Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend - Day 1

After a great dinner with b0neZ's family, went home and failed to get to sleep all night so simply stared at the ceiling waiting for 3am.

Once "awake", Dad came by to pick me up and then we were off to Fallon to meet up with SKWERL who had arrived last night. A quick breakfast in Fallon started our great adventure!!

First stop, Project Shoal. You can read more about it here: Project SHOAL Wow, just saw that my first tip to the site was four years ago! Time sure flies!! Anyway, we scouted around the area for awhile, taking pictures and exploring odd pipes sticking out of the ground throughout the site. Then we were off towards Austin, of course picking up a few caches along the way. Quick drive-bys that didn't require much thought or effort. The nice thing about having numerous State Historical Markers is that, while just as easy as a LPC, there's a least something interesting to learn and they aren't located in boring parking lots.

Out past Austin, we hit the new cache at the reststop closest to the Geographic Center of the State along Highway 50. Churm used to have one there, but now there's one just jinxed95. Quick stop to stretch the legs, then it was time to hit the dirt.

Heading south on "highway" 82, little more than a dirt trail, we come to the true Geographic Center of Nevada. Having done this before, Dad and I learned the trick to the multi and he waited near the final while SKWERL and I headed to the start. A tromp through the desert, going from point to point, was a great way to work out the kinks of driving so long. All three stages are in dire need of repair, but at the time, we didn't have anything suitable.

Afterwards, it was onto Diana's Punchbowl. Unfortunately, the cache there had been archived due to lack of maintenance (and oh boy did it need it! I went to pick it up and took the top half while leaving the bottom half stuck in the dirt. Oops). SKWERL had brought along his letterbox replacement, so the final cache for the Oldest Cache Challenge is now in place. Spent a lot time at the hot spring. It's one of those marvels of the desert you don't believe in till you see it!

Continuing south, we needed a way to hop over from Monitor Valley to Big Smoky Valley, but none of the roads looked reliable on the map. Eventually just went, "Take the first one!" and we began the trip through the dry streambed / road until we came to the base of a huge strip mine - where there was a sign "Big Smoky Valley 14 miles" Whoo Hooo! That turned out to be the coolest road and one of the most beautiful canyons I'd been in. I think Ripley Canyon is the only comparison.

Coming out of the canyon, we hooked up with Highway 376 and got the Big Smokey Valley cache. Our goal was hitting as many of the oldest caches we could over the course of the weekend. Then it was onto Tonopah!

By now, the sun was going down, and we were once again heading to XKD-380, the oldest active cache in the state, in the dark. Thankfully, I'd been out with MooseMob and Company during the Tonopah event in the daylight and knew the shortcut up the outcropping. Took a long time to find the cache, I came near to fearing a DNF!! But SKWERL found the red thermos and the cache was ours!

Back at the trucks, we took advantage of the fact we were in the middle of nowhere, far from any towns, or highways, or lights, and just stood leaning against the truck staring at the star-filled sky. Horizon to horizon, a full thick Milky Way stretched over our heads, millions of stars glittering in the moon-less night. We even saw the International Space Station! That moment, in utter silence, was absolutely perfect!

It was back into town with us, grabbing a few other caches along the way. A very full day and it's only Friday!

NevadaWolf discovered Acorn's Rides

NevadaWolf found It's Lonely Out Here, SHM #111 Edwards Creek Valley, SHM #135 New Pass Station, 50 Rest, Letters to Diana

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