Saturday, August 20, 2005

Saturday In Cleveland

Today was a refreshing change of pace for me - I was able to sleep in a bit and still take a nice long walk while finishing the last of the downtown Cleveland caches. The cache I sought had eluded me earlier in the year due to knee deep snow and ice at the cache site. Today it was beautiful outside and the find was a quick one. WOOWOO!

After signing the log, I strolled through Memorial Park and enjoyed the beautiful artwork. Cleveland is really a stunning city - it's vastly under-rated and I always enjoy visiting. As I made my way through town, I passed three churches... all of which had weddings in full swing. Organ music echoed through the streets and I caught a glimpse of a bride hurrying one of the side doors. If I had been just a little better dressed I would have snuck in to the back pew to watch - I just love weddings, but most of my friends are in divorce court these days so I don't get many invitations.

Once we geared up for the airport, my crew and I became bogged down when a large thunderstorm took the field. Our inbound aircraft diverted to Grand Rapids, making things a little interesting. All in all, I'd rate the afternoon a success though, and I can't wait to come back for another visit.

Victory is mine! The is the Pulaski Square cannon - the picture is just a little crooked due to my using the nearby wall for a timed shot.

These oriental-looking lights surround the south plaza in Memorial Park.

My favorite sculpture in Memorial Park. It stands approx. 40 feet tall.

The base of the sculpture looks much better when it isn't buried in snow and ice!

These little creatures (and dozens like them) adorn the reading garden in front of the Cleveland Public Library, which is a great spot to enjoy a cup of tea and a good book right in the heart of the city.

I had the Hyatt center to myself today - the brass work and wood carving in this structure are simply amazing.

We got snarled down with major delays in Cleveland later in the afternoon when severe thunderstorms trained the field, dumping torrential rain with wind gusts over 50 mph. Here you can see a well defined wall cloud as the storm approaches the field.

A Continental Express EMB-145 sneaks in just before the tempest.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Braggin' Rights

I couldn't help but share an entry about this summer's canning and preserving efforts...

It's been such a bountiful growing season that my kitchen has been very busy the last few weeks. On a whim, I decided to pit my skills against Loudoun's finest by entering my two best jars at the Loudoun County Fair. Ya, ya, I know... it's probably not a typical vocation for a 39 year old father-of-one, but hey, I like to eat - so by default, I had to learn to cook.

The competition was pretty stiff, let me tell you. Some of these folks have been canning for 50 years and I didn't think I had a chance. I was blown away when my two entries both won places - my blackberry jam won first place in the jam category, and my bread & butter pickles won third in the pickle slot. There were about 15 entries in each category, and a lot of them really looked good, too!

I have to thank Uta and Sam Brown, owners of Crooked Run Farm in Purcelleville, for their careful attention to growing the finest produce around using minimal (and environmentally friendly) pest control. Thanks also to my daughter, Nightengale, for helping me to hand pick, sort, prepare and process the goods from start to finish. We had a ball picking the blackberries, though it was hot as blazes out there.

Next up: Apple Harvest!! WOOWOO!

Here's the loot... I can't wait for apple season to arrive!

Monday, August 15, 2005


I started off the day a little late and decided to visit a store in Unionville, VA which features locally made cheese. The cheese is made at Marshall Farms in Orange County using grass fed cow's milk, and THAT makes ALL the difference! The farm store, located at the intersection of VA-522 and VA-20, features the cheese as well as other Virginia produce, such as wine, herb vinegars, honey, and more. They also have a deli serving breakfast and lunch made from their delicious products. You won't go wrong making a trip out to Unionville - this spot gets a thumbs up from Airsafety. I was really glad to make this 'find', and I managed a few caches along the way too!

The caches today had a lot to offer - a nice walk in a suburban park; a devious bridge hide; some railroad history; some 'urban' parking lot caching'; and a glance at the last days of Stonewall Jackson's life. I'll be back down this way soon, you can count on that... I just hope that there will be some more fun and interesting caches to seek after my supply of cheese runs out!

I finally nailed the TeePeeMania locationless cache, and I didn't have to drive more than 2 miles to get it! I have photographed teepees all over the place and every one of them had been logged- it was especially satisfying to get this one so close to home.

Here is the Marshall Farms store. I drove 80 miles to come pay a visit, and I wasn't disappointed. The staff was friendly and courteous, and the food was amazing!

This is the burial site for Stonewall Jackson's arm, which was amputated following a battle nearby. The wound is said to have been caused by 'friendly fire', and Jackson died six days later. This was a great virtual and I strongly recommend a visit if you are in the area.

Jackson was only 36 when he died, but in this photo (taken a week before he was shot) he certainly looks much older than that. It would have been something to have met him, don't you think?

The final resting place of Stonewall's arm...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Clean Up Day

I decided to try some caches today that have recently appeared in my local area, and along the way I met up with Rufnredy, who was seeking my new cache on the W&OD bike trail 'One For Dave'. It was my intention to give Dave a taste of an Airsafety buffalo micro (in his honor, of course) in payment for many of his sneaky hides using the same container. He spent a long while searching today, and with just a minor shift in his perception he quickly made the find, which I hope will become a favorite in the area.

On the way back to our cars, we couldn't help but conspire together on a new cache and if I am correct, we may have created a real monster of a micro. Time will tell...

After parting ways, I hit up several of Coach Jack's hides as well as Dave's multicache 'Sporty Spice'. I enjoyed them all, and I didn't mind the Ashburn tour because it gave me a chance to scout some new ground as well as enjoy some great TexMex at the brand new Tijuana Flats.

All in all, it was a very relaxing and enjoyable day - thanks for being a good sport Dave!

Here is the view from 'American Box: Reprise'. I could watch these monster trucks for hours!

Rufnredy prepares for the ride back to his truck, having nailed a FTF on 'One For Dave'.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

MGS August Meet & Greet

Those Maryland geocachers really know how to put on an event and have a good time, so I couldn't wait to get back up there for another great day of caching!

After meeting up with Rufnredy and Baja Clan, we worked our way down to the event and uncovered some interesting hides. Since I was packing all of the burgers for the event, we had to move along and once we arrived I set about grilling for the buffet. 48 mesquite smoked hamburgers later, I sat down for a delicious lunch and prepared to hit the trail with my friends.

We made good time along the trails, though heat was a factor. There were many great moments during the day, and I was delighted to rub shoulders with the likes of Cache Detectives, Robert, CCCooperAgency, Mocadeki, Grandma&Grandpa, Tiki-4, Team Weathergirl, Proffens, Dam Trolls, Simulatmore, and many, many more.

These events sure make me hungry for a NoVa event - I have given several ideas some thought, and others seem to be moving toward an organization of some sort.

Baja Clan bravely crosses the bridge of death - all of Team NoVa made the crossing without incident. I was especially proud of Nightengale, who never flinched.

After crossing the bridge of death, most of us were stumped by the micro hide - even Rufnredy (for a few minutes anyways!)

A very clever hide: this tree trunk was capped and hollowed to allow a full sized 50 cal. ammo can - and it was virtually undetectable!

CCCooperAgency and Tiki-4 get loaded up for the next stage of a multicache.

Watching a cache uncovered: (left to right) Dam Trolls, Team CCCA, and Nightengale.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Back In The Saddle

After a long respite, I fired up my newly returned laptop this morning and restored my caching databases to health. A few minutes of analysis and I spotted a new and unfound cache right in the middle of my 'cleared' zone! I quickly pulled up the cache information and yelled out (to the cat - no one else was home) 'Dave! What the h#ll are you doing!' Haha! Rufnredy had placed this new cache and even called it 'Clarke County Mean Cache' - so I just HAD to go try it!

Before zipping out there, I had promised a friend that I would inspect my nano cache at Ida Lee. Along the way I returned a phone call to Baja Clan, who was in the neighborhood plundering some caches on the way home from Lucketts. We met at Ida Lee and I made the sad discovery - my diabolical nano cache was gone (later on I was shocked to see a 'found' log at 7:30 pm - the finder discovered the cache in a 'new' hiding spot!)

Moving on, Baja Clan (a team of 2 today) and I walked over to my micro hide and the littlest Baja made a quick find... OK, so I did kind of point over 'there' when Mommy Baja wasn't looking! ;) We had a good time, and on the walk back we talked about meeting up for the MGS event this Saturday.

Hitting the road once again, I zoomed over to Berryville and set about my business on this Big Mean Micro. It really WAS mean, and I have the scratches and bite marks to prove it! I eventually scored the find and chuckled all the way back to Leesburg.

The evening brought even more caching action when I met up with Rufnredy at his 'Heat Index 110 Degrees' multicache. That was a good time - all we needed were some cold brewskies... damn those open container laws! It was great seeing BajaClan and Rufnredy today, and I enjoyed meeting a new cacher, CoachJack as well!

Earlier today I scored a FTF on Rufnredy's 'Clarke County Mean Cache'. It lived up to it's name... this should have been a relatively quick find, but I managed to make it in to an all out effort. For those who follow, good luck!

Rufnredy offers some encouragement from the safety of a bridge while Coach Jack and I tried his new cache 'Heat Index 110 Degrees'. Dave placed this multi during a scorcher of a day when the heat index topped 110... YOW! I just love Dave's hides, don't you?

That's the grin of a FTF - Coach Jack's first! Congratulations Jack!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Laptop Repair

Many apologies to regular readers of this blog - there were no posts during most of July due to my laptop being out for service. Not having the laptop also put a serious kink in my caching, but I managed to keep busy with the 1000's of other things that need doing every day.

The laptop is back and I am happy to report that all systems are GO! :))