Adventures in Geocaching

Four fat people attempting to geocache. Hilarity ensues.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

I know, it's been too long. I could give you a lot of excuses for that one but the only one that matters is the Zen Bassmasters haven't been caching. Lots of reasons for that too but they're too boring to go into here.

Anyway, so you'd know I hadn't died, I thought I'd pop in here and write up some Resolutions for 2008.

1. Finish logging my finds from 2007: I think I still have some from June I never got around to.

2. More hides: Every time I go to the Elk River Coffee Shop in Fayetteville, I read some more of the History of Lincoln County book and I find a few new potential caches in the series. Unfortunately, I never seem to have these epiphanies when I have my GPSr and a nano with me.

3. Keep GPSr and nano with me anytime I go to Elk River Coffee...

4. Get to more events: For some people it's about the numbers. For some it's about the exercise. For me, it was always about the people. I've met some awesome folks in both Tennessee and Alabama since I started doing this and I've lost touch with most of them. Yeah, I hit an occasional event here and there, the most recent being MonkeyBrad's excellent Royal Order of the Sleepless Knights, but I need to work on getting to more down in Alabama. Poor Saintseester could probably use a hug after her Saints turned back into the Ain'ts this season. And I've learned it always pays to keep an eye on those nasty hobbits Cacheburns and Rick618, if only because we're the only ones who seem to know how dangerous they really are.... Besides, Rick's old lady is way cool.

5. Cache in and around Auburn: Part of the reason for our absence is the loss of our taskmaster, Vorin, who had the nerve to be supportive of his wife's ambition and move away from us. Some people's priorities are all screwed up... Anyway, Auburn presents a whole other part of Alabama as yet unspoiled by the Boys from Mordor, so I'm thinking a field trip might be in order.

6. Put a cache up in my yard: Reason #2 for our absence is that Ash and I bought a house. Who knew one little move could disrupt one's routine for so long? I know my bison tubes are around here somewhere, lurking in a box in our garage along with the camo duct tape, but if I go out there to look for it, Ash might expect me to unpack something and we can't have that...

7. Hide a cache in Alabama: Now that Alabama has a new reviewer, I can lift my embargo on hides in the state. Wonder if I can finally get my cemetery cache approved...

8. Write at least one more blog in 2008: Hey, at least I'm being realistic...


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Webcomic Debut

We don't have all the bells and whistles up yet for the site, but the first comic is there, updated weekly on Sunday. Enjoy.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Zen Bassmasters: The Next Generation

Several months ago, I made an excuse for the lack of updates here. The excuse was that I have been working on a top-secret project with a friend that was going to take the Zen Bassmasters geocaching adventures into a totally different type of media.

Considering how long it's been between that post and this one, I'm sure most of you have given up on me. Oh, ye of little faith... While we're not completely ready to begin the next chapter in the Zen Bassmasters Experience, we're close. Very, very close.

So, for the readers who have stuck with me through the inactive period, I'm giving you the first look at the new venture.

Meet "Zen Bassmaster Adventures."

Yep, the Zen Bassmasters have now gone graphical. As far as we've been able to tell, we are the first geocaching webcomic anywhere.

Zen Bassmasters Adventures is a two-man operation. I am doing the writing and anyone who has read the blog will recognize some of the capers in the comic as very familiar. But the real talent here, as evidenced above, is the other half of this team, Brian Bullock. He's Mad Mike's nephew and some of you may remember him as an occasional guest star in the blog.

For right now, we're anticipating a once weekly update schedule. I have hopes for that to increase but Brian has, quite unreasonably in my opinion, insisted that he be allowed time in his week to work, sleep, eat, and socialize. The nerve of some people.

We're still working out the details of where the comic will be posted. Right now we're leaning toward Comics Genesis but that's not decided. I hope we'll have that decided in the next two to four weeks (I'm going to be out of town a lot in the next month so getting together to decide these things has been difficult) and I promise you that this will be the very first place I'll come to give everyone the URL. Keep checking in. I promise you Brian's art is worth it.

While I'm sure this doesn't make up for weeks of inactivity and neglect of my readership, I hope it helps soften the blow. I hope some of you will shoot me a comment and let me know what you think of the first comic. It's a work in progress.

Until next time, happy caching.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Fun with Google

I keep a counter at the bottom of this blog which gives me the ability to see where folks who visit here click in from. Aside from all of the normal traffic from my buds at the Dixie Cachers forum, I also get quite a few hits from folks who find me through google searches.

I always find this interesting. It's really fun to see what kind of searches cause people to find my blog. It will come as no surprise to anyone who, like me, is married to a geocoin ho that the most common search to bring me visitors is "custom geocoin." My one little post about a Zen Bassmasters geocoin brings me 1-5 referrals a week. Big business that.

What is more fun is the plethora of odd little phrases or saying that I've used that seem to get searched for. I've gotten several hits from folks searching for "children's music cd" due to my post about caching with my nephews, and the musical hell that accompanied it. I also occasionally get a referral from various searches involving Huntsville. No surprise there since I talk about Huntsville a lot.

But today, I got the oddest Google hit I have ever gotten, or imagine I will ever get. It was so strange, that it has taken over my mind and consumed my day, trying to figure out exactly what the hell the person doing this search was looking for.

Someone had gone into Google to search for "Monte Sano" boobs.

Monte Sano boobs? Can someone please tell me what in the world that means? Why would someone be searching for that? If I had to vote on two separate phrases that I wouldn't think about going together, "Monte Sano" and "Boobs" would be up there.

I mean, I certainly understand how this blog ended up with a high ranking for that search. If our geocaching adventures were ever made into a Samuel L. Jackson movie, it would almost certainly be called "Boobs on a Mountain." Additionally, being fat folks, there is no shortage of "boobs" on display. One set of rather attractive ones sported by my wife Ashlynne and four sets of not-so-attractive "manboobs" sported by the rest of us.

But that doesn't answer the bigger question. What did a person want to know about that would cause him to search for "Monte Sano" boobs? I mean, I can certainly understand searching for boobs on the internet. I've done it myself on a few occasions. Boobs abound on the net, in pretty much every shape, size, and scenario imaginable. But boobs on Monte Sano? I can't say I've ever thought about that.

Ever curious and willing to go to the ends of the Earth (or at least to the ends of my keyboard) to do factual research for my readers, I did a Google image search for "Monte Sano" boobs. Ashlynne swears this "research" is an excuse to look at porn, but I deny that vehemently.

Oddly, there aren't a lot of image results for "Monte Sano" boobs. There are 10 in total. The first one is just black. The second is some random image about a lunatic. The third is this blog... None are pornographic in any way (no, I don't have safe search on, and no, that doesn't prove Ash's theory that I am searching for porn... much).

This is bugging me like that Lewis Black joke about the horse. It turns in your mind and you can't shake it. Why "Monte Sano" boobs? Why not "Monte Sano" Mons Veneris? Or "Monte Sano" cervix? Or perhaps "Monte Sano perineum? Why boobs? And why, for pete's sake, on Monte Sano?

Hopefully the person who did this search will look again, and will see this blog again. If so, please save me having a stroke and shoot me a message telling me what exactly you were looking for. I'm truly curious.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Saying Goodbye to a Bassmaster...

It is with great sadness that I have to report to you the death of a founding member of the Zen Bassmasters.

Gryphon's Van, affectionately known as the "Bassmobile" to ZB fans everywhere, perished today at the Farrar Vehicle Clinic after a short battle with cancer of the transmission. After collapsing just outside of Petersburg yesterday afternoon, the Bassmobile was rushed to the Clinic and placed on life support. After doctors diagnosed her, it was decided that only a transmission replacement could save her and Gryphon made the decision to take her off life support.

"She was the most underappreciated member of this team," Gryphon was quoted today as saying. "She faithfully carried five people whose combined weight went well over 1400 lbs all over creation for over a year. Her suspension suffered a lot at the end."

Indeed, one of the more recognizable and crowd-pleasing portions of the Zen Bassmasters' arrival at any geocaching event was the ritual negotiation of the speed bumps. Gryphon reminisces, "I used to get stopped by kids who thought it was cool that we lowered the minivan. I had to tell them it was just from all the weight."

Perhaps the Bassmobile's most lasting legacy was the invention of the "Semi-Circular Course Correction", and her execution of it is still considered by experts to be the most perfect form of this maneuver. "It was like second nature to her. She just seemed to want to turn around. It was like she was born to it."

2000 Plymouth Grand Voyager
aka "The Bassmobile"
b. May 2003, 42k miles
d. June 2007, 169k miles
At One with the Bait...

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Temporary Leave of Absence

Sorry, I should have posted this earlier instead of making all of you wait wondering where we were.

The blog has been and probably will be on hiatus for a bit. I just finished a huge project at work that took up all my spare time and left me too tired to geocache on the weekends. Then we've had a series of medical issues with various family that has kept me running there, still without caching. The wife's having her gall bladder out on Thursday after many weeks of pain and suffering so that's probably a few more weeks that she's not going to feel up to caching.

So long story short, it may be a bit. If we do anything in the meantime that has good pictures, I'll post them, but for now, don't expect anything and you won't be disappointed.

Sorry to just drop off like this but as a very good friend of mine says often "real life trumps game." Don't worry. We'll be back, eventually, and when we are, I'll write it all up here. I may even have time to hide a couple during my hiatus (oddly enough, my busy schedule and the medical stress has left me too tired to want to hunt caches, but has not dampened my passion for hiding them at all. It's dampened my time, some, but not the desire.)

Until I see you again, Gryphon out.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

This Week in Pictures

We DNF'd geocaching this week but we got a smilie at the Flying Saucer in Nashville.

As promised on our non-caching weeks, we took the camera along for a week in pictures.


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Monday, April 02, 2007

In Absentia

Hooray! Got my computer back up and running... just in time for the Bassmasters to take an Easter break from caching.

For weeks like this most recent one where we do mostly uneventful micros (albiet 21 of them a ZB record) I'm not going to write a traditional blog since, as I've said before, it's tough to make "it's on a guardrail" funny more than a couple of times.

On the weeks when I do miss blogging, I'm hoping to fill the gaps by giving you one or more noteworthy pictures from the day. Have fun with them. Caption them in the comments section, discuss them freely, photoshop them so that Tserof is wearing a dress. It's all good.

This week, you get Vorin and Tserof at Burger Boy in Winchester during our most recent cache run, doing their best impersonation of Kobayashi by attempting to tackle the One Pounder.


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Monday, March 19, 2007

I Promise, I have a Reason...

Yes, I know I've been absent. I know I've been negligent. I know I promised a full write-up and haven't delivered. But I have a good reason. Actually, I have two. A nasty case of bronchitis, which makes doing anything but concentrating on breathing laborious and a dead c0mputer. I'm signed in on the wife's box right now to send this, but it's all you get until my new box comes in. This is not my chair, this is not my mouse, this is not my keyboard. I cannot work under these conditions! *stomps away like a diva*

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Living in an Island Paradise- The Expurgated Version

I know some of you are probably looking for a breakdown of Monday's Island Paradise Meet and Greet. Trust me, I plan to give you one... eventually. Be patient and trust me that anything I write now will be short, boring, and probably nonsensical. Lots of reasons for that which I won't get into here other than to say that Martin, Tn. is a LONG bloody way from home (or from anywhere, for that matter)...

Until then, here is the video that Saintseester put together. She did an awesome job with it and I think you'll be pleased.

I'll be back with the full rundown at another time, when I think my mood is such that I can do justice to Saintseester's masterpiece. That time isn't now, though, so check back later.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

From the Mouths of Babes

I don't usually cross-promote here but you have to go check out Saintseester's most recent blog entry where her daughter attempts to explain geocaching for a class project.

"Sometimes they're easy and sometimes they're really hard and sometimes there's treasure inside!"

If I had to explain the meaning of life to someone, I'd be hard pressed to do better than that.

I do have to say that I missed the Hot Pink Walking Stick of DOOM!!!

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Ladder and an Apology

For a week where I've done no caching, it's definitely been an eventful one, so I thought I'd share with you guys since I don't have any silly caching tales for you.

First, an apology. As my wife will tell you, apologies are not something I do often or particularly well. But this one is due...

Over the course of my blogging career, I have poked fun numerous times at Tennessee's reviewer, Maxcacher. Partially as a reviewer and partially as his caching alter ego JoGPS. In truth, I've met Joe a few times at events and he's always been very gracious and kind in answering our hide questions. Still, since he's a good sport, I've played it up, calling him the "Review Nazi" and the Spanish Inquisition. Well, after the experience of submitting my first three hides in Alabama, I have a new nickname for Maxcacher. "The Good Reviewer."

Over the last three weeks, we've hid a bunch of caches. 5 have been submitted in Tennessee, all published without comment or questions (not uncommon as I am known for writing virtual novels in the reviewer notes section, describing the cache type, the hide, the permissions, what I had for dinner, etc). I also submitted three caches in Alabama. That's where I got some perspective.

The first one, Semi-Circular Course Correction, wasn't so bad. I got questioned about putting a cache on a roundabout, traffic levels, etc. No big deal. It was kind of confusingly worded and it was my first cache in Alabama so I expected it. It got published on the second run.

The second cache, Books a Thousand, was supposed to be a dedication to the independent book seller. I mentioned the store it was hid in, Bookmark, once, less to advertise the business than to tell some of the more dense cachers out there (more on dense cachers in a bit) that the cache was within the boundaries of Bookmark's property. Don't wander over to the clothing store next door. It's not there.

As I suspected might be the case, the cache came back as a "Commercial solicitation" cache and I was told to modify it. This happened with our first cache in Tennessee too and just the removal of "go inside and have a cup sometime" was enough to get us by. Not here. To get it within the requested edits, I basically gutted the description down to "it's outside a bookstore. Go get it."

Those of you who have done a lot of my caches have to know how much that bothered me. I pride myself on creative cache descriptions, and have been accused of being too wordy at times. The listing, like the log, is where I feel people should put in lots of effort. I've seen ordinary guardrail caches made special with a good cache listing. I've put 1/1 micros on my list because the listing did something that made me chuckle or learn something. So having a generic cache description is against my better judgement, but at least the reviewer was within the cache listing guidelines. Anyway, it got published. Which brings me to the final Alabama cache.

Barely Legal was supposed to be a cemetery cache just across the state line into Alabama. I placed it both to thumb my nose at the stupid Tennessee law that has made cemetery caches illegal there and to acknowledge the good work being done by the MTGC to have it overturned (and making progress to that end, I might add).

No dice. While caches aren't "illegal" in Alabama, apparently they're on Alabama's reviewer's hit list. First I get the standard "tell me about the cache" e-mail. No problem. I've come to expect the Spanish Inquisition out of Alabama and I understand their concern about people not hiding a cache on top of a grave or something. I wrote back that it was hanging in the back fence of the cemetery, 10-20 feet from the nearest gravestone. Hidden amongst some vines growing within the fence, it wasn't going to be seen by muggles and certainly wasn't going to be mistaken for anything to do with the graveyard. I also mentioned that I had seen numerous other published caches with this same hide.

Big mistake from me. Now our reviewer had her submission guideline to throw at me. The old "another hide isn't precedent for this hide" rule. Fine. You caught me. But tell me where the cache itself violated the rules. What I got back was a) 10-20 feet was too close to a grave for her to feel "comfortable" publishing it because it might be disrespectful and b) some federal law might or might not prohibit cemetery caches. No decision has been made yet, cemetery caches are still being allowed, just not mine. I was told to hide it outside the cemetery, kind of defeating the purpose of a cemetery cache in the first place.

So, we're in a stalemate that I can't win. The cache is in temp archive while our reviewer awaits my word of moving the cache to suit her comfort level. I can't move the cache to suit her, but refuse to archive the cache myself on principle. I could ask for an appeal per the submission rules but I'm a realist. If a disputed cache goes onto the "reviewers forum" for a ruling, I have virtually no shot because a) it's one of their own vs. someone none of them knows squat about and b) she can defend her side on the forum while I can do nothing. No thanks, I'm not that attached to this cache.

So, if you're in the area and want to find the "cache that never was", shoot me an e-mail and I'll send you the coords. I can't give you a smiley, but it'll make me smile if that helps.

Now, on to the second part of my interesting week. The day after "Books a Thousand" got published, I get a DNF from a well-known cacher (who will remain nameless here because I think he likes the attention) in the area that read "wow, it only took one day for cachers to tear up the light fixture."

Needless to say, I got concerned. I couldn't remember any lights nearby that people could get at to destroy but I certainly didn't want the owner of this business, who trusted me enough to let me put a cache on her building, to think that one of us had torn up her lights.

So, I posted something on the Dixiecachers board and my old friend and evil hobbit Cacheburns came to my rescue. The reason I didn't remember the light is because the light in question is about 9 feet off the ground. Now what kind of moron grabs a 2/1 cache listing and thinks "I should get a ladder because this cache is obviously in the light 9 feet off the ground..."

At the time, I was pissed. I print off logs for businesses that let me hide caches so they can see what people are saying about them and build goodwill toward the community. Logs about destruction of property do not build goodwill.

Now, however, I think I am going to print that log off to take to the store owner. She can get a good laugh at it and it might help her decide to move some of her "Easy Reader" books to the front window, the easier to be seen by cachers in need of ladders...

As a final note, our other, "super secret" project is going, well, not swimmingly exactly, but it's treading water nicely. I got back my first "testers" from my partner last night and I think you guys are going to be happy when you see it. I can't say more than that just yet. I want to build suspense and allow you to "draw" your own conclusions...

Until next time...



Sunday, February 11, 2007


I know, it's been a while since I wrote anything here. Hopefully all my readers haven't abandoned me. I have three reasons for my absence, two of which will hopefully correct themselves in the next few weeks.

First, I've gotten a "promotion" at work. I put promotion in quotes because it is more like my job merged with someone else's job and I'm now doing all the work for both. I've been all over the state the last few weeks and haven't had much time to blog.

Second, we've mainly been doing urban micros lately due to a few of us not responding well to the cold and there's only so many ways you can make "it was a key hider under a lamp" funny or interesting. Granted, not being funny or interesting has never stopped me before, but you get the drift.

Third, and this is the part that I hope will make the delays worthwhile for you, a couple of Zen Bassmasters have been working on a new, top secret project that I'm really excited about and I hope you will be too. It's still geocaching related (and very related to this blog, at least initially) and will hopefully allow the Zen Bassmasters' peculiar form of mediocrity to take a new form of media by storm, or at least by scattered shower with an occasional thunderburst....

I promise you that you guys will be the first to hear about this new project as soon as it's ready. I just don't want to talk too much about it yet because it's a new realm for me (but not, fortunately, for the person working on it with me) and I want to make sure I don't screw it up before I send it out to the world.

Stay tuned...


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Journey Into the Heart of Mordor

Every so often, things just come together. The stars align, the auras are fluffy, and all just falls into place. Fortunately, this was the case for the first joint event from the Zen Bassmasters and the Fellowship of the Bling. We, along with the evil hobbit Cacheburns, had been planning this event for ages and at every step there seemed to be peril. The forecast was for cold, possible rain, and maybe even snow. Most of our MTGC pals had other commitments and couldn't make it, a large number of our Dixiecacher regulars were on the fence about whether they could attend or not until the day of the event, one of the Zen Bassmasters had just been diagnosed with a heel spur, another was just recovering from a severe ear infection, and two had gotten oral surgery that week. It seemed like the signs were all against us. We worried that no one at all would show up for the event and we'd be left to wander the caches of Well's Hill Park by ourselves (which, as Vorin rightly pointed out, is not really much of an event since we've done these caches 6 times now).

But all the worrying was for naught. As we prepared to meet Vorin and Mad Mike in the Zen Bassmaster "ready room", aka the Elk River Coffee Shop, to fortify our sick selves with caffeine and painkillers and to plan out the day, I began to get a flood of e-mail from the fence-sitters confirming their attendance. Saintseester, check. Cyrusel, check. Alabama Rambler, check. Things were looking up.

The Bassmasters arrived at the coffee shop and got ourselves caffeinated and then looked around and noticed that Tserof was missing. So we began what has become an almost weekly tradition for us. Calling Tserof 26 times until he wakes up and answers his phone. Now understand that I am not exaggerating much when I say that we call Tserof 26 times. Tserof could sleep through a Megadeth concert in his living room (more on that later) and it usually takes about that many times for us to a) be heard over his alarm that has been beeping unheeded for an hour and b) to make him finally realize that the Deadwood theme music he's hearing isn't a dream but a phone call from his annoyed teammates. We've got to work on getting that boy a curfew on the day before cache day.

Once we got Tserof awake and at the rendezvous point, we headed to Well's Hill Park to meet up with our event Co-coordinator Cacheburns. We began working out our plan to divide into groups and our other plan for Tserof, who wasn't interested in walking 3.5 miles today, when Keymaker and Vesole drove up, over an hour early. Greetings were made and I immediately began an attempt to lull them into a stupor with my boring caching tales so they wouldn't see the preparation going on behind me. Unfortunately, Keymaker has extensive experience caching with the Fellowship and displays a surprising immunity to being bored into a stupor with caching tales. Must be all those events with Toids. Sure enough, he immediately catches on when Cacheburns, Mad Mike, and Tserof leave in Tserof's truck and only Cacheburns and Mad Mike come back, a full hour later, without the truck or Tserof. He is suspicious so I have to come up with a story on the fly. It was like an episode of Whose Line is it Anyway as I attempted to not outright lie but to still conceal the nature of our work. I maintained that Tserof had been given the duty of "distributing water", which was technically true, and that his truck had been left by the crossroads to hold drinking water, which was definitely true. Keymaker couldn't understand why it took them an hour to drive halfway down the trail and walk back. For that I didn't have a good answer so I did what any good friend in a bad situation would do, I threw the hot potato to Vorin who caught it like a Division IV-B Freshman Wide Receiver and mumbled something about them doing "trail maintenance."

Why the secrecy? Because we were trying to hide the fact that Tserof was going to be stationed at the top of the main waterfall with a cache of water balloons to throw down as people showed up. He was instructed to grunt, growl, and act like a cave troll. As you'll see in a bit, this worked with limited success.

Finally they got back and we began the event in earnest. I gave a short presentation of the "real" history of Well's Hill Park, which was home to the nation's first gravity-feed city water system way back in 1892. Cacheburns then took over and gave a little speech about the history of the Zen Bassmasters/Fellowship feud. We then broke up into five groups to begin the tour of Mordor.

The five groups were each led by either a Zen Bassmaster or a Hobbit. The groups were Team White & Nerdy, led by Ashlynne, Team Warrior Clan, led by Mad Mike, Team Cacheburns, led by Cacheburns (wonderful creative name there, bud), a team led by Vorin which I never got a name for and so will heretofore be known as Team &, and my team, Team Shortbus, so named because we were the self-styled "remedial" team.

I didn't do a very good job of getting the names of who was one everyone's team so forgive me for that. Hopefully some of the others will post comments with their team rosters. Team Shortbus consisted of Saintseester, RN2B, Neoncacher, Eeeeee, Cheezehead, Where'sDib, Tasia, and our "shortbus driver", Rick618.

My team immediately became concerned as we walked toward the caches as they noticed that they had the only guide who didn't have a GPSr. There's only one in our household and the wife was using it. Not to worry, I said. I don't need no stinking GPS. Famous last words.

Rick618, being a noted Hobbit sympathizer, was immediately suspicious of everything (having spent too much time hanging out with duplicitous hobbit-y folk) and quizzed me mercilessly. He should have been a private detective as he quickly picked up on several clues that others missed. Where was Tserof? When I told him he was "distributing water", he didn't believe me. He noted that the event page mentioned at least five times that "you'll get wet" which he thought was overkill for stepping in some puddles and insisted that we were "laying traps somewhere". I tried to play innocent, knowing that our first scheduled cache was "Trolling for Trouble" which was the one where we had Tserof and the water balloons posted. He wasn't buying.

As we headed up the path toward Trolling for Trouble, I reverted to typical Zen Bassmasters behavior and got us on the wrong path. About halfway up it Neoncacher keeps insisting that we're moving away from Trolling. Sure enough, I took a right where I should have taken the straight path and had inadvertantly led us to "Seduce the Spider." Rick and Neoncacher made plenty of disparaging remarks about the quality of their guide as I tried to play it off as "all part of the act to give you the full Zen Bassmasters experience." While this is going on my "embedded reporter" Saintseester was recording everything on her camera for posterity.

Not much to say about Seduce the Spider. It's probably one of the two tougher climbs in the park so we sent our ringers, Rick, Neoncacher, Eeeee, and Cheezehead while the rest of us stood at the bottom and yelled up encouragement, or something like that.

From there I got us back on track and we headed for Trolling for Trouble. A few hundred feet away, Rick spots a massive, unmoving person-shaped thing on top of the falls. He is immediately suspicious. I try to play it off as a local until we get closer. RN2B notices it isn't moving at all and thinks we've put a scarecrow up there as part of the show. As we get a bit closer, she sees it's Tserof, but he's not moving at all. Sounds of light snoring travel down to us, echoing off the walls of the ampitheatre. Our "surprise" cave troll was asleep on the job. I try to make the save and start screaming in as loud a voice as possible "OH YEAH! THAT'S OUR PET CAVE TROLL FLUFFY! HI FLUFFY! GREET EVERYONE FLUFFY!" Finally, after I yell myself hoarse and our "scary surprise" has the team in fits of laughter, Tserof wakes up and remembers he's supposed to be working. He stands up, bellows, and throws the water balloons. About half don't break... Neoncacher officially becomes my favorite person of the day as he grabs one of the unbroken ones and returns fire, bouncing the still unbroken balloon off Tserof's chest. While he keeps the troll busy, Cheezehead scrambles up and gets the cache. We marvel at the beauty of the waterfall (pictures of which are available in previous blogs I believe) and begin our climb down. Dib develops a fear of falling at this point and is moving at roughly the pace of a dead snail. And for good reason as, just as I'm trying to tell him it's perfectly safe, Tasia slips and plants her seat directly into the cold water. She breaks a nail doing this, which ends up being the most serious injury of the day at the event (more on that later).

Before I move on to more Team Shortbus adventures, let me tell you some of what I heard from the other teams' encounter with the cave troll. Lewtercris, who was on Team &, got the worst of the splashing, as Tserof went to school with her and thought he could aim straight for her with no reprecussions. He was wrong as our team met that team, including a soaked Lewtercris, coming out and she walked up to me and said "Jason USED to be my friend..." and stalked away. But the worst cave troll incident of the day came from Team Warrior Clan as Tserof threw a water balloon straight at Cyrusel's seven year old daughter. The combination of the stressful climb, the bellowing fat "troll" at the top, and being pegged with water balloons was too much for the little thing and she began to cry. It got worse when Cyrusel picked her up to move her out of the line of fire... and set her down directly in a sink of mud up to her knees. Cyrusel's son helpfully declared it "quicksand" which didn't do much for the poor girl's state of mind. Fortunately, it had a good resolution as the "cave troll" yelled down apologies to the poor girl (as well he should) and she yelled up "I forgive you" as her mom led her out of the fire zone.

Team Shortbus was then supposed to move on to Shelob and the Cave Troll. But once again, their guide got turned around and we ended up at Nazgul's Nest. This is a pretty nasty climb as well (cacheburns route plan for the remedial team somehow had all the 4 terrain caches first. Coincidence? I think not) so we sent, I believe, Eeeeee and Cheezehead up for this one. Let me say here that, when they're well behaved as Cheezehead was, kids are awesome to cache with. They can climb things you wouldn't dream of climbing, balance on things that would break under you, and get their hands in holes that your fingers won't go in. He was a great help. Eeeeee, you got a good kid there.

We then moved on back to Shelob. Dibs and Saintseester didn't want to risk the climb to this one so I sneakily suggested they go sit right under a specific tree (where the final of the multi was) and the rest of us went up. Well, Rick, Neon, Eeeee, and Cheezehead went up. RN2B, Tasia, and myself stood at the halfway point and "supervised" them. When they got to the top Rick yells down "I thought this one was a multi". Apparently some members of Team & had gotten to the cache before us and proceeded to sign the paper containing the final coords... The only other thing of interest here was that we met Team & before we did this and brand new cacher Flyinggranny told us "You guys should be warned. Your UPS is useless back there." Many jokes were made for the rest of the day about the lack of overnight delivery services in brown trucks in Mordor (which is not technically true. Mordor uses the Black Rider Pony Express delivery service, whose motto is "when you absolutely, positively, have to have it before the Dark Lord's rise).

From here Rick had given up on my leadership and was trying to get the team to go find Mortality, which he showed as closer than Underground Railroad TB Hotwl. I insisted that I actually knew where all of the main trail caches were (which turned out to be not entirely true, more on that later) and that Mortality was on the way out so we should hit the back side caches first. They finally see the wisdom of this and we move on. The TB Hotel was an easy enough find. Unfortunately, a little kid muggle saw us putting it back and when another group went after it the contents had been dumped and the box taken. Little thieving bastard...

From there we went to get the first part of my Underground Railroad multi. Unfortunately, despite the fact that the cache is mine, I had forgotten where the first stage was hidden. I tried to pass it off as being mysterious, even attempting to barter the answer to California Frustration out of Rick for the answer to this cache, but Neoncacher found it before I could complete the barter.

From there we found the last part of Vorin's "Wells Hill Park" multi. At this point, Dibs is looking a bit peaked and I, knowing all too well the signs of someone not used to hiking who has pushed himself too far, begin to get worried. But Dibs was a trooper and made it out fine.

Our final two caches were Mortality and the end of Underground Railroad. Not much to report on these. Fairly easy finds. We walked back to the cars, tired but feeling accomplished. Turns out we were one of the few groups who didn't skip at least one cache. Not bad for the remedial team.

From there, everyone adjourned to La Fuente restaurant for good food and some awards presentations. We gave out the following awards;

Cave Troll Target- to Neoncacher for firing back and Lewtercris for getting wettest. We would have unanimously given this to Cyrusel's daughter but they didn't make it to the dinner. Neoncacher got an umbrella with a target painted on it and Lewtercris got an umbrella and poncho.

Pigpen Award- to Dibs, who was the only cacher to get dirty enough to have to change part of his clothes before the dinner. A dry day made all the difference here as the Zen Bassmasters trip in the rain last week had us all coming out looking like Al Jolson singing "Mammy". Got soap on a rope, homemade by my wife, Ashlynne.

Blind Man's Bluff- Given to Alabama Rambler who was veered away at the last minute from trekking down a steep ravine in search of a cache that was 15 feet in the other directions. Given a blindfold and earplugs.

Vorin's Red Badge of Courage- given to Tasia, who suffered the worst "injury" of the day, breaking a nail. She got a first aid kit. We also gave Saintseester an honorable mention and a flashlight for breaking a very expensive looking camera lens.

Awards were also given to Flyinggranny and Lewtercris for being our newest cachers, and an award to Last Chance for being the cacher with the most finds.

We also gave a special "honorary Zen Bassmaster" award to RN2B, for excellence in hiding caches that stupid people like the Zen Bassmasters can find. She got a Zen Bassmasters t-shirt.

Then it was our turn to be surprised as Rick618 had LOTR themed toys to hand out to each of us. Cacheburns got a "birthday Bilbo" toy, I got a talking Smeagol, and we got a communal One Ring to share amongst ourselves.

All in all a great event. We had fun, everyone else seemed to have fun, and we brought some people to Lincoln County who had never been before. I hope everyone else enjoyed it as much as we did.

Until next time, from Mordor, the land of milk and honey...


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

These Are the Caches in Your Neighborhood

Howdy. It's been a while. The holidays played havoc with our caching schedule but this week we're back in the saddle again. This week, Mad Mike couldn't join us and Tserof had to work until noon so we decided to do some caches close to home. Surprisingly, we hadn't cleaned out Lincoln County completely so we had those on the list as well as a few in the north Alabama area.

We also had another reason for this week's trip. After scrimping, saving, and begging every relative we have for Christmas cash, Ashlynne and I finally managed to buy our own GPS. And just in time for my business trip to Jackson, Tn at the end of the month. Anyone know some good caches in that area? We had planned to get a Magellan 400 since we figured that's all our budget would afford but we managed to find a Magellan 500 bundled with topo software at Costco for $179 so we grabbed it.

The soundtrack for this week is "Ramones Mania!" by The Ramones.

Since Tserof was working, Fish met Ashlynne and I early to hit a couple of the Lincoln County caches that he hasn't gotten. Now, before I get into the week's caching, I have to tell you that Fish will no longer be known as Fish in the blog. Fish, who has been Fish as long as I've known him, has asked that I begin referring to him by his name, Vorin. I guess he doesn't think he's getting the riches and notoriety of the rest of the Bassmasters, due to confusion over his name. *looks about for the fame and notoriety* Or maybe he's going through a mid-life crisis. In any case, I am nothing if not accommodating, so please take note that Fish is now Vorin, aka "The Geocacher Formerly Known as Fish" or, as he likes to be known to his friends, "&". It's all good, so long as he doesn't start asking me to call him V-Diddy.

Anyway, Vorin wasn't with us when our group did Froglegz's caches so we took him around to do those. These caches are detailed in another blog so if you haven't read about them, skip down a few pages. We hit Elk River Access #1, #2, and #3 as well as Cowley Bridge Cache, which is one of my favorites in Lincoln County. Vorin was appropriately impressed and I used the Cowley Bridge cache to drop off a travel bug looking for good fishing spots (as this most certainly is) and pick up a Night Caching coin.

From there, we headed back to pick up Tserof. Our next cache was Fish Hatchery Rest Area. This is a fairly recent cache, set out by Wildthing73. I had thought about putting a cache out here, but Wildthing beat me to it. Not too much to say about this cache. Fairly standard micro hide. We found it without much trouble. I did take note of the wooded area nearby though, as I have a cache hide in mind that is looking for some woods to live in. These may be the ones.

Next up was Hwy 64 TB Rest Area, which promised not one but two Green Jeep TB. I can't remember much about the cache hide itself, as we did a bunch of them this week and they've all begun to run together in my little brain. I left a TB I had with me and took the Jeep, which I have plans for. More on that later...

Our next cache was Chrysalis, by noted hobbit sympathizer Rick618. This one was a hard hide for us. The GPS led us to the wrong spot and I was determined that Rick was just the evil kind of person who would hide a micro in the kudzu-coated tree and so picked over every leaf looking for it. As always, we over-analyzed the cache name, the clue, and the logs, looking for any idea of Rick's evil machinations (we were flashing back to his satanic "16" cache a few weeks ago). In the end, as usual, the cache was right under our noses. Well hidden, but not enough that we shouldn't have been able to get it. Apparently, these hobbits have studied us and found our weakness... easy caches. We must get better at being bad...

Next up was Circa 1950's, which is an old Highway Patrol building. This is another cache where it was right in front of our faces, we even put our hands next to it several times, but we missed it completely. It just happened as we were about to give up that I saw it right out in front of us and grabbed it. For those of you fearing that we might get good at this and the blog might get boring, never fear. The blog may get boring because I'm nearly too tired to write these days, but it won't get boring because we've gotten good. Anything but, I'm afraid...

Next was a set of three caches in a series called "Cappy's Park." The park gave us some fits as we consistently drove into the wrong entrance, through the wrong gate, and down the wrong path. Tserof, driving his Titan today, made numerous "semi-circular course corrections" while Vorin attempted to navigate. Not a lot to say about these caches beyond that. Fairly easy micros. Evidently getting to them is the hard part...

Next up was Spelce Landing. This one may not be a cache much longer as it's right smack in the middle of the area where they're working on widening Hwy 64. In fact, Tserof had to ignore the orange barrels telling us not to enter the work area to even get to the cache. Hey, what's a little law breaking among friends. Again, not a terribly hard cache but a nice one in a nice spot. Be a shame if the construction ate this one.

Our next cache is Gone to the Dogs. We were a little apprehensive about this one since it's on private land and the logs said it was pretty difficult. There were several DNF from cachers much better than us. As we pulled up, the owner was outside on a go-cart and came driving over. We hoped that the person who placed the cache really had gotten permission. Sure enough, the first thing the owner asked was if we were geocachers. He told us that "it must be real hard to find. I don't even know where it is but lots of people come look for it and hardly anyone finds it..." He didn't even get half of this sentence out before Vorin came up with the cache. The property owner was amazed and declared us "really good". He don't know us very well. These tough caches we can do but give us a lampskirt micro, and we're stumped...

Next was Green Water. This was a Cacheburns cache and it showed (although we later discovered that it had been muggled). Thorns were everywhere and both Vorin and I donated the required blood to the caching day. It was also quite wet and we all got soaked feet. The denizens of Mordor hate wet feet...

Our next cache was Tea Snob. This was another urban micro that gave us fits. To be fair to us, it was a really good hide but it's still embarassing to nearly DNF an urban micro. But Vorin eventually found it and we moved on.

Our final cache of the day was Holy Cache. Holy Cache is the oldest cache in Lincoln County, having been put out in 2002, but somehow we always managed to miss it. Too bad for us, as it's a really neat cache. The log's full and we've been told the people who hid it don't cache anymore so we may try to contact them and see about adopting it. If you haven't done this cache yet, go do it. Cool hide and pretty historic as old as it is.

That's it for the day, cache-wise. 12 for us and 16 for &. I think that may be a record.

From there, Mad Mike joined us and we headed over to the Elk River Coffee shop to meet up with our mortal enemy, Cacheburns, about a kind of "cold war" co-event we're planning. I can tell you that, if this event goes off like we plan it to, it's going to be a good one. Don't miss it if you can make it by at all. The event is here.

I'm hoping all our friends and nemeses can come. We've spent a lot of time populating Well's Hill Park with caches and we'd like to show them off. We've got a whole Lord of the Rings theme going and people coming for the hike will be tour guided by either a Zen Bassmaster or an evil hobbit. From there we'll be headed to the Zen Bassmasters' favorite hang-out, La Fuente Mexican restaurant.

No blog next week as we're forgoing caching to spend some time out at Well's Hill and make sure all of our guides actually know where we're going. Come see us on the 27th at 11:00 am and hike with us. We'll have high impact groups and low impact groups so no one has to feel bad about being a little slower than our "pro" hikers. I will personally be leading one group and anyone who's cached with me knows how slow I walk.

Until next time...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Year in Review Part 1: The Quotes

It's been a while since I did an entry for you guys and I'm sure some of you are feeling a bit neglected. The holidays have done a mischief on our caching schedule. But we're back to it this weekend so expect an update then. Until then, hopefully this will suffice. I decided to go back through the archives and do a "year in review" post, well, more like a "seven months in review" since we just started it in June. I hope to have a "Year in Pictures" up to accompany this one soon. Ashlynne and I just have to find time to weed through the hundreds of photos we've taken while caching and find which ones to feature. For now, you get the best (and worst) things heard on the caching trail in 2006. Enjoy!

"How hard can it be? Buy a GPS, look up coordinates online, and go find them. Piece of cake!"
-Gryphon, in his now "famous last words" before encountering Monte Sano for the first time

"Damn hobbits!"
-The entire group, almost weekly

"You notice Frodo was always falling down in those movies? No wonder..."
-Tserof, attempting to explain the weird hobbit terrain rating system

"Over rocks, under trees. One time both over and under a tree at the same time"
-Gryphon, describing the climb to Bling

"Gravity. Always keeping the fat man down..."
-Mad Mike, master philosopher, on the nature of hills

"This can't end well..."
-Gryphon, spoken every time someone gives Ashlynne the GPS

"There are mountains in Alabama?"
-Gryphon, who failed geography in high school

"Tserof kept pointing out that the listing said we has permission, but we felt that would be little consolation if they felt bad when they found the GPS on our bodies."
-The Zen Bassmasters, on property rights

"The Chapel Hill Park consists of a paved area about the size of a cubicle, one tree, and two picnic tables"
-Gryphon, describing Chapel Hill's "thriving nature scene"

"With Chapel Hill weddings, the whole bride's family/groom's family thing kind of overlaps..."
-Gryphon, a Unionville native, getting a cheap dig in on the residents of Chapel Hill

"If anyone would know about Quercus Coccinea, it'd be you, Tserof..."
-Gryphon, referring to Tserof's questionable sexuality

"Of course I do! I'm Dr. Dendrology!"
-Tserof, who suffers from delusions of grandeur

"Dr. Dumbass, more like..."
-Mad Mike, bringing it back to reality

"Fish, stop tapping my ass!"
-Tserof, did I mention we question his sexuality?

"He looked like Elton John had been tapped to play James Bond. All he needed was a license to accessorize."
-Gryphon, describing Little Vorin in his sunglasses and water pistol

"Contained inside was a child of the 80's version of the Holy Grail"
-Gryphon, describing his and Mad Mike's joy at finding "Zamfir: Master of the Pan Flute" in one of our caches

"He got overtaken by Kenny G in the 90's for the "music to put you to sleep" crowd."
-Mad Mike, explaining why Zamfir was unknown to the youngsters in the group

"we soon decided it was badgers. Large, scary badgers..."
-The Zen Bassmasters, speculating on the fauna native to Percy Priest Lake

"he looked like he'd had his legs shaved by OJ Simpson..."
-Gryphon, commenting on Fish's lost battle with the briars

"A bit of a climb..."
-Rick618's hardly adequate description of the 3 miles of hell that is Green Mtn.

"I think Frodo may have felt sorry for us, leading us to an easy cache so we can go to our deaths with a feeling of accomplishment."
-Gryphon, questioning Frodo's motives before our Jolly Green Walk to Hell

"Ashlynne is from New York, a place so frigid the only reptile that can survive there is Senator Hillary Clinton."
-Gryphon, explaining Ash's non-recognition of a rattlesnake rattle

"we looked like crack addicts on free needle day."
-Gryphon, describing the Bassmasters heading for water after Jolly Green

"This shit right here is some good shit. You never know how good water tastes until something like this. I'm telling you. This is the best stuff ever right here. I can't believe I don't drink it more. I love water."
-Tserof, joining the cult of cold water

"You wouldn't think something this small would work so well."
-Tserof, repeating his girlfriend's favorite phrase, in description of a personal fan

"They're your family. That means you have to ride with them..."
-Judas, aka Fish, dooming me to kiddie music hell

"Little bunny Foo Foo is a right bastard if you're a field mouse."
-Gryphon, on the psychoses of children's music heroes

"The wheels on the bus go round and round but no matter how much you beg, the bus will not back up and run you over, ending your misery."
-Gryphon, seeking a "final exit" from kiddie music hell

"Semi-circular course correction."
-Fish's attempt to make our constant turning around sound less retarded

"Let's face it, if you can say things like "20cc of glucozapofire" and yell "stat!" a lot, we're not going to be smart enough to know you haven't got any medical training."
-Gryphon, describing the Bassmasters admittedly lax training requirements for a personal nurse

"Not now, Cali"
-Tserof, in sleepy response to Ashlynne's attempts to wake him up

"Tserof's ghetto princess"
-Gryphon, describing Tserof's, er, "relationship" to the afore mentioned

"That's certainly not something he's ever said in real life..."
-Mad Mike, making an astute observation on Tserof's sleepy quote

"Man titties abounded and pasty white flesh was on display. Not a pretty thing."
-Gryphon, on the Bassmasters taking their shirts off to wring water out of them

"Do I go right?"
"Yeah... Sort of..."
-Tserof & Fish, in a fairly typical display of our navigational skills

"Our adventure in geocaching was complete. We'd spent a full eight hours traveling around and having a good time--I'm deeply thankful for the chance to spend time with Tserof, Fish and Chri, and glad to have experienced again this remarkable hobby of theirs. Every cache we found had the weight of history, the lingering touch of other human hands, their works and skill made substantial before our very eyes. It's a type of history you can see and feel and know where it's been and follow where it's going. Real people came before, and real people will come after, and they will see the names and wonder who those people were... but they will KNOW why they were there."
-Doc, proving why he's by far the better writer of the two of us

"It's right here, Tserof. Here. Here. It's back there..."
-Mad Mike, in another example of our team's navigational prowess

"It makes for good blogging..."
-Mad Mike's excuse for anything stupid the team does

"it's a wagon trail..."
-Rick618's inadequate description of the Bushwhacker Johnston Trail

"I'd hate to be riding in the wagon that is on this trail..."
-Mad Mike, more accurately describing the trail

"How do you shut a Zen Bassmaster up? Send him uphill."
-Mad Mike, making a joke

"Aside from the fact that I will never again feel joy, I don't think this hike had any effect on me at all..."
-Gryphon, after the Bushwhacker Johnston experience

"Hilarity ensues"
-Gryphon, describing what usually happens when we try to geocache

Friday, December 08, 2006

Micro Madness

Yeah, yeah. I know. Been a couple of weeks since I've had much to say on here. Between the holidays and hiding our own caches the last few weeks, we haven't gotten much geocaching done. Unfortunately, that trend plans to continue as everyone is booked solid through the holidays. So don't expect much action on the blog the next few weeks, although if things go as planned, I may have a funny newbie story or two before the end of the year.

Due to a rash of sickness and injury throughout the group, we asked Fish, our trip planner extraordinaire, to do us a list of low-impact caches. We have intentionally avoided most urban micros in the Huntsville area thus far because they really aren't our bag, so we decided this would be as good a week as any to do the micros.

Fish, heeding my mantra of "hard caches make good blog", added a couple of higher difficulty micros to the list, just to spice things up.

Our first cache of the day was "Just Another Cache in the Wall" which promised a little bit of history, and a decent hide. Sure enough, the coordinates took us to a rock wall beside a gas station. The sign by the wall told that this was the only remaining part of some famous person from Huntsville's history.

I saw a rock wall and cringed. I hate rock wall micros. 4 zillion nooks and crannies to stick something and it usually means me spending an hour tugging on rocks that look slightly out of place. This was no exception. We poked and pulled on rocks and tugged on sticks and scoured metal signs for any indication of a pico. We looked over the clue with great care to see if it was hiding something from us. We even went inside as the clue suggested but found no caches or no clues in the Bud Lights (although we did find Stewart's Diet Orange Cream Soda, which was awesome). Eventually, the rest of us were ready to give up but Fish, who is much more anal about these kinds of things than the rest of us wasn't finished. In fact, he wanted the cache so badly, he was willing to commit the only sin that will get you banished to Hell in Zen Bassmaster-land...

He asked a hobbit for help...

Yes, you read that right. No amount of genuflection or "Hail Zebco" will get him out of this sin. He actually got on the phone and called Bilbo for assistance. The rest of us moved a few steps away from him, afraid to catch whatever midget-loving disease he'd gotten from cavorting with the hobbits last week.

Long story short, Fish found the cache with, ech, the help of Bilbo and we moved on. I feel dirty just logging this find...

Our second cache was another run at "Dead Children's Playground." Once again, mini-muggles stood in our way and we vowed to come back a little later, hoping the impending Christmas parade would pique their interest (and not strand us).

Next up was what Fish said was our "difficult" cache, one of Rick618's called California Frustration. And it was aptly named...

The clue promised that there were "16 possible hiding places" for the cache. We immediately noticed that the pavilion had 16 posts and set to locate it there... No luck.

Then we noticed the legs and supports on the tables also numbered 16. So that's it! We looked, but no cache. Then we noticed that the legs on the swingset and the swings also equalled 16... This was like the friggin' Da Vinci Code! Unfortunately, Fish's "phone a friend" list contains only Hobbit names and not Tom Hanks so we were out of luck. Fish offered to call Bilbo again but we threatened an intervention and he thought better of it.

Honestly, we looked over every conceivable 16 thing in that entire park, and there were a bunch. Well, every one but the one that had the cache... Finally we logged it as a DNF and moved on, for fear of the approaching parade catching us.

Back to Dead Children's Playground where there were, finally, no children present, dead or otherwise. The description said the coords were written "somewhere among the playground equipment." Well, it was "somewhere", if you use the term loosely. And it was "among the playground equipment", also used loosely. After a ton of even more Da Vinci Code-esque attempts to decrypt the graffiti on the slide ("It says Joanie Loves Chachi 2005! There are 5 letters in Joanie! That might be a clue!) and one very humorous climb by Fish into one piece of playground equipment that nearly took a can of Crisco to get him out of (and you better believe we'd have "phoned a friend" to Bilbo for that particular job!), we finally located the coords and headed to the cache.

Next up was "Well now THAT'S Original" which is just what it promised, a lampskirt micro by the Space and Rocket Center. Being a huge space mark, I loved just going there. Nothing to say about the cache. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, "If you enjoy this sort of thing, then this is the sort of thing you'll enjoy..."

Next up was Campus Code Blue. Another easy micro on the UAH Campus. Nothing much to say here other than we nearly got mobbed by the ducks nearby.

From this point, Fish decided to "go off the book" and just find the nearest cache in the GPS. It happened to be Watching the Winds Change. Not too difficult to find, although not having a clue or logs made it slightly more difficult.

At that point, we decided to head home as my bronchitis was acting up and we were all pretty tired.

Again, not the longest or the most interesting of posts but they were urban micros so what did you expect?

Assuming our "12 Caches of Christmas" plan comes off, I should have a better story for you in a couple of weeks. If not, I'll see you again after the new year.

Until then...


Saturday, November 25, 2006

Spirit of the Holidays

First off, this is going to be a pretty short entry this week because, frankly, I'm sick as a dog and missed about half the trip. For the record, don't geocache with bronchitis. Bad idea...

This week, we're doing a little more cache placing at Well's Hill Park. If you've been monitoring your weekly cache notifications, you've seen that there's been a flurry of activity in Lincoln County recently as the Zen Bassmasters (including new Bassmaster Froglegz) have taken it upon themselves to make Lincoln County a place worth coming to for geocachers. We've more than quadrupled the previous number of caches in the area (2 before we began placing) so if you've been looking for some virgin area to cache in, come here in a week or two when we get the last of the caches up. It'll be worth your time.

The main reason I wanted to get this week's entry, however short, in is to commemorate an extremely rare occasion. You've all heard the stories of the holiday spirit filling people from different, often warring backgrounds, who come together just once to break bread and share stories. From the pilgrims and indians at Thanksgiving to the warring armies singing christmas carols to each other across their trenches, it's all over the place, and it's all very nice.

But they ain't got nothing on us...

Don't believe me? Just take a look at this picture.

Yes, that is indeed the evil hobbit Bilbo pictured with our own Fish. No, we haven't taken up with the filthy little hairfoots and no we haven't given up our war to eradicate Middle Earth (or at least Northern Alabama) of their evil. But he did ask nicely for some help in locating a couple of our challenges and, in the spirit of the holidays, we decided to bring him along. Besides, we thought, if he fell to his death doing one of them, wouldn't it be better for us to be there to witness it, rather than just have to hear about it from others. Hooray!

Little did we know that Bilbo had hidden some caches of his own earlier in the week and had similar plans for us. Very interesting...

Again, not much to tell here. We found Bilbo's first cache easily enough and he had a good deal more trouble than we expected from one of my as-yet unpublished ones. Guess I need to bump the difficulty on that one a bit.

We walked on a bit more and watched Bilbo and Ashlynne both go after Mordor's Gauntlet #4: The Corrupted Dwarf. Both nearly fell but they located it eventually. No hobbity death for us today.

Beyond that... I can't really tell you. All I remember is a haze of burning lungs and hacking coughs. "You've got bronchitis?", Bilbo asked me. "What the hell are you doing out here today? Just when I thought you guys were getting smarter..."

I remember taking a travel bug to our "Underground Railroad TB Hotel" and dropping it off and then nearly dropping myself. Finally, I had to admit defeat and head back alone while the others went on. Hopefully Fish or Ashlynne will be willing to blog up the rest of the day. Heck, I'd even put up a blog from Bilbo. I'm such a whore...

I will leave you with the picture of one of our waterfall caches. These are absolutely beautiful caches (and another was found today so expect more). They're pretty hefty finds (unlike the hobbits, we rate our terrain fairly and these are legit 4s). But even if you don't attempt the caches, it's worth heading up the path to see them. We were bowled over since, a month ago, only a few of us knew this park existed and none of us knew about the waterfalls. So I leave you, for now, with those. Enjoy.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Monte Sano Strikes Back, Part 2

Well, as you have read in our last post, we made it to the bottom of the mountain, to Bushwhacker Johnston's trail, and were pretty proud of our successes. Tired, hurt, but proud. Of course, our victory was short-lived. We were down, but our cars were up. Uh oh...

Up... Such a small word for such a lot of pain. Old man gravity keeping us down again. Considering how much pain we were feeling from the trip down, I didn't feel terribly confident about our chances.

Fish, Mike, and I started up while the others were finishing off the last cache. We figured if we got ahead of them, we might gets a good deal of the way up before they caught us. We began to wonder if maybe we should have bugged out when Saintseester did, saving ourselves this embarrassment. But we're Zen Bassmasters. We can't take the easy way out, or even the moderately difficult way out. Nope. We've been challenged by the hobbits and we just have to do it the hardest way possible.

Unfortunately, nature decided to move the definition of "hard" a little to the right...

I wish I had some funny anecdotes or witty things to say about the trip up but, honestly, I don't. I don't really remember most of it. I know it hurt. A lot. The only thing that kept it from hurting more than the Jolly Green Debacle was the temperature. I remember cursing Rick mightily, using many of the same curses we used on the Jolly Green trail (did I mention we never learn?). I remember Fish being very possessive of one of the benches. I remember telling Fish I wasn't going to sit down because my muscles would stiffen up if I sat. I remember fighting Fish for the next bench down. I remember being caught and passed by the evil hobbit sympathizers, who seemed amused by our plight. I remember children who were running and skipping on the way down now plodding past us with dour looks on their faces. I remember Stephanie catching up to me and keeping pace with me, happy to find someone else who was having problems with the climb. Mostly, I remember pain. Pain in my legs and pain in my feet and pain in my back and pain in places that I can't mention on the blog.

Pain... But eventually, we began to hear cars, then see cars, then finally we see the little bridge just down from the parking lot. I can tell you that I've never loved a bridge so much in my life. If I weren't already married, I'd have proposed to that bridge. It's a wonderful bridge...

And finally, we make it out to the parking lot. The afore mentioned children are lying on the ground like they're dying. I feel like doing the same but I'm not sure I'll ever get up again if I do.

After some more time spent cursing Rick and saying our goodbyes to Stephanie, Taz, Parrgolf, and all the other dupes, er, "folks" who joined us on this adventure, we headed out to Beauregards to conquer the all you can eat chicken wings and lick our wounds.

I don't know if this one counts as a victory over the hobbity types or not. On the one hand, we met their challenge and we passed it. We walked right into their plan to kill us and came out alive. On the other hand, we suffered some injuries. Physical injuries and psychological injuries. Fish has already said no more hike events for him, at least for a while. And I tend to agree. We do this to lose weight and get into shape and, honestly, this hurt us enough to seriously hinder our walking regimen during the week.

So I guess we call this one a tie. But don't worry. We've already got a few thing planned for our hobbit-y friends to turn the battle back in our favor. Stay tuned...


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Monte Sano Strikes Back- Part 1

In our last few editions, you've got to join us in celebrating our defeat of our old nemeses, the hobbits and the evil mountain they call their home, Monte Sano. But you knew it couldn't end there, right? Of course not. Like every demonically possessed horror movie franchisee in history, Monte Sano rose from certain death to terrorize again.

Actually, it was completely our fault. Someone once said "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity." We just call it The Zen Bassmaster Way.

All this began several weeks ago at the Finger Lickin' Chicken event. We were talking to noted hobbit sympathizer Rick618, who mentioned that he had a hike event planned on November 11. We talked to him about it and it sounded interesting enough. Civil War history, a few caches, nice wagon trails Rick told us. Keep that word in mind. Wagon trails. It'll come up later.

He then says something to the effect of "I'm surprised you'd want to hike with a bunch of hobbit sympathizers..." A challenge. We couldn't possibly turn down a challenge like that from a hobbit lover. And they knew that. Clue #1...

Fast forward to Saturday. It's cold. Very cold. It's misting rain. We envision a slippery trail. Do we turn back? Of course not. We're Zen Bassmasters, and Zen Bassmasters equals "not too bright".

We arrive at the land trust parking and notice that there are an awful lot of familiar faces there of the hobbit-y variety. And they all seem amused to see us. Clue #2. But our danger sense was frozen in the cold and we thought nothing of it. Fortunately, there were also some friendly faces, including Saintseester and her daughter, complete with Pink Walking Stick of Doom!! Saintseester is a regular reader of the blog and always has nice comments so we were thrilled to put a face to the name. The pink walking stick was impressive as well. You'd certainly never lose it in the woods and, if you got hurt, it's bright enough to signal passing aircraft. Also in attendance was Parrgolf who, despite keeping company with some shady hairfoots, is a pretty good guy. We also met some other find folks like Stephanie2427 who was soon to become my partner in slow. One face we didn't see was Rick's significantly better half and honorary Bassmaster RN2B. This should have also been a clue to us as RN2B probably didn't want to see her fellow Bassmasters lured into the evil hobbit trap.

After an informative, if COLD, discussion about the Landtrust and the history of the Bushwhacker Johnson trail, we set off. Very early on in the trail, we slipped and slid, always on precarious footing. Finally, gravity won its fight with me and I slipped in the mud. I spun in the opposite direction trying to keep myself up but then my other foot slipped and I did the splits. Now I'm sure most of you have never weighed 380 lbs but let me tell you that there's a reason you've never seen a 380 lb man do the splits before. The physics of it are not pretty. And the muscles in both my hamstring and my groin were not appreciative. The move did get me a 10 from all of the assembled "judges", except for Mad Mike, heretofore known as the East German Judge, who insisted it was at most a 7.5 because I didn't "stick" my landing on the back leg. The nerve of some people.

On down the trail a little further, Fish got his moment to "shine" as he slipped and landed square in the mud on his butt. Great. 2 of the three Bassmasters present are now injured, but do we turn around? Of course not. Press on.

Soon after, we noticed Saintseester, her daughter, and even the Pink Walking Stick of DOOM! were gone as well. Apparently she's smarter than we and had gotten out while the getting was good. Since we're not so smart ourselves, we kept moving.

We continued down and I began to lag behind, my hamstring giving me fits. Rick, who had been given charge of ensuring all the sheep made it out alive, hung back and Parrgolf, bless his soul, stayed back as well to make sure no hobbit loving shenanigans happened out of earshot of the group. I mentioned "wagon trails" to Rick, along with the fact that I would like to see the wagon that would make it down the mountain. He just smiled knowingly and waited for me to die.

Finally, we made it down to the spring where Bushwhacker Johnson surrendered. We felt pretty good, despite a couple of injuries. Maybe we'll make it out of this hobbit trap alive yet. It was then that a nice fellow reminded us that the mile and a half we just did was only a small part of the battle. Once again, Monte Sano had teamed up with our old enemy gravity to try and defeat us.

But that's a story for another day.

See you then.


Monday, November 13, 2006

There and Back Again: Alternate Perspective

When we conquered Monte Sano, it was such a big deal that I asked all of the other Zen Bassmasters to write something up about their feelings on this momentous occasion. To date, only Tserof has taken up my challenge.

May God have mercy on our souls...

I refuse to be blamed for this...

"Joan drive well.
Tserof was hungry.
Joan parked van but hit big bump.
Tserof dreads hike down.
Tserof doesn't want to leave van.
Tserof tries to hide the fear.
Tserof thinks trail not so bad today.
OUCH. Tserof racks himself.
Tserof liked over under better.
Wet leaves slippery.
Pretty cave.
Others stupid to risk lives in cave.
They saw a pretty waterfall.
Me likes shiny water falls.
They come out, I decide to go in.
Both Mikes guide down.
Tserof always horny.
Tserof molest cave.
Tserof thinks he feels cave get more moist.
Tserof find water fall.
Fish used his big rod to help tserof out.
Tserof hate taking pics.
More hike.
Tserof make loud breaths.
Joan poked the cache.
Usually fish does the poking.
Yay! We found bling!
Hobbits suck.
Tserof has to climb back out.
Tserof almost give up.
Can see cars though.
Royal Buffett if tserof make it out.
Wish I had cheesy bread :-(
Damn tserof horny again.
Why tserof think about cheesy bread so often.

I'll be back tomorrow with our update from this week. Let's just call it "Monte Sano's Revenge" for now. Trust me, this one's a doozy...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

There and Back Again- Part 2

Yeah, yeah. I know. It's been a week since I put up part 1 of our adventure. But I had an excuse. Ash and I have switched internet providers, necessitating a couple of days with only dial-up before our DSL got turned back on. I love you guys and I appreciate that you enjoy the blog, but I don't love you enough to upload pictures to a blog at 33.6k. My love only goes so far.

Anyway, the important part is done, right? We found the cache and exorcised our demons, we got revenge on the evil hobbits, and we found the precious.

One problem... We had to go back up. See, up's a pain in the butt for us. It's that whole gravity thing which, as Mad Mike is fond of saying, is always keeping the fat man down. Down is no big deal. It hurts our knees but when you weigh 400 lbs, down is your natural state. Up on the other hand...

But I'm getting ahead of myself. We still have the cache to deal with. As most of you who read this blog know, we have a bit of a "friendly" rivalry going with the hobbits and hobbit sympathizers. Well, friendly if you define friendly as "consistently trying to lead each other into situations that will get us killed." We're kind of like the Spy vs. Spy of the geocaching world. As a function of that, I've adopted a Gollum persona on the dixiecachers board, so before we moved on, I had to strike my best Gollum pose with my prize from the cache, which I decided was My Precious.

After we dawdled around a while, saying goodbye to the cave and psyching ourselves up for our trip up. Finally, we decided it wasn't going to get any easier with us sitting around so we pressed on.

The trip up was relatively uneventful. Mad Mike's knee was still giving him some problems from the fall in the cave but he made it up ok with help from Fish. Ashlynne and I stayed back to make sure Tserof survived the trek up. To Tserof's credit, he did at least learn from his previous mistakes and didn't rack himself on the over-under tree.

After some walking and some serious heavy-breathing, we made it to the top! The hobbits have officially not beaten us! We took a picture at the top to commemorate the occasion.

From there we broke for lunch and enjoyed some good Chinese food from the Royal Buffet. We were elated to have defeated Monte Sano and so took our time to enjoy the food. As we got ready to leave, I got the strangest fortune cookie I've ever gotten in my many, many trip to Chinese restaurants. I can quote it exactly because Ashlynne saved it and taped it to my computer desk. It said "Come back later... I am sleeping. (yes, cookies need their sleep too).

Can someone explain that one to me? I think there may be some zen in there somewhere and, being a ZEN bassmaster, I feel like I should know the answer. Someone once told me that the secret to fortune cookies was to add bed to the end of it. I supposed "yes, cookies need their sleep too... in bed" makes sense, but it doesn't really change the meaning much. The possibilities keep me awake at night...

From there, we headed out to do a series of caches called "Schoolhouse Rock." This was one of Ashlynne's requests, having been a big fan of the Schoolhouse Rock programs when she was a kid and currently owning the Schoolhouse Rock box set and the Schoolhouse Rock Rocks! soundtrack.

Not much to say about all of these. They were all little magneto micros that gave us varying degrees of problems trying to find them. There was much singing of the songs as we all grew up with Schoolhouse Rock. I was a bit disappointed, since we were near the Huntsville government buildings, that there wasn't a cache dedicated to my favorite Schoolhouse Rock song "I'm just a bill."

In preparation for the caches the day before, Ash and I watched the entire box set and, I have to say, someone in the Schoolhouse Rock camp was the modern day Nostradamus. If you please, I present you the song for today, Energy Blues.

Sometimes I think I'm runnin' out of energy
Seems like we use an awful lot for
Heatin' and lightin' and drivin'
Readin' and writin' and jivin'
Energy ... You'd think we'd be savin' it up.

Energy ... You can get it by dammin' up a river
Energy ... A windmill can make the breeze deliver
But even with millin' and dammin'
Our needs are so much more demanding
For energy ... We have to use some kind of fuel.

Chop, chop, chop, he cavemen used wood to start their fires.
Chop, chop, chop, they made all the tools that they required.
Chop, chop, chop, inventions got more and more inspired.
The fires got higher and higher,
And clearings got wider and wider.
Energy ... They were burnin' 'bout all their wood up.

Then one day men discovered that coal would do it better
Miners dug, and it looked like it might just last forever.
It seemed like the final solution.
It started the Industrial Revolution.
Energy ... We could just keep on diggin' it up.

Now in 1859 - way out in western Pennsylvania -
A man had built a rig that got some laughs from folks who came there
But suddenly, a mighty roar came up from under the ground.
And soon a gusher, gushin' oil, soaked all who stood around.
Now no-one knew, when that gusher blew,
The petroleum years were on us,
Or that so many cars and trucks would come to cause a crisis.

Energy ... We're looking to try and find some new kinds.
Energy ... Exploring to try and make a new find.
Nuclear and thermal and solar,
If we miss we'll get colder and colder.
Energy ... We've gotta stop usin' you up.

So don't be cross when momma says turn that extra light out.
Just turn it off till we find us a fuel that never runs out.
If everyone tries a bit harder,
Our fuel will go farther and farther.
Energy ... We're gonna be stretchin' you out.

Fast forward 25 years and I kind of wish I'd listened to that sad little Earth man singing as I put the $2.25 gas in my minivan...

From there, we went on to "Is this where they get the fresh fish" by our old "friend" and hobbit sympathizer Rick618. This is a cache that could present a lot of muggle problems at times but the place was empty when we came out and we found the cache pretty easily. Woohoo! Two victories over the hobbity types!

From there, we went to "Dead Children's Playground" which is apparently a well-known ghost tale in the Huntsville area. How well known we discovered soon enough. As we got there, we saw a problem. A family was there with a couple of kids playing right inside the playground, in the area where the GPSr was pointing.

We wandered around a bit as the parents asked if we were "ghost hunting." Kind of. Finally, we hit on a plan. We poke around outside the playground hoping to draw the family's attention and we send Ashlynne in with one of the GPSr to see if she can find the area we're looking for. No dice. The little kids see her and immediately leave their playing to follow her around, asking about the GPS, what she's doing, and then, to all of our amusement, to tell her about the legend of the Dead Children's Playground. We chuckled a bit as the father said he'd heard the story when he was a kid. We decided we weren't getting the cache without risking it being muggled and moved on.

Our final cache of the day was "The Bibbs", which is a cemetary cache. We like cemetary caches and are sad that some ancient law has now made them banned in Tennessee. How do you expect people to see history, to care about the people who came before, to give a damn about the folks who shaped the world they live in, unless you give them a reason to go out and make it fun. I don't have time to go research every cemetary in the world to seek out famous people. Geocaching has introduced me to people I never even knew lived but who made history in some way. Now that's lost to Tennessee due to some short-sighted law against "gaming" inside a cemetary and it makes me sad. We have the time in Tennessee to pass laws that make it legal to scoop up the possum you hit with your car and eat it, but we have to protect society from evil geocachers who want to learn a little history, honor the dead by celebrating their lives in cache descriptions, and have a little fun doing so...

Ok, off the soap box now. The Bibbs celebrates a former Alabama governor and his bride who died young (and, to be fair, none to bright. She ate poison instead of epsom salts). We walked around the cemetary for a bit and saw lots of governors and other luminaries. Good stuff.

Well, that's it. 50 lbs and 40 degrees of difference definitely made the difference today. But I don't think that's all of it. I think we've maybe grown up a little. The first time we did Monte Sano, we were almost comically unprepared. We only had the coords for parking, we didn't even know to solve the puzzle to get the coordinates. We didn't have water, and we were just generally unprepared. Some time has passed since then and, while the Bassmasters are certainly no well-oiled machine, we've at least applied a little WD-40 to the gears and are slowly moving along.

It's kind of like when you go back to your hometown for the class reunion. You go out to the creek you played in as a kid and are shocked at how small it is, and how big it seemed in your little kid's eyes. You walk through the hallways of your school and everything seems so little. You see pictures of yourself as a kid and laugh at how you could ever be so small, so naive, so full of yourself and ignorant of the world that you feel you can conquer everything, in spite of all the odds.

And, you know what? You usually could...

Until next time,


Sunday, October 29, 2006

There and Back Again- Part 1

Back in my younger and skinnier days, I used to help out on my family's farm. We owned horses and my job was to get on the least tame, most fiesty, most ornery horse and basically ride the hell out of them until they learned who was the boss and could be trained. Needless to say, I got thrown a lot and donated more than one pint of blood to the cause. But I learned one thing from that experience. Horses are stubborn; But not as stubborn as I am. Getting thrown just made me mad; made me get up, get back on, and ride harder. It usually got me thrown again, but it just made me madder. Eventually, the horse would decide it was easier to just let itself be ridden than to have to fight me constantly. And it was right. I HATE to lose.

So those of you who have been here a while can imagine what one cache, Fellowship of the Bling, has done to me. The Zen Bassmasters tried to tackle it the first time we ever went geocaching and, due to some pretty serious (not to mention comical) miscalculations in planning, it kicked our butts. If you don't already know the whole story, scroll to the bottom of the blog. It's the first post and it's a doozy.

Since that day, we vowed we'd come back someday. That we'd get back up on the horse and give it another try. We promised ourselves that when we'd lost some weight and the temperature got a little more friendly, we'd go back and this time we'd beat Monte Sano.

Today, we decided to try it. The temperature is nearly 40 degrees below where it was when we first tried it and the collective Bassmasters have lost around 100 lbs since then. It seemed like as good a time as any to give it a go.

Unfortunately, the Fates didn't think the deck was stacked against us quite enough and threw some added odds into the mix. First, we moved Tserof into his new apartment yesterday, necessitating about 20 trips up and down the stairs to his apartment, most of it balancing heavy furniture on our shoulders. So we were a bit sore. Second, we moved yet another friend into his new house this morning before the trip. This one didn't involve stairs and was really just a move next door so no problem, right? Right... Lifting a dresser to move out of their bedroom, my arms lifted and my back did not. Ow...

After the move, we made a quick trip home so I could take a painkiller and maybe commune with my hotpad for a few minutes, since we had almost an hour before we had to meet Fish at "Fluff Cache", which is near Yserof's new place. As I had just settled down with my hotpad, I hear the telltale sound of Fish's Jeep/monster truck. Sure enough, Fish had forgotten to reset his clock to standard time and had therefore not "Fallen Back" or even "Sprung Forward" for that matter but had joined the stubborn residents of Indiana who refuse to go anywhere at all. He came in and we shot the bull for a few minutes while he printed off the pages for the day's caches.

Finally, we were ready to go meet Tserof and Mad Mike. Just as we were getting ready to head out, I had a horrible sense of deja vu. "Did anyone ever solve the puzzle and get the coordinates for Bling", I asked. Fish and Ashlynne look at each other with that "I thought you did it" look. I sighed. This was not beginning well... Fish sat down and worked out the coordinates while I wondered what else we'd forget and if maybe just spending the day communing with my hotpad might not be such a bad idea.

We picked up Tserof and Mad Mike and we made our way down to Huntsville. You could cut the tension in the van with a knife. Well, except for from Fish, who hadn't been down the first time and didn't know the true evil of hobbits. Mike and I tried to talk about some of the music on my mp3 player, but it was halfhearted. We were all focused on the impending deaths we were all probably about to face. Gallows humour abounded as we made jokes about forgetting to get the phone number of the lady we met at an event who was part of the dog rescue team.

Finally, after a typically Zen Bassmaster Semi-Circular Course Correction, we were at the spot. Since Ashlynne had brought the camera, we decided to take a "before" picture of Tserof, since he was voted "Most Likely to Die on Monte Sano" and we wanted something nice for his funeral.

We pointed out to Fish some of the "landmarks" of our early journey, namely the creek we made Ash root around in thinking the cache was there (since Tserof had only loaded parking coords).

Finally, we'd messed around enough and made our way in. We narrated for Fish as we went. I felt like a victim who has gone to the scene of a tragedy to recover. There's the sapling that I used for balance. There's the stairstep rocks. There's the tree that we had to go over and under at the same time. The only thing that was changed was the tree, which had fallen a bit and now was a tree you had to go over and over again. Fish and Mad Mike made it fine, with warnings to us that the fallen leaves there made it slick. Tserof then went, slung his leg over the tree, and proceeded to rack himself as he set his foot down. Hilarity ensued. Tserof, who was now ready to apply to the church choir for high soprano, was not amused. He gingerly removed his injured part from the tree and stepped over, insisting that I wouldn't find it funny when it happened to me.

Having no intentions of causing any sort of damage to Ashlynne's property, I found a rock beside the limb that Tserof had overlooked, put my foot there, and climbed over without any damage to my guys. Again, Tserof was not amused.

Let me say again that, while fall may be a preferable time to cache due to the milder temperatures and lack of snakes, wet fallen leaves are slippery little bastiches and made our jobs tough. We slipped and slid all the way down, always making sure we had a firm grounding with our walking sticks before moving on.

Finally, we made it to the cave. Again, if you read the first blog entry we did, you know this cave (which probably has a name but which has evaded me now) is the thing that got us hooked on geocaching. It's a thing of beauty and even our 50 lbs heavier, 40 degrees hotter selves were happy we walked down just to see it. Better yet, we got to see that "first to find" sense of wonder again from Fish, who was setting eyes on it for the first time.

Last time we didn't have any equipment to explore the cave and so had to just look at it from the outside. This time, we brought flashlights and had every intentions of going inside to look around. We even brought water along, something we didn't do last time, and decided to take a picture to prove it to all the doubters.

We left Tserof up top with the cell phone in case we needed a good 911 signal. Fish and Mike went down first. Fish made it ok but Mike involuntarily ended up sliding down the first bit on his butt, leaving a nice skid of mud that I'm sure made us quite popular when we went to lunch after. I didn't even try to walk it down, deciding to take Mike's path by choice rather than by force. That gravity. It's always keeping the fat man down...

After the first bit, it was no problem and we were rewarded with an absolutely beautiful cave with a little waterfall in the back. In fact, since we're on pictures, here's a picture of my wife under the waterfall.

And here's a picture from the inside of what our trip back looked like.

We headed out, being quite careful of the slippery bits and all made it out fine except for Mad Mike who slipped and busted his knee pretty hard. Fortunately, he wasn't seriously hurt, although you could definitely tell he was feeling the pain.

Once we got up, Tserof's sense of curiousity overcame his sense and he decided to go down after all. Ashlynne and I stayed up on 911 duty while the took Tserof down. He was as amazed as we were. Actually, more so as some of the rocks in the cave apparently bore a passing resemblance to one of his favorite parts of Cali who is, sadly, no longer in Tserof's life and therefore no longer the favorite subject of our humour. Ok, that's not fair. She still is, but it's just not as fun now that Tserof's in on the joke. Anyway, I hear a piercing scream from Mad Mike and think his knee has given out again. No, it's worse. Tserof was apparently groping the cave wall and it was more than poor Mike's brain could handle. After quickly dunking Tserof in the cold waterfall of the cave to get his hormones under control, they started out. As you can see from the picture, it was an interesting tag team operation getting Tserof out of there.

We made it out and rested a bit before heading for the cache, celebrating our victory over the cave with a rousing rendition of the Zen Bassmasters theme song. Let's all sing along.

Fish heads
Fish heads
Roly Poly
Fish heads
Fish heads
Fish heads
Eat 'em up

From there we headed down to the area where we thought the cache was. We found a big pile of rocks that didn't look to fun to climb down. We sent Fish and Ashlynne, the skinniest of us, down to hunt while Mike, Tserof, and I looked above. After a bit of poking, Ashlynne poked into a hole and heard a metallic sound... and then..

We found it!

Well, it's late and The Wire's on so I'm going to cut out. More to come later in the week.