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 ...in 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,