The adventure of my 900th cache find.

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BackpacknJack
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The adventure of my 900th cache find.

Postby BackpacknJack » Fri Dec 12, 2008 4:17 pm

As those who have read my other attempts to continue my goal of finding a State’s oldest cache for each of my double zero milestone finds, you know that sometimes it isn’t always easy to do and this is one of those stories also.

This trip was to find my 900th cache and because I have been saving Louisiana’s oldest, west of Alexandria, for the colder months this one was the chosen target of this cache run. I downloaded caches along Hwy71 because being at # 896 I could find 3 more before entering the National Forest where “Wild Azalea Cache” [GC763] was hiding. I ended up with 2 finds for 6 attempts so I did a GO TO and FOLLOW ROADS for my target on my Garmin 60CSx and let it find a way in along the back roads . That is a fun way, although sometimes frustrating when you reach a road that is private or a deer club gate, etc. to get somewhere and no telling what adventures or how many gravel or dirt roads/paths you will end up taking instead of just taking the main roads/Hwys to reach your target area. Although it probably took longer then the main roads I stayed the course and when a friend called and asked where I was and how I was doing and had I seen any interesting things the first thing that came to mind was:
“Yes.”
“What is that?” they asked.
I replied “The speed limit signs.”
“How is that” they asked.
“It says the speed limit is 55.”
“And how is that interesting?” I was questioned.
“Because even a professional stunt driver in one of those Baja racing bugs couldn’t do more then 35 here, at best.” was my reply.
“So basically you don’t expect to see many cops with radar guns in the area? ” they laughed.
“No but I do expect to see some Banjo Picking tow truck service along this stretch because they switched the signs to drum up business.” (jokingly of course :) )
“Be careful then.” they warned.
“Yep, I’ll call you later when I don’t need both hands and both feet and both sides of my brain to drive.”

I had never been in this area and didn’t even know where to turn or how close I could actually get so I just followed the GPS and finally I saw the yellow markers where “Wild Azalea Trail” crossed the road and I pulled off and headed up the trail - and down the trail - and up the trail - well you get the picture, until I got to the creek mentioned in the cache description. I was at only 898 finds but I wanted to see if I could find the trash bag the ammo can was in first, without opening it until I could find another cache, maybe nearby “Jeepers“, etc. to place me at 899 because it has been my experience after finding 8 State’s oldest caches that if a cache has lasted longer then any other in the state there my be a good reason for it. This one has been active since 4/21/2001 with only 55 finds and according to the logs it has been found lodged 100 yrds down stream and has been moved so who knows. I had been searching for about 30 min when deer dogs started running around close enough for me to see them, nice Buck tracks in this area so I expected to see one jump up at any moment and thought that would be fun until I heard the dirt road where I had parked my car fill up this trucks, maybe as many as 15 -20 and here I was without blaze orange but thank goodness I hadn’t worn my light brown fishing vest (with all the nice pockets). I couldn’t find the cache/trash bag no matter how many places I poked or how many things I flipped over or looked under but wasn’t going to head back to my car until the dogs had moved out of the area and hopefully the hunters and their guns were at least facing the other way so I hunted for the cache for a total of about 1 ½ hrs along with a little CITO around the nearby camp site (surprisingly clean though ). I heard all the hunters drive off once the dogs had crossed the road and were headed farther down the ridge so I cut some rope and untied some wire that had been left tied around trees by campers and headed back to my car.

On the way to the car I saw I had a good cell signal so I called my friend back and confessed the last finder of this cache was a much better hider then I was a finder and this trip was a bust. Asked what I was going to do now I said I was going back up to Shreveport to spend the night, Harrah’s Casino had given me a free room at the race track, and I would decide what to do later. I reminded them, and myself, I had added this oldest cache goal just for some added challenge and to show my respects to those who have been keeping caches up longest but maybe it was time to change that because I have been stopped from caching for many hundreds of miles of travel because I was so close to my next double zero find.

On the way back to Shreveport I saw a road on my GPS that crossed the river, not many along this stretch, so I hit the exit and headed to the back roads again. Well some old lady had tapped the bridge with her car, just a bent finder, but it was a very narrow bridge and the traffic was at a dead stop so by the time the police got there, obviously from a long way away, to get the traffic moving again lots of us had met and exchanged stories about stopped traffic we had experienced before on the narrow back roads. I don’t even know where I was later, somewhere on the north side of the river, but I saw smoke and smelled barbeque and pulled up to a nowhere place in the middle of nowhere and had some GREAT food. Lots of great adventures can be had along the back roads but like the blocked traffic on the narrow bridge sometimes there is a cost in time, but unless your very short on time I figure time spent on the interstate is time out of your life that you just wasted.

Lots of friendly folks in the Harrah’s casino at Louisiana Downs, although a hamburger cost $9.29 plus tax. Ouch :shock: but I had an awesome room at the Marriott with high speed so that night I downloaded a new GPX for the Arlington, Texas area and at 7:am I headed to Texas’ Oldest Geocache at Arlington.

With 898 finds under my belt I waited until very close to Arlington because of the rain and severe storms headed here within the next 1 -2 hrs before selecting #899, a virtual in a park all decorated for Christmas. Flew by, noted the answer to claim the find and headed to “Tombstone” [GC62} fast because the winds were picking up and I had already seen small patches where rain showers had moved through. It wasn’t looking good.

I got to The University of Texas at Arlington with strong winds and dark clouds to the south so I put on my running shoes, called a friend and had him write down the clues I found on each stage of this multi cache, it had a bunch of DNF’s and I wasn’t taking any chances of messing up the coords while on the run, just didn't have the time to spare. After the second stage we used his notes and figures to check my figures and I headed for the cache. After stumbling and fighting my way through thick brush and Green Briar along a creek, sure glad I was wearing a thick long sleeved shirt, the GPS pointed to the bank on the other side of the creek so I hurried back to the foot bridge to cross. Once on the other side and in line with where I was on the other side the GPS pointed to the other side. WHAT??????? The storm was messing me up but I had driven a long way over the last two days and with my boots and hat safely in the back seat of the car I wasn’t worried about getting wet plus I had placed enough quarters in the parking meter for 2 hrs, I think it takes about 1 quarter per min. :( so I wasn't going to waste a whole pocket full of change and I hurried back to the foot bridge because the fight with this hide was on. With a choice of believing the GPS while under heavy cover and the choice of believing it while on the other side of the creek where it was mostly clear except for crazy rolling clouds I picked up a stick to unhook myself from thorns and plunged back into the brush and briar again with a little more confidence that my goal was within reach if I just fought long enough, ducked low enough and was lucky enough, because I doubted this one had been muggled or at the very least had been found by any accident. It was soon in hand, I dropped 3 geocoins and snatched the only traveler out of the three that was listed, filled up with gas and cached my way back home. Well sort of cached my way back home, I grabbed only five more, as I spent most of my time looking at 74 on my speedometer until I pulled up to “Home Sweet Home“. A total of only 9 caches found in 2 different States, but worth every inch of the 1,077 miles traveled.

I don’t know how long I will continue with finding a different State’s oldest cache for each of my double 00 finds but so far I have gotten it done 8 times in a row with about 8 times the adventure I probably would have had. As shown in this cache run story, your adventures may not always work out the way you expected them to while geocaching but you will get an adventure anyway - regardless.

PS. I hope all of your own outdoors adventures were safe and successful ones.
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Postby ar_kayaker » Mon Dec 15, 2008 7:45 pm

What are you going to do for the tripple zero's or is that just the tenth double?
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Postby BackpacknJack » Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:48 am

ar_kayaker wrote:What are you going to do for the tripple zero's or is that just the tenth double?

Good question and very well put! No, I figure my one and only triple zero is more then just another double zero so I was going some place I thought special. The virtual at the location of the original geocache.
My plan for #1,000 was to buy a 30 day rail pass and travel through 17 States, a loop around the western USA then a mad dash down through the middle, but Amtrak almost tripled the price and changed the amount of times you are allowed to exit the train. Too much Gov. money I guess so they no longer needed to sell tickets and fill all those empty seats. :(
I no longer think this is a good $$$ deal and just looking out the window instead of being able to cache and explore in those 17 States cuts waaaay down on the adventure and makes it hardly worth while. Fuel is only about 1/3 to 1/4 of what it was so maybe the price of airfares will drop and I will fly. I’m not big on flying, paying a lot of money to be trapped like a rat for hours in a tiny seat is not my cup of tea, plus you miss way to much of America so I consider it a waste of your time. At this time of the year the far northern States are not the most friendly places to drive and/or explore on foot but I still think the original cache location would be a fitting adventure. I have 94 finds left before I need to make up my mind about the location and/or the mode of transport.
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