Monday, October 10, 2011

Columbus Day weekend

Wow, what an amazing journey!!

It started a few weeks ago, when I posted on Twitter that my dad was selling his dirt bike. I actually got a response asking about it and introduced AZTech to my dad. Not to long after, I hear that we'll be making a trip down south to deliver the bike, and maybe go caching around there.

Then, I get an email from Roadrunner threatening to archive the cache of nvtriker's that bears my name! The nerve! Unfortunately, I missed out on FTF for that find, but it was there and plans were made.

I was also only 20 caches away from my 4000th milestone. Hurm, we'll be passing through the heart of the ET Highway power trail... I think I can get 20 caches.

I was also only one cache away from filling my Fizzy grid for the Well Rounded Cacher challenge, and the one I need to down south, as is the final. Hurm, this plan is starting to take shape!

So, Friday night after I finished my workout, my dad and I tossed all the gear into the truck and headed south to Tonopah. We pulled into town just before midnight to find EVERY HOTEL booked solid! The debate became, do we keep driving or just pull out into the desert and sleep in the truck? Thankfully, I had read that the Mizpah Hotel was reopened and so stopped in there to find two very helpful ladies welcoming us with the news they had rooms it was only their second night accepting guests, no one knew they were open. So, we got to stay in the Senator Key Pittman suite, where story has it that he passed away just before he won the re-election, but the party leaders kept his body on ice in the room bathtub until after the results were in. Truth is he died of a heart attack in Reno well after the election, but why ruin a good story!?! The room was lush, huge soft iron frame beds, an eagle claw tub, and a great overview of main street. In the morning, the staff even had coffee waiting for us right outside our door.

The next morning had us admiring all the history of the building, from old walk in safes, to original checks signed by various celebrities who stayed at the Mizpah during it's heyday. And we found that one of the gal's behind the counter (associate, supervisor, manager? Never asked!) is a geocacher and wants to put one at the hotel! There is so much history in that holding it can easily be done without crossing into the commercial line. It would be fun to set that up with her.

We met AZTech and two other guys who's Geo-names I forgot. Dad and Dave finished business with the bike with the rest of us chatted and then we headed off to have breakfast and continue the conversation. Always a blast to meet fellow addicts of this hobby!

Back on the road, I needed to get some very specific caches along with non-ET Highway caches as we went down. I had already spotted the WherIgo in Rachel, the NVWolf and Team GeoDragon caches, an Arizona cache to fill in the map, the Ugly Corral to fill the fizzy, and the Well Rounded Final. That left me 15 needed. Then Dad suggests grabbing the Nevada Cacher Series of those who we know. So Puzzleman, Sierradogs, nvsrvyr, and LaughingGravy were added to the list. GeoJeepers, habu!, and MooseMob were also considered but those were placed too far north, grab some miscellaneous ones along the way and we soon found ourselves heading up to Mt. Irish for my goal of the NevadaWolf cache.

We came in off Highway 6, through Joshua Trees, that gave way back into short stubby sage, that soon filled with Juniper Trees as we made our way up the mountain. A very tight narrow road was cut right out of the side of the mountain, offering great views of the tabletop summit. Then, coming around a blind corner, I let out a piercing squeal - a rustic, broken down log cabin was sitting right there! WANT!! Jumped out to take a ton of pictures and admired the craftsmanship that has kept that place standing and fairly warm inside despite the logs starting to warp and separate in some places. Continued up the mountain to some amazing views and parked at GZ. That cache was just like the rest of his series, a preform with a log book, but I loved the location!! The ground was littered with small rocks, so I built my name out of them and signed the ground. Hehehe We continued down the eastern side of the mountain and I started telling Dad about the NRAF's recording project down here on the mountain. We started seeing rocks that looked a lot like those in the slides I had worked on and as we came to an area right beside the road.... PETROGLYPHS!!! So had to stop and take a ton of pictures! The day finished with us heading south and grabbing enough caches to get me up to 3,997. Ended with RoadRunner which I thought was cool. We decided to pull into Mesquite for the night, that way we were right at the border to jump across and fill in the map.

The next morning, I gathered all my PQs that had run. The plan? Head to AZ for a cache under the interstate, then out to the corral, then grab the final before heading north on 93, and meeting nvtriker in Alamo. Then off to the famed ET Highway and grab only the 100's of that monster trail. Spend the night in Tonopah and play around on Monday before heading home.

I discovered that the AZ border was only two miles away and we were already on the road needed for the first cache. So, we got to go play in a tunnel that cut under the interstate to allow access to the off road area to the north. The cache was inside and we had fun driving back and forth through the tunnel. Then it was off to the Ugly Corral. Course, it wasn't so bad, and the location was absolutely beautiful! I love the painted mountains down here and the Joshua trees just totally make it. But alas, we didn't see any desert tortoise while out there. The Well Rounded Cacher final was next (and my 4000th find!) then it was north to Alamo. Of course, grabbing a few others along the way not that I didn't need to hold off on my finds.

We met nvtriker, who is now the owner of the GJTB, who brought us some yummy peach spice bread as we stumbled around looking for a cache on a cattle guard. That was our one DNF. After a few preforms on the side of the road, Dave suggests heading to his Pale Raven cache, where teamwork was required. It involved climbing up onto some major boulders. Silly me tried to see if I could do it alone, but I don't quite have the arm strength to pull myself up there. Totally the favorite of the day! Then, we were back on the road, heading to highway 375 - the famed E.T. Highway and it's geocaching power trail.

Now, I have no interest in finding caches every 528 feet along a stretch of highway that just goes and goes and goes. But, I couldn't resist picking up a few. So, Dad and I decided to get every 100 and a few others like the Black Box, or Quarks. I started being able to figure out that we were traveling about a 100 feet per second based on the five second time between little piles of white rock on the side of the road. We stopped for lunch at the Lil A'Le'Inn in Rachel and took pics of the coins mounted on the wall before continuing on our way. I was finally able to figure out a few more things on the GPS Kit HD that I use on the iPad and from 4:59pm to 10:08pm we grabbed the beginning, middle, end and all 100s of the trail.

Back into Tonopah, fill up on gas, and while I am crashing from exhaustion, my Dad suggests heading on home. If he wants to fine, but I am going to sleep. We left Tonopah around 10 something and got home just after 2am. I think I will spend today just zoning out!

Great adventure!!! And here are the pictures (some of them, need to find all of them between my camera and my phone).
Columbus Day roadtrip


DavidC said...

Very cool adventures! Loved the pics too. It's been about 16 years since I visited The Black Mailbox (and white and back a few times) so it was fun to see that again too. Great cabin and petroglyphs too. Too much fun, thanks for sharing!

DavidC said...

What a great time it sounds like! Really enjoyed the photos too, particularly the cabin, pretroglyphs and the "Black Mailbox" (and white and black and back a few times) which I haven't seen for like 16 years now? Thanks very much for sharing.