Sunday, November 13, 2016

Long lost APE cache is found! by Chris

A group of Seattle-area geocachers has claimed a historic victory against muggle forces by rescuing an APE cache more than five years after it went missing!
The History
In 2001, fourteen geocaches were placed in conjunction with 20th Century Fox to support the movie Planet of the Apes. Each geocache represented a fictional story in which scientists revealed an Alternative Primate Evolution (A.P.E.). These geocaches were made using specially marked ammo containers and contained an original prop from the movie. Mission 9: Tunnel of Light was one of those caches.
Located about 60 miles east of Seattle, the container was placed by Geocaching HQ co-founder Jeremy and the father of the geocoin, Moun10Bike. The cache was found more than 3,000 times, surviving minor disturbances over nearly 10 years. There is even a Mega-Event (Going Ape) created by the Washington State Geocaching Association to honor this famous cache.
Sadly, Mission 9 was muggled and then archived in June 2011. Moun10Bike wrote at the time, “The decision to archive was not taken lightly, and was not easy for either me or for Groundspeak. However, the rule with Project APE caches has always been that once the container goes missing (which is part of the identity of the original series of caches), then it is no longer an APE cache, and thus must be archived (or at least have its APE status removed).”
While the community mourned the loss, a tribute cache was placed and the Going Ape event continued each year. But thanks to the incredible efforts of dedicated cachers, there is a new chapter in this APE cache’s story.
The Search and Rescue
In April of this year, cachers Winos_Seattle and rambudo met up with Geocaching HQ co-founder Bryan Roth. As they chatted, the subject of the lost APE cache came up. Winos_Seattle wondered if the container could possibly be found. Over the years, some have speculated that it’s unlikely that whoever muggled the heavy container would have carried it nearly two miles back to the nearest parking area. Perhaps they simply removed it from its location and discarded it nearby?
But even if that were the case, the area is hilly and densely forested. A rescue effort would require detailed planning and keen eyes. Sounds like a job for geocachers!
With encouragement from Bryan and Moun10Bike, and after months of planning, the search commenced on October 1. The group of 10 included Winos_Seattle and rambudo, as well as other Seattle-area cachers Sproutter, Lamoracke, _Shaddow_, DSVaughn, Curious Joe, gsbarnes, KnightWolf74 and Princess Trouble.
After hiking to the tribute cache, they split into three teams and spread out into the surrounding forest. Equipped with two-way radios, each team was assigned to one of three zones. Within minutes, one team had located what turned out to be muggled tribute cache containers. The other teams found a variety of swag and logbooks, including ones with signatures from 2011 and 2014 (likely from the tribute cache).
Following an extensive and courageous effort, a joyous call eventually came over the radio, “We think we found the original container!” Down in the woods below the original cache location, behind a tree with the open end of the container facing down, was the Mission 9: Tunnel of Light cache. Distinguished by stickers affixed to the inside, as well as some Planet of the Apes trading cards, the cache had fared remarkably well over the years.
After a lot of celebratory high-fives, the group phoned Moun10Bike, who was shocked and delighted by the discovery. A couple days later, Moun10Bike, Bryan, and others at Geocaching HQ welcomed the triumphant searchers and the long-lost APE cache. And now that the container is recovered, we’re left with an important question.
What’s Next?
The Planet of the Apes caches enjoy a special place in geocaching lore. Today, only one active APE cache remains: Brazil’s Mission 4: Southern Bowl. Given how the global geocaching community treasures the APE cache series, we feel it’s very important to hear what you think should happen next.
Should Mission 9: Tunnel of Light be returned to its original location and reactivated? Should it be kept safe from muggles and instead be displayed at Geocaching HQ as an artifact of the game’s history? Are there other ideas that should be considered?
We encourage you to make your voice heard by completing a survey by November 27, 2016. We’ll gather the ideas and later give you a chance to vote for your favorite before the end of the year.
In the meantime, please join us in reveling in the knowledge that once was lost has now been found. Congratulations and thank you to everyone who made it happen!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Cache Dash Splash II, Long Beach, WA

September 16th - I shopped at Safeway at 7:30am for some bottles of Sparkling Ice, NBC Cracker Wheat Thins, and Tillamook String Cheese for my son, Christopher, to take on the trip.  Christopher and I left about 8:00am for the Long Beach Peninsula.  I cut across St. Johns and the St. Johns Bridge to Hwy 30.  Mist shrouded the hills.  I stopped in Clatskanie to find a large geocache.  I drove across the four-mile-long Astoria-Megler Bridge from Astoria, Oregon to Point Elice near Megler, Washington. 

We found the WSHS 125 Cache at Chinook School.  We found a library cache in Ilwaco and then checked in at the Chautauqua Lodge in Long Beach.  I was able to get a suite on the 3rd floor.  Clean and reasonably priced (used the password).  Christopher had a bedroom and bathroom.  I had a bathroom, kitchen, dining area, living room and bedroom combination with a view of the Pacific Ocean.  We had lunch at the nearby Lightship Restaurant.   We solved the multi and mystery caches in preparation for the next day and found a few more caches.  We attended the Pirate's Pizza Event in the evening.  It was a warm September day but by evening I knew the weather was changing - and not for the better.  I saw the Harvest Moon from the room balcony.
September 17th - It was a very blustery morning.  We stopped at McDonalds in Long Beach for breakfast.   We found 33 of the 40 CDS caches.  tumbleweed2 cached half the day with Corvette Kent, Cache Finder 6000 and Sheppard4, then hopped in the back seat of my car for the afternoon/evening caching with Christopher and I.  I stopped at the Chinook Country Store at 6:15pm for sandwiches which we ate at a picnic table at Fort Columbia State Park.  We got back to the Event at the Chautauqua Lodge in Long Beach very late but just in time to get a couple pieces of the delicious chocolate cake. 
September 18th - I ate the other half of my sandwich for breakfast.  I stopped at McDonalds for Christopher's breakfast at 8:00am.  We found the seven remaining geocaches for the CDS Event.  We headed east on Hwy 4.  We stopped in Grays River at Duffy's Irish Pub for lunch.  Fascinating place.  I had a great time this weekend however Christopher did not enjoy the trip.  I like traveling alone as I only got to please myself. 

"But it's all right now, i learned my lesson well.
You see, ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself"  - Ricky Nelson's "Garden Party"

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

WA State - The Loop August 19 - 26, 2016

Friday, August 19 - My son, Christopher, and I left Vancouver early Friday morning, heading north to Snoqualmie.  We stopped at 10:30 for breakfast/early lunch in Kelso.  The temperature gradually rose to 100 degrees!  The sun cooked my WaStatePks100 pass. 
Our goal for this trip is to finish finding 50+ of the WaStatePks100 caches/stamps as well as pick up a couple more WSHS 125 caches.  And to find at least one cache on DeLorme page 48 and any other pages we can pick up.
The Millersylvania WA State Park gift store keepers were short of quarters so I gave them eight quarters in exchange for two dollar bills.  I got a green WaStateParks backing and borrowed their stapler to straighten out my WA State Parks pass.  I brought along Markus Zusak's "The Book Thief" which I read during the trip.
We stopped for a light meal at Taco Bell in Tacoma at 4:30pm.  The traffic was so bad that we ended up heading cross country on Hwy 18.  As we traveled up the mountains on I-90 the temperature dropped dramatically from 95 to 72 degrees in less than a half hour.  We stopped at Olallie Washington State Park.  There was a brown bear warning posted on the signboard.  We spent way too much time trying to find the cache that I was not sure we could even open if we did find it.  Christopher figured out where the cache was located but was in too much pain to try.  I was wearing beige slacks which I would have stained climbing over logs to get to the cache. 

We got a room for the night at the Summit Inn at Snoqualmie Pass.  A very large fan sitting in the window was the air conditioning.  We walked over to Bobs Summit Chevron for snacks at 9:00.  We found two WSHS 125 caches.  Christopher found two WaStatePks100 caches.  We did not find the Olallie WaStatePks100 cache.  
Saturday, August 20 - Christopher and I attended "At the Summit-Breakfast Gathering" Event at our hotel.  Afterwards we drove to the Parking area for the 2016 Going Ape Mega Event.  Christopher hiked the Snoqualmie Tunnel. 
The Snoqualmie Tunnel is an abandoned railroad tunnel.  It is 2.3 miles long.  The tunnel now serves as part of a rail trail in Iron Horse State Park.  The trail is called the Iron Horse Trail.  It was closed in 2009 and reopened in mid-July 2011 after renovations to the walls, ceiling, and path were completed.  The tunnel was constructed from 1912-1914 by the Chicago, Milwaukie, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, also known as the Milwaukee Road, as part of its line from Seattle to Chicago.  In 1980 the Milwaukie Road abandoned its western lines.  Later, Washington state acquired the right-of-way for recreational use.  Today the tunnel is part of the Iron Horse State Park rails-to-trails project.  In early July 2011 the tunnel re-opened after 11 months of renovations that added a four-inch layer of concrete to the walls and ceiling, a reinforced structure, and a new and improved walking surface of crushed rock.

Christopher spent the whole day walking through the 2.3 miles long tunnel. It took him four hours to get to the other side of the tunnel, and another four hours to get back.  I walked over to the Event for awhile (I was the First to Sign the Event Log), watched cachers trying to open Mr. Gadget #2 caches (bird houses, puzzle boxes, etc.) and then sat in the shade with Mrs. Gadget #2, a volunteer stationed near the Iron Horse Trail leading to the tunnel.  Christopher came out of Snoqualmie Tunnel about 6:00pm.  We joined two cachers to look for the nearby Hyak cache.  It was located in a terrible location near a drainage ditch. The WaStatePks100 stamp was missing.  Deeply disappointing.
We had dinner at Pourhouse Bar & Grill in North Bend at 8:00.  We stayed the night at Sunset Motel in North Bend.  When I called the motel I was told there were No Vacancies.  I drove a couple blocks back to the motel.  Imagine my surprise to see a lit Vacancy sign.  I did not tell the man that he had just lied to me.  We had two separate bedrooms but Christopher had the attached bathroom. 
Sunday, August 21 - We had breakfast at the Twede's Cafe (Double R Diner) "Twin Peaks"  in the heart of downtown North Bend.  Fans of 1990-91 quirky TV sensation "Twin Peaks" still visit the show's "Double R Diner" for its cherry pie and damn fine cup of coffee. I had Cherry Pie with vanilla ice cream - no coffee.  Christopher had breakfast.  Visitors can buy a map at Twede's Café to the shooting locations, almost all of which are within a 10-minute drive of café, and easily recognizable.  I drove around to the shooting locations in North Bend and Snoqualmie many years ago.  The Packard Mill is gone unfortunately.  "Twin Peaks" has returned to television 25 years later and will be filming its third season. 
We traveled north.  I realized just north of Snoqualmie that Christopher did not have his walking stick in the back seat.  We traveled back to the Sunset Motel where I found it leaning against the front door frame of the motel room where housekeeping had put it. 
We traveled north and then east on Hwy 2.  We found two caches for DeLorme page 48 on an old, narrow road.  A tree had fallen across the road in the past putting huge dents in both guard rails at the cache site. While we were stopped for another cache a truck pulling a long RV trailer passed my car heading up the narrow winding twisty road.  What were they thinking?  Continuing on we saw them turning around using a narrow side road. 
Christopher's worst WaStatePks100 cache hike was WaStatePks100: Forks of the Sky - Index Town Wall.   Christopher actually had to wait for long, fast train, before he could continue down the trail. Given his bum knee and arthritis, this was a rough trail for him, especially the last 100 feet, starting with a large pile of rocks that he had to climb over. Seeing the close tunnel entrance was interesting, though.
We got some cookies at the Rest Stop at Nason Creek (MP 81) 18 miles west of Leavenworth.  The women were raising money for the Cashmere Museum.  We met one of the women again the next day when we stopped at the Cashmere Museum to use the rest room and purchase a couple Aplets & Cotlets bars.  We had artisan pizza for dinner at Idlewild Pizza in Leavenworth.  We stayed the night at Obertal Inn - my favorite place to stay in Leavenworth.  We found three caches - one was the delightful Meadowbrook Little Free Library in Snoqualmie and two caches for DeLorme page 48 on an old, narrow highway alongside Hwy 2.  Christopher found two WaStatePks100 caches.
Monday, August 22 - We had incredible breakfast at the Obertal Inn.  I walked over to the town plaza where I captured my photo with my iPhone for the Webcam cache.  I took Christopher's photo about 9:30am for the Webcam.  We traveled east on Hwy 2.   We stopped at the Cashmere Museum to use the rest room and purchase a couple Aplets & Cotlets bars.  We continued traveling east on Hwy 2 and then north along the west side of Lake Chelan on Hwy 97A.  We stopped at the Shell Station in Entiat for snacks and drinks at 1:00.  Lake Chelan is quite beautiful.  Smooth waters until we got to the white caps at the north end.  We were able to pick up DeLorme page 35. 
We cut across to the east side of the lake and traveled south on Hwy 97.  We had dinner at Hot Rod Cafe in Wenatchee at 7:15.  We stayed the night at Comfort Inn in Ellensburg.  Besides the Webcam cache, Christopher found three WaStatePks100 caches and a WSHS 125 cache.  I found the Webcam cache, an EarthCache, and the WSHS 125 cache. 
Tuesday, August 23 - Following breakfast at the Comfort Inn in Ellensburg we traveled west on I-90.  We stopped in Roslyn to photograph the "Northern Exposure" mural.  If I had done some research on the Internet we could have taken a tour of the shooting locations.  Roslyn is where the exteriors were filmed for the quirky 1990s TV series "Northern Exposure", set in fictional Cicely, Alaska. The concurrent use of nearby towns North Bend and Snoqualmie by the even-more-quirky series "Twin Peaks" created a brief Golden Age of television weirdness for towns in Washington State. Roslyn still offers a few places that Northern Exposure fans would recognize, such as the Roslyn's Cafe camel mural, Ruth-Anne's store, the KBHR radio station, and the weather-beaten vistas of Main Street from the show's opening credits. The best visual reminder of the show, the Roslyn's Cafe camel mural, is on the corner of Pennsylvania Ave. and 2nd St.  Hardcore fans will notice that the cafe mural has been restored to its original "Roslyn Cafe" after its modification, left for a time during the series' run to make it "Roslyn's Cafe."  
I found out after I returned home that you can visit the Roslyn Museum for a copy of the flyer including a map showing the location of many familiar shooting sites in Roslyn. You can also view the Ausburg clock created by the crew for one of the episodes and later donated to the museum. 
We ate a late lunch at Taco Time in North Bend.  We stayed the night at Comfort Inn in Marysville.  Christopher found four WaStatePks100 caches.  Bridle Trails was his second least favorite WaStatePks100 cache which he did mostly in the dark.
Wednesday, August 24 - After breakfast at the Comfort Inn in Marysville, we got gas in the car and purchased snacks and bottled water at Fred Meyer.  We traveled north to Bay View.  We took the Washington State Ferry from Anacortes to San Juan Island to find the WaStatePks100: Lime Kiln Point cache.  That was the most expensive WaStatePks100 cache at $70.35 for the ferry, $8.25 for Ferry Food, and $8.00 for hard ice cream in Friday Harbor.  It was frustrating to spend so little time on San Juan Island.  Christopher found two WaStatePks100 caches.  He was able to get DeLorme page 14.  We stayed the night at the Anacortes Inn.
Thursday, August 25 - I got up early so I had the Anacortes Inn continental breakfast on the front deck off the motel office.  Christopher got his breakfast later which he also ate on the front deck.  We stopped for snacks at Liberty Market in Oak Harbor at noon.  I photographed the Admiralty Head Lighthouse.  I called 511 and made reservations for the 9:10 ferry.  We were not able to get on the 7:30 ferry.  We had dinner at Keystone Cafe while waiting for the ferry.  Since I made reservations for the 9:10 ferry we were not stranded on Whidbey Island.  We stayed the night in the Tides Inn in Port Townsend in Room #20.  Richard Gere slept at the Tides Inn in nearby Room #10 during the filming of "Officer and a Gentlemen".  I sat on the wraparound deck for awhile in the evening.  Christopher found four WaStatePks100 caches.
Friday, August 26 (Heading home!) - After breakfast, I sat on the wraparound deck of Room #20 watching the long boats, the Washington State Ferry, and the small fishing boats.  I found the cache outside Room #10 where Richard Gere stayed during the film of an "Officer and a Gentleman".  Christopher had a late breakfast.  We headed south along the west side of Puget Sound.  We had lunch at Gear Head Deli.  Fort Flager was a very long drive from Port Townsend but well worth it.  Triton Cove was a quick find.  Christopher found four WaStatePks100 caches.  We arrived home about 9:00pm. 
We found three Benchmarks during the trip: Yelm Water Tower (SC1547), Benchmark at Ferry Terminal (TR0363, and Marrowstone Light House Chimney at Fort Flager (TR1567).   We saw a smokestack at Monroe but evidently was not a Benchmark. I discovered one trackable "Mumford the Mummy" (CBRENP) at the 2016 Going Ape Event.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Washington State Trip June 18 - 27, 2016

My son, Christopher, and I attended the 15th Annual Columbia River Gorge Geocachers Picnic at Rock Cover in Stevenson, Washington on Saturday, June 18, 2016.  The Event lasted from noon to 4:00pm however we had to leave about 2:15pm as we had many miles to travel this afternoon.  I have attended eight of these Events since 2006 including this Event!
We traveled I-84, I-205, I-5 and then Hwy 6 to Raymond.  My goal is to find a cache in as many DeLorme Atlas Ninth Edition c. 2008 pages as I can especially pages 61 and 48.  I found two Traditional caches on DeLorme page 71.  We stopped at McDonalds for dinner.  We stayed the night in Room No.: 9 at the Golden Lion Motel in Raymond, Washington.
Sunday, June 19, 2016 - Following breakfast at McDonalds in Raymond, I purchased an Annual Discover Pass at Grayland Beach State Park.  I found several caches along the coast on DeLorme page 70 and then an interesting cache called "Chain" on DeLorme page 57 northwest of Aberdeen on the way to Ocean Shores.  The highlight of the day was a visit to 1898 Grays Harbor (Westport) Lighthouse.  We had a tour inside but did not climb the 135 metal stairs to view the clamshell Fresnel Lens in the Lantern Room.  I found four Traditional caches and one Virtual.  We stayed the night in Room No.: 401 a fantastic two-story suite at Comfort Inn and Suites in Ocean Shores.
Monday, June 20, 2016 - Following breakfast at Comfort Inn and Suites, we reluctantly left our two-story suite with the sounds of the ocean.  I found seven caches - five Traditional, a Virtual and a Mystery cache.  Several caches were very interesting: the enormous shark head entrance to the building, twin phone booths in Amanda Park, Merriman Falls at Lake Quinault, Kalaloch (Virtual), and Sweetest Spot in Forks.  We had ice cream bars at 1:30pm at Amanda Park Mercantile, late dinner at Pacific Pizza in Forks and stayed overnight in Room 208 at Olympic Suites Inn  in Forks.  It evidently was an apartment complex turned into a motel.  Rather strange but quiet nestled among  the trees.
Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - We had breakfast at the Forks Coffee Shop.  Every since I did the four local "Twilight" caches I have wanted to do the multi "Twilight" in Forks.  We saw the Twilight sights in Forks and then went to La Push for the rest of  the Multi including the treaty line.  Before leaving Forks we stopped at Sweet Stuffs for ice cream.  We drove northwest to Neah Bay and then east toward Port Angeles (DeLorme pages 27 and 28).  I found four Traditional caches, a Multi and a Virtual.  We stayed the night at the Quality Inn Uptown in Port Angeles.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - Following breakfast at the Quality Inn Uptown in Port Angeles we drove east covering DeLorme pages 29 and 30.  The car was filthy after traveling gravel and dirt roads so I put the car through a Car Wash in Sequim.  We traveled though downtown Port Townsend and Fort Wooden State Park.  We stayed the night at the Guesthouse Inn and Suites Hotel in Poulsbo.  We found at least one cache on DeLorme pages 30, 31 and 44. I found four Traditional Caches.
Thursday, June 23, 2016 - Following breakfast, we drove southeast through Goblindust county.  We rode the Bainbridge Ferry at 2:05 from Winslow to Seattle.  Our car was loaded on the left outside lane so I had a view of the city while crossing.  We headed east from downtown Seattle on I-90.  We stopped at Scott's Dairy Freeze Ice Cream in North Bend for food.  I was able to find a cache on DeLorme page 61.  I found seven Traditional Caches (three were Goblindust Caches), one Puzzle Cache about "Twin Peaks" and one EarthCache on The Stuart Range.  We stayed the night at the Quality Inn in Ellensburg.
Friday, June 24, 2016 - Following breakfast at the Quality Inn in Ellensburg, we headed south along scenic Hwy 97 where I have an EarthCache.  I found two caches.  We went to the TC 2016 Meet & Greet at the Richland Community Center at 6:30.  I won a Steam Punk Coin.   We stayed at a great Choice Hotel in the Tri-Cities - clean, great view, quiet and quick access to the Freeway.
Saturday, June 25, 2016 - We did the Tri-Cities 2016 Geocoin Challenge.  I got the two hand held GPS and the Garmin Nuvi for the car downloaded with the caches at the GPX Station.  There were two multis and the rest were Traditional Caches.  There were several problems: the map was inaccurate showing the location of the caches, stamps were missing right off, the finals for the multis were posted, and the locations were incredibly boring.  When I went to get my Geocoin about 6:30pm I was told that I did not have a completed passport.  They were confused and so was I.  I was given the Geocoin but decided that I would find a couple more Tri-Cities 2016 Geocoin Challenge caches the next day.  We ate a delicious dinner at Mexico Lindo Y Que Rico Mexican Restaurant in Pasco.
Sunday, June 26, 2016 - Following breakfast, we found two more Tri-Cities 2016 Geocoin Challenge caches in Richland.  They were by far the more interesting of the Challenge caches.  We had lunch at the Moose Creek Cafe and Bakery in Dayton.  I really wanted to have lunch at Weinhard Cafe & bakery but it was closed.  I drove to the SE corner of Washington State to Camp Wooten.  We headed north toward Lewiston and Clarkston and then to Pullman.  We took a webcam photo and found the cache at the huge (live) Grizzly Bears at Pullman.  Altogether I found six Traditional caches and a webcam.  We stayed the night at the Quality Inn Paradise Creek in Pullman.  I was just too exhausted to go any further.  We ate dinner at Birch & Barley next door to the motel.
Monday, June 27, 2016 - Following breakfast at the Quality Inn Paradise Creek, we got gas in the car and washed the filthy beast.  We drove to Palouse to find a cache and then west to Saint John where I needed a cache for the A-Z Washington Cities Challenge.  We  had huge scoops of delicious ice cream at Spikes Inc. in Ritzville.  We found a cache at Moses Lake and then headed south on Hwy 17.  We wound our way through the labyrinth of Tri-Cities.  Altogether I found four Traditional caches.  We headed west on I-84, popping over briefly to Maryhill for a cache.  We got home at midnight! 

During the trip I found 71 caches - 64 Traditional caches, one webcam, three Virtuals, one EarthCache, one Multi and one Mystery, and found caches on 11 DeLorme Atlas pages.  I reached my goals of finding at least one cache on DeLorme Atlas page 61 (unfortunately I didn't get to DeLorme page 48 which I also needed) and finding a cache in Saint John, Washington for a challenge.  It will take me a week at least to recover!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sedona and Grand Canyon Trip Journal 2016


Day 1 - Thursday, May 5
My daughter, Catherine, picked me up at 6:30am.  She dropped me at Portland International Airport (PDX).  I saw the new airport carpeting for the first time.  PDX has been voted one of America's best airports.  I had checked in for my Alaska Airlines flight #644M using my IPhone so I was quickly through bag check-in and security.  My flight left at 9:25.  I saw the St. Johns Bridge and The Radiance of the Seas as we flew south over the Willamette River.  I had a Fruit and Cheese platter for brunch. 

I landed in Phoenix about 12:15pm just in time to miss the shuttle to Sedona.  I collected my suitcase from baggage pickup and purchased a bottle of water.  I rode "shotgun" on the 1:45 shuttle to Super 8 in Sedona.  I was told that I had a room on second floor when I checked in however I made it clear that I have a room on the third floor.  I was given Room #316 with a view of the hills - not the parking lot and businesses.  I went to the nearby Golden Goose for dinner where I had a glass of Riesling wine and five Tomato Bruschetta Appetizers for dinner.  Very high prices for dinners.  The cold is taking over my body! 

Sedona is a city that straddles the county line between Coconino and Yavapai counties in the northern Verde Valley region of Arizona.  As of the 2010 census, its population was about 10,000.   Sedona's main attraction is its array of red sandstone formations. The formations appear to glow in brilliant orange and red when illuminated by the rising or setting sun. 

Day 2 - Friday, May 6
Following breakfast at the motel, I rode the Verde Lynx into old town Sedona.  I purchased tickets for Tour A and Tour B on the Sedona Trolley.  Tour A visited the south side of town along Oak Creek, highlighted by a 20-minute stop at the famous Chapel of the Holy Cross.  Back at Uptown Sedona I found a cache at "Home on the Porch".  I had crackers snack.  Tour B left town entirely and headed out west through West Sedona and into the Dry Creek Valley highlighted by the breathtaking scenery of Boynton Canyon.  Back at Uptown Sedona I found the "Missing Lynx" cache.  I caught the Verde Lynx back to Super 8.  I had the rest of the Appetizers for dinner. I looked for a cache near the Super 8 but did not find it. 

Day 3 - Saturday, May 7
After breakfast at Super 8 I was picked up by Enterprise Driver.  I rented a Dark Gray Jeep Renegade.  I should have plugged the coordinates into my Garmin nuvi GPS so I could find my way back easily Sunday morning.  I headed for Cottonwood.  I found a cache at a former jail - now a Tearoom.  I went to Clear Creek Cemetery where my father, aunt and sister are buried and the Clear Creek Church.  I found a Traditional cache near the church.  I stopped at Food Mart to buy water and Mothers Cookies.  I visited Montezuma Castle National Monument where I did a Virtual.  I tried to find the cache at Lake Montezuma but DNF.  I headed for Sedona and my Geocaching Event "Meet Rose Red" at Olde Sedona Bar and Grill.  I had a diet coke and a bowl of chili.  There was a good turnout.  I gave every Geocaching name a Goodie bag including one I sent to cachers in Flagstaff, and gave away three small prizes for three Geocaching Categories.  Back at Super 8 I watched "Amazing Race".

Day 4 - Sunday, May 8
Following breakfast at Super 8, I stopped at Walgreens for Halls Cough Drops and Sparkling Ice Lemonade Water.  I drove to several locations to find caches: Police Station, Sedona Overlook and below the Chapel of the Holy Cross.  I could not find a signboard at the Sedona Overlook so I asked a man the names of the rock formations. It was only as I was leaving that I looked at the back of the brochure board where all the sights were shown.  I saw Chimney Rock, Coffeepot Rock, and Steamboat RockI drove back to West Sedona about 9:30am, bought gas and returned the Jeep to Enterprise Rent-a-Car.  I had a cup of cocoa in the Super 8 breakfast room.  

I caught the Verde Lynx to The Jazz Bouquet located at Coffee Pot Drive in West Sedona.  I met Chef Cole Ray.  I had a lovely Mother's Day Afternoon Tea of Tea Sandwiches, Canape, Scone with Clotted Cream and Fruit Preserves, Pastries and Earl Grey Tea.  It was quite expensive but worth it.  I caught the Verde Lynx back to Super 8.  The Verde Lynx driver missed my stop so I had to ride all the way 20 miles or so to Cottonwood, wait 12 minutes while the driver took a stroll, and ride all the way back 20 miles or so to the Super 8 stop.  Argh.  I joined the Road Scholar group in the meeting room.  No cheese, crackers and fruit trays.  No sparkling drinks.  Not even water.  That should had been a foreshadowing of things to come.   We had dinner in the Golden Goose at 5:45pm.  There was Orientation by Michael Young, the Road Scholar Coordinator, and Introductions at 7:00 in the Super 8 Meeting Room.

Day 5 - Monday, May 9
Following 7:00am breakfast at Golden Goose, we met in the Conference Room at 8:15 for Program Introduction and a lecture by Stan Beus on "A Geologic Journey through Red Rock Country and The Grand Canyon".  I slept through most of the very boring lecture.  Lunch was at the Golden Goose at 12:00pm.  We took a "Welcome to Sedona" Tour on a bus in the afternoon from 1:30-3:30.  We only saw a fraction of what I saw on the two Trolley Tours.  We had dinner at the Golden Goose at 5:45.  While the group listened to Western Ballads & Tales I walked several blocks east to find a geocache.  I was disappointed.  I expected something more creative - a birdhouse perhaps. 

Day 6 - Tuesday, May 10
Following breakfast at the Golden Goose, we departed the Super 8 at 8:15am.  We went on a Field trip to Montezuma Castle National Monument.  If I had known that we were visiting Montezuma Castle I would have visited Tuzigoot instead of M.C on the previous Saturday.  I did have a good time even so.  Southern Sinagua farmers built this five-story, 20-room dwelling sometime between 1100 and 1300.  A short distance west is the larger Castle A.  It was once an imposing five-stories with about 45 rooms and 100 people.  The Sinagua found reliable water in the creek and fertile land on the nearby terrace.  They supplemented their staple crops by hunting and gathering.  I purchased a purple water bottle at the Gift shop.
 
We had a deeply disappointing lunch at RR BBQ (Rimrock).  People thought they were getting BBQ and didn't.  We rode the Verde Valley Railroad which whisked us 20 miles into wilderness country.  The four-hour, round-trip started in historic Clarkdale, traveled to the ghost town of Perkinsville and back.  We traveled though a 680-foot manmade tunnel carved through solid rock over a century ago.  We had a tasteless Chinese dinner at Ming House in Camp Verde.  Back at Super 8 we had an interesting talk by Garrett Roberts about movies filmed in Sedona and surrounding area: Angel and the Badman (1947), Broken Arrow (1950), Copper Canyon (1950), Flaming Feather (1952), Apache (1954), and many others.

Day 7 - Wednesday, May 11
We put our large luggage in the Meeting Room's storage room at Super 8 at 6:00am, and boarded the bus.  The breakfast at Cafe Jose was unacceptable so I went next door to McDonalds where I had bacon, egg and cheese biscuit and cup of orange juice at 6:30.  I got a sack lunch at Café Jose but it was so dreadful I should have left it there!  We left Sedona at 7:15.  When we arrived in Williams I walked down the tracks to the Wild West Gun Fight at 9:00.  I sat in the front row of the bleachers.  Afterwards I walked back to the train depot, got my ticket from group leader and walked down the tracks to Coach C.  The train departed at 9:30, arriving at the Grand Canyon about 11:45. 

We met at the flagpole at the El Tovar.  We had a couple hours to explore the Village.  I purchased a Grand Canyon bag to carry my water bottle and stuff.  I saw a book that I plan to get later at Powells Books in Portland, OR - "Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon".  I got a raspberry sorbet.  I explored the El Tovar Hotel, Lookout Studio and Kolb Studio.  We met in front of Bright Angel Lodge to ride the bus to Yavapal Lodge.  We collected our hand luggage from the bus.  I settled into my room 7014 and then walked over to the Bar/Lounge.  I sat at a long table with other women from the group and had a Corona Beer.  I had Pulled Pork Sandwich with a side of Baked Beans, diet Pepsi, and Brownie for dinner.  I was so ill with the cold that I did not eat the brownie.

Day 8 - Thursday, May 12
I thought about getting up for the sunrise over the Grand Canyon but I was much too exhausted from coughing and not enough sleep.  We loaded our hand luggage at 8:00am.  After breakfast at the Yavapai Cafe of pancake, crisp bacon and orange juice I caught the Blue bus to the junction with the Red Bus.  I met a Geocacher at Powell Point (a Virtual) - Kit Lane (yogacrone).  I took her photo with her camera.  Two young girls had gone beyond the large rock barrier to the ledge over the canyon where one of the girls did a cartwheel just missing the edge. I yelled at them to get back behind the rock barrier. They did but as soon as I left the girls went over the large rock barrier back to the ledge to play.  Definitely up for the Darwin Award.  Kit continued up the trail.  I walked back to the bus stop and caught the Red bus to the next stop, Hopi Point (a Virtual).  I did not look at the hint but should have done so.  I would have saved me some time.  We had a bit of trouble deciphering the name.  The two young girls once again flirted with death at Hopi Point by sitting on the outside of the metal railing, along the edge of the canyon, singing songs.  I think one of the songs was "Nearer My God to thee".  How appropriate.  I had planned to do two more Virtuals but simply ran out of time.  

I took the Red bus and Blue Bus back to Grand Canyon Village.  I had BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, Potato Chips, Diet Pepsi and Blueberry Pie for lunch.  We departed at 1:15pm to return to Sedona via San Francisco Peaks and Flagstaff.   We stopped at Cameron Trading Post Gift Shop where I got an ice cream bar.  We had a disappointing dinner at Golden Goose.  The speaker for the evening was ill.  There was no effort to put anything in its place.  A rumor was going around that all of the TSA Agents at Phoenix Airport had quit and chaos reigned.  I checked the Internet.  The story was not true but chaos did reign.  Thousands of bags were stranded at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport due to TSA computer issue.  I called the Shuttle Service and changed my pickup to an earlier time.  I missed the first ten minutes of "Amazing Race" trying to figure out the channels. 

Day 9 - Friday, May 13
I took my luggage down to the Super 8 Lobby where I had muffins, yogurt and orange juice for breakfast.  I caught the 7:10am shuttle to Phoenix Skyharbor Airport.  I rode Shotgun once again.  I arrived about 9:30 or so.  I got a bacon, egg and cheese grilled sandwich and a carton of orange juice at Paradise Bakery.  I sat at the end of the Alaska Airlines Terminal watching the planes landing or taking off.  I caught the Alaska flight at 1:00pm, arriving Portland about 3:45.  Catherine picked me up.  It was good to be home!
 
Altogether I found four Virtuals, one EarthCache and seven Traditional Caches.  There were many things that I regret not doing: finding more caches, visiting Tuzigoot, exploring more of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, driving by my parents former house in Lake Montezuma, visiting Jerome and the mansion, having lunch at Haunted Hamburger in Jerome, buying a huge cinnamon roll at Crickets Restaurant in Lake Montezuma, and riding the Steam Train to Grand Canyon (not the Diesel!). 

When I was waiting in the Super 8 lobby for the Airport Shuttle to Phoenix, a woman from the Road Scholar group came into the lobby.  I mentioned that it was a great trip and she reacted negatively.  I thought about it later.  I realized it was a great trip for me as I came in three days early to explore the area by walking, Sedona Trolleys, Valley Lynx and Jeep.  I had really good accommodations at the Super 8 with a great view.  And good food most of the time especially the Mothers Day Afternoon Tea.  She was right.  It was probably not a great trip for others.  I would give the Scenic Railroads of Arizona: Sedona and Grand Canyon Program #1083 May 8 - 13, 2016 overall a three out of ten.  

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Road Scholar Trip to Seattle April 2016

April 12 - I boarded Amtrak Train 500 a little after 9:00AM at the Vancouver, WA Amtrak Station.  The train was late and it will get later.  I had two seats all to myself so I sat sideways, legs stretched out most of the trip to Seattle.  Trains were down to one track in Tukwilla.  We arrived in Seattle about 45 minutes late.  I walked across the street to catch the city bus to 3rd & Virginia.  I checked into the Warwick Hotel to find that my assigned roommate had already checked in.  I unpacked my clothes, etc. in a room overlooking the hotel parking.  My roommate was a Japanese woman named Grace.  I went downstairs to 2nd floor to pick up my packet and name tag about 4:00PM and met other Road Scholar participants, stayed for Welcome Reception, delicious Salmon dinner and Introductions.  Small group of only 14 people. 

April 13 - I had a hearty breakfast.  We had a lecture on Theater Criticism by Nancy Worssam at 9:00AM.  I really enjoyed the lecture and could have heard more.  We rode the Monorail to Seattle Center where we met Doug Fullington at Pacific NW Ballet McCaw Hall.  He took us on a backstage tour where we saw the sets for the three acts and then to the costumes on the lower level.  We had lunch in the Amory.  I bought a Protein Bistro Box and Shortbread Cookie at Starbucks, and then found tables to not only have lunch but a great location for "Meet Rose Red" on Sunday afternoon.

We rode the Metro to the Seattle Art Museum.  Not enough time to really see all of the museum.  We rode the Metro back to the Warwick Hotel.  We had dinner at Lola, rode the Monorail to Seattle Center and saw "Brownsville Song" at Seattle Rep.  Some of the Road Scholars complained about the profanity.  Evidently they do not get out much.  The play had a strong beginning and a strong ending but stumbled for an hour and half between those two moments.  Disappointing Post-Performance talk.  I decided to take the Monorail back but it was closed so I rode the bus. 

April 14 - Early breakfast.  We had a Pike Place Market Talk in a room on the 18th floor.  We rode the Metro to the Seattle Library for a library tour.  I chose instead to find a multi cache.  I got a bit of help from the librarian.  We saw the First Folio (1623) exhibit on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library - the book that gave us Shakespeare.  In addition to the First Folio, a rare copy of Shakespeare's Third Folio is also on display on loan from The Pigott Collection.  We walked to Pike Place Market where our leader took us on a short tour.  I  had lunch at Country Dough at 1:15PM with our leader, Carol Barton, and another RS woman.  Later I had a Seattle Shortbread and two tasting cups of tea at Perennial Tea Room in Post Alley.  I did a multi cache which ended on a bench.  There was a young woman sitting there when I walked up.  I found out she was from Sitka, Alaska and a crew member for the third year on an all woman Alaskan fishing boat.  She was quite surprised to hear that there was a cache.  I stopped at Starbucks for a blueberry scone and cuppa Earl Grey tea.  I met the group at Benaroya Hall for the Pre-Concert Talk which I dozed through.  I did not like the contemporary music in the first part of the program but thoroughly enjoyed the Dvorak Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, B 191 and the Cello encore by Narek Hakhnazaryan. 

April 15 - Early breakfast.  I  found a cache a few blocks west.  We met in the hotel lobby at 10:00AM to ride the South Lake Union Trolley (SLUT) to MOHAI,  After touring several exhibits we had a family style lunch.  I stayed until 3:00PM to look at more exhibits.  I found a cache near Lake Union waterfront.  I caught the SLUT back to downtown.  I found another cache  - Flower Power.  I was sprinkled on by the watering bucket!   I had a Shortbread Cookie and cuppa Earl Grey tea at Starbucks.  I purchased "Brooks" - a teddy bear - at Brooks Brothers.  We had dinner at Benihana/Hamanasu.  We saw "Assassins" at the ACT Theater.  I enjoyed the musical but I wish that I could have understood all of the words.  Where is Closed Caption when you need it?

April 16 - Early breakfast.  We met in the hotel lobby.  We took the Metro close to Pier 52.  We rode the Washington State Ferry to Bainbridge Island.  We toured the History Museum.  The guide for our group had been interred during World War II.  She showed us her family in a photo being forced to board a bus.  I had huge slice of spinach quiche from Blackbird Bakery for lunch and sorbet for dessert from Mora Iced Creamery.  I found a cache nearby.  We caught the 2:02 ferry back to Seattle and took the Metro back to the hotel.  At 4:10 we met in the lobby to catch a bus to Racha near Seattle Center.  After dinner we walked to the Seattle Opera Hall to see Pacific NW Ballet "Coppelia".  The principal dancer was Noelani Pantastico as Swanilda/Coppelia.  We took Uber cars back to the hotel.

April 17 - Early breakfast.  We  watched a film - "The Space Needle Story" filmed in 1962.  We took the monorail to Seattle Center.  I had a ticket for the Chihuly Glass Exhibit but I wanted to also we the view from the Space Needle.  I was sold a discounted ticket.  After spending quite some time on the Observation Platform I took the elevator down.  I purchased lunch at Starbucks in the Armory Food Court and found the tables for the "Meet Rose Red" Event.  I had a good turnout from 1:00-2:00PM.  Afterwards I toured the Chihuly Glass Exhibit.  I rode the Monorail back, walked to the hotel and retrieved my luggage.  I caught a Metro bus to the King Street Station.  I took Amtrak 509 at 6:05PM, arriving in Vancouver at 9:05PM.  I was so exhausted it has taken me three days to recover!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A day of Caching in the sunshine, Saturday, April 2nd

I drove my son, Christopher, to north on I-5 to Chehalis early this morning, April 2, 2016.  He is the pianist for the Scandia Singers in Portland, Oregon.  The Portland Scandia Singer were meeting with the Seattle Singers for a full day of rehearsal.  Christopher and I stopped for breakfast at McDonalds in Kelso, Washington.  I dropped him off at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Chehalis at 8:45 and headed out for a full day of caching.  And a beautiful day it was after months of rain. 

I found SC0210 benchmark at the 1935 Lewis County Courthouse.  I walked across the street to find Rock Around the Clock.  I drove to the Terminal for the Excursion Train to do The Terminal (A Walk Into the Past).  I could not find one of the coordinate numbers as I think they switched the yellow cabooses.  I had help finding the cache.  I met Echo ohcE.  I drove to the next cache - No Train Here - where I met verbumsap, a charter member of Geocaching.  I drove to the far corner of Walmart where I found the next cache - Just adding to the FUN.   The cache was a cute birdhouse with black bison tube.  I drove to a place that had a lot of brightly painted cows.  I was just about to give up finding the cache when a cacher - elbowgrease -  walked up.  We had help shortly from a salesman as they had moved the cache so Geomuggles would not disturb it.  I found Wallee Whirled.  Cache didn't make a lot of sense.  I turned off incorrectly twice on a turnaround - I hate those things - and finally settled on cutting across the parking area.  I wanted to go to Subway but ended up eating late lunch at Starbucks.  Leaving Starbucks I admired the Cocker Spaniel of a family setting at a patio table.  Turned out their name was also Wilson and the son was named Chris.  I talked awhile about Geocaching and my travels. 

I picked up Christopher at 4:30.  We drove to Centralia so he could find Goblindust's incredible cache - Johnny Islands Throne Room.  I had already found it a couple years ago.  I took a couple photos of nearby animals that I later posted.  We drove south on I-5 to Kelso so we could cross the Longview Bridge to Hwy 30.  We stopped in Rainier, Washington to find a large cache - The Gingerbread House.  We stopped for delicious pizza and drinks at Fultanos.  We got home about 9:15PM.  Very relaxing, fun day!