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 lyrics.com 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 1st visit to Joshua Tree, the 2nd Joshua in my life, then on to Phoenix

Day 62:
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!

Day 63:
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.

Day 64:
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.

Here is a photo album I am updating regularly HERE.

I sat on a Cholla Cactus

At least I got these pictures!
I’m going to do the best I can to paint this story and mental picture as if it was an animated cartoon. Because I lived my life for about 15 minutes feeling like I had to be in some sort of fantasy fever dream. Either that or Bugs had chased me deep into the desert because I forgot to make a left turn at Albuquerque. Either way, cartoonish.

I wasn’t pooping. It was the middle of the night in Joshua Tree. I was taking pictures in the amazing Cholo cactus fields. The sky was crystal clear, and the milky way was shining in all her glory. I was taking pictures from the ground looking up, through the cactus. I was being very careful. I was doing a lot of sitting and laying in the desert to get the right angles. I was being very diligent, checking everything before I moved. It was pitch black, only light was my headlamp. I knew I had to be careful, so I was. One time I was not quite careful enough. I squatted down to check a setting on my camera. I sprung up, like I was shot out of a canon. Within a few seconds I noticed that I had a softball sized hunk of cactus attached to my left ass cheek. It went all the way through my shorts, underpants, and deep into my skin. Countless cactus needles were puncturing my cheek. I immediately knew I had a problem. I did not know what to do. I knew NOT to panic, and I knew that I was not mortally wounded, just a flesh wound. It was pitch black. I grabbed my underpants to try and pull everything away from my body. I could not, so many cactus needles had my clothes stapled to my body. As I started to pull a little harder, I realize this was not gonna be easy. All my playing in the woods and outside I have had a lot of stickers, bushes, thorns, spurs, briars, every imaginable natural thing stuck to and penetrating my body. I grabbed ahold of my clothes on both side of where the cactus bulb was glued. I started pulling and realized exactly how much cactus was stuck in me. It was painful. I would love to say that it was just like ripping a Band-Aid off, get it quick get it done get it over with. It took a lot of strength to pull that thing away from my body and that was only the beginning.
I’m standing there with two handfuls of my clothes and a giant cactus bulb wrapped in them, holding it out and away from my body once I finally got it out of my cheek meat. The elastic bands of my underpants and shorts were currently my biggest enemies. I then slowly started to take my shorts and pants down. There was no other way than to take everything all the way off. I was careful as I could be but somehow, I still panicked at one point and lost my grip on the elastic of my clothes. This caused the cactus ball to shoot straight in my knee and then ankle as I got close to being done. After I pried it away from my body for a second and third time, I finally get my shorts and underpants all the way off. Remember, this is happening in the middle of the desert, in the middle of the night. So now I am rocking nothing but a Donald Duck. Top only. I must walk about 10 minutes through this cactus field back to where I parked my van. I only saw one other person the whole time, and it was dark, so (hopefully) she had no idea I was Donald Ducking. I ended up with at least a handful of cactus spikes that I had to yank out with a pair of tweezers. They were stuck in such a way that even though I can get a hold of them with my fingers, I didn’t have enough strength to yank them out of my body.
All in all, I would definitely say worth it. A very valuable life experience. I now know the next time I photograph in a cactus field, in the dark, I do it naked. That way I will avoid getting cactus bulbs stuck in my cloths. Lesson learned, thank you Universe for the message. Most importantly I had a great time, a great memory, and hopefully made some fun pictures!

I started an album of this trip that I am updating regularly HERE.

I drove all the way across CA, to drive back across CA

Day 40:
Today I met Sandy, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
I woke up in the most perfect location after sleeping along the PCH. I got up, rub my eyes, stretched, brush my teeth and got ready for another day. I wasn’t sure where I was heading yet, but once I started looking and thinking about it my brain was racked with decisions and choices. I think I changed my plan 100 times over the course of 30 minutes. I even turned around from where I was heading , and then re-turned back around around. I know I have to land in the northeast corner of California at some point. That’s about six hours from where I was. So, I think right now my plan is to head there, backtrack, hopefully for the night at Crater Lake, and then back out to the coastline immediately after that.
Everything turned out as planned, even better actually. I left the coast and head inland. I passed through Veneta Oregon. Home of the Oregon country fair. I’m an East Coast person, but that fair holds a lot of amazing memories of my adolescence. I used to spend two weeks each year out here with friends in Eugene, around the country fair. I did that for four or five of my most formative life years. I had to stop in. Luckily there were a couple of geocaches that brought me exactly where I wanted to be. I think the best memory I now have of the Oregon country fair is driving my van all over the empty fairgrounds, at the end of August, a month after the fair. Seeing all the permanent hippie dippy structures and signs, with nothing else around or nobody else around, that’s a memory I’ll have forever. It put a giant smile on my face and still has me giggling.
Vitreous here I come. Most of the morning I drove through the forest of southern Oregon making my way to Northeastern California. Vitreous falls into the category of things I’m looking for on this trip. Only by one single day, but it made the list.
I pulled up to the diesel pump and parked next to this guy with unbelievable log cabin on a pick-up style RV. We got to chatting and he said “I guess we’re heading to the same place?”
I thought quickly. I’m driving about 14 hours out of the way to find one geocache from the year 2000, so I doubt it. But I simply answered, “Doubt it, where are you heading?”
Burning Man he said. OK now maybe I’m going to burning man for a day. I found out later, the guy I met buying diesel is a bit of an internet celebrity: Truck House Life https://www.youtube.com/c/TruckHouseLife
I made great time and found Vitreous and one of it’s neighbors. I chatted with some ladies that were finding obsidian ‘needles’. I got an interesting education about that. Then it was time to boogie toward Crater Lake. I made everything in perfect timing somehow. As I got into the park and did the ring road, the sun was setting. Every corner presented a new sunset view. It might be the most epic sunset I have ever seen. I shot it from many angles. Then I found a pull off to call home. The sky is crystal clear. I parked, ate, and got my camera set up in perfect time to catch the galactic band passing by. So unbelievably amazing.
I set up camp and had a giant pull off all to myself all night. It was a perfect southwest facing view. I was able to photograph the stars in the Milky Way and the galactic band all night with crater Lake as the foreground. It was hypnotic and mesmerizing.

Day 41:
10,700 miles and counting
I woke up in crater Lake this morning. I have no idea how I got here, but I’m sure glad I was here. I got here just before sunset last night. So, I had to race around and take photographs from different angles before I lost the good light. Then I set up camp and had a giant pull off all to myself all night. It was a perfect southwest facing view. I was able to photograph the stars in the Milky Way and the galactic band all night with crater Lake as the foreground. It was absolutely hypnotic and mesmerizing.
When I say I woke up in crater Lake, I was awake most of the night taking pictures. But I had to be ready for the sunrise. I was! I made it around to the other side of the lake around 6 AM to catch the sunrise pictures from there. After that was done, I then took the time to drive the rim Road and investigate each of the virtual and earth caches around the lake.
After all those tasks were complete it was time to clean up for the day and make my way back to the coast. I spent all day yesterday driving from the PCH, inland, to Northeastern California, just to turn around today and head back to the PCH to continue my journey south on that.
Crescent City is where I will pick up the PCH again. I will travel south from there, hopefully stopping around Eureka. I have a very old, dear friend that lives there. He used to be the front man of a very famous rock and roll band back in the 90s. I don’t want to say much more and give away this persons location.
I continued south, keeping the ocean on my right for the entire afternoon. I had to be in Arcata around six. I leisurely drove and stopped for random tourist options, and mostly non-traditional geocaches.
Boy those redwoods sure are impressive.
I caught up with an old friend for a few hours, had a blast, more fun than I deserve. It almost makes me wish I could live a normal life. Then it was to a nearby community center and tuck myself in for the night.

Here is my longest and probably best time lapse so far. Around 400 images:

I did start an album of this trip that I am updating as I process. HERE.

Several very adventurous and off road days in a row

Day 18:

I slept near a pet Cemetery last night. I got moving plenty early in the morning, but it’s hard to get much done when the sun rise is like they are in Utah. One direction is the most beautiful pinks and oranges lighting up the mountains. 180° the other way the sun pokes it’s head up over another set of mountains. I’m trying to get things done, Mother Nature, and I keep having to stop and take pictures. Very inconsiderate.

I did a short trail of letter boxes. I got through them quick, no opposing traffic, perfect weather, and a van with a side door that I could just leave open, getting in and out like a mailman. I found all that I looked for, a couple of them were originals, a couple replacements, and I found a couple completely cracked and destroyed and left behind new film canisters. From here I have the half day trek to get to the Beaver hide.

During that drive I saw people living life the way I grew up. I passed a guy going the other way on a four-wheeler. He had his small daughter in front of him, holding her, letting her steer, and a beer in the other hand. Perfect.

I wish I could have a do-over on today, or at least the 2nd half. I wasted at least five hours trying to get to Beaver. Or I wish I had done some more research ahead of time. I did a lot of due diligence planning for this trip, but I guess I slacked or failed on this one.

First, I ran up one road and hit an absolute dead end with a gate with a lock on it. After that I rerouted and ended up in places that I should not have been. I made it through, probably breaking everything about Pervvie, poor girl. And then I had to spend an hour just getting back to some sort of civilization to reroute. I read some old geocaching logs about route 6 and French Creek. I found that area on Gaia, and off I went. Another 4 hours, man, I really put on a lot of rough, off-road miles today. About 3 times more than required. But Beaver did turn out to be a park and grab. I did finally get to the top, the view was amazing. Truly unbelievable. I was so proud of my Pervvie. I gave her the honors of a photo with the ammunition can.

This is a memory I will never forget. Probably because my butt cheeks will never unclench from this experience.

After I made it back to civilization, I drove to Potters. What a beautiful drive it was. I got there and got settled, planning to spend the night here. I decided to go do a headlamp hike as the sun was setting, take some pictures of the lake, and do the loop for the old hide.

I found everything I looked for except a trail. I’ve done a lot of dumb things on this trip but bushwhacking around in the pitch black for a couple of miles maybe now at the top of that list.

 

Day 19:

I slept at the old hide, Potter’s last night. I got on the road early, I would’ve liked earlier, but I was extra comfy in my mobile bed this morning. I had about a 2-hour drive where I was going next, a Little Creek Stash.

I came off the mountain, fueled up, got a sandwich, and headed where I was going. As always, I was distracted by other geocaches right in my path.

The first old one this morning was the least dramatic so far. No problem at all, parked close and made a short trek to the find. I didn’t break myself, my van, or anything on this one.

Next was to get the Cache Across America Utah version. I saw where it was and it would be easy, looks like it’s in the middle of a power trail. No time for that, but I did make time to find a bunch of the nontraditional‘s, letterboxes and multis. Geocaching power trails are very popular. They are endless amounts of geocaches along the roadside. People increase their find count by many thousands, even tens of thousands using these power trails. I do not think hell exists, but if it did, I would be forced to do power trails. The secret about hell is that you don’t even know you are there, that is how bad it is. Such an unappealing way to spend the time.

I visited the state house in Fillmore. It was perfect, I needed to re-up on water, and they had a spigot out front. It is as if I needed something, and the universe provided for me. Either that or I just stole water from a municipality.  I found out later I could’ve waited and just stole some water from the graveyard I would have to visit.

Boy, do I love Beaver! Had an amazing run-in with an adorable family at the multi. I was struggling terribly, they noticed a geocacher in distress, and came to save the day! I was hoping they were going to invite me along with them camping, but we ended up parting ways.

Time for Wah Wah next. My notes said no problem. My notes were wrong. I started all wrong by entering from the east side. I spent about 4 hours getting nowhere, dead ends, and unpassable (by us) roads. I finally flagged down an ATV’er, and they set me straight. I ran the main road all the way through the forest, then doubled back to where I was already within 3 miles of, but not good enough. Once here, I had probably 30 minutes wrapped up in the find. The coordinates do take you to a brand-new fence. At least mine did. I had no service, so no access to images. I scoured the obvious area 3 times before spotting it. I was going to be so bummed, but it is there, in the obvious place. And all the names before mine are on the log sheet, no matter where it was located.

I then chose here to spend the night. I wanted a shower, dinner, and to take pictures of the night sky, with the awesome foreground of those broke down shacks across the road from the ammunition can. Those photographs turned out amazing! Glad I stayed here. Did not see another human for over 12 hours at least.

Day 20:

I left where I slept, right at the Wawa Stash, not so early in the morning. My intent was to get somewhere near the Utah/Arizona border. I would spend the day and night there, as I have a bunch of personal and work things I need a hotel to catch up on.

I wasn’t originally going to go try for the old one at Lake Powell.  My plan of what I was going to do has changed 20 times over the last two days. But as of right now the plan is to try to go to Lake Powell. A lot of the morning was focused on just safely getting myself out of the forest. Some of those forest roads are deathly terrifying.

Nontraditionals catch my eye more than anything on this trip. I saw a multi not too far off my road route. So glad I decided to take the time for that one. Quite a lonely cache, had not been found in over 6 years. Awesome little side adventure. My favorite thing about road tripping is finding the weirdest things, like a single site graveyard in the middle of nowhere. I can’t wait to sit down and figure out what that’s all about.

I passed through the town of prehistoric Parowan Utah. I spent time finding a few fun geocaches here. I wish I was passing through during this county fair, I bet it’s awesome. The signs everywhere said it was coming up soon, but not soon enough for me.

I took the scenic route. I passed through and over the town of Brians Head in Utah. I’ve never heard of it before, but it was beautiful.

Today was mostly about driving through southern Utah, the mesas and the views and the amazing colors and formations. I didn’t get much done today recreationally as I was doing my best to get into a hotel quickly, for a conference call, and then catch up on real life work and responsibilities.

I got checked into my hotel in Page, had a pizza, and partially caught up on the real world. Back to nonsense tomorrow. Jet ski nonsense!

I did start an album of this trip that I hope I will remember to update. HERE.

A few more days in my (current) new typical life

Day 15:

I was driving early before the sun, and it did not disappoint. The skies were beautiful as the sun came up over the South Dakota farmlands. Shades of pinks, blues and oranges that I rarely get to see.

I made my way toward Hot Springs with the expectation of finding out what that town was all about. I arrived in Hot Springs about an hour and a half before it opened. So, I spent that time cruising around the town, finding some geocaches and visiting some graveyards. Then I kept heading north and spent a little time in Custer. I found a couple of really fun geocaches in that town, and stocked up on food for both myself and Perrvie. Next stop, heading further north toward Campcache, the oldest geocache in South Dakota.

I spent the entire day and found the two oldest geocaches in South Dakota. I knew I was going to look for one, but didn’t realize the other one until I was nearby. Talk about an adventure that almost didn’t happen.

Holy cow. I think this has springboarded forward it to the greatest Geocaching adventure I have ever had, on all accounts.

I finally got to do some of the off-roading I’ve been wanting to do. Forest roads of South Dakota are treacherous, terrifying and unbelievably fun. After about a two-hour delay by going the wrong way and only traversing about 10 total miles, I finally ended up at the proper location to look for this geocache.

I was kept navigated, safe and alive by my great rock climbing shoes, a new application, Gaia, I put on my telephone, and my amazing adventure van, Perrvie.

At first, I followed the GPS to a Boy Scout camp that was kind of close, but not as close as I could get in Perrvie. So, thanks to the brand new off-road GPS app, I was able to figure it out and route myself, rather than trusting the Apple Overlords.

Rewind, and erase the last hour of driving to get back to where I started, and go the other way. Then I drive about 4 miles in 30 to 40 minutes and arrive at parking. Thankfully parking is within about 300 feet. The last 100 feet is a doozy and straight down through rock crevices. I made my way down no problem I spent about 15 to 20 minutes searching and finally found the ammunition can in question! I sign in, take the obligatory pictures, and realize I must get myself out of here. That was no small feat, but a week’s worth of rock climbing for babies training, and these amazing shoes, and I was up and out of there lickety-split.

I can’t believe how lucky I am to have had that adventure, it is one I will never forget.

 

Campcache:

I love that this old one had parking coordinates listed. I was easily able to navigate there and realized I was only 3/10ths of a mile away. Maybe this wouldn’t take as long as I thought. Or maybe it will take as long as I thought. I just walked in a straight line from where I parked to Ground Zero. If there was a trail up, I never saw it. That last 500 feet was 500 feet that I’m not used to traversing in such a short distance. But I made it up, then realized I had to go all the way up. I thought I saw a nice way up on the right hand side, but am all the way to the left. I checked there before backtracking and ended up wall walking up one of the crevices. It was the perfect width for me to spider man up. I would be able to that easier way down on the other side. Once It was time to go down, I didn’t find that easier way down I thought I saw. So I went back the way I knew I could, and went down like a reverse-spiderman.

From here I wanted to get to the Outlaw Campround in Kaycee Wyoming before sundown. I wanted to camp and take pictures of the night sky there. I visited there last time I was through this area, and regret not spending the night. Now I am in this monster adventure van that can get me to these spots, no problem! I made it there at dusk, and stayed up until the sunrise, taking pictures of the night sky, and the sunrise. Now that I have gone through those pictures, I have some of the best I have made yet.

All total, this could be the greatest uninterrupted, 24 hour period of my life.

 

 

Day 16:

Today I started late, only getting a few hours sleep, from sunrise until about 9. Once I woke, I had to pack up my camp and van, break down all my camera equipment, get cleaned up, and get on the road further west.

BUT before I did, I was going to avenge this nearby DNF from last time I was though here. The Hole in the Wall I could not get to. With this amazing 4wd adventure van, nothing was off limits. Boy was I wrong. I got a lot further than I did last time in my 4wd Tahoe, but I had to turn around when I was about 1.5 miles away. In the moment I panicked and was very anxious. I did not want to break my amazing baby, Pervvie. In hindsight I know I should have walked the last 2 miles. It was about 100 degrees, but I could have done 3 miles without issue. I just did not think of it then, I had self, and Pervvie preservation in mind. So alas, strike 2 at this same geocache in Wyoming. I have about 6 hours of my life invested. Maybe one day.

After that it was time to get to the western edge of Wyoming. A not at all quick side trip to Capser to visit a truck wash, and hopefully I will be on my way soon.

Well, I ended up driving away from there. No bath for Pervvie, my home on wheels today.

I drove almost the entire width of Wyoming today. I have no idea how it could feel like I was the only person on earth. Boy, I really love it out here.

I learned a lot about all kinds of different trails. The Postal Pony Trail, The Book of Mormon Trail, the Pioneer Trail, and of course the Oregon Trail Trail. Lots of people used this area for travel cross country. Yeah, duh, I am doing it right now. Of course this is the path they took. It is blacktop all the way. I took pictures of an amazing sunset along the way. I found a few geocaches as well. I stopped about an hour from my next destination, Bridger-Teton. I had hoped because of the title it was closer to the Tetons than it is, never too much of a good thing.

 

Day 17:

I woke up about an hour drive from Bridger-Teton, the old geocache. First I went over to Big Springs. I came all this way for the old geocache nearby, why not make my way here. Boy, am I glad I did. The find itself was a little difficult. I ended up being glad I had some off-line logs saved, read those, and then bear down to make the find. I also spent at least an hour here between showers taking pictures of the waterfall and spring. It was the perfect time to be here, overcast skies, a light rain, the wildflowers colors were popping. So glad I decided to make this little sidetrack. Thanks for bringing me to this awesome place!

After that, I had to backtrack around a mountain, and go find Bridger-Teton. I slept near a lake about an hour away from here. As soon as I got on the road, the paved road ended. That was fine with me and Perrvie, I came equipped with an adventure van, I can handle anything, I hope. On our way to the Hams Fork campground, I decided to go to Springs first. After that we doubled back to the campground near our way to this old one.

I parked within a 400-foot uphill walk. Probably not the greatest idea I’ve ever had, possibly even the worst. But I made it there, getting out might be another story. Spoiler, I made it.

I found the ammunition can I was looking for, and saw that someone had already signed in before me today. I wonder if our paths crossed anywhere.

All total I spent about four hours, found two geocaches, and traveled about maybe 6 miles. Those are some good statistics.

After leaving Wyoming for good, and Bridger national Forest, I made my way to Utah. I have an agenda there of some old ones, the cache across America, and a few others that might get in my way. I hope to also spend some time in the Moab area.

I made it to Clover Spring Campground early enough in the day. I’d bebopped around that whole area for several hours, finding some others and some challenge caches and a multi. I had a blast. Now it’s time to head off to Pony Boy.
The sun was starting to set as I got moving on the Pony Road. So many caches. It almost hurts to look at the map. I know what I am here for. I find the Pony Stash under light of a half moon, and a headlamp. Another 2000 found! I signed in on a few of the others that I stopped at for various reasons. Obviously, I went to the pet cemetery, and I also chose there to spend the night. Kinda cool, I know.

Sometimes I simply don’t understand this life I get to live.

2 Time Lapse Videos I made of the Night Sky in Wyoming

This is night turning into day

This is another angle, different time of night

 

 

 

When I bought this van I am lucky enough to have, I had 1 place in mind. That place is the Outlaw Campground near Kaycee Wyoming. I was lucky enough to visit there before, but nothing more. I knew it is someplace I would love to stay the night. It also has some of the darkest skies in our country. Not only was I lucky enough to visit again, but this time I spent time, and an overnight there. I ran 2 cameras all night, taking pictures. I did everything I dreamed. Sunset, night, sunrise, pics from the roof of the van, off-road 4WD, everything I imagined. So grateful.