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!

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