Sunday, May 17, 2009

Volkswalking and geocaching (May 2009)

Both hands of the clock on the wall are now to the right of the 12 at the top. It is now early Sunday morning. J and Ayla are both sleeping in the front bedroom.

I will try to recount events from the past few days. We left Springfield on Thursday morning around 10 am driving west. When we got to Joplin we took the northbound exit on to Rangeline. As soon as we left Joplin we were in Webb City. We drove to the Kum & Go store at the intersection of Madison and a major east-west thoroughfare, whose name I can’t recall at this time. At the Kum & Go store we registered for the 5K walk. We had to then drive to the start point which was about a mile away.

We parked at the Chamber of Commerce building. Our closest geocache, a virtual cache, was right where we were. A virtual cache has no hidden aspects; rather you gather information and send it by e-mail to the cache owner. There were six questions, the answers to which could be found by looking around.

The next nearest cache, according to my GPS receiver, was just a little over a tenth of a mile away. We walked to it using my receiver, which told me the distance to the cache and the direction to walk toward. The receiver has a digital arrow which points toward the cache. This cache is located at the foot of a statue of praying hands. When you get within a tenth of a mile to the cache, the receiver goes from miles to feet. It jumps from .10 miles to 500 and something feet. The closer you get to the cache, the smaller the number of feet remaining to get to the cache. If you are walking away from the cache, you will know because the reading of the distance to the cache will start increasing.

This cache was at the base of the statue inside a gap in the foundation. There were many gaps such as the one I searched in, but since I was so close to zero on my reading, I started searching at that point. It was in the second spot I searched. I carefully climbed down from the statue. I had to traverse a bit of terrain where there were no sidewalks, just bare ground on a slope.

The third cache was at some distance away. Since we were close to the start point of the volkswalk, we began the walk. The walk took us thru the city of Webb City, past some stately old home, and around a rock quarry filled with water. The distance walked was 3.1 miles (or 5K).

I did not realize it at the time, but I got a sunburn while on the walk. The burn is mostly on my neck and the back of my legs. (I was wearing shorts at the time.) When we finished the walk, we headed to the area where the third and final cache for the day was hidden. It was located not far from the Joplin Regional Airport.

The clue for this cache was “I never promised you a rose garden.” When I got to the area where my GPS receiver led me, I noticed some rose bushes. These bushes had some mean-looking thorns on them. I did not want to bloody my hand trying to find a cache, so I peered carefully into the bushes at ground zero. Seeing nothing, I looked around at nearby objects. Eventually, I saw something reflect in some tall grass next to the rose bush. I reached my hand in the grass and came up with a tin canister. I had found the cache! It was my 194th find.

Although there are plenty of caches in the Tulsa area, I like to seek caches when I am away from home. Later on this summer, we are going to visit the Lovelaces (my sister-in-law) near Troy, Missouri. I hope to be able to go to Springfield, Illinois and hunt for caches there. My main reason for wanting to go to Springfield, IL is to see the presidential museum and library recently built for Abraham Lincoln.

Today, we went on another YRE volkswalk. This walk starts at the YMCA near LaFortune Park. As we were finishing up the walk, we spotted Nick, Jen, Ayla, and Luke. They had just registered for the walk. This walk goes thru a residential neighborhood in the area. This walk was number 224 for me. I need only one more walk, and I will have completed the book.

I have viewed lectures 1 and 2 in a series of lectures by Jeanette Norden published by The Teaching Company. The series is titled “Understanding the Brain.” It is fascinating stuff. I checked out the DVDs from the Tulsa Library.

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