit stone mountain. My objectives at Stone Mountain today are the really old geocaches, walking up to the top, and a third thing to be named later. I think Stone Mountain Georgia is where Kenneth the Page is from?
I spent most of the daylight hours at Stone Mountain. It’s quite a unusual site, that giant stone just sticks out like that for no particular reason. I walked up to the top of it along with a bunch of other people. The weather was perfect and the views were amazing. There’s always something really unique about seeing a city skyline in the distance and a forest in the foreground. I passed the oldest lady I have ever seen climbing up there. She was using a cane taboot. It was so hard for me not to give her a high five. I passed her going at an area that gets really steep and has hand rails for 100 yards. I just assumed that would HAVE to be her turnaround point. On my way down, I passed her again, still heading up, and past the hand rail section! At that point I wanted to carry her the rest of the way. Somehow, I minded my own business.
I was glad to get the old beaver hide at all. Timewise, I guess I just got lucky. I’ve had two other geocaches from the year 2000 escape my path, because of weather. One in Southern California and the other in southern Florida. Today is the day I would have been here no matter what. I am just now seeing quite the dust up on the internet about this hide. I have been on the road for 3 months, and am using a pocket query/list that dates back about 6 months ago. As I said, I would have been here either way today, as this is where I am in my journey, and I am thankful I hopefully won’t get roasted on the internet. A big reason I stay off the internet.
After that find I had a 2 hour drive east, to Modoc Georgia. Hopefully I’ll be able to get up and down that trail before I lose daylight. It’s getting later in the year and the sun going away so early is really thrown off my schedule of activities. Turns out Modoc is in South Carolina, not Georgia. I found that out on the drive there. It was about 10 minutes over the border.

I have put more photos of my roadtrip HERE.

Easily the greatest geocache on the planet GC8DQ55

That I have found, anyway.

Day 78:
18,300 miles and counting.
Today I met HansDown, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
Last night I got Publix chicken for dinner and went back to the nearby truckstop open area for the night. I am right by I-59. Tomorrow I should be able to checklist a few high favorited geocaches and a few old ones. I believe just shortly after I start driving, I am going to cross into Georgia, and lose my last hour. My first destination is a very highly favorited gadget cache……This is now my all time, overall favorite geocache, Kwango Kate Gadget Cache, if you are a geocacher. I just realized this code has DQ in it. Anyone that knows me knows that my favorite thing ever invented is Dairy Queen ice cream cake. Coincidence? I think not. It feels like an actual escape room. I can’t gush about it enough. I spent 3 minutes short of 3 hours there. That’s right, 2 hours and 52 minutes. A very fun 3 hours. I did spend some time on a personal phone call. But my brain was working the entire time, and not paying attention to whatever the nerd on the other end of the phoneline was talking about…something about a tweezer reprise. The setup was amazing, and the fact that it has been visited so many times and is still in perfect condition is a real credit to the owner and the community. After that unexpected 3 hours, I wandered around Rome for a little while. There are a lot of fun things to do in Rome. Wish I had planned better with my time. I have to be nowhere at no particular time, I got that going for me. After a Rome roam, I continued north to seek out 2 old hides from 2000. First was rocktown. What a cool place. It is a cross between 2 very popular places back home. One is bouldering the other is a rock maze. I am glad I know this is here. I jogged all the way out and back. I jumped up, on, over, and around a lot of rocks that I did not need to. There was definitely an easier, softer way to get where I was going. But no others allowed me to feel like a spiderman. After that, on to the iron horse. I had no idea what I was in store for here. Not a long trek at all, but then suddenly, boom! A scary tunnel. It felt very surreal, like I stepped into a spooky movie. I loved it. I turned around and tried to make it happen again, no luck. From there it was time to get back to civilization. I found a truck wash that was open 24 hours about an hour toward Atlanta. I made that my destination, and then also my sleeping arrangements for the night.

Still constantly updating the album of my roadtrip HERE.

Voodoo and Jazz and Vampires, oh my

Day 76:
17,760 miles and counting.
Today I met Iko, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
I started the morning with a half hour drive to New Orleans proper. I was there shortly after sunrise and long before the city was awake. I hopped on my bike and zigged zagged around for what end up being about five hours and a dozen miles. I took a very inefficient route around all the various virtual geocaches that showed me the best sites, adventure labs, and other fun tourist attractions in New Orleans. I know I had to come spend the day here, but it’s safe to say, this place is just not for me. My wife loves it here. Between voodoo and vampires and the food, she might live here. I guess that’s just not up my alley. Also, I’m a big fan of the elevation, I really enjoy being a lot higher in the air than this. But I took a lot of pictures, learned a lot of crazy history, and walked through a lot of human urine and dead bodies. I was there early enough that at times I was the only human being I saw. I was riding a bike down Bourbon Street and was the only thing that was alive in that moment. Gradually some people were walking with their coffee, and then finally by the time I was done, music was as loud as could be and the lunch crowds were out and mingling. So that part was rather fun, watching a city wake up and come to life for the day. But that’s also a sure-fire sign that it’s time for me to get the hell out of there. I loaded up my bike and started to head toward Birmingham. I have another repair shop appointment there, I had an alternator belt replaced on Friday, and it’s the wrong size. Hopefully the repair shop chain is going to honor the work of the other location…thankfully they did.
So that’s the next place I must be, and gradually make my way north and east. I drove until I ran out of daylight and found a place to call home for the night somewhere south of Montgomery.

Day 77:
18,000 miles and counting.
Today I met Shadow, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
I woke up at a truck stop off I-65, where I was parked in the very back, along the roadway. I took a shower and had spicy sausage pasta boil in bag for dinner lat night.
Not a whole lot is going to happen today. I have to make my way to Birmingham. I have an appointment to replace another alternator belt on my van. Hopefully get the tires rotated while I am there as well. I learned my lesson using these extra soft tires. Since I am going to be inBirmingham, I wanted to stop and say hello to Storyteller Overland, the wonderful place and people that build my amazing adventure van. I stopped by there, snooped around undetected, took a few pictures as proof of my snooping, and then checked in for my van service about 20 minutes away. I was 3 hours early. I told them I was around, and I would be out in the parking lot working, if they wanted me sooner.
I am in a weird time frame of travel right now. I have not touched my camera in 3 or 4 days. Mentally I am heading home. But I have a wedding to be at in 8 days in South Carolina. If I came home right now, I would leave again in a day or two after getting home. So, I am going to finish the handful of things on my geocaching checklist (hopefully), and then get a campsite somewhere in the mountains for the days I have to wait until the wedding.
Before getting all the way out of the city, I had the tires rotated after the alternator belt repair. I think from here I will be heading directly to Georgia. I have quite a few checklist items around Atlanta and north western Georgia. This includes getting on a boat Saturday morning.

I have put more photos of my roadtrip HERE.

The emotions were flowing

Day 74:
17,170 miles and counting.
Today I met Hippie, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
I slept at a Loves truckstop off interstate 20 somewhere heading east out of Texas into Louisiana. I slept for a long time, got up and then did a bunch of “house” things. Did a few minor repairs and some cleanup. Nothing was calling me and I’m on no time schedule or pressures, so I took this opportunity to tie up some loose ends.
I made my way through Shreveport with a few stops for some old and fun geocaches. I also spent some time catching up on some phone calls. I had hoped that I was going to be heading to Fort Myers Florida to visit my favorite person in the world. But it turns out they just had a storm go through there, pretty bad unfortunately, and she is not there. That’s a bit of a bummer for me. Selfish, I know. I mostly meandered aimlessly east. Contemplating whether I wanted to go to New Orleans proper. I have been there, but only as a drunken teen. Not sure if that’s a place that holds anything interesting for me or not. I guess I’ll decide.
I did a Music related virtual geocache in Lousiana, and I had no idea what I was in store for. I assume that I visited a grave/memorial, I would at least recognize the name. For some reason I thought it might have something to do with Elvis or one of the people of that era, and because of this area. Turns out it was the gravesite of Johnny Horton, one of my pop’s favorite musicians. That caught me completely off guard, to the point where I actually sat down for a few minutes and squirted out a few tears. But that didn’t last long, because I got things to do, shut those emotions back off. Unfortunately, that project sent me 10 miles back to where I just came from, but dems da brakes.
From there I decided to see exactly how high Louisiana’s highest point is. Looks to be about 4 or 5 feet above sea level? I think the elevation gain was in the double digits.
After the almost impossible trek to 500-and-some-odd feet of elevation, I had to start heading south. I needed to get to the wild azalea trail where Louisiana’s oldest geocache is located. I made a few stops along the way at different places for fun things or travel necessities.
I made it safely to an alternate parking spot for the azalea trail. I jogged out and back to make that find of Louisiana’s oldest geocache. I then decided to make that parking spot my home for the night. It was as quiet and dark of a spot as I have ever picked. Lucky me.

Day 75:
Today I met Maggie, hands-down the coolest dog of my life, she is probably going to change someones life forever.
I woke at the trailhead for the wild azalea trail, Louisiana’s oldest geocache. I found the oldest just at sunset, then decided to spend the night there. I got a great night’s sleep. It was dark, and I was not disturbed once by anything or anyone. Very peaceful and quiet back there, no sign of life for 12 hours.
My goal was to continue heading south and east, Baton Rouge and then New Orleans. I had a nice drive, it is a Sunday, so there was no one anywhere. I was all around LSU, I rode a bike around Baton Rouge, and I saw a wonderful group filming a music video. That last thing really got me excited. I also found another old geocache from 2001 in a horsie related park. All the streets were named after horse stuff, palomino, paint, applesauce, etc… I did a really fun where I go while riding my bike. The description said bike trail and I thought to myself, I have not ridden my bike in quite a few days. Sounds like a great idea. I mean I have been lugging it around for 18k miles. It doesn’t just make my van’s ass look great.
Finally, I made it to the town of Mandeville. I found something nice to eat for take away. I found a nice spot to park my house, ate, cleaned myself up, and got ready to settle in for the night. Before that, and after dinner I did a nice big walking loop to settle supper. A very slow day for me, at least in comparison. I didn’t go far. I didn’t get much done. Oh well. I found out today that I probably won’t be able to go to Florida next like I had planned. I had no idea they had such terrible storms until this morning. Oh bother, mother nature.

I regularly update the photo album HERE.

I visited Louisiana

Day 72:
16,730 miles and counting.
Today I met Tela, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
I got started plenty early, long before there was any sunlight. I had quite a few things I wanted to accomplish today, and from my research I didn’t think any of them would take too long. On my way south I made a quick stop to top off my freshwater tank.
Apparently, something on the electrical system of the living quarters of my van broke yesterday. My battery supply is no longer charging as I drive, like it is designed to do, and like it has done for the previous 70+ days without issue. I have my fingers crossed that it will take charge when I get a chance to plug it in. It never did charge as I drove, and I need another new alternator belt. That is 3 so far, 2 on this trip. Ugggg. I decided to book an actual campsite, so I could plug in. This is a first, I have never plugged Pervvie in, other than to test that I knew how to do it. Hopefully she will be full battery by go time tomorrow. I spent all day today with my head on a swivel, looking for someplace I might be able to plug in and steal some electricity. I never did find anything, until tonight at the campground.
Back to geocaching. There are 4 geocaches surrounding Dallas that date back to the year 2000. I intended to get them all today, a bit aggressive maybe. In hindsight, not at all. Easy peasy. I even made time for a bunch of other fun stuff. I was going to make today be a day that I found every ‘type’ of geocache. I was even going to go out of my way to Galveston for the webcam. Then I realized I can’t do the locationless anyway. So, I did get all types except those 2 today. Dork. I did a couple walks in the park, a couple walks along water, a couple in the woods. After all that I visited an auto shop about my alternator belt. The fellas were great. They took a peek, and it seems standard. Going back first thing tomorrow, fingers crossed. Then I went to my campsite, gave my van some juice, got a shower, and went to Alfonso’s Pancake Breakfast Geocaching Event. I made some new friends, had a lot of great chats, and found out all the dishy gossip on all the local GC’ers. All in all, one of the best days of my life, even when my van is broken.
After the Geocaching event, back to the campground. I splurged on something I never need, a campsite. I needed electric hookup to charge, it was down to 10% after 2 days of not charging. Back to 100% by the time I woke up and head back to the auto repair shop in the morning.

Day 73:
17,070 miles and counting.
Today I met Juju, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
I woke up at the Plantation Place campground in Sunnyvale. Yep, I am in a trailer park in Sunnyvale. That is super Trailer Park Boy awesome. I stayed here so I could have somewhere legal to plug my van in, electrical issues, hopefully getting a new alternator belt today. I was at the auto repair shop before they opened at 7am. I checked in and tapped into their wifi. I sat in the parking lot, in my van and did real life stuff all day. I was there from 7am until they closed at 6pm. It is a Friday, so the fact that I am not stranded in this town all weekend is a miracle. They got my parts, installed, and had me out the door right at closing time. I could not be happier with the service I received. I got caught up on pictures, work, writing, anything else I could cram in. I am just glad to be out of here today. I don’t want to be stuck in Dallas for the weekend, but if I am, I hope the Eagles are in town.
Once I was released, I went to Babes for fried chicken. I asked around to some locals about fried chicken. The consensus was Babes. They were correct. Delicious family style fried chicken dinner for one. After dinner I was heading into Louisiana. I drove east for about 2 hours, ran out of daylight, got tired, and stopped to top off Pervvies fluids. I then found a slot to pull into, and tuck myself in for the evening.

I have put more photos of my roadtrip HERE.

Thank you John Barteau & Geocaching for these fun pictures

I got a phone call from my one friend back home who does the best pretending not to hate me. He wanted to make sure I knew it was the new moon, and had planned accordingly. He also told me some other nonsense about Saturn or Jupiter or Youranus, something about being close and visible. I was planning to get a hotel this particular evening. I knew it was the new moon, but I had not prepared or planned anything. I was planning to be in the middle of nowhere Texas the following night. Something about that phone call changed my entire attitude and mentality. I felt like one of those challenged kids that the entire school was rooting for suddenly. Rudy comes to mind, and Carrie.
I immediately pulled over for a fuel and research break. I found some dark skies in places I could get to before sunset. That is where Geocaching came to the rescue. I did not know anything about the area, and there was nothing on the satellite map except rugged terrain. There were a few geocaches spread out over a giant section of map. This is unusual. But seeing those green icons let me know that a human got there, and most likely without too much difficulty. I was able to navigate to the middle of nowhere northwest New Mexico, on drivable roads. I drive an adventure van named Pervvie, so almost anything is drivable these days. There was not another thing or soul around. Not only did I navigate to the middle of nowhere, very dark spot, it took me to a gold mine of beauty. I saw an amazing sunset. Crystal clear sky and I found these “ruins” nearby. It is just too much. Too too too too much.

The night pictures went perfectly. I can’t even believe this spot I accidentally stumbled on. I watched day turn to night with a beautiful sunset. Then I watched night turn to utter blackness. It does not get this kind of dark where I live. There was a moment I thought I was going to have to scratch the whole night. I stepped out of my van into the pitch black, walked a few feet away, set up my tripod, turned on my headlamp and the first thing I saw, a snake, in the middle of the night, in the middle of the desert, in the middle of nowhere New Mexico, I’m sure it wants to kill me. It was about 2 feet long as big around as a pencil, but it might as well been a dragon.
I stayed up all night with two cameras taking pictures of all different angles with several different foregrounds. I also spent several hours just sitting outside in my chair staring up at the night sky. It was mesmerizing and amazing. Last night was a night that I really wish I could’ve slept outside under the stars. Everything about it was perfect, the scenery, the smell, the sound, the temperature, the cool breeze. But, you know, the snake from 2 paragraphs ago.
Because of inspiration from the youth in my life, and a passion for finding hidden treasure, I was able to spend a perfect night alone, in the pitch black, world at my fingertips, and make some really fun pictures.
To make everything even more fun, today was day 69 of my road trip.

A bunch of my favorite pics from my road trip album HERE.

Fun playing with exposure as I process these night sky pictures:

You know where I got my kicks

Day 70:
16,010 miles and counting.
Today I met Jingles, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
I woke up next to an abandoned tractor and some buildings in northeastern New Mexico where I took pictures of the night sky all last night, during the new moon.
Boy am I sure glad I changed my plans yesterday. I stayed up all night with two cameras taking pictures of all different angles with several different foregrounds. I also spent several hours just sitting outside in my camp chair staring up at the night sky. It was mesmerizing and amazing. Last night was a night that I really wish I could’ve slept outside under the stars. Everything about it was perfect, the scenery, the smell, the sound, the temperature, the cool breeze. The only thing that wasn’t perfect about sleeping outside under the stars was that within 30 seconds of being outside taking pictures in the dark last night, I saw a snake. If there was a place to sling my hammock up, I would’ve slept outside, but I wasn’t sleeping on the ground after that 🙂
This morning I’ll make my way back toward civilization, and then Amarillo area. Tonight, I will definitely be getting a hotel somewhere to catch up on real life responsibilities. My route includes a whole string of really high favorited geocaches along the route 66 corridor that I stopped for. I have done this drive in the past, but there is a lot I did not take time to stop and see.
After a quick stop for breakfast, refueling, and postcard purchases, I continued along the 40/66 corridor, all the way across the panhandle. My breakfast spot also provided me an awesome little route 66 old car museum tour. I may be a 71-year-old man, but walking around in there really made me nostalgic for being a little kid with my pop. This is the kind of crap that he absolutely adored more than anything in life, except professional wrestling.
I sure am glad I am not Don Quixote, I would have never gotten through that mine field. I made a few random stops here and there for fun stuff. My goal for this afternoon was to get to Oklahoma City. This is where I plan to get a hotel and settle down for the night.
Through my travels I learned a lot about history, businesses that opened and closed, Route 66, old gas stations, and helium.
I would imagine based on the part of the world I’m in, and the time of year, my picture taking opportunities are about over. I got the new moon in the middle of nowhere darkness New Mexico last night. Between here and home, it’ll probably mostly be just working my way back towards Maryland. For 2 1/2 months I have based where I was going to be on the sunrise and sunset and where I can take the best pictures. Somehow that time of the trip feels like it might be over? It really feels like this is a book end to my trip. I have lost two time zones in the past day. Suddenly it went from 3 to 1 hour difference from home.
I got into OKCITY, Yukon to be exact, and got set up for the night at a HIE. I hardly made a dent in the things I need to accomplish. I think tomorrow will probably be a working day too.

Day 71:
16,450 miles and counting. Yep, mostly worked all day at the hotel. But, today I met Kletus, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
I left a Holiday Inn express in Yukon Oklahoma about 3 PM. I got into a hotel last night and got a few hours of responsible stuff done, but I hardly made a dent. I needed to spend the majority of today catching up. When I finally got back on the road, I went straight into OKC proper, and wandered around for a bit. I had to stop by a post office, and the one I chose was right by the memorial park. I had a lovely time wandering around there, reflecting, and learning a lot of things that I knew nothing about. In the end, humans, we are all just the same.
After I finished my business in OKC proper, it was time to head a little east towards Tulsa. I was hoping to get a few things done before I ran out of daylight today.
I made it to my main objective today. I wanted to find Oklahoma’s oldest geocache. It was not difficult like many of the others so far this road trip. And a quick 2 mile jog over the course of less than an hour I found it, and several other challenge geocaches nearby.
I made it back to my van just as I was running out of daylight. I sat and figured out what to do next. Being out of daylight, the only real thing I can do is drive. There’s other stuff around Tulsa I’d like to do, but I also need to get to Dallas. So, I decided to start making my way south toward Dallas. I have a handful of things surrounding Dallas that I’d like to accomplish, hopefully all tomorrow. I guess we’ll see about that. There’s an event for Geocaching in Dallas that happens tomorrow night. I might try to go to that, just for traveling fun.
On my way south I made one stop. It was to check out some baby rattlesnakes. That’s one of the funniest, cleverest, anxiety inducing geocaches I’ve ever done! So glad I made time for this one.
From here I drove I-35 south towards Dallas until I ran out of awake time. I found a truckstop and got prepared to start up again pre-sunrise.

Good chance there is new pictures at the album I created HERE.

If the idea of baby rattlesnakes in a geocache piqued your interest, then this video may scratch your itch:

Not having a schedule and being flexible has benefits

Day 68:
15,200 miles and counting.
Today I met Ginger, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
I woke up this morning in Payson Arizona, and decided today was the day I finally make my way to Albuquerque. I meandered my way there. As I made my way east, I stopped by Meteor Crater, because I am a loyal junior astronaut. I am always fascinated by what is guaranteed to be true and factual, because science says so. Quite a fascinating place, and I am definitely glad I popped in there for a quick visit. Then it was on to Winslow Arizona where I stood on a corner, it was such a fine sight to see. Or whatever says. After that I visited the petrified forest. That place is beautiful the further north you go. Reminds me of the Badlands, except more fun and colorful. I drove through the petrified forest south to north. I made stops at all the required locations for learning, pictures, and a third thing I can’t think of right now.
Then I did some driving on historic Route 66. I saw an easy looking multicache on the route, and I wanted to stop for it. Turns out it is brand new and not been found yet, so a first to find, thousands of miles from home. The only thing better I can think of is the accidental FTF we got in Iceland years ago. I visited Albuquerque proper for just a few minutes. Long enough to see a really awesome religious lady in a tree! So beautiful. I traveled a bit further north, in preparation for a desert hike as early as possible tomorrow morning. I parked, ate and slept. That is it. Stop reading now.

Day 69 (hehe):
15,650 miles and counting
Today I met Izzy, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
Well, today is the day of this trip I have been waiting for, just for the jokes. Who am I kidding, I never imagined getting past 20 days. I believe I slept in the town of Sandia, which is a very fun memory for my wife and me. I woke up early this morning before the sunrise. My plan for the day was to start with a hike around the desert, so I wanted to get started as early as possible. I grossly overestimated how long that hike was going to take me, and I was back at my van after finding the oldest geocache in New Mexico just about the time the sun peeked over the mountain ridge. I don’t think it got above 60° before I was done that hike. After that hike I had to head back down to town to pick up something from an Amazon locker. Not sure what I’m going to accomplish today. I think today might be get a hotel day and catch up on work and real-life responsibilities.
After my Amazon pick up, I had a delicious breakfast at Jimmy’s café. I couldn’t resist stopping by a place called Jimmy‘s. I loved it, the walls were lined with Jim, Jimmy’s and James’s of all levels of fame and notoriety. I think I even saw my picture in a corner. So they also honor zilches. After breakfast I looked at which direction I wanted to head and what was in my way. Hot air balloons, one of my all-time favorite things. I love riding in them, and I’m fascinated by them. So, I went to the museum. Unfortunately, it was closed. But I found out that the balloon fiesta is this coming weekend. I am one week early for the balloon fiesta that they have every year. I’m a little bit bummed that it didn’t work out better with timing. Maybe next year. While I was near the fairgrounds, I saw a field full of travel, RV, and adventure vans. Turns out they were all Winnebago’s, and they were having some kind of meet up. I stopped in, chatted with some strangers for a while (1 guy from Delaware), and then made my back to the blacktop. After that, while looking at the map of New Mexico, the word Maryland jumped out at me. Hey, I’m from Maryland. What is this. It’s a geocache that was put out for my neighbor back in Maryland? OK I guess I gotta go there now! I reached out to said geocacher in Maryland, thinking they might be excited. All I got back as a response was a cartoon picture of a single finger. I’m so excited that I found a cache that was put out because of someone I know in my home state of Maryland!
After that I found a cool multicache at a frisbee park. I pulled in and saw frisbee baskets. I am not on any kind of a time schedule, but somehow, I just don’t have time for a round of frisbees. I hope my friends back home never hear me say that.
I spent some time doing a wonderful walking tour of Santa Fe. I visited some shops, bought a few trinkets, found a few geocaches, spoke to a lotta strangers, and all around had an amazing time. I thought about opening up a restaurant, but that would be too much.
I had planned on tonight being a hotel and work night. I knew it was the new moon. But a phone call from my only friend back home reminding me that it was the new moon, and filling me in on some other Saturn information has me reconsidering flip-flopping my schedule. Instead of a hotel maybe I can find somewhere dark in the middle of the desert. I stopped for fuel and a research break. I looked at where I was and where the closest darkest skies were. Today being a new moon, it should be pitch black. Geocaching to the rescue again. I go to the Geocaching map and find a couple of caches in this general giant middle-of-nowhere area. There are not many, because there isn’t anything there. But I found a couple and I’m using them to navigate to somewhere in northeast New Mexico where the skies will hopefully be as dark as possible.
The night pictures went perfectly. I can’t even believe this spot I accidentally stumbled on. I watched day turn to night with a beautiful sunset. Then I watched night turn to utter blackness. It does not get this kind of dark where I live. For a second I thought I was going to have to scratch the whole night. I stepped out of my van into the pitch black, walked a few feet away, set up my tripod, turned on my headlamp and the first thing I saw, a snake, in the middle of the night, in the middle of New Mexico, I’m sure it wants to kill me. It was about 2 feet long as big around as a pencil, but it might as well have been a dragon.
I would think there’s a pretty good chance I might have been the only human being within 10 miles. I am done being amazed, I guess this is just who I am.

My biggest failure led to the most fun

Day 67:
Today I met Fudgey, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
Wow 15,000 miles in one road trip. I never could’ve dreamed. That’s a blatant lie, I dreamt it all the time, what I mean is I never could’ve imagined a reality in which….
This morning I arrived early at an ATV off-road rental company near table Mesa. I slept 20 minutes away at the sunset rest area. I had a very nice evening with some new friends and strangers, and I got caught up on some stuff. I watched the sky all night for storms. It was overcast most of the night. I was at the UTV rental shop pre-7am. We spoke on the phone yesterday, so they were prepared for me. I rented a single person UTV. Amazing. I can’t put into words the unbelievable things it was capable of. I ran through ruts and washes at 20mph, that I would barely idle over in my van. Somehow my big failure of yesterday, turns into the funnest day of my life!
At exactly 8AM I left the pavement and on table Mesa Road on the UTV. I parked the UTV at 9 AM, and started walking straight up a hill, through cactuses. It was 1 hour to walk to the old geocache. The coordinates for this cache are some of the coolest I have seen:
N 34° 00.000 W 112° 00.000
I went straight to the old one and worried about the others on the way back. I was not sure how long it was going to take, or if I would even make it. In hindsite, that is ridiculous. That UTV machine is the most impressive thing I have ever handled. I want one. I had it up to 40mph on the gravel roads. You know what else, I noticed something as I was about to leave, and drive back to the rental place. I never even put it into 4WD on the way out! I made it through the most unbelievable terrains in 2WD. I shifted into 4WD for the ride back. I did not have any problems getting there, but I DID notice a difference on the way back.
After I parked and realized where I had to walk, and how, I just followed the needle up the hill. There were times in my life that caused trouble, now it only means adventure and fun. I seem to have found a much easier way down the mountain. I would call it simple compared to the path I took up. I found the other few geocaches on the way back down. I knew I had plenty of time. The hike from where I parked was 2 hours, and 2.5 miles, and very uphill, and very bouldering, and very cactus-y. I got caught off guard by many a cactus needle. I have many still embedded in me a couple days later. Every once in a while I rub a finger at just the perfect angle….YIKES! At home I am used to being able to hike, scramble, climb and use all 4 of my limbs. I did that today but kept forgetting I can’t just grab a cactus the way I grab trees at home. On my way back to home base by 11 AM. I took my time, found a few side trails that I did not need to be one, climbed a bunch of hills for no reason, did donuts, permanently scarred a smile on my face, and constantly laughed out loud at how great this was, and how lucky I am.
With a UTV it definitely went from what would have been the most nerve-racking, butt clenching, terrifying, possibly ruin my house experience in my van Pervvie…to the most exciting, fun, experience I probably have ever had.
This road trip is so unimaginable that even my worst failure of the entire trip, I mean something that I struggled with, and was really let down that I felt like such a chicken. Even that situation led to me having the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. I just can’t lose 🙂
I cannot get over the UTV experience. I am still smiling from ear to ear. My wife and I have always said everything you do it’s all about the gear. With the proper gear anything is easy. There’s never a reason to be cold outside. There’s never a reason to carry too much weight. There’s not always a reason to drive my adventurevan to places that might hurt her. Gear, it’s all about the gear. Today’s gear was a Polaris (I assume).
Oh my. After gathering all my thoughts, and typing this all up, I just reread some stuff. I was putting together my pics for this GC log, post, blog, social, etc… when I realized something. I never even attempted to get to the Table Mesa old geocache the proper way, from Seven Springs. I only tried from I-17. I made it 4 of the 10 miles yesterday in my van and turned around. Thankfully today I had a UTV, and I made it no problem at all. I can’t believe this. I did it all wrong, I just realized it as I am typing this nonsensical drivel, and somehow it still works out amazing for me. Imaging that. Did I mention how much fun driving a UTV is? I might name my next dog UTV. There was this 1 hill that felt like I was driving straight up a wall. It was well over 45 degrees. Must be what spidermen feel like. Not that it counts for me, but that trail is a “Jeep Badge of Honor Trail”. I hear that is cool.
A nice couple I met on the off-road trail told me I should visit Payson Arizona. I’ve never heard of it, but they said it’s a fun mountain town. I guess I’ll make that my direction for now and then Albuquerque after that. On the way there I stopped to visit all things Montezuma, like any good tourist boy.
Very glad I decided to drive to the mountain town of Payson Arizona. Quite a beautiful winding uphill through the mountains desert mountain drive. Exactly the kind of stuff I’m searching for every day on this road trip. Payson is where I spent the night, after having a nice Mexican dinner. Today will be forever burned into my memory, I will think of it often. Thank you Table Mesa, thank you geocaching, thank you New River ATV Rentals, thank you earth for being so magical.

I have put more photos of my roadtrip HERE.