Thursday, February 3, 2011

Geocaching and Thermal Meltdown

We made a real good decision to go to the Alamo and the Riverwalk last Sunday it was 75 degrees.

Monday we made plans to take another couple that we have met here geocaching. Their names are Tim and Roberta Dolan and they snowbird it from Connecticut. They travel in a Tiffin Allegro motorhome and are also motorcyclists and ride a Harley. 

Last Saturday we got on the subject of Geocaching and they were not quite sure what it was so I explained a little bit about what it was and what was needed to do it. We set up a time to go on Monday after lunch.

For those that may not know what geocaching is here is a quick explanation taken from the geocaching website.

“Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment”

I had found several active caches located close to the campground and preloaded our 3 handheld GPS devices with the coordinates. We then met Tim and Roberta and headed out to find our first cache. I wanted to pick caches that would be easy to find and pretty close to the road so we would not have to hike far.

The first cache was located right off the road and all four of us got out and started looking around the trees and brush. Now, part of geocaching etiquette is that the first one to spot the cache should just quietly move away from it and eventually let the others know that they have found it. This way, the others will be encouraged and will continue the hunt until all members of your party has the chance to locate it. We spent quite awhile looking for it and thankfully Roberta was the first one to find it. It is always great to have a new geocacher be the first one to spot it.

Here is Roberta with the first to find honors.


We headed to the next cache and it was located farther off of the road and would require a little bit more effort. We pulled off onto the side of the road on top of a big hill overlooking the Medina Lake. The GPS said we had to go about 300 feet into the woods. The only problem was that it was a very steep downhill with loose rocks. Max and Tim decided that they did not want to chance it with Max’s bad knee and Tim having some back issues. Roberta was up for the challenge so we headed down the slippery slope.

I know better than to do what we did, usually there is some kind of trail that was used to hide the cache. The path we took was too steep and took us too far down the hill. We had to bushwhack our way through some very thick brush, climb over a barbwire fence and climb and scratch our way back up another hillside. We knew that there was a better way to get to the cache and we figured that our way out would be easier.

We finally found the cache on the next ridge over. We probably bush wacked about a quarter mile and the path out to the road was a cinch.  Another lessoned learned.



This cache had a travel coin in it and I took it to take it back to show Tim and Max. Here Roberta is showing the coin. Max and I will move the coin to another cache around Houston.


Lake Medina view


We made it back to Tim and Max with a few scratches but otherwise unscathed. Roberta was determined to find the cache at all costs and now knows what bushwhacking means.

We went to one more cache that was close by and Tim and Roberta were able to find another one.


After caching the afternoon away we headed back to the campground and made plans to meet after dinner so we could show them how to enter the finds online and log the travel coin.  That evening we enjoyed several hours of visiting and getting to know each other. I think they have the Geocaching bug and a hand held GPS is in their future.

On Tuesday the weather dropped and the rest of this week the high here is only around 25 to 30 degrees. We plan on just hunkering down and try to stay warm. At least we do not have any snow yet, but San Antonio could get some on Thursday night. The last time it snowed here was in 1985.

I will need to get some more propane for the furnace this week and I took the precaution and put an electric heater in the basement to help keep the water lines from freezing. I also filled our water tanks and disconnected the water hose and we will use our stored water and pump.

I hope it warms up before we leave here next Monday. Stay warm!

Enjoy Your Day!

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