Friday, March 25, 2011

Geocaching - Northern Delaware

My wife is down in Florida for 5 days with a few friends at a nice resort indulging her passion - tennis. The kids have school today. The weather was forecast for cool and blustery, but clear and dry. All of which can only mean one thing... take a vacation day and go geocaching!

It has been a difficult couple of months as far as my geocaching goes. Lots of bad weather, persistent snow accumulations on the ground, being busy with work, and lots of kids events and activities have all combined to make it tough to find a decent chunk of time to get out and do this. Today was a chance to do exactly that.

The Plan

As I have complained about before... the area around home is not exactly a hotbed of geocaching activity, and I have worked the area over pretty well, so a day aimed at racking up some numbers needs to be accomplished farther away. Northern Delaware fits the bill perfectly, as there are a substantial number of active cachers who keep the area well stocked with things to find, and I have barely scratched the surface of what's available there. Other than the one day in early January with Dave and my girls in this area, my Delaware caching has been concentrated on clearing out just about everything north of Wilmington. The triangle formed by approximately Wilmington, Hockessin and Newark (and further south) is loaded with targets. So that's where I was headed.
Like I have done before, I printed out a map of the area, focused in on a few areas, and made sure to check and see which caches might be missing or not desirable to go after for some reason. The resulting map has a number of clusters of caches highlighted, with the specific targets highlighted in orange. Each of the areas outlined in red had an accompanying satellite photo printed out, which does wonders for finding the right side streets and places to park...

The Execution

8:15am - Grace is on the bus and I am leaving the neighborhood. I need to be back home by no later than 1:30 to make sure there is no way I am going to be late to pick up Julia. So I have 5 hours and 15 minutes.
8:16am - I realize I threw on convenient shoes to drive Julia to school earlier and am not wearing my hiking shoes. U-turn and back to the house.
8:25am - Let's try this again. Wearing the proper shoes, I leave the neighborhood for the second time in 10 minutes.
8:55am - Thirty minutes after leaving home I am getting off I-95 near the Christiana Mall. I make my first find moments later. Woo hoo! I'm geocaching!
9:00am - Second cache found a few hundred yards away in the same commercial area. The plan has the earlier part of my day being a lot of park and grabs, and the second part being more walking around in parks.
9:01am - Uh oh. As I am signing the log on the second cache, my cell phone rings and it's the nurse from Grace's school. Grace is there complaining of a cough and tummy ache and wants to come home. Ack! I've been geocaching for a grand total of approximately 5 minutes at this point.
9:05am - I've had a nice conversation with the nurse. Grace does have a cough and clearly isn't feeling 100%, but the nurse thinks that she is playing us a little bit since I sent in a note with my cell phone number on it since I knew she had been coughing a lot and wanted to make sure they knew where to reach me since Amp was away and I wouldn't be at home or work. The nurse said she would keep her in the office lying down for 20 minutes and then call me back.
9:06am - I am very disappointed. I figure I now have 19 minutes left to complete my caching day before being called back to get Grace. If I can get to 5 finds I will be lucky. I had planned for 25 in my mind.
10:00am - I am about an hour in, have found 7 caches, and the nurse never called back. Things are looking up after all. Yay for the no-nonsense nurse.
11:00am - 14 caches so far, but I am done the park and grab section and am off to Carousel Park, which has a bunch I want to do, including finding a puzzle I solved back in January and looked for in the snow but couldn't find.
11:20am - I looked for that puzzle in the snow for almost an hour and never could find it. Now I know why. I walked right up to it today. It took no time at all. But under 4 inches of snow it would have been very very tough to find. I know that NOW...
12:30pm - I have found a total of 8 caches in the park, had a nice long walk doing it, and am going to head for home a little earlier than I need to with 22 caches found.
12:45pm - OK, one more. Just one. Now I'll head for home with 23, which is where I end the day.
1:20pm - Home. Muddy. Scratched up. A little bit chilly and wind-burned. Very hungry. But a great day. I really really enjoyed getting out for 5 hours and finding as much as I could. Maybe I can find a babysitter for the girls and do it again tomorrow! Nah. That's probably not a great idea...
Some numbers for the day. 23 caches. 2 puzzles and 21 traditional. 4 regular size, 5 small, 8 micro and 6 "not chosen" or "other".

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a good day. Hooray for the no-nonsense nurse. :-)