Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: Reluctantly, I started the long drive back home

Musings about Geocaching

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Reluctantly, I started the long drive back home

On the radio, the first thing I heard Monday morning was a weather report. The weatherman cautioned that a front was moving into the area and nighttime temperatures would be dropping into the 30s. That was a bit too cold for my sleeping bag, so, even though there were more caches to be searched for in the area, it was prudent to hit the highway.

Before commiting to the drive however, I went to The Raven coffee shop to use their WiFi connection. I used it the day before, but from my car sitting outside parked at the curb. The Raven looked like such a cool place, I needed to go inside to check out all its attributes so I could create a Waymark when I got home.

I downloaded my Tracks from the GPSr and created a route in Mapsource for my drive from Prescott to Quartzite and on to Brawley and home. Using the "Arc/Poly" filter option in GSAK, I "collected" only the caches along that route and loaded them into the GPSr.

As I got this "work" done, the chef came over and we talked for a while. He had recently arrived from Maine and had a distinct accent more intense than that of Stephen King. When he doffed his cap for a moment, the intensity of his coal black, thick curly hair took me aback.

Before leaving the coffee shop, I met another man who was, as an old boyfriend of mine used to say about certain people, a "real piece of work." That conversation gave me quite a bit to think about as I navigated towards Highway 89.

Before starting the long descent down, down, down the highway that goes through several different ecosystems from pine forests, to pinyon/juniper habitat, to scrub brush, to the low desert habitat accented by the odd-shaped, perfectly-adapted saquaro cacti, and further characterized by the ubiquitous creosote bush, I found a few caches, locating "Baby Barrel Cactus," "Manzanita Flat," and "See You Later, Alligator."

The further away from Prescott I got, the easier the caches were to find . . .

Finally I was on the divided, single-lane section of the road where the grade is very steep. I remember this section of the road from that trip almost 19 years ago because that was where I discovered the electric brakes on the horse trailer were not working . . . I slowed the old FOrd F-150 down and put the automatic transmission in the lowest gear it had. When the grade finally leveled off at the bottom, I think the horses breathed a sigh of relief as I did.

As the elevation decreased, the temperature went up, up, up. It was 70° in Prescott when I left in the late morning. On the desert floor near Wickenburg, the temperature was in the low 90s.

Although I needed to get to where the nighttime temperatures were warmer, when I started out that morning, I didn't intend to drive the entire distance home that day . . . I wanted to continue the adventure. However, it was hot in the desert and not comfortable for camping. Plus, I had put so many miles on the car, it was due for an oil change.

In Quartzite, I stopped to visit the Virtual cache at Hi Jolly's tomb, a site I visited, and photographed, many years ago when I was working in the area as a field biologist for an Environmental Consulting firm.

Even the harsh desert heat and sun, and the scouring winds, haven't changed the monument over all these years. The pyramid looked the same as I remembered it.

Soon I was back in California, following the narrow Highway 78 from Blythe to Brawley and into El Centro.

I got to the Glamis Sand Dunes at the perfect time for photography.

Finally, after a brief stop to find a lamppost cache in Brawley, and another stop to get the information for a Virtual cache, "Headgate," in El Centro, I got on the Interstate and finished the drive home . . . arriving well after midnight . . . glad to be able to stop and go to sleep, but sorry the "road trip movie" was over.

I feel much more "alive" and more like "me" when I am on the road, constantly presented with new scenes and distractions.


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