Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Geowoodstock Weekend

Zeke and I at the Geowoodstock sign.
This weekend we found ourselves at one of the largest gatherings of Geocachers in the world:  Geowoodstock X in Sellersburg Indiana (right across the river from Louisville KY)

Thousands of geocachers from around the world travel to Geowoodstock every year to swap stories, share tricks, and have a great deal of fun.

This is the second Geowoodstock, and aside from a few logistical issues, it was essentially the same as last year.  So in effort to not be repetitive, I will refer you to last years post to get a feel for what a Geowoodstock event is like.

Obviously an event like this has its social elements, but what was memorable this year for me was how social the weekend outside of the event ended up being.  Most folks tend to geocaching alone, or in the same group of people, and one can go weeks or months without seeing other geocachers out on the trail.  Last weekend was the exact opposite of this as there was a rare moment when I didn't run into other cachers.

Abigail getting her hippie on.
To give you an idea of what I am talking about, let me recount some of the more memorable events of the weekend:

On Friday we went for a hike in the woods.  As we left the first cache, we ran into a cacher coming over the ridge.  A few moments later I was on the banks of the Ohio river doing an earth cache, and I ran into a couple who was also attempting that cache.

After lunch I was attempting a cache at the Louisville water tower.  I ran into two other cachers also making the attempt.  The cache ended up being damaged and hard to locate, but between us we managed to hunt down the clues of the missing cache, make some repairs and place it back.  That cache has since been found over 30 more times.

That evening we attended Miles of Smiles, a pre-Geowoodstock registration event.  A steady stream of cachers came and went over the course of several hours.  It was there that we got re-acquainted with some cacher friends from Massachusetts that I hang out with online, and met last year, and some of my Band Of Cachers friends.

After the event I went to find the closest cache, and ended up hanging out with about 20 cachers waiting to sign the log.

The family with Signal, the Groundspeak mascot.
On Saturday we had breakfast with several cachers that I hang out with online, many of who I met for the first time in person.

We then headed to Geowoodstock, and hung out for the day. After the event we went caching and every cache we did we ended up meeting new and different groups of cachers.

On Sunday we headed down to the banks of the Ohio River to attend a flash mob event.  The event was to take a group photo at the site of the original Geowoodstock 10 years ago.   While waiting for the event I ran into a cacher duo from Sweden, and another duo from Massachusetts. We ended up finding a couple caches together.

During the flash mob photo we hung out on a park lawn with several hundred cachers.

As you can imagine this weekend was the most social geocaching weekend I've ever had.  If you ever feel like hanging out with a large group of really fun people with a penchant for locating tupperware in the woods, might I suggest you make plans to attend Geowoodstock XI in Lakeland Florida next Memorial Day weekend.

I will leave you with several group photos from the events we attended.

The group photo at Geowoodstock X. We are at the very back under the W.

The group photo from the Flash Mob event on Sunday. We are to the left of the tree in the middle.

The group of cachers I chat with on a regular basis. From left to right: ShadowDC, DeviousDragen, leftyfb, jwubrownie, Clayjar, Tonka Tyke, yours truly, faurenlink, verygeeky.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Geocaching Adventures: In Search Of Louisville

My daughter, Abigail, was a month old on Thursday.  We decided she's had enough time to adjust to the world so it was time for a road trip.

So on Thursday we all piled into the car and headed northwest.  Our destination: A weekend in Louisville Kentucky.

Why Louisville?  On Saturday was Geowoodstock X, a geocaching mega event.  People from around the world attend, and dang it we wanted to go as well.

I'll get to Geowoodstock X in another post.  This one is about the road trip.

Louisville is about 7 hours from my house.  It took us about 12 hours to make the journey, between food stops, nursing stops, fussy baby stops, and of course, geocaching stops.

There were a couple locations of particular interest on our trip, all of them in Frankfort KY, an hour east of Lousville.

The first was The Old Taylor Distillery, which is just as it sounds, a bourbon distillery.  It was abandoned in 1974, and has been sitting here ever since.  Now it is the home to two different geocaches: a traditional and a virtual - gotta like two-for-one deals on cache locations!

The distillery is now run down and overgrown, with english ivy growing all over many of the buildings.

Just a short way down from the distillery is the gravesite of Joshua M McQueen, a revolutionary war veteren.  He lived to a ripe old age of 106, which is pretty dang impressive.

A few miles down the road is the capitol of Kentucky.  Outside of the capitol building is a large floral clock.  Apparently there are only 3 such clocks in the world: Frankfort KY, Niagara Falls, ON, and Edinburgh Scotland.  I have now seen two of the three.  Someday I hope to see the third.

All in all it was a decent day on the road, and full of interesting sights and sounds.  The kids travelled pretty well, especially Abigail.  We settled into the hotel for the night and had ourselves a full weekend of adventures.  Stay tuned for more details.  Until then here are a few more pics from our day:

A county road in Kentucky.

Ivy growing in a broken window at the distillery.

To give a sense of scale, the minute hand is 20.5 feet long.

Kentucky State Capitol building in Frankfort KY.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Geocaching Adventures: Tunnel Rat

Today  I headed out to find a cache that on a map is in the middle of the road... without crossing any lanes of traffic.

Another way to look at it is that I decided to beat the heat wave by heading underground.

I can report success for both these goals.

The cache in question requires traversing a storm drain tunnel under a 4 lane divided boulevard.  I have never done a cache like this, and being a large sized dude, storm drain spelunking seems to go against the general comfort zone of confined spaces, but I figured, whats the worst that can happen?
The entrance to the tunnel
I was able to walk upright in the tunnel, but it didn't give me a lot of headroom.  The floor was dry and cracked.  At several points other 2 ft pipes joined the tunnel - I assume these lead to grates in the road way above.  Surprisingly one cannot really hear the traffic driving above.

The cache was half way down the tunnel - a small bison tube hanging from some wire - and once found I continued to the far side to see what was there.  So if you've never seen the far side of a large storm drain tunnel before... here is one example:
The other side - definitely more "urban" scenic.

My sample size of one says: always go to the other side - you never know what you will discover.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Horse Farm For Young Children

Today I chaperoned a field trip for my sons pre-school class.  The destination was a horse farm on the outskirts of town.  My wife and newborn daughter also came along.

We spent the morning feeding goats, going on pony rides, and getting a hay ride - quite the adventurous day for a 2.5 year old toddler.

We had a bit of down-time between each activity, so I took a few photos.

A good back scratch after a hard morning of giving rides to children.

Yours Truly and the Zekester on the hay ride.

Chickens are basically modern day velociraptors.  Don't turn your back.  We had McNuggets for lunch.

The rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains makes a great location for a horse farm.


Wednesday, May 09, 2012

What Was Almost Awesome (A Tale Of Thwarted Schemes)

 The following is a true story on how my daughter was almost an alien.  Only the names were changed to protect the innocent (in this case, there are none, but in the event future revisions add an innocent person, we'll call him Charles (unless his name *IS* Charles, then it will be Jorge Ricardo Dominguez Esq.)).

It all started about 7-ish months ago when we found out that my wife was having a daughter.  We needed a name for said daughter.  Long before our first was born we had picked the name Abigail as a first name for a girl, but we still needed a middle name.

I suggested the name Leeann, and for a while my wife seemed to agree with it.  That is, of course, she became wise to my scheme.  Her suggested name contained a secret double meaning.  You can hear it by saying her name with emphasis on different syllables.   Let me spell it out for you (since you can't hear text):

Abigail Leeann
A Big Ail lee ann
A Big Alien

 It is especially fitting since her parents are classed by the US Government as "Resident Aliens" (if you doubted that aliens exist, rest assured that we do live among you). To me this was the height of hilarity.  My wife, annoyingly, disagrees.  Proving once again that although she is clearly my better half, I remain the funny one.

Once my wife figured out my nefarious plans, she immediately put the kibosh on the extra-terrestrial moniker and exercised her veto rights on her offsprings name. Her position would not budge... not one little bit.   So let this be a lesson to you budding fathers out there: If you come up with an awesome name for your offspring with a hidden double meaning, do not tell the mother the nature of the hidden double meaning until after the birth certificate is signed.

So this is as close as I am going to get to having A Big Alien:

All right, fine.  She'd be a small alien, but she'll eventually get bigger.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Lenoir Cruise

During the warmer months, Lenoir NC holds a classic car cruise on the first Saturday of every month.  Many of the downtown streets are closed and lined with hundreds of classic cars.

This evening we checked out the action.  My parents are in town, and they came with.  Dad was starting to re-live his youth.  It was... disturbingly nostalgic.

These are some pics I took of the cars.  I'm still working on figuring out how to master my camera.

Punch Bug!

Not all the cars are fully restored...

Dad beside a car that is one year off from his fathers very first automobile.

Zeke looking for Papa with his "binoculars"

Friday, May 04, 2012

Our Front Porch

Yesterday evening we spent relaxing on our front porch, for the first time... ever.  Normally we go to the back yard to chill and let Zeke play.  Until my wife recovers from her c-section the back yard is inaccessible to her because it is either a) down stairs, or b) down a hill - both things expressly forbidden by her doctor.

So we went to the front yard.  The following are some images from yesterday.  We expect many more evenings spent out here.


Gratuitous use of baby pics!


Guard dog.

Big brother loving on his baby sister.