These are my christmas sunrise doggies. They are brother and sister, 4 and 5 years old. I painted them myself.
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?
19,850 miles and counting
This morning I left cabin 9 at Table Rock State Park after an amazing couple of days. I’ve been on the road for over 80 days, living alone, eating alone, and mostly being alone, doing everything alone. It’s been the most amazing adventure of my life and I couldn’t be more grateful for it. The last two days have been spent with some of my closest friends at a celebration of a wedding for two beautiful people. I could not be happier for them. I also could not be more thrilled to have been included in their beautiful day. They brought me somewhere I may have never come on my own, Table Rock State Park and the Pretty Place. I got on the road just before sunrise, and I believe I’m just heading to Western Maryland for the day. I should be able to get there before sunset and find somewhere to take some pictures and camp out for the night. But the day is early and my plans typically change 100 times before I get where I’m going.
I turned over the 20,000th mile of this road trip just after crossing into Virginia on I-81, heading towards home over the next couple days. I spent most of the day speeding north, back to my home turf of Maryland. In a surprising plot twist, my wife asked me not to get home until Sunday, a full 48 hours from now. Either there’s a live-in boyfriend situation that needs to be cleaned out before I get home, or she has something to surprise me with when I get home, and wants to be there because it’s my birthday as well. Truth be told, I want her to be there when I get home too. The best way to ensure that is schedule my arrival around her busy life. I did not stop forward momentum today too much. Mainly for feeding Pervvie her delicious liquids, and a few pictures and tinkle stops. I made it to the firetower trailhead in western Maryland that leads to High Rocks. I was a bit later than anticipated, and I had to jog most of the way up. I made it in plenty of time to see an amazing sunset, get some great pics, and find the really old geocache from 2001. This trailhead is the perfect spot to call home for the night. After a headlamp hike back down the mountain in the pitch black, I made some dinner and settled in for the night with some music and junk food. Tomorrow I will kill a day hiking around western Maryland, and then hopefully head toward Arlington for 1 piece of unfinished business. After that, I will have successfully completed the most unrealistic, impossible, satisfying checklist of my life.
When I take these type of pictures of myself, I have always been able to say I was completely safe. I always use a shutter release. 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. Thankfully I did not die this time, but I will have to die sometime soon. Hopefully while failing at doing something awesome like this.
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.
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.
14,800 miles and counting.
Today I met Chaz, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
This morning I woke up in the desert forest area near phoenix. I found a place close to where I had dinner to call home for the night. I got a great night’s sleep, and was up before the sunrise and moving to where I wanted to be first thing this morning. I parked and did a wonderful sunrise hike through the desert to find Arizona’s oldest geocache. I made about a 6-mile loop over the course of 2 1/2 hours. The sky, scenery, cactus, and mountain ranges are absolutely gorgeous today. They seem to always be gorgeous around here. I looked for and found every geocache I walked by except one. It was fun seeing some friends I know from home had their names on the logs a few months ago. After that fantastic start to my day, I made my way down the road to another really old geocache. That one was very quick, almost a park and grab. I then took that opportunity to take a shower and get cleaned up for the day. I don’t think I’ll be doing a whole lot more sweating in bulk for the day. I have some real life things to catch on catch up on, laundry, work, and some other communications. And I need to stick around locally as I’m getting rear tires put on my van tomorrow. So, I ran a bunch of errands, food market, outdoor store to stock up on some stuff, and then I found a few of the highly favorited geocaches that are nearby. I picked up my fluff and fold, and made my way to a nearby park. I parked there, and worked for a few hours. I got mostly caught up on real life, not at all caught up on my fairytale life. I then found a nice place to sleep for the night, only about 10 minutes from the tire shop…Surprise Arizona!
Tomorrow I will head north for the Table Mesa 2000, and I am renting an off road UTV afterwards! I want to off road in the desert mountains, without fear of breaking my house.
14,900 miles and counting.
Today I met Donny, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
This morning I woke up in the middle of the desert, to watch the moon set and sun rise over the city of Phoenix. It was beautiful. I have an appointment first thing this morning in Surprise! Arizona to get new rear tires.
After my van got new rear shoes, we were on our way north toward Table Mesa. I had at least two full days here. Today I plan to drive out and hike to the old geocache there. Stay the night nearby, and then tomorrow morning I’m renting a UTV to go off-roading. I’ve done so much off roading in the past two months that I really can’t wait to do it, as fast as I want, without fear of breaking my house.
Well…….that did not go as planned for my first attempt. It is 10 miles of driving from where the pavement ends to where people park for the 2000 geocache in Table Mesa. 10 miles that I read will take at least 2 hours. I’m fine with that. I got about 4 miles in. I have gone through much worse and over much worse with my van so far this trip. But I didn’t want to anymore. This poor girl has taken a beating. I backed out and abandoned trying to go for Table Mesa that way. After that I went to visit a couple of outdoor rental stores, and hopefully have secured a UTV rental for tomorrow morning to get me there. It’s gonna be a ton of fun, off-roading without concern for breaking my house.
As for today I didn’t do a whole lot. I sort of meandered around rock Springs area, the sunset rest area, and the Black Canyon area. I took some pictures I saw some sites. I saw a lightening storm that was amazing, from my point of view. This is the first adventure of this trip that I have chickened out of. I believe today is the first day of this road trip that my plans have really just blown up, and left me feeling rather helpless. Usually when I plan, I follow through. I still hope to follow through, just a day later, and in a different fashion.
I settled down early for the night, and just enjoyed some music, and snacks. The rain came and went, and I constantly checking outside for what amazing thing the sky is doing.
Today I met Bluto, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
14,100 miles and counting.
I woke up in the middle of the desert at Red Canyon. This is where I spent most of my day yesterday, off roading, hiking through slot canyons, and finding a few geocaches. Once I finished that, I realized it was a perfect place to settle down and call home for the night.
I had a wonderful evening, got caught up on a few things since I had telephone service. I started out the morning slow, and even stopped for a sit down breakfast. Right next to that was a museum for general Patton. I looked at some really old army junk for a while. And I revisited a very strange abandoned town, Desert Center. That was my driving route to get to Joshua Tree, so I poked around there for a little longer this morning.
I took my time getting there, and finally made my way to a completely empty Joshua Tree National Park. Seems like wherever I go, nobody else wants to be there while I’m there. I didn’t know a whole lot about Joshua Tree, except that this is one of the favorite places for photographing the dark sky. So, I spent all the daylight hours driving around, getting to know the park, seeing what type of views faced south/southwest, and planned my overnight.
I did one hike, a nice roughly 5 mile round-trip out to a virtual geocache. Amazing hike. I did it at the height of the day, so it was warm, and the pictures were no good. But the walking and looking and learning was fun.
I had picked out 3 or 4 places I wanted to visit after the sun scrammed. I drove, walked and took pictures from 7pm-1am. It was fun, this is definitely a very unique place in the dark. The shadows casted by the sharp plant life is fascinating. Then I turned in to start all over again tomorrow!
14,300 miles and counting
Today I met Bernie, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
I woke up in the Jumbo Rocks Campground of Joshua Tree national Park.
Last night was great, I went to 4 or 5 different spots to take pictures of the night sky and the Milky Way. This place is unbelievably fascinating at night, all the features of sharp angles of the plants and trees create the most fantastic shadows.
I decided early in the day that I was gonna spend another day in Joshua Tree. For over 2 months I have pretty much only been go go go. Not a lot of places have I hung around to stretch out for a little while. I decided Joshua Tree was such a place. I started my morning by making some delicious eggs and bacon. It did not get stolen by a wild animal. Then I cleaned up and set about seeing all of the parts of this park that I could. I started the day at skull rock, because that’s very close to where I spent the evening. I climbed all over that guys face, I farted on his nose, then I crossed the street and walked around over there for a while. After that I head to hidden Valley, and first I walked up to the million dollar mine. One of a few old mines inside the park you can walk to. I believe the old abandon ruins were my favorite part of that hike. Anything abandoned or ruined, I always love. Especially those two old cars
Next, I went the other direction out to the dam. A dam in the middle of Joshua Tree National Park, in the middle of the desert. Yeah right, let me go see what this is all about. Holy crap! There’s a dam in the middle of Joshua Tree National Park, in the middle of the desert. There’s not a whole lot of water there, but there’s water, and green stuff, and algae, and shrimp living in that water. Thankfully I don’t go anywhere without my cocktail sauce. I’d give anything to be able to travel back and spend time with the guy that built that infrastructure.
Now is the time for me to take the long drive out towards Cottonwood and see what all the different attractions are along that road.
It was a wonderful drive out to Cottonwood. I knew at the end of the road, Cottonwood, I would be able to fill my freshwater, a big motivation to get there. I stopped many times along the road. I took a few pics, I found all the virtual and earthcaches, I hiked about 12 miles today in the desert. I think my face is sunburn, I forgot my hat, I loved the mine hike the best I think, I planned where I want to be for sunset and overnight to take pictures, and I maintained an overall shock and gratitude at why my life is so lucky.
Once at Cottonwood, that meant turn around and come back north for tonight’s planned activities, around the Cholla cactususesi. I hope to get there in time to make myself a nice dinner. I bought a steak and am saving it for a special occasion. I just checked, according to science today is a Tuesday, cause for celebration!
I got amazing pictures at night of the Cholla Cactus field, and I had to get naked and run back to my van in the middle of the night. That entire story can be read HERE.
Today I met Bronx, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
I sat on a cactus and ruined my night, and my shorts and underpants. I had to throw them away. Not what you are thinking, I was not pooping in a cactus patch. I was taking pictures in the middle of the night. I was extra careful where I walked, squatted, sat. One time I was not quite as careful. I was taking pictures from the ground, up, through a cactus, with the milky way in the background. I squatted once, a little too casually. I sprung up with a softball sized cactus piece deeply embedded in my left ass cheek. Through my shorts and underpants, and MANY quills in the rump. I was shocked. The pain was not terrible, thankfully. But I spent about 10 minutes getting the shorts, underpants, cactus sandwich pried away from my butt. That part hurt. There were some quivers I could not get out until I got back to my van and use tweezers. Speaking of that walk back to my van, I had to do it bottomless. I started my night jimmysellers and I ended it DonaldDucking.
I did not get up as early as I wanted today. I caught the sunrise, but not from the top of Mount Ryan, like I had hoped. Too much nighttime photography I guess. I think the biggest factor of not making it to the top of Mount Ryan this morning was the fact that I sat on a cactus in the middle of the night. I’m not sure how that reads, but I remember how it felt.
Now it’s on the Phoenix today where I will probably spend the next day or two at least. Currently I have an appointment to get new rear tires in Phoenix on Friday which is very exciting. There are also four or five 2000s around Phoenix. And plenty of high favorited geocaches, if I needed to kill time.
I will never understand why people don’t want to use the same place I’m using. I drove from the center of Joshua tree out the south entrance at Cottonwood. It’s about an hour. I passed two other cars the entire drive. Don’t people know this place is gorgeous? I prepared myself for the drive from Joshua Tree to Phoenix. It was a little uncomfortable on my left butt cheek but thankfully my van seat has nice padding. On my way to Phoenix I made sure to go out of my way to find a Multi and where I go.
When I got to Phoenix about mid-day it was raining. I am tempted to go up Diablo mountain first, but the rain had me deterred. I checked the forecast, looks like it was ending soon.
I knew this one was going to be quite a few hours round-trip, so I was anxious to get started and completed, and didn’t really want to wait for another day.
So, I started my walk in a light drizzle, hoping it would not get worse. Glad I decided to do the oldie today. It would’ve thrown a real monkey wrench in my schedule, of being nowhere at no specific time ever. I did a 6 1/2 mile loop, 2 hours and 20 minutes. I jogged everywhere that was downhill or flat-ish. It rained on me most of the time, and I came back soaked to the bone. But thankfully it’s Arizona and I was still hot somehow.
After finding the 2000 I went for dinner. I got seated right next to a fellow with a geocaching T-shirt on. I obnoxiously made it known I was also a geocacher. I treated myself to chicken parm calzone, whatever that is.
13,830 miles and counting.
Today is the day that my van re-proves how amazing she is. Getting me to the funnest spots imaginable, to play in the silliest places possible.
Also today I met a girl dog named Blue. Hands-down the coolest dog I’ve met on this trip. Even though she was a girl, I had to yell, “You’re my boy Blue!”
I woke up this morning in a big pull off near Phil’s memorial. I had a great afternoon playing there yesterday, until I ran out of daylight. I got an early start and wanted to head back north and east ultimately getting to Joshua tree. But I think I’m going to take a run at a 2001 geocache in Red Canyon. We’ll see how it goes. Boy, am I glad I did that! It is a geocache that has been around for 22 years, and only found (now) 50 times. Not bad.
Getting to the “trailhead” wasn’t so bad. Just time consuming, slow going. But thankfully my van has seen much much worse in the past couple months. It took two hours to drive from the interstate to the “trailhead”. Maybe 10-12 miles. I parked, got out, lifted my chin off the ground, because I was in absolute awe of where I was, how I got here, and my overall gratitude for this life I get to live.
While I was walking through the canyon, I saw tire tracks, and realized I could’ve driven a whole lot closer to GZ. But I was already changed into my hiking apparel. I drive my van in my underwear, so I had to put on some clothes and shoes. I have my pack, camera and water loaded up, so I figured it’s best that I use all the stuff that I brought.
I walked until I could not go any further using only my hands and feet. I looked at the satellite map, I walked “up” the wrong “stream”. There were 2 slot canyons going away from where I parked, I picked the incorrect one. Uggg, backtrack, and find where I should have went. The only thing the wrong way resulted in was more fun, adventure, and great pictures. After that it was smooth sailing. I walked right up to a 3 ½ year lonely geocache, signed the log, took a bunch of pictures, took some Pez and the disposable camera that were inside the ammunition box, and went on my merry way.
I thought for sure they were going to be making a movie about my last day of life, and call it something like 127 hours. Two hours of slow driving from the interstate, and about 90 minutes of desert walking, some light jogging.
After that, I still had several hours of daylight. I off roaded all around the 2001 hide, and found several other geocaches. I had a blast! I only got stuck once, first time of the trip as well. Thankfully it did not require anything more than 4WD rocking (and rolling).
Then I bopped a few miles down I-10 to a very interesting location for a geocache. A very interesting location in general, geocaching is just what brought me here. Thanks again. Desert Center, CA. Not sure how to describe it. It is like an intersection of abandoned, repurposed, and no longer used deserted desert infrastructure. A couple of multi’s and then back to where I spent the day, to spend the night. No problems finding plenty of places to spend the night in this area. Between forest land, desert, and abandoned towns, it’s dealers’ choice.
I did just that, stopped, shut down, showered, ate, slept. I think tomorrow might be finding out what Joshua Tree is all about, maybe for a couple days.
13,050 miles and counting.
Today I met Monkey, hands down the coolest dog I have met this trip. I then met a monkey named Doggie.
I woke up in a campground near San Luis Obispo. I arrived just before I ran out of daylight. I got set up for the night, made some lasagna in a bag dinner with lucky charms for dessert, and rested these weary bones. That was a luxury I haven’t had much this trip. I was able to take my time, make a nice breakfast, have a shower, and refill the freshwater in my van without the scowling looks up a bunch of corpses in a graveyard.
I visited Morro Bay and Morro Rock. Fascinating area undercover of fog. There sure are a lot of rock karens on the backside of Morro rock. My wife would have a field day there kicking things over.
From there I went to Pismo Beach, and visited Shell Beach. Bit of an overcast morning led to the overall ambience. I watched and photographed birds flying and pooping for quite a while. After taking in the coastline for an hour or so, it was time to keep moving south. I consulted my maps and it looked like Santa Barbara 1 is where I was to go next.
Going for the old geocache in Santa Barbara was a little more than I expected. I didn’t expect roads quite like that. I could’ve drove all the way, but I stopped a few miles short. I walked that last straightaway and the horseshoe shape of the trail. I did not imagine there would be roads and trails like this, so close to major metropolitan areas.
On the slow, snail pace back toward civilization, I stopped for some of the other hides along that road. I finally made my way back to civilization and head toward Santa Clarita to look for a Light Pole Cache. I sure am glad I did! This ended up being one of the funniest, most creative geocaches I have found this trip. From there it was time to head back off the grid, and look for a really old geocache puzzle in the desert. It was about 3 hours away, and I only had about 1 hour of daylight. I found some dirt roads behind a shopping plaza and turned in for the night, with the intentions of starting to drive before the sun.
13,400 miles and counting.
Today I met Barksey, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
I woke up predawn on a little dirt patch, behind a shopping plaza near Palmdale California. I had about a 2 hour drive to my first stop this morning. The middle of the desert, near Barstow.
Apparently today I will find my 10,000th geocache, according to the Internet. So far, the internet has never been wrong in my experience. I thought my 10,000 find would be somewhere close to home, and I had something special planned for it. It was also not supposed to be until well in the future from now. But this road trip I’m on to seems to keep going and going and going, with no end in sight, and no one at home forcing me to return. So, my numbers have continued to accumulate way faster than I ever expected. I had to spend a few minutes and put some thought into the 10,000, because I could not just have it be a random one. Also, these damn adventure labs have really screwed up keeping track of upcoming milestones. So, I believe the mine offset from the year 2000 in California will be my 10,000th find. California’s first and oldest Geocache puzzle(I think). That’s a fantastic one. It was an awesome puzzle dating back forever, had to be one of the original offset puzzles, and I personally put in a lot of homework to make this one as easy as it was for me. I’m excited for the milestone.
After that adventure first thing in the morning, I proceeded to the Calico Ghost Town near Barstow California. This kind of stuff fascinates me to no end, I wandered around for sometime. I felt like they opened this whole place today just for me. I don’t know why it happens to me but when I end up places there’s usually only a few other people at most at the tourist spots. Lucky me?
After the ghost town I was going to head back to the ocean once again. On my drive west I saw a sign for San Dimas. So, I obviously went to the San Dimas high school because San Dimas high school football rules. Took some great photos of me and my van in a high school parking lot. Please nobody tell anyone about this.
Then it was on to La Brea tar pits to find out what happened there. Mystery solved, stupid animals, watch where you’re walking. Next out to the Santa Monica area and the Santa Monica pier where I wandered around aimlessly for several hours. That tends to happen to me when I get out of my element, and into a city. But it’s always fun, and I always have geocaches to navigate by. I love that people feel passionate about their towns enough to bring me to the best spots.
The Santa Monica beaches are about as foreign as another planet to me, and from where I grew up. So unbelievably fascinating and fun. I could have watched those people perform on the rings, and acrobatics all day! I can’t believe places like this exist, and I am finding out at 67 years young. To end the evening I continued south along the coast, ultimately navigating to San Diego. I did not make it there this evening.