Thursday, February 26, 2015

Scenes From A Snow Commute

 I love winter.  I can't get enough of it.  This is mostly due to the fact that here in North Carolina I only get 5% of the winter that I had gotten used to having when I was growing up in Canada.

Also because I get to mix it with my other passions that I have developed since I've moved to North Carolina. In this case, cycling.

Not to mention the world gets very pretty when its covered in a nice layer of fluffy white stuff.

Last night was one of the few snowfalls we have gotten this year, so I was anxious to get up this morning, hop on my bike, and ride to work.

I only brought along my cell phone (a Moto X) to capture some of the views.  It isn't my best camera, but it ended up performing better than expected.

So, in no particular order, are some scenes from my wintery commute to work.  We'll start with this old house that sits at an intersection in my neighbourhood.
This is Lower Creek Baptist Church.  Normally I turn just before I get to this church, but I decided to drive by to see it all decked out in snow and frost.
This shot is looking up the hill on Powell Street.  At the top of the hill is the back of Lower Creek Baptist Church.  At the bottom, where I took this shot from, is the entrance to the Greenway - the local bike path I use for part of my commute.
My bike, dubbed the Geobike Of Destiny, at a trail marker along the Greenway.
If you stood where the bike is in the above photos, and looked right, you'd see this next scene.  It is the trees beside United Presbyterian Church.  I love the look of the snow covered trees.
This is the corner of Harper Ave and Pennton Ave. (the truck is on Harper).  From the end of the Greenway, I take Pennton Ave most of the way to work.
This is the town snow plow (as far as I know it is the only one, tho I could be wrong).  This shot was taken further down Pennton Ave.
This is the entrance to the Greenway.  For reference, I was in the middle of this crosswalk when I took the photo of Powell Ave (scroll up a few photos).   My route takes me the opposite way, however.
This last shot is taken from the Greenway, looking back from where I come from.  This part of the Greenway skirts around a corn field.   As you can see from my tire tracks I was the first person to use the Greenway this morning.

So that was my adventure for the morning. Because I left the house early I also arrived at work early (tho not as early as expected as I ended up stopping for a lot of photos).  It ended up being an awesome ride, and will satisfy me until the next snow fall, which may not be until next year.

Snow Days? I laugh at thee!

Apparently, due to roads too dangerous to drive cars on, schools in Caldwell County North Carolina are closed today.

I guess this is another good reason why everyone should get a bike.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

GeoGearHeads: Lego Edition

GeoGearHeads is one of my favourite geocaching related podcasts.  I have guest hosted on the show many times, and cached with the two main hosts, DarrylW4 and The Bad Cop, in person, so I have a personal connection with the show.  They are also the only geocaching related podcast that focuses on the technical side of geo-location based games, so the tech geek in me enjoys that side of the show as well.

I was playing around a bit with Lego and GIMP, as I am wont to do, and one of my minifigs reminded me of The Bad Cop, and another could be passed off as DarrylW4 (tho the hair is wrong - the real life DarrylW4 keeps his shorter), so I decided to spin my creative juices and come up with some fan art.

So I give you, the GeoGearHeads: Lego Edition

The GeoGearHeads record their show live every Thursday at 9:10 Eastern time, and you can check them out at

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Hockey Night In Carolina: Maple Leafs Edition (part 3)

Final post of pics from Friday's Maple Leafs game (see here and here for the rest.)

Hockey Night In Carolina: Maple Leafs Edition (part 2)

I had so many pictures from the Maple Leafs game this weekend that I decided to post some more of them. (click here for the first post).

NC Civil War Geotrail

is coming...

Hockey Night In Carolina: Maple Leafs Edition

Last week, a North Carolina geocacher by the name of ncbiscuit invited my wife and I to join her and her husband in Raleigh to see the Carolina Hurricanes play the Toronto Maple Leafs in the sport of kings:  hockey.

I jumped at the chance, as the Maple Leafs are hockey royalty in my homeland, and I've never seen them live.

The following are some shots I took from the stands (I only took 850 photos in total, so my options were limited, but these are some of the best - not bad for having middle tier seats, if I do say so myself).  We'll start with the 'Canes mascot, Stormy.

In what has become the tradition of sports teams from Toronto, the leafs proudly and boldy reached for the stars and took second place in the competition.  The final score: Leafs 1, Hurricanes 2.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Personal Geocaching Map

A few months ago I discovered that a geocacher by the name of Cajun Abear makes these awesome custom maps based on ones geocaching history.  I contacted him about making my own map to celebrate my 4000th find milesone, and he just put the finishing touches on it last night.

This is, honestly, one of the coolest geocaching souvenirs I've ever heard of, let alone got my hands on.

Here is that map (click to see an larger version):

As you can see it has an incredible amount of detail about my caching career, including:

- Mega events I've attended.

- My extreme caches (farthest north/south/east/west, 5/5's, highest/lowest elevations).

- Milestones

- Delorme challenges.

- First to find of each cache type.

- Most number of cache types found in the same day.

- My three largest geocaching road trips (my personal favourite panel)

The cool thing is that these maps are made for free, tho a small donation to help pay for his software is requested.  He just does it for the love of making maps, and to give back to the geocaching community.

If you would like to get your own map, you can start here:

The generated map is large enough for an 18x14in print, so I am going to find a place to get this printed off.  It is going to look awesome on my office wall.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Tale Of The First Lamp Post Cache

This story recounts the true tale of a man. A hairy man. A jolly man. A fat man (no, not *that* jolly fat man!). This man goes by the name of G. O. Cacher. He is, of course, Canadian. 

At the time this story is set he has only recently been blessed with the knowledge of obscure objects called caches; stashed in the secret places of the world. His newfound mission is to seek out these objects. He has only found a few so far, but he waits with anticipation of more adventures.

Alone he sits in the dark comfort of his living room, when such a racket that has never befallen him before rang forth, shattering the peaceful quiet of his domicile. That sound indicates the birth of a brand new container hiding in the world. That sound was a notification from Lackeys Of Groundspeak. A new geocache has been born.

Intrigued with the possibilities a brand new cache may bring, he suits up and heads out the door. Thus a new adventure begins.
The hunt leads him to the parking lot of yonder Aldi. It was quiet... too quiet. The wind blows through his hair. The search for the mystery object begins.

In a 30 foot radius he begins to spiral inwards, looking under every rock and in every tree. Success, however, would elude him. 

Perplexed he reassesses the scene. There are trees, a few rocks, and a lamp post. The trees are empty, and the upturned rocks refuse to give up their secrets. There is nothing on the post... but maybe - just maybe - the lamp post holds more secrets than it lets on. 

A closer examination reveals that not everything is as it appears. Not everything is attached. The skirt moves. 

It lifts. 

Could it be? Yes! There is the sacred object he seeks!

Elation ensues. Caches are opened. Log books are signed. Containers are replaced. Success is declared. The adventure concludes.

As time passes our hero returns to the hunt again and again. Often sparring with his old nemesis: the crafty lamp post. Time and again he defeats this foe. Each time he remembers fondly his first encounter with the lamp post, and how sweet that conquest tasted. Wearily he now lifts those lamp skirts, all the while wishing he was back at his first time, the only time, when the lamp post cache was cool.

Ok, ok, the second time was still cool too.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

For The Birds: Snowfall Edition

Today North Carolina finally got a light covering of snow.  My bird feeders got a whole lot of action.  At times over 20 birds were fluttering around them.  I grabbed my camera and took a few shots.  I'm still figuring out my new camera, so please forgive the graininess in some of the shots.

Here be the birds:
And finally, an #AutoAwesomed view of what my feeders looked like today