Monday, February 28, 2011

"Picture This" Orienteering Geocache - Part 2

This is mostly for those who participated in Part 1. I did not blog about part 1, so don't look for it.

Dale's son Dave and his wife Lisa visited this week and one of the things we all did together was to try a new geocache near us. It was a combination geocache, orienteering and photo identification multi-part cache. The GPS coordinates to the first cache were given. Dianna, Dale, Donna, Daryl, Dave and Lisa all joined in.

We began by driving to another parking area just a half mile or so up the river. We parked the car and used the coordinates given for the first hide and set out across hill and valley. Finding the first cache was pretty easy. In the container we found a topo map and another small section of that map with a location on it. Matching the small section to the whole map showed us where the next cache was located. We needed to use the topo map to locate it since there were no coordinates given. Fortunately my GPS has the capability of entering a bearing and distance from a known point, and we used our best guess at those items by looking at the topo map. A protractor sure would have been handy.

Also at the first location was a number that we needed to locate the final cache. Each of the first five caches had a number and a code that when put together correctly would give the GPS coordinates of the sixth and final cache.

The trek to the second cache was not too bad. Some of us tried to stay on a main trail for most of the way, but Daryl headed cross country and got there first. The third cache was quite a distance away and required a healthy climb. Lisa found it first. After comparing the small section of map to the main map we discovered that the next one was quite a long way away. In fact, it was closer to our trailer than where the car was parked. By then we were all getting tired and Donna needed to head back to check on her turkey which was in the oven. On the way back to the car we found another cache, not part of the multi-part one we were doing, right near the trail we were on, so we all logged that one too.

Today Dianna and I finished the cache. We walked from our trailer to the first cache. It was just over half a mile and a fairly easy hike. After working out the location of next cache we hiked over hill and valley again to locate it. It was about seven tenths of a mile away but was not too strenuous. There we obtained the map for the fifth cache and worked out its location. Again the hike was not terribly strenuous but it was up and down. As we neared the area of the cache we came upon a group of wild horses. They wouldn't let us get too close but they didn't bolt and run away either.

We searched for nearly half an hour for this cache. We had a photo that marked the location and we finally located the right rock outcropping, but we searched and searched for a long time without success. Finally I went around the rock and noticed a small opening. I would not have stuck my hand in there during the summer when creepy, crawly things are out, but I did and it was there. This time there was no map; just the final numbers we needed to complete the GPS coordinates of the final cache which I entered in my GPS.

This time the route took us down a very narrow canyon that required climbing over and sliding down rocks. It was a really neat place. I just would not have wanted to be there during a rain storm. After we were through the canyon we again had to climb to the top of another hill where the GPS said the final cache should be located. It was on a hill with a great view of the Salt River flowing below. After some more searching we finally located it, again in a very small crevice and completely covered with rocks. We entered our name in the log and set off for the home.

Once again we found our way blocked by a steep cliff and had to carefully work our way down to the river. We followed it back to the trailer. The total distance covered today was 2.85 miles.

We look forward to geocaching with family and friends again. I hope everyone had fun on the first half. I know you would have enjoyed this part too.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The end of an era

It is finished.

We continued packing and preparing to move the things family members wanted, and we held a very large garage sale on a Saturday and Sunday. We had pretty good luck getting rid of many of the items but were still left with quite a bit of furniture and some other things. Dale's van was immensely valuable as we used it to take two large loads to Goodwill. We also used his van to move furniture to Julie's house. Marie and Adam borrowed his dad's pickup and came for their things.

We continued to advertise furniture on Craig's list and has some success over time. We had to keep dropping prices until things were practically being given away. In fact, we finally advertised a couple things as "free", just to get someone to come take them away. Even the beautiful side by side refrigerator/freezer that lists for almost $1,900 did not sell until we lowered the price to just $250, and we finally ended up donating the dining room set to friends in the church. We donated much of Mother's art materials to a church school and another art school. We also took a van load and two car loads of items to the church where they covered 6 large tables. We just asked people to make a donation to the church in Mother and Dad's name if they could.

On Monday, January the 31st, the moving van with items going to Texas and Tennessee left, and Tuesday the moving van going to Rochester departed. The only thing left was a trundle bed which we loaded into the van along with boxes of other things for cousins Carrie and Nancy. We also took with us many boxes of family heirlooms that still need to be scanned. They now fill the upper bunk in the truck.

We spent the night at our home in Bakersfield, then convoyed to Turlock on Wednesday with Dale to deliver the bed and some of the boxes to Carrie. Dale and I visited Mike, then Carrie fixed us all a nice dinner while Dale and I built a fire in the fireplace. The next morning we said goodbye to Dale as he left for the coast to do some sightseeing and to deliver the remaining items to cousin Nancy in Arroyo Grande. Before we separated we spent most of the morning touring the airplane museum at what used to be Castle Air Force Base.

I don't know what we would have done without Dale's help and his van. He made so many trips with his van full of things. He and I also confirmed the fact that we really don't want to do furniture moving for a living. We did plenty to prove that. It was also great just having him with us. It gave us a chance to become real brothers again. I can't explain it, but in some ways it seemed like we had never been apart for all those years. I'm sure glad he is back in my life again. Thanks, man.

On Saturday the 5th we went to the house one last time to clean it for the new owners. Although we thought we had already emptied it, we still took another car full to church and filled all our trash barrels as well as the neighbors. About 5 PM we left our keys on the kitchen counter and locked all the doors. I pushed the button on the garage door opener and then jumped over the electric eye as it closed.

We had dinner that evening with Julie and Michele, then drove home to Bakersfield. It was tough saying goodbye to them too. Everyone has done so much under very difficult circumstances. We are going to miss them.

The house closed on Tuesday the 8th.

We are now in Bakersfield, catching our breath and getting ready to resume our "normal" life. We have neglected some maintenance on the truck and trailer, and have been taking our time getting ready to move again. Dianna has had a bad cold but is finally on the mend. We plan to leave here on Tuesday and make our way to Arizona to be there when Dave and Lisa visit. We don't know how long we will stay or exactly where we will go from there, but we want to be in Texas for Deidra's graduation as well as Dayna's MBA. We also have some things we would like to do to the trailer. It is nine years old now and it's time for some upgrading and remodeling.

One era ends. Another continues.