We’ve had a couple of DNFs on two of our caches down on the old US301 trail recently, so on Sunday we decided to make the drive down and see what is going on with them.
One of the caches, “Kiosk #1”, was right there at the spot where you park, but we decided to walk the 3/4 mile down the trail to the one called “Used to be Twin Stumps.” It is called “Used To Be” because at one time we had a cache there called just “Twin Stumps” for the two side-by-side tree stumps that were there. But one stump turned to sawdust and we lost the spot where the container was hidden.
I was holding the GPSr and I stopped when it read 4′ from destination. I was nowhere near a stump and and a hump of sawdust. We both looked around for where we might have hidden a cammoed waterproof matchstick holder, nothing stood out. We both mentally scratched around in our heads for a recollection of where we might have put it, nothing stood out. So walked back a ways until we found the used to be twin stumps. Still couldn’t remember where we put it, but I said, “If I was hiding something like that today, I’d put it right there.” I went over and lifted the end of a 2 foot by 4 inch diameter log and right there was the container. Donna opened it up and the log was dry, so we put it back under the log.
That log was almost 40 feet from where the GPSr said the cache should be, so I laid the unit on the log, created a new waypoint and let it sit there for a bit all the while averaging its location. While we waited I re-read over the description of the log and I had mistakenly mention that you had to climb down the embankment and to be careful. While that note is needed for one of the caches we placed on the trail, it did not apply to this one. These two things were more than enough to make someone DNF this cache, so when we got home I edited the description to say the cache was at trail level and corrected the coordinates.
When we got got to the end of the trail to check on “Kiosk #1” it was not inside the crook of the three small trees we had placed it in. It was laying on the ground right next to them. This is a 2-stage cache, the coordinates lead you to the kiosk and then to find the container you have to walk 150′ at a course of 270°. The distance is right, but maybe I don’t have the course right? We found it using that parameter, so who knows.
We were lucky in that we didn’t need to replace either container, but that is not the real lucky part. On the way to look for “Kiosk #1”, we knew that it was off in the woods to the right of the old paved road, so we took the first opportunity to get off the pavement along a little path in the weeds. I went first and Donna was a couple steps behind me. About 20 feet in I heard her behind me say, “Hey! That’s a snake! And it rattled!” I turned around and we both walked back a couple steps. Sure enough, there was a very viper-ish looking snake all curled up and the thickest part I could see looked about wrist sized. I’m not real schooled on just what kind of snake it was and I didn’t want to get close enough to take a good picture. But if in fact it was a rattlesnake we were both very lucky because we walked less that two feet from the reptile.
The past week or so we’ve had a few people take a walk on the the Old US301 Nature Trail and look for our geocaches there. Of the eight caches we have hidden out there, we had 1 DNF, 1 wet log and 1 note telling us 1 doesn’t seem to have been found since last August. So today we took a drive down there to do some checking.
The DNF was right where it was supposed to be and the wet log was as dry as a bone. The one that hasn’t been found since August may very well have disappeared the day after it was last found because it was not there at all. It was called Twin Stumps because it was hidden behind a couple of sawed off close to the ground trees. Both of them were turning to sawdust and especially the one the cache was supposed to be behind, so instead of trying to hide something again right in that spot, we looked a foot or so away and there was an inviting log to hide a replacement under.
Every time we come here and take a walk I marvel at how nature is reclaiming this narrow roadway since they stopped using it in 1965 and sometimes when there is no traffic on the replacement road 50 yards parallel to the north it so quiet I almost expect to stumble on a couple of shuffling zombies.
This is the view off the back deck of our home for the next week, Lake Bosworth with Mt. Pilachuck in the background.
Well, it wouldn’t be a complete trip for us unless we left something behind. Something somewhat essential, but realizing its absence at a point to far away from home to warrant turning around for. Partway to Atlanta we realized that the car GPS was not in the car we were in. It was home in the trunk of the Miata.
This way wasn’t too a big problem, we had a paper map of the state, plus the DeLorme map book and we could find our way to Scott’s in Granite Falls, but finding our cabin on the lake might be an issue. We did have the hand held GPS which we brought along in case we go hiking where there might be geocaches. I could plug the coords into that and use its turn by turn feature, but the screen is postage stamp sized compared to the car GPS.
We decided that if we could get an add-on GPS for the rental car for about $5 a day we would do it. We are members of the Emerald Club at National, so normally we just grab a car and go, but this time we stopped at the counter. I asked the lady how much and her answer was $16.95 a day! Yikes, you could buy a new one for that after 6 days. Donna asked if there was a weekly rate. That was sixty bucks, which was almost tempting. Then the counter agent remembered our Emerald Club membership and commenced to clicking to see what the Emerson discount might be. For us it would be $50 or a bit over seven dollars a day for rental period, so we took it.
Good thing too, because the hand held GPS wouldn’t have been any help, turns out all I loaded was the southeast US topo maps not the whole USA like I thought. Which is sort of almost like what I did our last trip out here.
We "photobombed" the Aiken Horsepower Association's big spring car show on the way out of town. I'm not sure if it will count towards the Moss Motoring Challenge though, because we weren't actually entered in the show. But the legal team here at Life of Brian Inc thinks it should, based on their interpretation of this rule found in the official guidelines: To earn points at car shows, your photos must clearly show the Challenge Guide, your car and either 1) a banner with the car show name or 2) at least 6 additional cars in the show field. Clearly number two's requirement is met here.
We were headed down to the old US301 multi-use trail near the Savannah River to check on our eight caches hidden there. We had a some logs about a couple of them that they might need some maintenance. One was fine and the second was missing entirely. Donna had made up a replacement in case, so it was a simple matter of piling some sticks on it and One Point Oh was ready to go again. The rest of the caches were just fine, including one we had placed on a bamboo stalk in the middle of a stand of the stuff. As we approached the hide, we both thought that it had to be missing as more than 75% of the stalks were bent over and broken from the ice storm of two months ago, but we had picked one of the lucky 25% of still standing stalks.
While on the road we snagged a couple more challenges, a laboratory sign on the Savannah River Site and the Georgia Welcome Center on US301. Nation's oldest welcome center relic of bygone travel era
A little bit of Spring weather today sent Donna and I out into the world with the Miata to have a top down adventure. It was time to go take a few more Moss Motoring Challenge photos and some make up geocaching. We needed a Duck Crossing sign and knew right where to find one because we had stumbled on it while on an unsuccessful geocaching trip about a month ago. When we had gone to sign the log of our first find back then, we realized that neither of us had a pen, doh!
We started in Aiken with a photo of a horse track and then we drove to Augusta to get the Duck Crossing sign photo. I took our laminated Motoring Challenge poster and stuck it right below the crossing sign between the sign and the post while we snapped a couple shots. We then took a walk near Lake Olmstead and the Augusta Greenjacket’s stadium to take care of our cache signings. It wasn’t until we were getting back in the car that I realized that I had left the challenge poster hanging on the Duck Crossing sign. Almost forgot it.
Next we headed for a cupcake bakery. I remembered where one was on Washington Road and Donna remembered where another one was further out on the same road. The first one didn’t actually say cupcake in its name, so we continued out further on Washington Road into Evans where the above photo comes from, a place called “Small Cakes, a Cupcakery.” I made myself right at home at the table right outside to un-opened bakery with my poster propped up at the window.
Seeing as we were this far out on Washington Road we decided to keep on going north and then cross over the Strom Thurmond Dam back into South Carolina. Donna thought it might be cool to take a picture in front of the dam to use as one of our next Sneak Peek photos. Turns out there was a small playground right there, something we needed for the Challenge, so we took a photo of that with the dam in the background. When I opened the trunk to get the camera and the laminated Challenge poster I realized that I had the camera, but no poster. This time, unlike at Lake OLmstead, I did leave it behind.
I was all for just forgetting about it as we did have the back-up smaller version still and I could always make another one, but Donna thought that we should go back to Evans and get it. She reasoned that it was nearing lunch and there were plenty of places to chose from for eating back that way and then we could get a cupcake for desert.
The Emperor passed through the 136,000 mile mark as we crossed the dam back into Georgia. The sign was still there at the bakery, right on the table, where the girl who sold us the cupcake had put it when she opened the store. Originally we were going to share a cupcake, but they looked so good and had such a variety that we opted to get one each. They were moist and dense and the frosting was so superb that I’m betting they packed in about 136,000 calories each.
When we got home it was still too nice a day to stay inside, so I went out and washed both cars. The Emperor will be fine as he will be staying in the garage for the week, but the Purple Whale’s cleanliness will not last, tomorrow it is supposed to rain and with the warm weather, the pines surrounding the Valve Store’s® parking lot will be emitting yellow pollen dust soon.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1297
Probably a Pieces working for scale…
We planned a geocaching trip today with two different possible destinations, one was near Lexington and one was nearer to Columbia. Attached to each destination was a selected lunch spot and a selected used book store. So where we went, we thought, depended solely on what we really felt like having for lunch after we started heading east.
We had gone to Saluda Shoals back in November of last year and cached one half of it. Today we did the other half and we were less lucky in the find department this time, 6 out of 10, but I’m chalking most of the DNFs up to the fact that we couldn’t really concentrate on searching for the swatting at the clouds of mosquitoes every time we stepped off the trail into the woods.
Today’s photo is of one of the many blue metal abstract fish hanging in one area of the park.