Monday, January 19, 2009

DeLorme Challenge and Kansas 105 County Cache

Yesterday, we spent the entire day geocaching. We left at 8:30 am and returned at a little past 7:00 pm. We drove about 350 miles through parts of Kansas we'd never seen before.

You might be asking why... Why would the crazy Miller family drive 350 miles to do some geocaches? The answer is easy. Actually, the answers are easy... The Delorme Challenge and the Kansas 105 County Cache.

So yes, we're crazy. We're participating in both of these challenges. In the Kansas 105 County Cache, we have to find a cache in each of the 105 counties in Kansas. We've done 25 counties so far!

On a side note, why does Kansas have 105 counties while Maine only has 16? In 6th grade or so (or maybe it was 5th) I had to learn all 16 counties of Maine. There was even a song that helped me memorize it. Do kids in Kansas have to memorize all 105 counties??

Anyways, the DeLorme Challenge is similar. We need to find a cache in each grid of the Kansas DeLorme map. There are 65 grids and we've done a cache in 16 of them!

So that's why we drove over 300 miles yesterday. (I'm so glad we have our new Prius and got over 42 miles per gallon!) We did 20 caches along the way and had a great time as a family. Geocaching is fun. We love it!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Police On Our Door Step

So yesterday Jeff and Jacob went rollerskating to give me time to study in a quiet house for my upcoming GRE exam. I'm working hard, studying, thinking, "How on earth am I going to pass this blankly blank test." And the doorbell rings. Standing on our front step is one of Junction City's finest...a police man. I'm thinking something horrible has happened to Jeff and Jacob...maybe a broken bone or some type of roller-derby-gone-wrong injury. Maybe someone has broken a tail bone from falling!

I'm standing barefoot looking up at this police man when he says, "Your neighbor called to report someone putting a mysterious ammo box in the tree in your front yard. Your neighbor thinks it might be a bomb."

Uh, that's our geocache. We have a 4 part multicache that ends in our front yard. You need to travel to 3 of our geocaches in order to get the numbers that will unlock the chain. Once you have the 3 numbers, you end up in our yard with the lock combo and the multicache is solved. But here I am, trying to explain why we have a ammo box in our tree with a lock and chain around it. I swear he thought I was crazy.

Of course, Jeff and Jacob miss the fun of explaining what geocaching is and that it's a game! Stuff like this only happens to us.

And to top it off, the poor cacher couldn't get the ammo box unlocked! Maybe he was trying to hurry before the "bomb" went off. :)
The "Bomb" (aka diecast64's "4 in 1" geocache)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Driving on Gravel Roads

We've had another geocaching adventure on a gravel road in Kansas...or were we in Nebraska?

We spent Christmas in Iowa with Jeff's family. On 27 December, 2008 we did a few caches on our way home to Kansas. It was a cold day with intermittent snow squalls and it was getting to be late afternoon when we did the cache "Ponies, Wagons, and Mail, OH MY!"

This was a really neat cache that was right on the Kansas/Nebraska border. Jacob and I stood in Kansas while Jeff took our picture from Nebraska. To get there, we had to drive a few miles on some gravel roads. Thank goodness the roads were frozen, other wise we'd have a different ending to our story.

Our next cache was about 14 miles away and we used the GPS in our new car to get us there. It showed the gravel roads, which are usually laid out in 1 mile it's like a big grid. The GPS was zoomed in all the way to show the gravel roads; when it was zoomed out, you couldn't see the gravel roads. We're driving and driving and driving...turning left and right and heading to our next cache (which was diagonal from where we started.) There are no other cars/trucks on the road, a few farm houses, a few herds of cattle and lots and lots of fields. This area is pretty hilly, so we're going up and down and there are a few curves that went around creeks (pronounced "cricks" since were here in the Midwest; although it's still spelled the same.) Since we had to have the car GPS zoomed in all the way to see the gravel roads, we weren't really able to see the big picture unless we zoomed out. So we're zipping along and the road curves to the right and goes down a steeper hill at the same time. The road had eroded a bit and there were big gullies in it. We carefully followed the road down, across a railroad track and discovered it ended right in a farmers field. According to the GPS, there was a road there. But in reality, there was a corn field. Even though the roads were frozen, there was no way we could get easily get back up the hill and find a different road. If we had 4 wheel drive, it wouldn't have been a problem. But since we were in my BRAND NEW CAR, there was a slight problem. I about threw up then and there. We were in a corn field with no cell phone (they were both dead and probably wouldn't have gotten reception anyways) and it was getting dark. It kind of reminded me of being stuck in the middle of nowhere in our new truck on an old railroad track...

So...we backed up, went back over the railroad track and looked at the hill. I'm thinking these horrible thoughts about leaving my brand new Prius and walking miles looking for a house. Right next to the railroad track is a small gravel road that the railroad uses to check the tracks. We decided to take that road and find out where it's not on the GPS...but it's better than walking miles in the freezing cold looking for a house. We followed that road for miles, up and down the hills and finally we came to a different gravel road that crossed the railroad tracks. We took that road and a little while later, we found our way to a road...a tar road...a real road that didn't end in a corn field!

Needless to say, we made it off the gravel road. And we even made it to the next cache as the sun was setting. We were glad that we spent so much time wandering the Kansas gravel roads...we arrived at "Is That a Dinosaur I See?" at the perfect time!

It's been a while....

Here's my version of the song "It's Been a While" from Staind.

It's been a while
Since I could hold my head up high
and it's been a while
since I've blogged about geocaching
It's been a while
since any one's read about our adventures
and it's been a while
since I've updated you
But everyone has been so busy; no time for blogging right here
the consequences that I've rendered
no one's laughing or shedding tears...

Somehow, I don't think I could make a living writing songs! :)

If you care to watch the video, check it out

If you care to read the original lyrics, check them out's%20Been%20A%20While%20Lyrics.html

I will try super duper hard to keep our blog updated so I don't have to torture you with my song writing capabilities! Happy New Year! :)