This is a time lapse video I made from the last new moon. I spent the night in the middle of nowhere New Mexico. It is a new trend, people are calling it #Barteau’ing
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.
Fun playing with exposure as I process these night sky pictures:
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.
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.
If the idea of baby rattlesnakes in a geocache piqued your interest, then this video may scratch your itch:
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.
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.
After 2 long and successful days of travel, hiking, climbing, and geocaching, it was time to get a hotel for the night. The night skies are not cooperating. There was no reason to stay the night in the middle of nowhere Colorado, when the skies are going to be cloudy and not clear for the New Moon. We stayed the night in Colorado Springs. We had an amazing Thai dinner and then a leisurely morning. The next thing we had to do was be in Estes Park by nighttime for a rafting trip tomorrow. We made our way north through Colorado, stopping by Pikes Peak on the way. We were able to drive all the way up, spend a ton of time at the top, and enjoy watching the weather change and scare everyone about 3 times in an hour. One of my most memorable finds ever is going to be at the peak of Pikes. It was a traditional in the rocks, just off the walking path. Wifey and I spent about 20 minutes with no luck. It had just been found earlier in the day too! After some time, I think I was ready to give up. Next thing I know, a lady asks if she was in our way. I told her no, we were looking for a geocache. She got very excited, yelled for her kids to hurry up and get back here, and the next thing I know, about a dozen strangers are looking for this geocache. Most knew about geocaching, others were friends of theirs just aimlessly looking in rocks. It was truly hysterical, and an amazing reminder of how much fun it is being a human and interacting with strangers. That is a skill that has not been exercised as regularly lately…for some reason. It still took a long time, I bet we were there for an hour, finally a young man yelled, “I found a geocache!” High fives were given all around, and a bunch of pictures.
On the drive down we stopped at the halfway picnic area and had leftover Thai dinner for Thai lunch. Thanks to our campervan for keeping lunch refrigerated until needed. And thanks to Colorado for the most spectacular picnic spot in the world!
From Pike’s we made the drive to Estes Park, where we will bed down for the next few nights. What a great drive. The skies were amazing, ever changing, and so dramatic. Saw lightning bolts in one direction, and perfect blue skies in the other. I love this world and this lucky life I get to live.
During that drive we also stopped at Buffalo Bill’s alleged grave, and a few other interesting places that presented themselves.
Today was all about rafting. Nothing geocaching to report at all. We booked a half day rafting with an outfit I have used in the past. This time we did a very mild section of the Cache La Poudre River. OK, I guess I did do something Cache related today. Forget everything I said before this.
We had a blast. The weather was perfect. The water could have been a lot higher, but it is that time of year, running out of snow. Nobody went overboard, there were not water fights. It was far from boring, but there was also not nautically themed drama, like I am accustomed.
We had a great dinner at the Owls, and I found a geocache near there.
Today was the final of 3 Via Ferratas during this road trip. This was on private land near Estes Park. It was on some fantastic looking youth camp. The kind of thing I can only have dreamt to participate in, as an awful child. It was by far the most challenging. Much more rock climbing than traversing. Wifey did great on it, and all 3. I am so proud of her. After that I drove out for a letterbox I attempt in the dark last night and failed. Easy peasy today when the sun is shining. Someone in my group wanted to nap, so I cruised the town. I did 1 ½ adventure labs. I walked all over the lake areas. I went from end to end of this town for all the geo-related items. I do not think there is a more inefficient way then the route I made today. I had a great time. After all that, we finished with a fun meal at Dunravens, which is where I drove from to pick up my dinner date. Like I said, lots of rerouting and inefficient travel today.
Probably not much of a reporting day. Today is the day that Wifey flies home on an airplane from Denver. After that I will head a bit further east, and then work my way all the way back west.
After the Denver airport drop off, which went smooth but very sad, it was time to continue and see what I can get into on my own. I started by going a bit out of my way back east, to grab the Kansas oldest geocache. I found a few others in between, but mainly focused on getting from place to place. I have a packed agenda of things I want to do. And I don’t know how long this fairytale is actually going to last. (I still don’t)
After the old one, it was time to head north to Western South Dakota for that old one.
My first day driving alone it was through the sweltering heat of Eastern Colorado. I appreciate all the kind folks and farmers that afford me the privilege to eat whenever I feel like it.
I made sure to stop by Carhenge, since it was directly in my route. What a wild place that is. I think my favorite thing about people, is just how crazy they can be.
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 continued north, eventually picking a town to sleep for a few hours, near the SD/KS border.
I intend to be out and moving tomorrow before the sun, so that I can watch it come up, in all it’s glory. WOW is tomorrow an unrealistic day!!
This is another time lapse I made during the new moon of June 2022. Not as many frames as I would like, the lens fogged over while I slept in my van. Talk about lazy.
I made the below time lapse video of an overnight I spent in Driftwood PA for the new moon in May 2022. I love it so much.
What a whirlwind 36 hours I had for last month’s new moon. The new moon at the end of May 2022 will be one I remember always. The skies were perfectly clear for days. I wanted to take some pictures. I spent the holiday weekend 5 hours south of home in St Mary’s County Maryland. Then I drove home to work for the end of the month. After a full day of work on Tuesday, I drove 5 hours north of home, from Newark DE to Driftwood PA. I Have been wanting to visit Bucktail Overlook, Top of the World, since my buddy Nate told me about it. The skies are dark there. I left work at 5pm and arrived in Driftwood at 10pm. I took pics until 3am, then slept until 5am. I got up to shoot the sunrise. I had this entire amazing place to myself for 8 hours. Everything went perfectly. After sunrise I drove back home, another 5ish hours. I stopped for breakfast at Bings Diner.
I was not planning on going away this particular weekend, definitely not traveling anywhere on the Memorial Day holiday weekend 2022. Then my wife told me she had plans to horse around all weekend, and encouraged me to take a couple of days away in my CAMperVAN. She must have horsin’ around plans with her boyfriend.
I know CAM is over but I just can’t stop myself from continuously Caching Across Maryland.
I happened to notice the other day that Sunday 5/29/2022 was going to be the 10th year anniversary of my first geocache find. My wife and I had heard about geocaching years before, and had done it. But I had never made up an Internet account for it until that day. I left out of Cecil County early Saturday and it took me 14 hours to get 3 hours from home. My favorite kind a road trip. I ended for the evening at Point Lookout on the tip of Maryland to photograph the night sky…new moon. I stopped a lot along the way over 14 hours. I targeted old CAM hides, old in general, FYC, and question marks pre-2010 for a challenge I was working on. Lots of other stuff got in my way as well.
That’s the whole truth. I know it’s true. I made it up myself. And I impart it to you.