Sunday, December 20, 2009

I had high hopes for Reno. I think I was looking forward to this part of the journey more than anything else. We had made reservations at Circus Circus, and it was going to be this great big fun fest in "the Biggest Little City in the World".
And I don't know what happened, but it didn't happen like it was supposed to. The drive there was not terrible, but maybe because we had stopped to grab some geocaches along the way, it took longer than it should have, and we were all a little grubby, hungry, and tired when we got there. The whole finding the parking spot, checking in, unloading the luggage, and getting up to our rooms in the face of so much temptation (in the form of glittering lights and games for the kids) was grueling. Then there was showering and getting ready for a dinner our bellies were ready for hours ago (didn't see any Taco Times along the way this time!).
Try taking two young kids who don't listen very well to a huge buffet, agreeing to a plan with your husband, only to find him not listening to the plan very well (go figure) and losing absolute control over the dinner table. That was a nice start to the evening.
Circus Circus was our choice because of the great big Midway for the kids, which was crowded and boy, was that a challenge to keep up with everyone in there when we made our way down after the buffet. The kids were super stoked and running all over the place, and I kept losing my husband and/or one or two of the kids, and eventually my frigging mind.
It was time to calm the kids down and get them ready for bed. Good luck for that at a casino hotel! The husband took the money and ran...down to the casino, and left me in charge of the kids, which was a bad idea. I was way too tired and they were way too excited, and this is how that scene unfolded: the phone rings sometime close to midnight, and the front desk is on the other end of the line saying, "Are your children disturbing the other guests?"
How am I supposed to know? "It's possible," I said, "They are disturbing ME!"
Apparently there were two complaints to the front desk about the noise in our room. Butts were kicked and kids were shoved under covers with the threat of death if they made a peep, and when the husband showed back up, $20 richer, I made him give me that and then some so I could go let out my frustration by pulling some levers on the slot machines.
And girl can't get a break. He told me the waitresses would come by and offer you free drinks, but yeah, that didn't happen. I had to chase down one haggard waitress to get a cocktail an hour into it, and I stayed up too late feeding all my money to the nickel slots, slowly....
Anyway, I had these big plans for the morning, back when I was dreaming about this trip, about how I wanted to go find my childhood idol's grave, and read the poem I wrote in tribute for her (the one at the bottom of this blog), leave some flowers, say some words to her spirit. I wanted to cache my way out of Nevada, and all the way south.
It didn't happen like that, either. The town is kind of confusing to me, doesn't seem like the map at all, and I had lost all sense of direction and specifically where we needed to go to get to the cemetary where Mrs Velma Johnston is buried, and, I didn't feel like it anyways anymore. We were all tired, and got a late start, were fairly grumpy and discombulated, and just wanted to get out of town....
Long way down the most congested road I could have found to get us out, and finally we were free...stopped at Virginia City to not find a cache that should have been easy, and wasted too much time here by this big prospector searching in vain for a Golden Nugget that was too elusive for us, only to end up spending too much money in the nearby candy outlet on sweets these hyper children did not need....
That day was probably the worst of our road trip. Part of my disappointment lay in the fact that I hadn't planned very well for this part of the road trip, geocaching wise. I had been counting on the fact that we were going to have the laptop with us, and I would be able to load a Pocket Query from the road to have caches in my GPS unit to find. We ended up not bringing it, and I had only a sparse amount loaded as a precautionary measure. As a result of this, I missed some caches, lots of them, that I could easily have done. We also spent way too much time going after a planned cache that turned out to be too rugged for us, vehicle and/or hike wise, a fact we realized after spending an hour or two in the efforts.
The day after Reno ended on a sour note as we passed up several decent looking hotels, in the interest of making such good time, and then had to settle for the only thing we could find at the end of a long day of driving. It was the worse motel I have ever stayed in, seriously. I was so disgusted, and made everyone sleep ready to roll at a moment's notice because I was completely convinced there were bed bugs that would attack us as soon as we went to sleep and leave festering wounds on the children. I did not sleep well that night. That part of the journey was really bad, but we got to see some fabulous sites along the way, too. More on that later.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Back in a previous entry, I had written about identity, and about how we can never really know ourselves fully, because part of who we are is how we are viewed through someone else's eyes, most of which is kept a mystery to us.
Sometimes, our land and legacy is part of who we are. Sometimes, the way people think of us is linked to the part of the world we inhabit, and our place in it. For some, this may mean the place we knew that person in. Sometimes, it is the place they were from, or the place they ended up. It may be where their life began, or where their life played out, or where it ended that becomes an association with the person we know.For some, their place in the world is part of what defines them.
There is a special person in our lives who has a place like this, a place that holds more identity clues than anyone else's place, a place that has become a living entity, almost human like, but more magical. This place shifts shapes over time, some things change place and appearance, but other parts of it remain the same, year after year. Kind of like people themselves, this parcel of land evolves, but the basic nature of it does not change.
We visited this place, meaning to visit the person who inhabits it. The land owner was not home, but the place itself also has sentimental attachment to it, memories of times past. A visit to this friend usually involves a walk around the property, to see both the things that have changed and those that have stayed constant. We visited both, and made our appreciations, and took photos for evidence....
And also got busted, by a neighbor who was taking their job of watching the property very seriously. Ted's response was both humorous and embarrasing, which is typical.
If you stop by here and recognize where we were....speak up...let us know you "popped in" for a visit. Then you might see how we did, as well....meant to send you a postcard of the top pic, too classic....
Then, we continued on our journey, stopping in the place on the left, which is a part of the world we had driven by hundreds of times, but never really got out to explore. This time, we were searching for a geocache, an ammo can out in the Northern California ranges. Our whole family spread out as the sun faded, looking behind rocks born of lava and wind, to find something, a something that was irrelevant in the end, when it was the experience and the exploration that really mattered....the time together, the reason to stop, the reason to check out the land and examine things more closely, like the measure of a family and the human heart, and our place together in this great big world....

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Yeah, it's been there a long time. What should be done about it? Should we talk about it? Should we address it? Should we shoot that fucker down?
Tried confronting it head on. It's ignoring me. We'll see where that takes us.
Stay tuned.....

And, speaking of tuned...don't look at those comments on the past few entries. I am fairly sure at least one of them is a virus bot. Only bots leaving comments these days....
Maybe my friends don't want to talk about the elephant either.....

Sunday, December 06, 2009


My sister in law, Crystal, lives in the middle of nowhere. There is no internet, no Zynga games, no malls or shops or social events. There is cows and hay and mountains, trees and rocks and grass. And sometimes an unlucky bug or two....

This day, meaning one of the two days back in August we were visiting her, her man Danny had caught a black widow spider and was keeping it in a jar in the kitchen until he figured out what to do with it. He mentioned this to us in the morning, and the thought lingered.

Midmorning, we were sitting outside watching the kids play, and watching the wasps fly in and out of a nest by the carport, and the men came up with an idea. These were some bad, nasty wasps. Someone said it, "I wonder who would win in a fight between one of those wasps, and the black widow?" And it was on.....

The trick was in catching one of the darn things without getting stung, a task the men gladly engaged in. Then there was the struggle to get it in the jar with the spider without anyone getting hurt. Once those objectives were met, we sat back and watched the action. There was much talk about who the winner would be, but no one was very sure. For a long time, it was impossible to know. The fight to the death lasted about three hours, with kids alternating between watching attentively, and wandering off to play. Us grownups were transfixed.

Even though in my heart I felt like it was somewhat sad and cruel, my scientific curiousity got the better of me. They went back and forth, with each one holding the advantage shortly, then the other one taking it back. The spider injected venom, but the wasp had its stinger handy. The last ten minutes were valiant.

And if you want to know who won......ask me next time you see me......

Friday, November 20, 2009

We headed out down Fandago Pass, on our way to explore the wilderness with our family, geocaching style. I had the GPSr tuned into a cache out that direction...but as it turns out, it was more a rugged hiking one, and we had the kids with us. I wish I could figure out how to get to that one, I tried it last year as well. Do we have to go over the stream and uphill 0.90 miles, or is there an easier way?
We passed it up, and kept going. I considered what else was out there. I wish I knew how to put in here what my "geocache map" looks like for this area. Even better, I would like to have a topography map when I get out in that National Forest. I get out there and then I get confused about which tiny forest road takes us closer to the caches, roads unmarked and unpaved.
There was an easy cache back the way that we had to pass up because firefighters were napping and having lunch. They deserved a rest. We could just keep going over the Pass until we got in the right direction for a geocache.
And we finally did.
This one.
Surprise Valley Hot Springs Cache

The first picture is the view from the top. This is the view from the bottom. Kaleb was resting, and it was too rough for him, so AJ and Ted went up the rock formation looking for a traditional sized cache. They are the blue and white specks on the upper left. I suspected I knew where the cache was hidden, and they were not moving towards that area, but I was watching Kaleb and it was pointless to yell or point from that distance. Eventually, they came down, and I headed up, straight to where my "geosense" was leading me. This would be the rock formation on the top middle-right. Once I got close, I had to climb and shimmy up the rock face, but I found it, the elusive ammo can! It was full of goodies, but no travel bugs. I left a geocoin - one of my personal ones, which then got grabbed by another cacher before I could log it in the cache to record its starting point, which was frustrating to me, but I didn't make an issue of it when I found out later.

After this , we began driving back, and had an amazing encounter with a bald eagle. Below. We got several shots. That was a high point of our summer vacation on our Great Western Road Trip.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Mt Shasta

5000 acres of alfalfa fields.....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

So, I haven't been doing much blogging lately. Kid has been claiming the computer a lot, and I've been going through something, maybe I'll be able to explain later. However, I was listening to my Ipod while working on my computer at work, and this song came on. I wanted to share the lyrics with you, my few friends who read this thing now and then. This is the most beautiful love song I have ever heard, I think that every time I hear it, but I mean that as a contemporary love song, a modern love song. It reminds me of someone really special to me who is not a part of my life anymore. Once, this song was his song, and now I can listen to it and smile thinking about that time when this song said everything I wanted to say, even with the knowing that sometimes you find out that love was just a wish an empty heart makes. Sometimes you meet people later in life and realize the two of you have come too far away from the people you used to be when you loved each other. That's okay. The person I loved was a person who no longer exists, and that makes it easier to let him go, anyway. When I hear this song, though, I remember the feelings I had once, and it's not a bad thing. It makes me smile with the remembering.

Collecting You (by the Indigo Girls...of course)

I could paint you in the dark
Cause I've studied you with hunger like a work of art
These are very secret days
I collect my information then I stowe it all away
Call me when you breeze through to your appointments
The work you do
Call me, I'm collecting you
The pleading prayer and hairshirt sting
My hair-trigger love and faulty spring
Motivation smokes a name, but I don't like that smell applied to me so
Blindly just the same call me
When you breeze through to your appointments the work you do
Call me I'm collecting you
Turning up my collar to an unseasonal chill you ask a favor, you know I will
The rain comes a surprise we fly across the railroad ties
I feel the danger the foolish thrill oh yes I will
What it will or won't be then
The shutter pre development the ink full in the pen
Mind the mind's eye's trickery
You might picture killer beautiful much more than it might be
Call me tell me what you're up to what you'll do
Call me I'm collecting you
I would be foolish to think that I could turn it off and stay alive
The way I live when you switch on hand on the dimmer, give me just a glimmer
Give me just a shadow hope around the edges, agony and rapture forever uncaptured
Take these secrets to your grave
Drug across your landscape and buried in your cave
You're piling up and out of sight
But trying to add it up just feels like counting shades of light
Call me when you breeze through to your appointments what you must do
Call me I'm collecting you
Hang it in my window let it complicate my view
The separation the glass of you
But I can paint this picture any way that I see fit
The art of pain the subject sits unmoved

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Friday, November 06, 2009


We were driving along a forest road in Northern California, one that started wide and smooth and got continually rougher the deeper we went into the mountain. We were going after a geocache, just the husband and I together on a brief respite from children, who were with their "honey" - his mom. This road was somewhat familiar, we had come up it many times but always got a little lost when the road became more treacherous, and somewhat vague. We luckily caught all the right turns this time, and not too far up or dangerous, the coords led us to a parking spot in a clearing, here. It was so nice here that we spent a little while just resting and absorbing. In some ways, I think I could stay here forever.....or maybe visit often.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Scenes from Oregon

Upper Klamath Lake, via Moore Park

View from outside my brother-in-law's place
Moore Park, Aerial View

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The DAMNED HAM Sandwich...
and other tales from the road....

So, back when we were heading into St George this summer, Ted's grandma was planning ahead. She doesn't like to cook often, and figured she would be efficient when it came to preparing food for the few days we were going to be bumming around, give or take. So, she decided to make a twenty pound ham. That should last four adults and three kids quite some time, especially when paired with potato salad, jello, and rolls. This was dinner the first night, lunch the second day, and dinner the third night.
Meanwhile, I was going crazy with a lust for Taco Time. Did I mention before how much I love Taco Time? I had no idea there were so many in Utah. One was practically flagging me down the moment we drove into town. We passed it and passed it, circling like hungry buzzards, until we finally swooped down the evening before we left, hiding crisp meat burritos in the console for later.
And the morning we left, bless her heart, that Bonny pulled out the ham one last time. We had to make ham sandwiches for the road, she insisted. I made us six sandwiches, sure that I would never again eat ham.
That afternoon, though, somewhere in the backcountry of Utah, miles from the nearest small town, the damned ham sandwiches were dealt with. They were exactly what we needed at a certain point. But darn if hours later, and us famished, we pulled into the first small town, and saw....Taco Time!
We'll have ten crisp meat burritos.....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Ever have that feeling you want to skip right to the end?
I've been trying to write the stories of our two weeks on the road back in August, and here it is October. I haven't had much time for blogging. I do want to share the very best part of the trip, though, before I give up. There were so many fun sights, but Northern California and the Eastern Sierras were my favorites. Here are some pics:
This was outside Independence, California. We took a little nature hike here.

Found this herd roadside and had to stop for pics.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


That darn blanket. I meant to pack both of the boys' fleece blankets, but somehow ended up with only one in the suitcase. Which meant they fought over this one the whole trip. Which is somehow easier than just sharing it, for them.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Outside the BLM Wild Horse Corral
Burns, Oregon
So, this is the closest I have come to the wild horses in Oregon so far. And I didn't even see one, just this statue. We had pulled right up to the gate of the wild horse management area to look for a geocache. Funny thing was, for some odd reason I did not have the coordinates to this one loaded in either GPS. I had the hints printed out, though, and by using the hint, and searching for a good twenty minutes, I was finally able to find it. Yeah!
This reminded me, though, of my fervent wish to get closer to the mustangs that live in this area. Mustangs are near and dear to my heart - just listen to the tribute poem posted at the bottom of this blog - and I've been following their management by the BLM for over two decades. Lately, the management of the mustangs have been facing some dire issues. The recession has hit the horse market fairly hard on the bottom side. The high priced luxury horses are still moving, but the low end has suffered from the economic crisis coupled with the end of horse slaughter in two big markets - California and Texas. The market is saturated with broke down, outlaw, and cull horses no one can sell, and the people who would buy these horses, the cheap horses, are also the ones who would adopt the mustangs. There are 30,000 mustangs sitting in boarding stables across the country that cannot be adopted out, and there was talk of euthanizing ALL of them until our new horse hero emerged. This is an issue that strongly speaks to me, and I wish I was in the position to do something about it.
On my "Bucket List", there is only one thing - to ride with the wild horses. Someday I will do it. I will saddle up a trusty mount, ride out to one of their ranges, find a herd, and ride among them. The gloriflying moment of my life will come when I am galloping alongside them, hair flying, lifting up my arms to God, in unison heart and soul with these creatures that have spoken so much to the depths of my heart. I want there to still be some wildness left on this earth, some place where horses still run free, and I want this for America, for America to keep her wild horses.
On our trip, we passed by three wild horse management facilities. This one in Burns is an area they bring them to when they are rounded up to prepare them for adoption. Some, like the ones we passed in Nevada, are actually protected ranges for them to live on. Someday, I would like to adopt my own wild horse, but this will have to wait until I have a proper enclosure and time to spend working on gentling it. These are the dreams I have in my life, dreams of wild horses and thundering hooves, and a gentleness inside a fierce and free nature. I hope that someday these dreams do come true.

This is what the "back side" of Oregon looks like - coming in from the eastern edge. The secenery was like this for about two hours. We found a geocache or two along the way and also really came to understand why Oregon attracted a lot of Scottish immigrants. They felt the landscape reminded them of home, and was a good place to raise sheep. However, I do not recall seeing any homes or ranches along this stretch...a whole lot of nothing in the middle of scenic nowhere....

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Indigo Girls - Love of Our Lives, Live @ Charleston Sound Studios

I love the newest Indigo Girls album, but this song in particular. It reminds me of my family right now, in particular a conversation I had some months ago with my father. It especially reminds me of my parents, but maybe all of us in some way....

Sunday, October 04, 2009


A strange thing happened in Idaho. It was not unplanned, but there were some surprising insights gained from these events.
When we had really started planning our route that covered a tremendous 3500 miles across the Pacific Northwest in a two week time span, destination Oregon via St George, Utah, I had noticed that one path we could take would put us within breathing distance of two people I had not seen in a very long time. So I made contact, and plans to meet up, with an old friend in Boise and an old boss in Nampa.
I really didn't think much of it at the time, just that I was excited to see these people I had not seen in a long, long time. L and I met through my best friend, J, back in the nineties, and I had always really liked her. She kind of knew me "before", though, before all this life changing shit happened to me and I became a person I don't know that I would have recognized. Physically, I am somewhat the same - several old friends remark when they see me that I look exactly the same as I did in high school - but there are so many changes inside my soul and, in my perception, to my youthful looks, that I rarely feel like that person L probably knew in the day.
L herself has changed a lot since I had made friends with her, as well, but even though her appearance seemed to have changed drastically, I recognized her readily when she arrived at the park we agreed to meet at in Boise. I don't even know that talking to her, I recognized either one of the people we used to be in the conversation, except in the parallel care and concerns we had for our shared mutual friends. My mind was sparked by talking to her, though, and I really enjoyed it and didn't want it to end. However, the boys were restless, and we spent probably less than an hour with her, though I probably could have spent the whole weekend getting to know her again.
Then, we went to Nampa, and spent an unexpected THREE hours with my old boss. None of us antipicated this visit would run so long (I had been promising T only half an hour before we could get back on the road, since he was anxious to get to his mom's this night). However, neither of us made a push to get going once we got there, and K slept through the entire visit. Part of this was because Shauna (the old boss) and her partner Mark are just some of the most darned interesting people you will ever met. Shauna is industrious and intelligent, and Mark is laid back and always curious about other people.
I worked for Shauna during the "after", during some really hard years in my life (I think it was exactly two years I was in her employ), and during some years that were difficult for her, too, in my opinion. At the time, she had been trying to keep her alternative health practice for animals afloat in a tiny agricultural town with a dozen other vets, and she had recently lost a business partner and lover, and a trusted friend and office manager who had screwed her over. During the time I worked for her, she had started dating Mark, and at the very end of our working relationship, had a child with him, who was a baby last time I saw him. Now their son was a vibrant, smart young child with many interests and talents, although he was very busy when we saw them.
Shauna and Mark have been very busy and apparently successful since moving their businesses to Nampa. She works out of her home, showing me her the clinic they built in stages that now includes two exam rooms for pets, and another for horses, with a large reception area. They have renovated their home with extraordinary results, and grow their own vegetables and hay. Mark took Ted for a walk, and then Shauna took me, and showed us solutions they had tried for various irrigation and weed control techniques, and it was all very fascinating. They were both in amazing health and condition, and we enjoyed fresh, natural flavors at their house, in the strawberry lemonade Shauna whipped up, a fresh bunch of grapes, nuts, fruit. It was very nice.
And then we had to get on the road, and I thought about this past year, and how I have confronted many ghosts of friendships past in the last twelve months or so. I tried to apply the filter of their experience and wonder what they saw in me. It's been these two, and two months ago, a coworker from the zoo I worked at when I met Ted, and an old professor, a boyfriend or two from way in the past, so many people with their own perceptions of me, most of which I would never know. It is a funny feeling to keep plugging yourself into that time and place, that you who you were at that distinct moment in time, when you were just slightly askew of who you are now. It is all very heady and filled with mystery, the mystery being really who you are as a person in this world, which we tend to think is who we think we are, but is really the combinations of all these perceptions. Who you are has less to do with who you are but more with who they think you are, which is not necessarily the same.
And I think I have the answers to this, but then they swirl around me , questions draped in purple silk and opaque veils, because even though I know myself more than my friends seem to, I will never know what it is I don't know, and therefore can never really know myself. Like I have said before, you hear observations other people make, and you have your own perceptions, but you will never know the things that are left unsaid. Maybe those are the heart of it, the vulnerability that exists within a friendship. But the outside of a friendship is wrapped up in the things a person does say, and in this case, it was hey, I am coming through, and I want to see you. I am so glad these two women accepted, because they were so amazing to meet and spend time with again.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

It was an accidental destination, so you can't blame us for not knowing our way around. We had no idea when we left St George how far we would make it that day, and turns out this was just far enough. An hour outside of town, I was using my phone to google hotels in the area that fit our requirements - a pool, internet access, and under $100 a night.
So we found ourselves at the Best Western (well, after driving the wrong way for a few miles), and chilled out for the evening, long enough to have a swim and too short for dinner.
We had driven across that bridge in the back right of this picture to get into town. In the morning, we wanted to get down here, down by the river that flowed through the gorge right at the entrance to town. We tried several little side street entrances, and kept ending up in neighborhoods with houses that backed right up to the gorge, but no way down. We were peering down, watching the base jumpers going off the bridge, when a hiker came by. I guess she could tell from our bewildered expressions that we were tourists, and even though she did not appear to be a local, she knew the area well enough to tell us how to get to the right road that would lead us down.
She also offered a golden nugget of information that was the best advice we got on our whole journey. She told us about a place to stop along the road where we could get out, climb over the culvert, and take a hidden path up behind a waterfall. That was the most amazing thing. Water splashed down in front of us in a rumbling show of force, spraying us with mist as we walked along a cavernous trail to the other side of the falls and back again. We kept thinking there would be a geocache hidden back here, "and if there isn't, there should be, " says Ted, but we were three miles outside of my "pocket query" (a list of geocaches from a customized search), so I had no idea. We peeked behind the crevices just to see. After we were home, I looked at the map, and I am fairly certain there was not, but there were some in the park down at the base of the hill by the river that I could have gotten.

This waterfall, and the pictures we got from it, was one of the true gems of our journey.

Ted says, "I want to move here"
TOUR OF DUTY, by CoolCache
Best (and Only) Geocache we found there
This was probably the best cache find of our trip out west, and I would highly recommend this cache as a "must find" in the Northwest region. Check out the cache page here.
From the description, I thought this would be a fairly straight forward cache on the grounds of the Little America hotel. We parked in the hotel parking lot, but that was not really neccesary, turns out. The cache is actually out at the street level, ten feet from a major road, and very accessible, but awfully well hidden. It took me quite a few minutes to figure out where two large ammo cans would be hidden from everyone's view here.
I had this travel bug to drop off that was sort of special to me, War Bride and Soldier. This travel bug is in dedication to the women left behind in war, like myself.
The cache itself was a dedication to the troops overseas, in particular geocachers who are serving over in the Iraq War. As my husband was leaving for the war ten days after we returned from the trip, it was a "must-do" to find this cache before he left. As you can see, the War Bride travel bug fit the overall theme of the cache, and our trip, perfectly.
In one of hte ammo cans, there is a scrapbook of geocachers serving overseas, in their uniforms and doing the types of operations they conduct on their tour of duties. I am going to have to get Ted's pictures taken to submit for this scrapbook. It was a real honor. A miniature version of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle was attached to the lid of one of the boxes. I was disappointed not to find more travel items in the cache, but I think I traded mine for another. This cache has moved an amazing number (1015) of travel bugs/geocoins.
Then, onwards, we had to get out of Utah before it was too late to make it to Idaho this day.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Back Country Utah!
And GrandFather Caches
We were finally on the road, feeling the wind through our hair, making great time up the highway towards Salt Lake City. The rate we were going, we would be there by, we took a detour.
Now, I had been studying this area on the map for a long time. Specifically, I had been trying to figure out if we could get close enough to get a chance at some "grandfather" geocaches, some of the oldest caches hidden. I had been working on a list of the 100 oldest active geocaches, and had stumbled upon a few that weren't particularly too far from the highway we had to take on up to SLC, and on to Idaho.
So, we were making such good time, and were all feeling adventurous, and that is how I happened to earn finds on two of these one hundred oldest caches, Pony Express Stash and Clover Springs Stash.
We found the Pony Express one first, after stumbling upon the right county road, luckily. Here is my log for it:

August 8 by hardings (1620 found)This cache was so fabulous. I grew up loving stories of the old west, and being a horse lover, the Pony Express always interested me. We enjoyed the plaques along the way to this one, and the hike. Was a bit of a tough one for us Texans! Thanks for keeping this one going, it was incredibly awesome to find two grandfather caches today and we enjoyed the history. Left Red Jeep TB.

That was a fun hike, about 0.11 straight up a hill, with prickly desert plants all around. In retrospect, the terrain actually reminded me a lot of Austin. We spent a lot of time exploring the Pony Express station "remains" and plaques. Then we drove next to the Clover Springs camping area, which was about thirty minutes away, if I remember correctly. This time I went by myself to find the cache, which was only about 250 feet from available parking, albeit straight up and devilishly well hidden. Here is my log for that one:

August 8 by hardings (1620 found)We made a side trip just for this one. What an honor to get one of the grandfather caches! It was a short hike, but the uphill about did this Texan in. Actually walked right past it a few times, it was so well hidden, but just right there. Way cool. Thanks for keeping this one alive!

We had so much fun driving through this part of the state. I would recommend these caches to anyone, even those traveling with small children like we were. On the map, it looked like this area would be remote and inaccessible, but it really was not. It is such a pretty area. We had such a good time, but boy, were we famished by this point! (Damned ham sandwich story forthcoming). Luckily, the first town we pulled up into had a TACO TIME! in it - we brake for Taco Time. Turns out too many times on this trip. It's those crisp meat burritos that drive us wild....

-delay in blog posting due to any number of issues, which I hope to correct soon-

St George, Utah...Act 2, in which we ended up going to the Rosenbruch Wildlife Center

We stalked our quarry
Through the forest
While thunder boomed in the distance
and night darkened
The animals flash heads up at us
Appear to come alive
Run, charge, eye to eye
We point at the animal
Angle our weapon at them
Finger trigger presses down
And then that sound,
the polished sound
Of a refined gentleman
Educating us on habitat
And diet, and relationships to others
And we learn what threatens them
Those foreign species
From woods altogether unheard
And now still, in death,
Telling their stories through flesh

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Dinosaur Tracks at Johnson Farm
St George Utah
We ended up taking a two day hiatus on our journey in the little town of St George. This stop was primarily the reason we planned such an extensive road trip, as T wanted to see his grandparents from his (step) dad's side of the family that he hadn't seen in the fifteen years since his dad died.
St George was a nice little town, but the way the streets were laid out was driving me crazy, and resulted in us getting lost, a lot. It should have been very simple. Each street was named with a number and a compass direction. Streets running north and south intersected with streets running east and west, each with a number, usually increasing or decreasing by degrees of one hundred, like 100 W, then 200 W, etc. How could that possibly have been confusing? I have no idea. I think part of our problem was that the street the grandparents lived on was a 40. We would go from 200, to 100, and then the streets would hit the other direction and start going up again, 100, 200, etc. Where the heck was 40? Turns out we were on the wrong side of the highway when we first came into town (my fault), and that the streets started up again on the other side. However, this continued to confuse us the whole time. It should have been an easy pattern to figure out, but the deviations were unnerving. It must have been the work of some Mormom engineer whose brain works completely different than mine.
While we were there, there was a cousin (?) staying there as well who was a few years older than our oldest son. We took him with us on our excursions to discover some of the interesting facets of the town. The Dinosaur Tracks at Johnson Farm Discovery Site was one of those places. In this particular region of the country, many distinct and unusual dinosaur fossils had been found, and were on display at this museum. This included two noteworthy artifacts - the Sitting Dinosaur imprint, and the largest single track of a dinosaur walking that had been found. People come from all around the world to study these historical remnants.
The Sitting Dinosaur imprint is unique because one can see where the pubis bone rested, and the tail as well. It is the only one like this in the world, and has helped scientists understand dinosaur behavior and body use better. There were many different dinosaur footprints at this museum that had been found right in the general area, as well as some other parts of Utah.
As much as our kids like dinosaurs, we learned from our visit here that they actually prefer to see life sized replicas of dinosaurs, and their bones, more than they are interested in their footprints and impressions. They especially don't have the patience to hear us read aloud from the information kiosks why the items we were looking at were unique. Frankly, their interest in the entire place lasted only about an hour, and mostly revolved around the videos playing in one room, the interactive display where they could "search" for dinosaur eggs, and the gift shop.
The best thing about going to this museum was that we earned another geocache find, a special one called an "earthcache", from answering a question about what other kinds of animals left tracks here. This answer was not readily apparent when we walked up, but something we had to keep an eye out for when looking at the exhibits.
I think I found the site more interesting than the children did, but they were very happy with a small token from the gift shop and ready to move on to the next sightseeing stop.