Monday, December 27, 2010

The Nevada Alien ET Series Trip :)

I found out about this series of Geocaches in Nevada about a week ago. Hopped a flight from West Virginia and hit the trail on Christmas Day 2010.

(the journey across the country)

My husband and 5 year old were to be the drivers (and company) on what I thought would take me the rest of my life to complete. The day began and we soon figured out how to get into the groove. Getting close to the post for the jump out and learning what the caches would look like in advance of the jump soon became routine all to well known by all three of us.

Mike swung in and I opened the door and thru the right leg out on the ground and carrying in my hand the container with our names already signed and ink pen in mouth I ran for it and the most important part, bent over to pick it up, thats the part that makes my legs so super sore now....the bending over to pick it we/I jumped back into the rented cachemobile and took off to the next one signing the log for that one and replacing it into the container in the thirty some seconds you had before the .10 of a mile was up and you were already looking to locate the next cache. Occasionally getting behind in order to throw a banana or cookie into your mouth and swallow a drink of water. Sometimes the view around you would be so beautiful that you would have to just stop and soak it up for a moment before saying...Okay I must move on if I am to finish this !!!

At this point...I must confess that I am a new cacher with only 360 finds under my belt before attempting this run...there are quiet a few things I do not know..... So I am not totally up to date with how the gps works ! With that said, I'd tell you that I flew from WV without any of the ET Series Caches actually loaded into my gps !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *embarrassed

So finding the caches would be an additional degree of difficult. I didnt even have a gps now on a gps based game ! Geosense would be very important now. I could find other caches locally when in Rachel and Tonopah and Vegas with what was loaded onto  my gps from before I left home but I didnt have any of the series I had came to get loaded inside. I didnt even have the heart to tell my husband that I had not brought the cache information along with us. When darkness fell it would be next to impossible to find them. Once we got a system together we figured out that we could press the button down on the jeep and reset the odometer at the cache we were on and go about .10 and start looking randomly until it was found. Luckily the snow had fallen and the rains had came the week before and it left tire marks in the dirt along side the road at most caches that we could use as a way to get more information on where they would be found.

The first day the weather was beautiful. We couldnt believe how much work that RXWRANGLERS (the guy who signed in before us )had put into replacing each and every container. The trail had been laid out for us the previous day perfectly. Thank you RXWRANGLERS. I would also like to say thank you to Marcipanek who left gas cans the week before with coordinates and it was a little fun to go in search of these once we were on the ground at the airport. We passed them on when we were done with them.

I/we were totally impressed with what Clay4 and whtwolfden had done with the this lonely stretch of desert highway. Some of the most amazing land that God had ever made. Way to go guys !!!! One of the greatest adventures of my life. I turned my spot tracking device on during the trip and you can see that we made our way from Vegas to Alamo and began our search. We searched thru number 515 and it was well after dark when we said it was time to give it up for the day.

The first day we began early, as early as we could get there from Vegas, around 10:03 am we picked up the first cache. We worked non stop thru the day eating only what we carried with us and between log signs. Our gas situation was great. Had no need to use any of the spare gas that we were carrying. Driving a four wheel drive jeep 4cyl. We ended the day around 7:30 atleast three hours into the dark at cache number 514. Headed on in to Tonopah. That took another hour and a half or so when driving a desert highway dodging cows !

I must confess that there were alot of interesting things along the way on the trail to keep us laughing and after a few hundred caches we had it going along smoothly except for a few times that we got messed up and had to do a u turn and fix mistakes.

We Spent the night in the hotel in Tonopah and there was no thought of snow when we went to sleep at the end of the long day. I had brought with me a muscle relaxer because I had been told that it was hard to walk after this pushing was and I was soooo thankful to have it when I finally got out of the jeep to find that the hour plus drive on in to Tonopah was just long enough for my legs to realize what they had done that day !  The hotel wasnt horrible but it certainly was not what I would call Clean ! ooowie !

We Began the second day by waking up and looking out to see that the 6400 elevation in Tonopah had been covered in snow during the night. Defeated. I felt so Defeated. I cried. We came all this way. We ate and discussed our plans and my husband made the suggestion that we give it a try. We set out to drive the icy, snow covered highway very slowly to number 515 and start back in the direction of Tonopah again.... Thinking with the elevation change that we would get out of the snow at some point.

Soon into the journey we ran into what apeared to be tracks at the caches on the Tonopah end. We picked up Maybe twenty before we caught up with the cacher in front of us. We were so happy to see someone else caching and making tracks for us to follow. Especially since we were gps-less ! HeHe. The stranger in front of us was signing logs as "DM" and after a while we could not stand the suspense and skipped up two caches to catch and meet him. What a wonderfully nice man. We traded swag. Discovered each other. Talked some Geo=junk and got a plan and hit the series again working together. We worked with him thru cache number 515 going in the "cross the road path" backwards thru the series. This route is a little more difficult but it was working for us because we didnt know how far we would get in the snow.

Thank you "DM" for a fun filled day. I wont tell the story of our meeting the ET Alien....I will just say his name was Curtis and I dont think I like him !

I didnt want to post this part on the series as to avoid any trouble from the locals for future cachers but we were half the way in that we were destroying public property and that we were not allowed to be pulling off the higway and that we were not allowed to stop on the road. Curtis was a very unfriendly local who we believe is not a geocacher. We told Curtis that we had came from WV to do this series and spent loads of money and time in order to make the journey and that it was a very sad thing that in a stretch of highway where there were probably no more than 10 cars in two days (two of which were ours) that anyone would have a problem with our stopping along the right of way on the road. He told us that we would need a permit to continue...blah the end we did continue our journey without to much of a bother and some reasoning by "DM" who was far calmer in the situation than Mike & I were.

As we were standing at the final cache for our day and the completion of the series late that evening after dark another man drove by and stopped to see if we were okay. He was going to start the series the next day. (nice guy) We warned him about Curtis. I stole the log and container for the last one for me and drove up to the next one just to double check that it was where I had ended the journey the first day. Success !!!!!!! With the caches I picked up along the way and over the trip I had in my hand 1035 caches and would go home to WV with my goal of ranking someplace in top 100 in the state.
I can not express how much my family enjoyed this series. I think we made geocachers out of my husband and 5 year old who both signed the logs and now have a pretty good amount of caches to start their journeys as geocachers.

We thank everyone, the people who went before us, the men who set these out, even the alien Curtis, who I do NOT like, and to "DaMuggler" who made the second day much easier for us working as a team.

Gas situation the second day was that we put five gallons in from the tanks that we had picked up from Marcipanek and the coords that he left from his trip a few days ago on the logs. That took us on in to Rachel where we filled up and ate and made the trip back to Vegas. The other gas can was given to "DM" for his trip on in and the last one was left at the spot where we filled up our jeep so that the next person could run up on a tank of gas if needed.

There were lots of adventures along the way and I will put those in on the logs after we are back home from Vegas at the end of the week. Logging in three people for 1200 caches will not be nearly as fun as getting them ! ( I did drop three or four pathtags along the way for the next to find )

The photos are uploading sideways so I put pics up on my open viewing facebook profile so if you click this link you can see the pics even if you dont facebook and then I will put them on here when I get time to set down :) just click on the photos tab and the file for the Nevada trip.

While out there we did play a bit of the slot machines. I put in a total of 160.00 and brung home around 468 bucks that I won from that and played every night a few minutes on the original money spent.

Mikeys favorite part had to be the Circus Circus Spongebob adventure. We saw a 4-D movie there and he loved it but boy was it real. He cried at one spot in the movie because Spongebob wrecked the bike we were riding with him and a board came up and hit us in the face (lol) Scared him to death !!! hehe

We also took the time to drive out to see The Hoover Dam which I thought was super beautiful. The new bridge will take your breath away when you stand under it. It was amazing :)

(the trip back home)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Nevada Alien ET Series Trip

Okay today is Dec 22 and I am so excited.

We have booked the trip for tomorrow and are heading to the desert in Nevada for the Alien Series of 1000 geocaches in 100 miles.

I have talked to so many cachers about this now since finding out what it was about three days ago and doing the impulse purchase of plane tickets and hotel, etc to make the journey out there.

Here is the deal as I know it now.

There is a stretch of highway outside of Las Vegas where two guys put 1000 geocaches along the road and placed them .10 miles away from each other. People travel from all over the world to do these caches. They are placed in the desert near the area where "area 51" is located. I mean...Not located. LOL

Your task is complicated by the fact that there are no gas stations. Routes must be chosen by how much distance you are from the next town and you absolutely must carry with you an extra 5 gal tank of gas for the last leg of the journey in order to make it back.

Thankfully we are making the trip in the dead middle of winter and not in the summer when you also have Rattlesnakes to deal with and scorpions !

You pull up to the first cache, jump out and find it, take the film canister with you and drop in the hide a pre-made log and canister which has your name already on it. You jump back into the car and in the 528 feet to the next one you have to open this one, sign your name on the log, close it, take a photo, slam on the breaks and jump out again to find the next one where you put the one you just signed and move on to repeat that for 100 miles and 1000 (plus an extra 20 or so for good measure) caches !

There are those who begin and do it for 15 hours straight and complete the task in only a day and there are those who do it and when they run out of gas at the end they fill up with the reserve tank and make a push back to the town for more fuel and rest for the night and begin the journey again tomorrow.

I feel driven to do this and am trying to be honest with myself. I think it will take me two days to complete the task.

The weather is also a big concern. You are at around 6000 feet above sea level on the last leg of the caches and in December that can be very challenging all on its own in Nevada.

I dont know if I have ever felt more excitement for a journey to begin.

Our flight lands in Las Vegas on Thursday and it will be my first time to see it. We scheduled the flight to land at dark so that when we arrive it will be all lit up on the strip for added effect.

We chose the hotel to fit Mikey. The Circus Circus which I am certain he will love. The trip will also include viewing the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. Both of which I have geocaches picked out at already :)

We will make the journey over to California to pick up a cache there as well and I think it may be possible to do a Utah cache before ending the trip.

I laughed that we may need two rental cars because the whole point in the journey is the geocaches but Mike and Mikey will want to do other things and as to not have them slow me down we may get a second car. LOL

The Goal....I dont know that it can be completed....But In this advance blog post I will say that My goal is to come home with no less than 1200 geocaches completed. Now listen, I have cached now for about three months. Hard ! I am totally addicted and In that time I have managed to find 360 caches. To complete this task and walk away with 1000 caches in a two day period is going to be super hard physically and mentally and I am certain now that I will cry at the end. Goals are a beautiful thing and no matter what they is always satisfying to achieve them !

If everyone works hard and I get good weather and conditions go according to schedule it is possible that I may be able to achieve the goal that I have set in my mind for what the idea number would be.....I have 360 finds now...I would love to reach 1640 ! (hehe) That would bring me home to West Virginia with a total of 2000 and make me rank in the top ten geocachers in the state of West Virginia :) Big goals but probably not even close to what I will be able to complete with the husband and kid going along.

I figure the trip will certainly include lots of fussing between us about how that is "enough" geocaching !

However, I did buy the tickets and plan the trip for no other reason than to get the caches so I have told everyone now in advance while I am still in WV that I do not want to hear any whinning about how they dont want to find another one or on my next adventure I will leave them both in West Virginia !

Wish me luck.....

I would like to note that a few months or a year or so ago I did a blog post on some of the places that I want to visit before I die and The Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon were certainly on that list.

The trip is 8 days long so lets hope we can get it all in there.........

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Geocaching :) My new addiction

Well it seems I am addicted to a whole new sport. Geocaching.

What exactly is that you may ask ? This is something that I have had a few chances to explain (mostly to policemen who have pulled in behind me while I was out on an exploration)  

It is a high tech adventure game using a handheld gps and a set of coordinates found at where you go in search of hidden things that have been placed all over the world by other addicted geocachers.

These little treasures may be as simple as a tiny piece of paper or a huge tupperware container filled with goodies. You pick something from the goodies and take with you as a treasure find and you replace that item with something that you leave behind for the next cacher to find. Swag or Loot are common names for the "junk" that we take in and out of a cache.

The point of the game is purely to seek. The search. The adventure. It is not ever about the object found at the final destination. However, it is very exciting on top of the other if you also get to discover a hidden treasure box and select things to keep.

These geocaches are sometimes very simply an old container from food or gum or candy that was re- purposed as a water tight compartment for a hide or as elaborate as a false screw in a sign or a blade of grass that is fake and housing a cache inside.

You get the coordinates and set out on your journey.

If you are in an unfamiliar area a Tom Tom or other driving direction based device is very handy. Once at the location you will hold  the handheld gps and it will point you in the direction of the hide. Coordinates can be as close as X marks the spot to within 25 foot. Sometimes you walk right up to it and others you look for days before discovering you had touched it a dozen times before making the find.

I have tried to figure out what it is about it that hooked me. The best I can figure is that after a few finds along the way I discovered a hidden tube behind a local eatery and it had been placed so cleverly by a man who has hidden lots of caches in the area and something about the find...something about thinking he had hidden it with such care and craft...something made me think....this is something I might love. Then once I found the next was my new addiction ! I found maybe ten a few years ago when my son was about 3 and it didnt hook me like it did this time. I have never driven more in my car and I certainly have never been to some of the places that the first 345 finds have taken me.

One of the best parts of caching is that it shows you the world thru someones eyes other than mine. Some other person will see a rock formation or cave or just simply a road sign and they stop what they are doing and place this item for me to find. I find that exciting. I love the search and I love the hide.

This week I stood atop a river overlook with my son and felt the fresh air on my face and I was thankful that the person who had hidden it took me to that spot.
I didnt even search for or find the cache that day. I just spent a moment there feeling blessed that I was with my son and we were healthy enough to climb down a mountain hand in hand.

I have spent more time with my family than I may have otherwise spent.

(this is the cache that hooked me)

I stood in front of a grave of an unknown soldier and I was thankful and said a prayer to God of thanks that my father had survived his term in Vietnam and returned home safe to have his life with me and my brothers. 

I stood on a graveyard and looked at an old outhouse and was reminded that my life is full of luxury and that I am blessed. I found one that was at the base of three wooden crosses and after signing the log I realized I was knelt down at the foot of this cross and there was a moment there where I had to say thank you to Christ before I got up for what he did on the cross and I wondered if the person who hid it knew that it would touch me that way ?

I have met and discovered new friends who love the sport as much as me.

Walked across train bridges that I never knew were there.

I have lost 10 pounds ! LOL that is just an added bonus. But the exercise is amazing and must be mentioned.
I have stood at caches and looked down on the world in a way that I would have never taken the time to see otherwise.

I have climbed to the top of rocky mountains and felt a sense of power knowing  (even though I didnt find the cache and will need to return another day to this one) that I am a girl and I am standing in a spot that most girls will not stand !

Stopped to look at everyday items in new ways. In different directions. Discovering the world again a new way. Things that are so much a part of the world that we dont even see anymore have new meaning to me when I cache. I have a new appreciation for a bolt in a guardrail. I see a screw on a sign and wonder if there is more to it than that ? I find myself setting on a bench and wondering if their is a micro nearby. I bend over to pick up a penny and wonder if it will lead me to more than a copper coin.

I guess its like a baby who sees things for the first time.

Geocaching has done that for me. 

If you would like more information on Geocaching just go to the website at and check it out but if you dont want to be hooked...dont even look !!!
And whatever you do...dont find your first one because I am 345 into it and my new goal in life is to do as this sign I found says....

-Wendy or geocaching name.....whbaisden