Monday, September 9, 2013

Second trip to Watertown

Matt doing his strongman act
This weekend I had another chance to go geocaching near Watertown in South Dakota. Since my appendectomy canceled my last trip I had planned there I was really excited that I was able to find some friends that wanted to go. Not just because I wanted some help in this endeavour, but because it would be fun to road trip with them.  When Matt and Zoa agreed to go I took what I had learned from the last trip down and started to come up with a plan. Bringing along stuff for lunch worked well last time and even a bit better this time.  With three of us in the truck, Zoa was able to make sandwiches as Matt and I kept caching. The map I made last time worked well, so I mapped out a route with around 230 caches for this trip.  I thought it would be a bit more then we had time for, but if things went well we would be able to do it.

We started caching around 8:15 in the morning and quickly found our groove.  Again having 3 cachers was a big advantage. One person could drive and depending on the side of the road that a cache was on one person could hop out and make the find. Most of the caches were quick finds and tended to be very repetitive, but there were a few along the way that challenged us.  At first evergreen trees slowed us down, but by the end of the day Matt was running right up to them and making the find.

Some hot grasshopper on grasshopper action
A few of the recently placed caches had us stumped. They had been found recently, but we couldn't make the find. Overall we finished the day finding 215 with only 8 DNFs I was very satisfied with our results.  I would like to move up to the #2 spot in North Dakota for number of finds and this trip brought us to around 150 caches left to hit that goal. It was an exhausting trip, but spending time with Matt and Zoa made it a lot of fun.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Monday we were a little burned out from going to Valley City and Grand Forks.  We decided we'd take a quick trip to Barnesville to go after a cache that hadn't been found in over a year.  We found ground zero easily enough, but there were some bikers there so we had to wait a bit before starting the search. The bikers pointed out some snails in the water to us as we stood on a nearby bridge. When they left we climbed around on the rocks searching for about half an hour before deciding to move on. It was a neat area, but we weren't able to make the find.  As we left town we grabbed a quick cache along the highway to keep our streak alive.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Road Trip to Valley City

A neat stairwell on campus
With Erin not feeling well we decided to cancel our long road trip this weekend and do a smaller caching trip to Valley City. Lindzee was free Sunday and was able to come with. We started caching near the college. The first couple of caches we went after were a little ways up the hill, making for some challenging terrain. After that we found a series of micros around town and made the find on some caches we missed in the winter. From there we headed north up to the dam. Erin and I probably bored Lindzee with stories from when we biked our first century in this same location.  When we finished caching at the dam Erin was feeling even worse so we headed back to town to find some food.  So far every time Erin and I had eaten in Valley City we were disappointed. We decoded to give the Broken Spoke a chance.  The food was pretty good, but our waitress didn't seem to know what was going on. It was by far the best dining experience we've found in Valley City. After eating we returned to Fargo and Erin and I finished our fantasy football draft.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Footsteps in the dark

Having completed our 1 year caching streak we decided to keep going.  In August Groundspeak was doing souvenirs for 31 days of caching, so we wanted to keep finding a cache a day at least until September. On the last day of the 31 days of caching August challenge, Erin and I took a road trip to Grand Forks. We were looking forward to seeing friends at the event that day, as well as trying to find some caches we had DNFed previously. The first few caches were fairly easy, but then we got to some trycacheus hides.  A couple of them had us stumped and we decided to move on although we were able to come back later and find them. After spending the morning caching we went to the event around 1:00.  The event had a great turnout, and we had a great time talking with other cachers. We played a few games and Chad grilled up some burgers for everyone.  When the event finished up we went out to grab a few more caches before meeting up with the pirate clan to draft our fantasy football teams.  We tried to go to Buffalo Wild Wings, but after waiting almost an hour for a table after being told it would take 15-20 minutes we decided to just grab something fast.  We wound up at Burger King, so the younger kids could play. We only made it halfway through the draft that night, but after leaving Burger King we went for the Grand Forks night cache.  I really enjoyed the night cache and thought it was well done.  The pirates had a good time, but said the night cache in Detroit Lakes was a better cache. We had so much fun we couldn't cram it all into one day.  We made it home about half an hour past midnight.
Hanging out after the night cache.

Erin and Anabelle after doing the night cache

Just a warning to Grand Forks cachers, there are spoilers ahead...

At one of the caches today we arrived at ground zero and were stumped.  The description said it might be off by 12 feet, but there wasn't much to look at. A nearby sign and fire hydrant obviously didn't have the cache and beyond that was either the street, or private property.  As we stood there puzzled, a neighbor drove up and parked in the driveway. Trying to not look suspicious we started to walk down the bike path.  About 200 feet off ground zero was a drainage tunnel.  It had standing water, so we decided not to search it at this time. I didn't want to get our feet wet early in the day and then be miserable for the rest of it. After leaving and doing some more caches Erin wanted to go back and try the tunnel.  We first stopped at K-Mart and grabbed some cheap flip flops for Erin and a towel to clean up after the search then we headed back to ground zero.  We figured it was about 200 feet down the tunnel, with Erin's feet measured at 10.5 inches we knew she would need to have a small gap between her steps and she could just make 200 steps. This strategy payed off, when she stopped counting at 200 the cache was right there. Erin opened it up to find a blank log.  It was great being able to be the first to find on this fun and challenging cache.

Erin down the tunnel

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Steph's Wedding Weekend - Saturday/Sunday

Lake Itasca in the early morning light
Erin and Rodney outside the logging camp
Saturday morning started early, we had told Rodney that we would meet up with him at 6:00 am to go geocaching. As we were getting ready I was sneezing and felt some seasonal allergies kicking in.  I asked Erin if we had anything and she gave me an allergy pill.  She warned me that she takes them at night because they cause drowsiness. Not being all that concerned I took the pill and we were on our way. The cache we went for was in the northern part of the park.  Well, not technically in the park, but close enough.  We were able to park about 500 feet from ground zero and take a trail right to where we needed to go.  We were near some cabins, so we quickly and quietly found the cache and were on our way. We decided that since we had found the cache quickly we'd have plenty of time to go to breakfast at the logging camp near Park Rapids. On the drive over we had time to chat with Rodney.  Years ago he spent a summer working at a nearby resort, so we got to hear some interesting stories.  We arrived at the logging camp a bit early so we wandered around a bit before heading in to eat. It had been years since I've eaten year, but I still had a sense that the place was familiar.  Breakfast was fantastic, and we all had our fill before heading back to the park. I was glad that we were able to sneak this fun excursion into our trip.
Mmmm... Pancackes...

Picture Time

The back of Luck and Rachelle with the musicians in the distance
When we arrived back at the park Erin rounded up her stuff to help Steph get ready.  Around this time is when the allergy pill started to kick in, and I went to lay down. The next thing I knew my phone was ringing and Erin was telling me I needed to get ready and go down to the dock for pictures. I got dressed and ran into Rachelle just outside the cabin. She pointed me in the right direction and I soon ran across my dad.  He didn't want to walk down to the docks and then back up in the heat, so we drove down and waited for pictures. The day was starting to heat up, and there was a fair bit of humidity. The AC in the van felt wonderful. Pictures didn't take too long and after that I drove over to where the ceremony was going to take place with dad. I spent some time chatting with Tim, the officiant, while people were arriving.  It had been a while since I'd seen him, and it was nice being able to catch up with him. When the ceremony was ready to start I found an empty seat with Rodney and Betty. Tim came over and handed me the marriage licence and said we'd meet up afterwards to get things signed.  The ceremony itself was fairly brief.  Tim was really funny, and the breeze off the lake helped keep everyone cool.
Steph and dad walking up.
After the ceremony everyone headed over to the reception, except Steph and Jake who went to take a few more pictures.  When they finally showed up there were a few more family pictures before we ate.  I was disappointed with the food, but that seems to be common for most weddings I go to.  When the party died down, I went back to the cabin to change before coming back to help take down decorations. After that we headed to Koreen and Dan's cabin again for some more Farkle and Bean Bag Toss. I stayed until just after it got dark and the fire was going.

The following morning everyone was planning on grabbing breakfast together, however when we got up and started talking to people they all began to bail on breakfast.  After saying our goodbyes Erin and I went over to the lodge to checkout and have breakfast.  We both had the french toast special and were very pleased with it.  The waitress told us that they had just switched to a new bread for it that day.  When we were done with breakfast we headed out of the park and down to Park Rapids to do some geocaching.  We found a fun PMO only cache and cleaned up a cache we had missed on a previous trip.  From there we stopped a couple of times for caches before arriving in Detroit Lakes.  We tried to find the final of a multicache we had started previously, but even with an extra hint from the cache owner we couldn't make the find. We then headed south of town for some new caches that were put out for a recent event, but it was getting hot out and we were feeling a little frustrated so we decided to call it a day.