An American Caching Adventure (Part 4) – Route66

Our final power trail for the trip was the famous Mother road, Route 66, running along about 100 miles of the highway between Barstow and Needles. There are 804 caches in the series with other caches in between. We set off from Barstow at about 6:15am and started caching at 7am! Our ambitious goal was to complete the whole series in a day, like many had done before. We weren’t sure if we would make it though, what with us grabbing around 400-500 each day on the ET and needing to get over 800 in a day to finish the Route66 series. I’d booked us a night in Needles at the east end of the series in case we needed to head there and finish the series on the second day.

Like the ET series, this power trail consisted of hundreds of film cans placed as close to each other as possible. Some of the caches in the series were placed right up against poles by the side of the road just a small step from where the car would pull up. These were obviously very easy to find. What with doing all of these power trails in the US we have learnt what a SPOR is, “Small Pile Of Rocks”. All of the Route 66 caches were hidden under these.

Your typical SPOR

Not all of the caches were like this though, and there was at least a little skill involved after a mad rush out of the car there were dozens of bushes to hunt around for the SPORs.

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An American caching adventure (Part 1) – The ET highway

And now for something completely different…

Thanks to everyone who asked me, tweeted me, and emailed me over the past few months asking “What’s going on with your blog? I want to see a new entry!” Sorry guys, I’ve been extremely busy with work and other commitments. I haven’t given up blogging, I was just on a break and normal service will be resumed shortly. So, thanks for waiting. I hope this makes up for it… 😉

After months of planning (and months of saving!) we jetted off to America at the end of March. Going to America has always been a dream of mine, and it finally came true! It took us a long while to decide where we wanted to go, but in the end caching got the best of us and we decided that Nevada would be our destination. Home to The ET Highway and Route 66 Geocaching power trails we knew that we would have a good time caching there. No big caching adventure would be complete without our caching partners, mel-ray and they joined us on our US adventure. We had planned at first to just stay in Las Vegas, however shortly decided to also visit San Francisco and Los Angeles, turning our simple American trip into a real adventure…

Las Vegas

We started off by staying in Las Vegas for a few nights. It was so overwhelming! So many grand hotels and shopping malls, each trying to out-do the other. Possibly the greatest place that we visited along the strip was “The Venetian”. An Italian-style shopping mall complete with a canal running through and gondolier rides through it. There was a hotel shaped like a pyramid, a hotel with a giant pirate ship show outside, a hotel with waterfalls and an erupting volcano outside… it was breath-taking! It was a little hard at first to do caching around the city. We didn’t feel completely “comfortable” searching in a foreign area and we weren’t sure of the hiding styles there so we only grabbed a couple of urban caches on our first few nights, it was mainly a sight seeing couple of days. We did however return to Vegas at the very end of our trip feeling a bit more comfortable caching in another country and were able to grab some great caches which took us to some lovely spots along the strip.

There were quite a lot of virtuals along the strip. There was Toga Party which took us outside Caesar’s palace to grab a snap of the man himself, IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST which took us to the Lion outside MGM Grand, Eiffel Tower which took us to the Paris hotel complete with its $20 million half size replica Eiffel tower, and MM MM Good which took us to the huge 4 floored M&M world!

Me and Mel with Caesar

It had to be done!

Perhaps the best virtual however was one that we completely overlooked until our very last night. It was in the Flamingo casino. It didn’t look very grand on the outside so we hadn’t explored any deeper, but if you follow the casino right to the back there is actually a big wildlife habitat complete with waterfalls, HUGE Koi carp, various types of duck, and 10 pink flamingos. Wow! It was just like being at the zoo.

One of the many waterfalls at the Flamingo

The pink flamingos

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The UK’s First “Power trail” – The Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation Series

The 1st December 2011, 12pm will go down in caching history as the time that the UK’s first “Power trail” was published. A lot of cache series have been accused of being powertrail before, however the definition of one is “a trail with many closely spaced caches, each placed as close to its neighbors as the cache saturation guidelines allow” [Source] None of the large cache series that we have done match this, and none of them have admitted to being Power trails. This series is loud and proud “I am a power trail, and if you don’t like it then don’t do it

The series runs along the river from Heybridge Basin right up into Chelmsford town center over a distance of 14 miles. There are other caches along this stretch as well, some of which we had previously found meaning that we were able to find 95 caches in a day! Those who haven’t visited the area would be able to pick up 110 caches across this distance. It took us 8 hours, 15 minutes to walk the stretch. I’ll add that because it’s a linear series you do have to get back to the start! You could walk and make it 28 miles, or you could catch the bus right back to where you started. There are details on the cache page. In our case, we got a lift back. The thought of walking all that way back in the dark really didn’t appeal to us. You could however break up the series into little chunks to cut down the amount of walking you would need to do at once.

I aim here to give a bit of a “review” of the series and share our experiences on it… I have also created an EveryTrail trip here. We started at 8:36am at Heybridge Basin at “Duck End Mill, Finchingfield“. This may slightly confuse some as Finchingfield is miles away! Let me explain: The caches are named after attractions in Essex. Each cache page has a write-up and in some caches photos of that attraction, meaning that you can also learn about some of the great places that our county has for visitors.

Heybridge Basin

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