Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We are still here...

Just a quick note to let y'all know that I finally got the new PC.  Now all I have to do is move all the stuff to the new laptop.  Then I can get back to writing blogs at least every week.

Stay tuned - I am trying to get used to Windows 8!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Weekend Recap Oct 13 & 14 (Part 2)

As I stated in Part 1, we had finished the Miles of Smiles series except for one cache.  As also stated, we had to travel southwestward almost 20 miles to find a place to stay because of all the activities in Waynesboro over the weekend.  We got on the road about 7:30 and headed back to Waynesboro and made our way to the last stop of the Miles of Smiles.  Now that we had the corrected coordinates from where the CO had moved the cache it was a quick and easy find.  This gave us a big smilie face on our geocaching map of the area.

Now to start messing up that smilie face.  There were just over 30 caches on the list and even more loaded into the GPS units.

We managed to go from cache to cache with few if any problems but did end up the day with 2 DNFs on the day.
One of the few pieces of trash we found!

After spending the day geocaching around the Waynesboro area we all came up with the same thought.  There was hardly any trash in the town.  We don't know if they held a city-wide cleanup prior to the weekend as they were having 3 major events in town.  But we had to look hard to find trash, even behind the stores.  What a real clean town.  Our second thought was - everyone is really nice here in this town.  Even the local LEO was really really nice when he pulled up to check out what we were doing.

There is quite a bit of history in Waynesboro and between the picturesque views and the really nice people - this is a definite place to come for a weekend geocaching trip!!!

Among our favorite caches on Sunday were:
OCAC-2: "Tinkling Springs" - (GC1JQ9C) - very nice location and winner of a favorite point
Sign of Life (aka Watch our for Falling Mustard) - (GC38W1K) - amusing location
Mount Olympus - (GC3JRGZ) - a nice puzzle and an amusing location
Chit....Chat....Cache - (GC3E4ZQ) - an amusing cache

Winner of the "Coveted" Nana & Papa Cache of the day Award was:
Rebel Line - (GC2AG3N) - a place with history and a very beautiful house

Overall - we would rate this very high on our Geocaching Trip List - Nana says it is her 2nd best Geocaching Trip ever - the scenery, the history, the very clean town and the very friendly people make this a town we will go back and visit.

We ended the weekend with 59 caches on Saturday and 31 on Sunday.  We climbed one mountain, one really big and steep hill, finished an entire geocaching series (Miles of Smiles) and by the time we got home - we were very very sore - but it was all worth it!!!
Nana's rocks - quite a haul!!!

As Always - Stay Safe & Keep Caching!!!

SNAP!!! - Suffolk Nana & Papa

Monday, October 15, 2012

Weekend Recap Oct 13 & 14 (Part 1)

We loaded up the SNAP-mobile Friday night.  Alara arrived early (3AM) and just a few minutes later Team TNA was on the road with a big weekend of geocaching planned.  On the list for this weekend = over 100 caches - no we didn't think we would get all of the done!!!!

The first few caches were part of an "Wacky alara" trip.  We arrived at GC1JCFV - Craig Creek Swinging Bridge.  I believe the CO intended for us to park at a little pull off on the side of Route 615 but our Nuvi decided to take us the back way to the cache and made it just a little easier for us.  If we had parked on the Route 615 side, we would have had to traverse the bridge to get the cache - as it ended up we parked just a few feet from the cache.

We did (each one at a time) head out to the middle of the swinging bridge just to make sure we could have done it!  We found the above sign most amusing - we really didn't try to get the SNAP-mobile across the bridge!!!

Nana was very happy to find some rocks for the flower beds back in Suffolk.

alara at Hoop Hole Hide
It was a short drive to the main cache for this trip - GCP49Y - Hoop Hole Hide - a multi located on a hiking trail.  There are actually two hiking trails here, one is 3.5 miles long and the other about 9.5 miles long.  The cache we were after was on the short loop and I cannot tell you how happy I am today that it wasn't on the Long Loop.  We followed the directions on the cache page and took one of nicest hikes we have ever been on.  There is about a 900 foot elevation change between the parking lot and the top of the Short Loop - then all you have to do is go back down to the parking lot!!!  WHEW!!!  You cross two different streams numerous times during your hike - be prepared to be very out of breath!  The cache page for this four stage multi was very well written and gives you just enough information to make sure you do not go away with a DNF.  This was a very well put together cache that earned a favorite point from us.  The CO emailed us to thank us for visiting this cache as it isn't often visited.  Our recommendation - GO DO THIS CACHE!!! - it is well worth the drive and there are plenty of other caches in the area to make it a trip you will not forget!

After we finished up Hoop Hole Hide we rode a few miles down the road to another park and knocked out Roaring Run Iron Furnace (GC3N0K9) a very nice Earthcache and then made the mistake of doing Iron Ore Cache (GCGB1C).  I said "made the mistake of..." because we really weren't planning on another major climb after finishing Hoop Hole.  The terrain on this cache was only rated a 2 but in our opinion it should have been a 4!!!  Another climb and we really didn't realize how much of a climb it was until we were halfway there!  It was a nice hide and we are glad we did it - but WOW!!! - what a climb!!!
After knocking out these four caches we decided it was time to head on over to Waynesboro and try to get as many "Miles of Smile" caches as we could before dark!

The Miles of Smile caches are all simple caches that could generally be described as P&G's (Park and Grabs) - but you have to spend a couple of hours on google before you head out to grab the caches.  They are all puzzle caches  - but don't dismay - they all are really easy puzzles.  Get all your answers - correct your coordinates - an then head out to the closest MOS cache and then proceed to the next closest, then the next closest, etc and etc and etc.
NOT A CACHE - but interesting!!!

Believe it our not we wiped out 54 of the 55 MOS caches before being stymied by a security guard at the last one.  It was only after we were sitting, waiting our number to buzz as we waited to be seated at a local Outback that we realized the last cache had been moved by the CO.  Then another realization was that there were no empty rooms anywhere near Waynesboro due to several big events in town.  After finishing our meals and drinks we ended up staying over 30 miles away at the only motel we could find a room for a reasonable fee.

Stay tuned for part 2 of the weekend recap - coming soon!!!

As Always - Stay Safe & Keep Caching!!!

SNAP!!! = Suffolk Nana & Papa

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Weekend Recap (10/6 through 10/8)

Saturday morning we weren’t really sure what we were going to do but we had a list of some nearby newer caches that we were just getting ready to try to attempt when we were interrupted by a knock on the front door.   Alara was standing there and it seems he had forgotten to pack an extra set of batteries for his GPS unit.  After giving him a hard time for more than a few minutes we all decided to go together and help him wipe out Lone Star Lakes park (one more time).  We had one new cache in the park to retrieve and it is always fun to stare at even an experienced cacher as he attempts to find caches that 1) you hid or 2) ones that you have already found.

We decided to take both his vehicle and the SNAP-mobile as we had to be back home for an appointment mid-afternoon.

We made our way around the south end of the park assisting as little as possible as alara made all the finds  one after another.  We stopped by bdramatic’s new cache (UNsnap This ONE - GC3XNM5) and of course made it much harder than it was meant to be.  Thanks for the cache in this area and for naming it (sort of) after us!

We made our way to the parking area at the north end of the park and spent the next hour plus walking the northern trail and watching alara pick up our caches.  It was when were about 100 feet from the SNAP-mobile that I realized we had a major problem.  I had heard of other cachers having this same problem but had been fortunate enough never to suffer this problem - - - until now!  You would never guess where the keys to the SNAP-mobile were!!!!  In the ignition of course!  We could see the keys from the passenger side window but opening the van door is kind of hard with the doors locked! 

Embarrassment!!!   We sat there for a few trying to figure out the best way to retrieve the keys and make it to our afternoon appointment.  Long story short, Pam attended the appointment and alara and I retrieved the spare set of keys from home, returned to the park, and we all got back to Suffolk safely where I sat with alara and gave him a mini-GSAK class the rest of the afternoon.

Sunday morning we took a chance and loaded the bikes onto the bike rack on the back of the SNAP-mobile.  Yes we were betting on the weatherman being accurate in his prediction of no rain until 2PM but what the heck.

We met jtmlam59 (Jim & Lynne) for breakfast thus forming Team S&M once again and then headed down the road to several caches.

Oh Thank Heaven (GC3WB6V) was the first cache on the list.  Nothing like starting the day with a very quick P&G cache.

Ponderosa Wrong Way (GC29REA) was next on the list and we were pleasantly surprised at how easy this was as it was hidden by the infamous ones – The Adventure Stones.   Feeling very full of ourselves for finding an A.S.S. cache we proceeded down the road just a bit until we happened upon The Key to the Cache (GC2B4RC).  Would you believe we found that one also!!!!  Two Adventure Stones caches in one day – now you have to admit that doesn’t happen too often!

The next cache on the list sent shivers down my spine.  We pulled up, got out of the vehicle and proceeded to search for the ever-elusive RIGHT (GC36KNZ).  Not an A.S.S. cache but a Knotfamilyfyte cache!!!  I still have nightmares concerning LEFT (which we found on our fourth visit and only after a very specific phone hint from the CO!)   Now we have four experienced cachers reading logs, clues, cache pages and anything else we can think of trying to find RIGHT!  After almost a half hour of scrounging around in the dirt, briars, thorns and weeds we finally admitted defeat and slowly slunk back to the vehicle admitting defeat!
We parked one vehicle at the north end of the North Carolina portion of the Dismal Swamp canal and the other at the south end and then proceeded north on our bikes.  The temperature was still cool but comfortable as we made our way to George Cones (GC2RV9Z).  This was another knotfamilyfyte cache that we had looked for before and after quite a bit of looking we finally made the grab.  Are there any easy knotfamilyfyte caches?

Tweety's Revenge (GC2XWW2) was next on the list and either we are over-thinking these caches, making them much more difficult than they are, or we are just having one of those bad caching days.  This one also took us far too long and the skies are getting much darker now.

A little further up the trail we reached ground zero for You've got to be kidding me.. (GC2XWYB).  I must admit after the day we had been having, I was just a little anxious to try to find a 4.5 difficulty cache but what the heck…..  After far too long we once again admitted defeat and continued our slow pedal up the trail.
Just as we were returning the container for Key Master (GC2XWYB) back into it’s hiding place the skies decided to dampen the spirits of all of us and let loose with just a taste of what was to come in less than 10 minutes.  It was just a sprinkle at first and we all decided to head towards the vehicle at the north end of the trail.  Just as I was loading the bikes onto the bike rack Mother Nature decided we all needed a good shower and let loose.

We made it into the SNAP-mobile and headed towards the south end of the trial to pick up the other vehicle.  Mother Nature stopped the rain long enough to get two of the bikes transferred to Jim’s truck and let loose again, this time with a deluge that brought back memories of Noah and the flood.  Nana & I decided to call it a day and headed towards Suffolk with the windshield wipers on high!  Needless to say, just as we were pulling onto our street in Suffolk – the rain stopped and blue skies returned.  We still decided to stay home and relax the rest of the day.

Monday I held a one-on-one GSAK class with pennydot.  Hopefully we went over enough information to keep her busy for awhile so she can catch up with her logging finds and get her stats done.

Although we didn’t have a very productive weekend as far as numbers were concerned we did have a great time caching with Jim, Lynne on Sunday and Alan on Saturday and that is what counts in the end.

Plans for this upcoming weekend include caches in the western part of Virginia (see the area around GCP49Y) and the “Miles of Smiles” in Waynesboro (see the area around GC3P9QW).
There are plenty of upcoming events here in the Hampton Roads area.  Don’t know how many we will get to but here is at least a partial list of events in the upcoming months:

Cache Name
GC Code
"Second" Tuesday Burgers and Beers

If any of you are interested in GSAK – please let me know – I am currently looking for a classroom so that we can hold another class.  It is not that I don’t mind holding classes in our home – but when we do that we can only get about 6 people in each class.

As always – Stay Safe & Keep Caching!

SNAP!!! – Suffolk Nana & Papa

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Damn Neck Death March (Part 3)

Sunday September 30

Once again it is time to attack the Damn Neck Death March - commonly referred to by all you other cachers as the Rock Band Series!!!

We had attacked the southern part of the series back in March (see our recap by clicking here).  We then attacked the north end in April (see our recap for that day here).  Today we are back.  We have brought two things with us to help us with our attack on the series 1) alara - yes Team TNA formed back up and from the results of our previous attempts - we need all the help we can get!  2) Bikes - yes we learned something from our previous attacks!!!

We picked up our team mate alara around 8AM and then made our way to a parking spot near Rock Band #20.  We got the bikes ready , made sure we had everything we thought we needed and then headed out.

I will admit doing the Rock Band Series (aka the Damn Neck Death March) is much easier on bikes - in fact  - using bikes almost makes me want to get rid of the nick name I gave it.  I did say almost.  If you decide to do this trail the best piece of advice i can give you is to be very organized as to which caches are on which side of the road.  I could probably blame everything on the computers problems that have been plaguing me the last few months but if I would just get off the money and buy a new computer then everything would be ok.  Needless to say we weren't as organized as we should have been and I will admit it was mostly my fault.

The 15 caches we knocked out Sunday were:
  Rock Band #19 - MOODY BLUES GC39AE6
  Rock Band #18 - CHICAGO  GC39A6G
  Rock Band #17 - STYX GC38JAE
  Rock Band #4 - KANSAS GC384QH
  Rock Band #6 - BEE GEES GC384QT
  Rock Band #20 - AC/DC GC39AE9
  Rock Band #22 - EARTH, WIND, AND FIRE GC39AY8
  Rock Band #1 - DEEP PURPLE GC38362
  Rock Band #26 - ANGEL GC39AFH
  Rock Band #24 - DEF LEPPARD GC39AF9
  Rock Band #23 - PETER FRAMPTON GC39AEP
  Rock Band #21 - BTO GC39AED
  Protect and Serve - In Memory of the Fallen GC38MQY
  H7 - GCHR Battleship GC3FBDW

The DNF's we tried but failed on were:
  Rock Band #16 - BAD COMPANY GC38WCJ
  Rock Band #10 - AEROSMITH GC38JKM
  Rock Band #5 - BOSTON GC384QN

Truth be told - we wouldn't have found the 15 we did if not for the CO (our friend Jim) showing up and giving us a big hand.  In fact two of our finds we actually had down as DNFs.  Jim pedaled up and gave us some hints and at times a hand or two in order to make those finds.

And in total honesty - one of our DNFs listed the CO couldn't even find.  he did promise to put another container back after we left though.

We also had a run in with the above sign.  I need your feedback:  If you were told where to park for a cache and the first thing you saw after leaving your vehicle to go get the cache was the above sign between you and the cache - - - would you proceed to the cache OR get back in your car and go to the next cache?  We got back into the SNAP-mobile and went on to the next cache.  What would you do?

We now have found a total of 50 of the Rock Band series so we still have a total of 8 more Bands to find!  I will tell you this though - next time we attack the Damn Neck death March 1) I will be more organized and 2) we will definitely bring the bikes!!!

As Always - Stay Safe & Keep Caching!!!

SNAP!!! - Suffolk Nana & Papa

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tangier Island

Last Saturday, September 29th, Nana & I woke up one of our Grand-daughters early and started a 2 1/2  hour trip to Reedsville, VA.

After a nice drive we arrived at the marina for a nice Meet n Greet before the ferry left for Tangier Island.  We enjoyed meeting some old and new faces, swapping stories and getting ready for the ferry.

As the ferry left the pier we enjoyed a running commentary from the Captain and sat back and relaxed for the hour and a half trip to the island.

While our normal day of geocaching usually entails finding between 20 and 30 caches, today we would settle for 5 and only two of those are on the island.

It is a quaint little community with lots of history.  The locals were very friendly and went out of their way to make sure we had anything we needed.

Our only complaint the entire day as there wasn't enough time to see everything we wanted to see.  We rented a golf cart and made our way around the island grabbing the two caches there and then toured the island.  We barely had enough time to grab a quick bite to eat before the ferry was due to leave and head back to Reedsville.

A terrific day as far as the weather was concerned as we later learned it had rained most of the day back in Suffolk.

Stay tuned for more.

As always, Stay Safe & Keep Caching!!!

SNAP!!! - Suffolk Nana & Papa