Western Maryland Welcomes Me Home

Day 87:
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.

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

UTV Racing Is My Future

Day 83:
Today I met Bobby from BAC Rentals in WV, hands down the coolest geocaching ally I have met this trip. I have met a lot of our allies during this trip. There are people all over willing to help me out with my stupid hobby, and obsession to complete nonsensical tasks.
I woke up this morning already at the place I wanted to be. That place was meeting Bobby with BAC UTV rentals in WV. I was renting a UTV for the day, and part of the plan was to find WV’s oldest geocache. That was a very small part of an amazing day driving like an idiot. 80 miles, 5 hours, 3 geocaches, and only 1 close call/near death. The time flew by! Another thing I did during this road trip that I had the entire place to myself. I only saw about 10 other people all day using the Hatfield & McCoy trails. I was on a UTV just a few weeks ago near Phoenix. That is how fast I forgot how much fun they are. I had a blast today. The terrain was very mild compared to Arizona, but still so exciting! All day I was driving these trails, I felt like the fat guy from Lost, 21-10-33-31-45-42-26-14-18. When I was in my 20’s a bunch of my gearhead, knucklehead friends bought ATVs and came down here all the time. Somehow, I did not fall in line with them that time. I grew up with dirt bikes and guns, so they were not a novelty to me. Bobby said it might take me about 2 hours to get to my first stop. I was there in just over an hour. I drove like a maniac, because that is the fun way to drive off road. I spoke to Bobby later, and told him what I did. He said the next fastest anyone has done what I did, is 10 hours. That is twice as long. I told Bobby I am fast, I always have been fast, I used to race big wheels. I think Bobby and I are going to be pals for a long time. I hope to come visit him again soon.
After an amazing day playing, on the edge of death, I had a hotel nearby to catch up on some real life, and I had to do a zooming meeting this evening. A shower, internets, and proper lighting are required. Tomorrow I will head back south a few hours for a wedding in SC in a couple days.

I regularly update the photo album HERE.

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.

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.

Yosemite! I love it so much it’s my tire cover picture

Day 48:
Today I met Roald, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
11,850 miles in counting.
I woke up at the Golden Gate Bridge rest area this morning. That’s two mornings in a row I woke up at the Golden Gate Bridge, nothing to complain about, I guess. Yesterday was such a fun and successful day, and completely unexpected for the things that I have planned, that I slept better, as long as my body would allow me. I woke up to the sun high in the sky, got cleaned up and got moving. The only thing certain is I have a campground reservation in Yosemite starting today, through the next few days until my van repairs on Thursday.
I toil with what to do and where to go and what route to take to get to Yosemite. Like every other day of this trip, I have changed my mind 100 times in 20 minutes. Originally, I wanted to go back and visit Jeremiahs Gold again. That final is going to haunt me forever, unless I find it. But I think I decided to head out towards Bodie and then work my way into Yosemite from the other side.
I drove East all day. The most beautiful area being Lake Tahoe, obviously. The weather was perfect, and the skies cooperated for me to get some of the most amazing views from above, down onto the lake.
My first real stop of the day was Bodie California. Bodie is an abandoned mining town, that CA maintains as a park. I made it out there about mid-day. I spent a couple hours wandering around, taking pictures, being unbelievably fascinated about this time period. This kind of stuff has always fascinated me. I know I say if I had one I wish, I’d lived back then, I’m wrong. But I wish I could travel back in time for a vacation. you know, kind of like a dude ranch? West World style. If anyone has connections with robots and AI, get in touch.
Since I was driving right past, I had to make a stop at Mono Lake on the way from Bodie to Yosemite. I first heard a mono lake in 2013, the first time I visited Yosemite. But I’ve never been here. Glad I made a little pitstop, it was the perfect time of day. The sun was behind everything and casting that beautiful “sun is setting” light.
Now into Yosemite where I will make my home for the next few days. I’m killing time, and giving my van a rest, before hopeful repairs on Thursday in Sacramento. I guess I just called 3 days in Yosemite “killing time”. More examples I’m the luckiest person alive. I’ve never driven over Tioga Pass before, I don’t believe. I’ve been to Yosemite a few times, but don’t think I ever left the park on the eastern side. That’s one of the more unbelievable passes I’ve ever passed through. I pulled over so many times to look and take pictures I lost count.
I love Yosemite so much. I saw a big brown bear wandering around shortly after I entered the park. Also, it’s the only place where I can enter the gates and think to myself
“Yay I’m in Yosemite!” And then I still have a 2 Hour drive to get to where I’m going in the valley.
What a great place.

Day 49:
Today I met Pierre or PeePee as he is affectionately known, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
12,270 and counting.
I woke up in a Yosemite valley campsite this morning. There won’t be a lot of miles today, because I’m in Yosemite and may not even move my little girl. I got up at about five and drove out to Valley View for sunrise pictures. It was a bit hazy, understandably. But beautiful for all the right reasons. Then up to Tunnel View. I watched the sun come up over the mountain and took some pictures. What an unbelievable life I have. I made conversation with lots of other traveling strangers. It was an amazing way to start my day. Then back to camp where I made myself a wonderful bacon and eggs and fruit breakfast. I think that’s the first time I’ve actually “cooked” a meal in my van. I’ve made a lot of boil in bags, sandwiches, dry foods. But I broke out the cooktop and whipped up some eggs and bacon.
My possible plan for today is to at least make a big walking loop around the valley. I can’t believe there’s still so many geocaches I haven’t found in Yosemite? I’ve been here twice before, both times since I started Geocaching. But there are just a whole lot of unfound geocaches. Lots of them found, but way more than should be unfound.
The way I had to get campsites in here is strange, but I’m just grateful to have them at all. I was in one spot for one night and then the next morning I had to move a quarter-mile to another site for the next two nights.
I did about an 8-mile walking loop around the valley. I got back in the perfect time to move my van from one site to the other. I still cannot believe there are so many geocaches that I had not found in two prior visits here. I walked a big loop. It was about 8 miles, a couple virtuals, whereIgo, very unique question mark in the middle of a national park, and earth caches of course. I had to move my mobile home from one campsite over to campsite number 69 in upper Pines. Hee hee.
I slung up my hammock and rested for a while, just taking in the sky. At the time of day when the sun was highest in the sky, a sunshower came through. Bright blue in one direction, and terrifying gray in the other. The drops were as big as quarters, they felt great in the blazing sun, and that smell of the ozone in a thunderstorm in the trees is delightful.
I finished the night with pictures on the famous bridge that looks into the valley. I set up there a good two hours before I needed to. That gave me the opportunity to have at least a dozen wonderful and meaningful conversations. Most notably I met the most fascinating person so far of the trip. A young fellow from New Jersey named CJ. He’s an inspiration to what we can be.
Then it was back to the campsite. I made a steak and mashed potatoes, and went to bed for the night.

Day 50:
Today I met Ozzy, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
12300 miles and counting.
I woke up in Yosemite Valley, campsite #69. Coolest part of the trip so far.
I had nothing planned. I had to drop my van off for service in Sacramento in 24 hours, so I had that long to play. I made myself a lovely breakfast at the campsite, eggs and bacon. I turned my back for 5 seconds to get my water and walk it to the picnic table, and a crow stole all 4 pieces of my bacon. That left me very depressed. Thankfully the delicious cheesy eggs fixed everything. I spent a while wandering around the campground, enjoying the sounds and smells, and chatting with tons of strangers. About mid-morning, I wrapped up everything, packed up nothing, and got on the road. I had a hike I wanted to do in Yosemite before I left. I parked at Tunnel View, and hiked straight up the side of the mountain, toward Glacier Point. Glacier Point is about 13 miles straight up. I only went about 2 up, almost 4 miles round trip. I found this awesome and old virtual geocache there. Thanks for brining me to this hike. Sadly, the haze was really bad today, and the views were all silhouetted outlines. Still amazing in its own, but different way.
From the park, it was time to get to Sacramento, I had a bed in a hotel waiting for me there. I took my time driving, enjoying the scenery along the Merced River. No picture opportunities today, sadly. I made it into the city, got Pervvie to a nearby truck wash, picked up some stuff at an amazon locker at a 7-11, stopped at the auto depot for more Pervvie liquids (she loves the green stuff), and finally checked into my hotel. Tomorrow morning I take my baby to the infirmary to hopefully find out what ails her.

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

Getting out of Vegas, and back to the wild

Day 25:
6400 miles and counting. Woohoo! Today is the day I get to scram out of Las Vegas. My pretty girl is all fixed up, and ready to get back on the road. She just needed a rest, like every beautiful lady, she needed time at the spa. After a fresh bath a bunch of new bolts, some new sway bars, and a whole lot of TLC, Pervvie is back on the road and ready for adventure. It felt so good getting into her after a few days absence.
On the way out of town I did a few miscellaneous Geocaching things, and a trip to the food market to get restocked up. I was hoping to steal some water from somewhere too, but I have plenty for now. I am heading directly north, into the desert. I plan to drive for a couple of oldest hides in Nevada, and some other highly favorited geocaches along the way. I believe my next destination is going to be rattling around Idaho. But so far, my plans only work out 50% of the time. The other 50% of the time I end up doing something way better than I ever planned or imagined.

I drove all over, all through, and all around all of these power trails out here in the middle of nowhere. I stopped for more than I thought I would. But still very little. Just the high favorite ones, and the older ones. If I had the willingness, I could’ve had a find count of 20,000 higher than I do now. But that just doesn’t seem like having a fun. The fun for me is just driving around in the desert, getting lost in my own thoughts…not pretending I’m a mailman.
I found all the main ones that I wanted, and some others. Basically, where I stopped to pee, take pictures, sometimes both of those things.
Time to head north for the oldest one. I was in a big conundrum. The van said it has 90 miles left of fuel. I was 30 miles one way from the main road, and 30 miles from the town of Tonopah. I had to drive all the way from Golden Arrow, to Tonopah, turn around come all the way back, go to the old one north, turn around and back through Tonopah. Poor fuel planning.
As I turned left off of the main road to go north on a dirt road, I noticed “I want to kill you” weather, in the distance. Behind me was the most beautiful bluebird skies you could ever imagine. However directly in front of me was the most terrifying, menacing sky I’ve seen yet on this trip. Oh well, that’s the way I must go.
Thank you so much for bringing me to the location of Nevada’s oldest geocache. I was treated to a spectacular show of storms and skies and clouds and then ultimately rainbows. That’s right rainbows with an ‘S’ at the end.
From there I made my way to Ely, found a nice place to rest for the night. Tomorrow is hopefully north to Idaho.

Day 26:
I woke up in Ely, Nevada at a Love’s. 6900 miles and counting.
I am planning to head into Idaho. I got moving this morning not quite as early as I would’ve hoped, but after a few nights absence, I was extra cozy in my mobile home’s bed.
I changed my plans for the 10th time today and a millionth time this trip. I made a detour back through Salt Lake City. I couldn’t spend much time there, because it was during a time when I thought I needed van repairs and was anxious to get that done. I drove and wandered around an empty Salt Lake City on a Sunday. The weather was beautiful, and it was a perfect time to be Geocaching as there was no one else around to see me acting weird.
Having grown up on the East Coast, I will never understand how I am able to drive 3 hours or more, at 80 miles an hour, and not see another human being. Did they build these roads just for me to use?
From there I was going to head to the Golden Spike. It occurred to me I had a few errands, and I was in a major suburban area. So, I stopped off at the Home Depot, the Office Depot, the Auto Depot, and luckily picked a town with some really highly favorited caches and a WebCam. This detour was a lot longer than I had planned on.
After visiting a choo-choo train history spot, I backtracked to the missile exhibit. That was so much more fascinating than I ever expected. I went there for the old virtual and the letter box. I spent about 40 minutes on that letterbox. First, I couldn’t find a sign. So, I did some alternate research and narrowed it down to a couple of options. But then I was messing up on first letter second letter third letter first words 2nd word third word. There was a nice big hint in the combo description by the owner. And I still thought I knew what I was doing. I got about 10 minutes away driving, and it clicked. Turned around went back, got my name on that letterbox too.
So glad something routed me to that spot. I never would’ve made it here on my own.
Now it’s time to finally try and get in Idaho.
I made it to southeastern Idaho before I ran out of day. I was able to find the old one in Southeastern Idaho, but not without issues. For some reason I had notes that said I could drive pretty close to this one. I guess 2 miles round-trip walking is close, but it was probably also a half of a mile uphill. I was running out of daylight. Poor time management, so I had to jog the whole time up the hill and then back down to where I left my van. After that I was officially out of daylight. I found a nearby spot to park and sleep for the night.

Day 27:
7500 miles and counting.
I woke up in Idaho and made my way to the waterfall earthcache. I spent much more time at the waterfall area than I ever imagined. I did a couple of short hikes, and found a bunch of geocaches. I took some pictures and I chatted with some other nice travelers. I met some motorcycle enthusiasts from Australia. They told me they drove their bikes all the way to Idaho. What I thought would be a quick in and out ending up being several hours of my morning. Thank you for that.
After a few miles of jogging and climbing around all these awesome rocks, the park filled up. People were swimming in a little lake/pond/pool area. I was hot and sweaty, and that look like an awesome thing to do. So, I did it. After a refreshing dip in the lake, I went and utilized my indoor shower. It’s a real special occasion when I use that thing.
On the way out of town I had a final of the Wherigo. I realized how I had to get there and said, damn, I just took a shower. So, I walk extra slow and tried to stay nice and zestfully clean.
My second stop for the day was out at Bruneau Canyon. Even thought it was early in the day, I knew it was where I wanted to stay the night. The possibility of amazing night skies were high at this location. If they skies stayed clear. I have my sights set on the Cache Across America Utah version, and I believe there is also a virtual there. I had a couple hour drive. I had hoped to get there, long before sunset, and set up camp. Everything worked out perfectly. I had hours to kill before photographing the sunset and night sky. There was telephone service, and I was shocked. I was able to use that and catch up on work. I put Pervvie into Work MODE!

Day 28:
7700 miles and counting.
Last night I simply stayed where I landed around mid-day, at Bruneau Canyon. I had the entire place to myself from about 4PM on. I had some telephone service, so I spent a few hours catching up on real life work. I was basically just killing time waiting for the sun to scram. The skies were perfectly clear, and I was treated to a spectacular show of the moonlight rising and lighting up the canyon inch by inch. I got some great photographs of the Milky Way before the moon entered the show. And then some super fun shots of the canyon illuminated only by moonlight.
Now it’s time for me to head towards Boise, and then ultimately all the way north in Idaho. I have a few checklist items on my agenda, but I’m also open to getting into anything fun.
As I was driving away from the canyon on my way to Boise, I noticed a couple of power trails. Yikes, I don’t have time for that. But I noticed there was a whole bunch that were challenges. I made time for some of the more interesting ones that I knew I should qualify for.
I made it into Boise to check off a few specific tasks. While I was there a few other things distracted me. I also refueled Pervvie, and restocked the refrigerator. Yes, that does include a box of Cinnabon‘s. I wasn’t there long, but I knew I had plenty of city already. It was time to start heading north and get back away from people and things. My destination was GC 26 and 27. Two very old geocaches, as evidenced by their GC codes. It would be nightfall before I got there. So, my hope is to get all the way there, and have that be what I do first thing in the morning. An absolutely gorgeous drive to start out with. Meandering, twisting back-and-forth following the river that was rushing at me. I didn’t get all the way there, so I found a nice place to park and sleep along the river, during the homestretch of my drive to GC26 and 27.

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

Driftwood PA, Top of the World, New Moon May 2022

HERE are a bunch of pictures if you are interested.

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.

 

HERE are a bunch of pictures if you are interested.

Tennessee Smokies & Horsin’ Around in Kentucky

We packed up all our stuff for my wife’s first getaway in my campervan. We started in Lexington Kentucky for some fancy horse dancing event that she loves. It was the Kentucky 3-day 5-star event. A real equestrians dream. In my house we call it Rolex not Rolex. After that went to spend some time in the Smokies.

Day one was spent getting to Western Maryland where we spent the night in a very quiet rest area. A couple of gentlemen in the car next to us were there all night also. I don’t think their wives would have been happy.

Day two was a leisurely morning getting up, followed by driving most of the day to Lexington Kentucky. We made the usual pitstops for tinkling and geocaching. Travel days are great days to fill in calendar dates with unusual types of hides. Throughout the trip I was able to check off question marks and multis during all travel days.

Once we arrived in Lexington the real horsing around fun began. We spent Saturday and Sunday watching horsie jumpers at the horse park. I had much more fun than I imagined. What a fun and unique experience I was lucky enough to experience. In between horse jumpings, I found a bunch of nearby caches. This was definitely a 5-Star weekend for The Kid!

On Monday after the horse event, we climbed all over the Via Ferrata in Kentucky. That is 3 that we have done in the US, with hopes to one day do all the Via Ferrata’s in the US. It was amazing, and definitely the most difficult of the 3 we have done. We spent the night in Compton before heading to Tennessee for a week in the Smokies.

While in Tennessee we did all the perfect tourist stuff. We saw 2 of the shows, ate at the famous places, spent a day in Dollywood, and spent a bunch of time in Smoky National Park. I spent 2 nights in the park in my campervan, taking night time and sunrise pictures, while my wife stayed at the Dollywood hotel. Lucky girl.

One day we spent driving Cades Cove, and it was amazing! The weather was perfect, and we had 3 different bear spottings. I was finally able to use the widow’s peak on my adventure van for photography purposes! It was a dream come true.

There are a bunch of pictures in a photo album if you click somewhere around HERE.