OLdweeb lives and caches in the San Fernado Valley California USA and has been maintaining his blog for well over 7 years. His adventures are interesting, pithy and annotated with some truly breathtaking photographs.
As sometimes happens at my Barstow motel, I awoke at dawn to the sound of motorcycle engines revving and their riders shouting greetings to each other. Some people just don’t care. The commotion stopped me from going back to sleep and I was soon on the 15 fwy. At the nearby Fort Irwin Road offramp I drove toward the fort on the ultra well maintained 1 lane way non-freeway. The lack of traffic going my way made it easy to stop and look for roadside caches. The one here Cave to Nowhere (GCHFG7) was different. It was 400’ off road and reached via a side road. The GPS compass stubbornly pointed directly at the cave. Even though it’s only 20 feet deep I wasn’t going inside. I was more afraid that someone used the cave as an outdoor toilet than of any physical danger. Luckily for me someone re-hid the cache 25’ to the left of the entrance. Returning to the road, a few miles later I stopped at “Boring” and turned east, off road. The rocky dirt made me glad that I drive on all-terrain tires. This is “Who Cairns.”For the 3rd time, “Resting Rattler” didn’t appear on my Garmin’s screen. The image (a small snake) in the cache name stops it from showing onscreen. Next time I’m going to write the coordinates on paper. Then I worked my way up the tail end of the alphabet series until I reached my own cache, “Lick-A-Lizard,” which I retrieved and archived.There was enough remaining daylight to drive back to Barstow and then 30 miles east to Kramer Junction. From there I drove south peeling off to either side to find caches.A f0t0m0m cache involved hiking to the top of a low hill. It was a good place to view the surrounding terrain. Some caches were interesting containers that wouldn’t last a day in less remote areas. On this one the log is in the Altoids tin on the dog’s right side.I’m not sure what this is supposed to be. The cache is in a container in the black tube. The metal box is screwed shut and sounded empty. In 2 days I found 2 + 24 caches and a bunch of rocks for my tumblers. Weather permitting, I hope to go back to the desert again next month.
After Thanksgiving dinner I drove to my standby motel in Barstow eager for an early start in the morning to rock hound at the world famous Lavic Siding jasper fields. Most newbie rock hounds would’ve been out of their element. But as a desert geocacher the 45 miles drive on Route 66 felt comfortably familiar. The turnout for Lavic Siding is at geocache 155-Route 66 (GC2JXWB).I parked only .25 miles in, planning to hike a circle while looking for jaspers for my rock tumblers.A first glance showed that no hike was needed. The ground was COVERED with red, yellow and red-yellow jaspers. This is the view at parking.I walked about 500’ away in each direction, collecting as I returned to my Subaru. The abundance was overwhelming and I wanted everything. It’s legal to take “reasonable amounts” for non-commerical personal use.After a few minutes I became selective and avoided rocks with extreme shapes, visible fractures, deep holes or pits. I took home about 15 lbs to fit in my table top tumblers. Here’s the first batch.The afternoon was spent 4 miles west, geocaching at Pisgah Crater.Here’s ground zero at a lava outcropping. The cache was a rodent-chewed decon container.And a sea of untumblable volcanic rocks was underfoot.The next cache was a DNF and the one after that was in a lava clearing.More caches were ahead but so were a dozen wildly speeding quads on the narrowing road. Instead of risking a collision or breathing volcanic dust I went back to Barstow to recharge for a day of geocaching.
Dweeb’s Diatribe is approaching its 10th anniversary. In those 10 years I wrote 222 posts about almost as many geocaching expeditions. But all things must end. Changes to how the game is played and the general deterioration of the socio-political climate make caching far less enjoyable. My caching has slowed to a trickle. I no longer attend events and I’m well on my way to archiving or adopting-out all of my caches.
But I still enjoy being outdoors and know that it’s essential to maintaining good health. Taking full advantage of navigation and outdoor skills honed by geocaching, I now participate in some related and mutually complimentary hobbies like desert & beach rock hounding, rock tumbling, metal detecting and amateur (ham) radio. I’m changing Dweeb’s Diatribe to add all of these. I still plan to geocache occasionally, especially in the desert where I can also look for tumbling rocks at the same time.
For those who are only interested in reading about caching, sorry. I’m continuing the Diatribe, even if no one else reads it, so that it’ll be my hobby diary to enjoy when I’m old and homebound. And maybe reading and remembering will stave off dementia.
If you’re a regular reader who’s going away, thanks for staying as long as you did and for your comments, here and on Facebook.
When I vacation in Monterey I try to expand my knowledge of the area by taking day trips farther afield. This time, only a mile beyond my previous southernmost excursion I reached Point Lobos. The geocaching map showed multiple earth caches and multis in the State Reserve. Page comments indicated that no physical caches are allowed. The multis had numerous (too many for me) stops to gather clues for cache containers hidden outside the reserve.
I don’t like to spend outdoor time, especially on vacations, compiling clues/data for earth caches and multi caches. It was especially true for this visit because I wanted to enjoy the great scenery and easy hike I’d seen featured online. The “lot full” sign at the entrance was ominous. And the 2 cars ahead of me turned around and exited. I expected to be turned away. But the entry booth ranger said there were still open spaces and waved me through on my California Explorer entry/parking pass. Apparently the turned around cars didn’t want to pay the $10. fee.
A short drive through a gloomy forest led to a series of small beachside parking lots. I stepped out at the third one and walked to the waterline just as it started to sprinkle. The view wasn’t especially good.
What I noticed the most was what was underfoot. It was either heaven or hell for a new rock tumbler like me. There were more great rocks than I could possible tumble in multiple lifetimes but they were strictly illegal to take according to multiple posted signs. I ended up with a handful of crappy ones from the Cannery Row tourist beach 18 miles away.
After poking around the rocks I joined the tourist muggle stream walking north on a well marked trail. The sprinkles stopped and the view improved.
Here are the muggles ahead of me. The ones near me looked oddly at my twin hiking poles. I’m sure they became envious when I walked steadily uphill over broken ground and uneven wooden steps while they struggled.
The views improved even more with increasing altitude and sunlight. Somewhere below a lone sea lion barked.
An abrupt end to the trail made me turn inland to find another one.
There, poison oak and its folk remedy mugwort grew abundantly together. I saw only 1 small warning sign. I feel sorry for people who don’t see the sign or don’t read English and unwittingly brush the PO.
Side trails each led to a viewpoint. I knew that every stop contained clues for the multi caches and/or earthcaches but instead of looking for them I enjoyed the scenery. Except for a rude (Russian?) speaking family picnicking against the posted rules and hogging this site, everyone else politely took their pictures and moved aside.
Just when I thought that there couldn’t possibly be better views, there were. Oddly, most of the muggles had turned back apparently unwilling to hike around the mud puddles from rains earlier in the week. Wimps!!
They missed this too! Now, nearly alone, I wished that I’d printed a list of the multi-cache clues to find. Oh well.
I enjoyed a final shoreline view of gnarled tree cover before the trail looped inland back toward the parking lot.
Next time I’m going back to see what I missed behind the temporary closure sign and to explore the inland parts of the reserve. Maybe I’ll even attempt the earth caches and multis.