Morton Fox's journal

> recent entries
> calendar
> friends
> MortonFox.com
> Twitter
> FriendFeed
> Flickr
> del.icio.us
> Limpidity
> profile
> previous 15 entries

Monday, May 4th, 2015

11:28 pm - Binky Lee, Abandoned Rails, Lawrenceville Jubilee
Since I had a mascot gig the next day, I decided not to venture out too far on Saturday. There were some single-park clusters of geocaches in Chester Springs and Phoenixville, which were good since I could park the rental car in one place and do a loop hike. The Binky Lee Preserve had the first set of caches. (BL series) It's a nice area with mostly grassy paths. Not all of the 14 geocaches there were easy, although with some effort, I found them all, plus a short centipede. Getting to the next set of caches proved a bit tricky because a street fair closed off half of Phoenixville and there was a closed bridge on the alternate route that I thought of taking. Eventually, I did get around to the other side of the Schuylkill River to Mont Clare for the "Abandoned Rails" cache series.

Sunday was the Hi-4 mascot gig at Lawrenceville Jubilee. This is the town that treats us well when we do the gig. We used their Main Street office as a break / changing room and it was stocked with drinks and donuts. This year, I did the gig with Zokki the hyena and Phil E. The latter was not part of Hi-4, but represented the Philly Pretzel Factory. Anyway, the event was a street fair that is two blocks long this year, a bit bigger than the year before. There was a fairly big crowd with some turnover so we didn't see the same people each time we headed out from the break room.

The gig ended at 5pm, so I still had a few hours of daylight. I noticed some good trails near Lawrenceville, so I took a walk along the Lawrence Hopewell Trail and the D&R Canal towpath for a dozen geocaches. It's funny that I never knew about the side entrance to the D&R Canal towpath all those years I lived in New Jersey. Better map data does help a lot.

The caches...Collapse )

(1 comment | comment on this)

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

12:59 am - Red Lion Road CITO, DE Furbowl 57, Deer Accident
Saturday morning, I joined Delaware (and some Pennsylvania and New Jersey) geocachers in the "Red Lion Road Adopt a Highway CITO XII". It's a geocaching event to clean up Route 71 near Lums Pond. We met up at the start of the road by our "Adopt A Highway" sign. Then we split up into groups of 4 or so and each group took a 1/2-mile section of the road. It didn't look like there would be that much litter at first but I saw that whenever I went down the embankment from the road a bit, there were a lot of bottles and cans all over. So that's what I mostly did - I went up and down the embankment, filling up my trash bag multiple times. Then we trucked all those bags of trash back to the meeting spot and piled those up for DelDOT to pick up later. We put in about two hours of work but 30 people can pick up a lot of litter!

The rest of the day, I found a few local geocaches. Hiked a few miles in Middle Run, visited a scenic railroad bridge fishing area in Conowingo, and waded in a storm drain. (a geocache where slippers / flip-flops were useful) Then in the evening, I went to Delaware Furbowl 57. It's pretty amazing that a regular bowling meet has turned into a mini-convention with attendees from hundreds of miles away making a weekend trip of it. Had the opportunity to meet up with some folks I hadn't seen in years and also some new acquaintances I'd only contacted over Twitter before that. So that was fun.

On Sunday, I tried going to York via Maryland instead of via Lancaster, but actually spent most of the day in the Maryland countryside, around Jarrettsville, Monkton, White Hall, and Parkton, to the north of Hunt Valley where Fur 'the More used to be. Prettyboy Dam was the most scenic spot of the day and the red brain was the weirdest geocache of the day. Generally, I like the countryside better than the urban areas near Baltimore. People seem nicer too. Near the end of the day, I talked to someone living on a rural road, whose property was across the road from the cache. He seemed genuinely impressed by the assortment of caches in the countryside and the nearby town of New Freedom.

The incident of the deer in the middle of the nightCollapse )

The caches...Collapse )

(2 comments | comment on this)

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

5:52 pm - York VIII - Southeast, York IX - South
More exploration of York County this weekend. On Saturday, after entering York County via the smaller Route 462 bridge to Wrightsville, I hit Sam Lewis State Park, Windsor, Red Lion, Yoe, and East Prospect. This part of York County looks the most like Lancaster County, with farms (but without the Amish) and views of rolling hills. Also, traffic seemed a lot lighter in this section so it was a pretty nice area.

Sunday's York County trip started with a few more geocaches from the Spring Grove Geotour. "SGGT14 - Past & Present" was the most unusual one this time because it needed jumper cables. I had a portable jump start battery so I used that instead and a motor popped out the geocache as soon as I clipped the connectors together. So it was the same idea as the previous week's motorized geocache, except with a 12V car battery instead of an AA battery. Instead of continuing the geotour, I went east to Seven Valleys. The town got its name because you can see 7 valleys from there. I wasn't sure about that but there was a bit of a view from the railroad bridge downtown. Then I continued on to Loganville. Brown's Orchard was an interesting stop here. There was a geocache at the honey house, which looked cute except for the live bees inside! For the rest of the day, I continued southwards to Shrewsbury, crossing the state line briefly to Maryland Line, before returning to Pennsylvania for dinner.

York is far west enough to have some Western Pennsylvania restaurant chains. I noticed Quaker Steak & Lube on the previous week's trip but decided to find out more about the chain first before trying it on Sunday night. It's a theme restaurant, the theme being motorsports and auto garage. So there's an old-fashioned gas pump outside and motorcycles hanging from the ceiling inside. I had dinner under a car! I thought the food was really only average (although I haven't tried the wings, supposedly their specialty), but the fun theme is probably the main attraction.

The caches...Collapse )

(comment on this)

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

12:28 am - York VI, York VII, and Spring Grove
Saturday's trip started with a few geocaches near Strasburg and Ronks. Then I went to West York. I actually didn't think York was that great, especially when I got closer to the downtown area. So I decided to head out to the countryside. Spring Grove was more to my liking. There was a big collection of geocaches, all placed for the Spring Grove Geotour, and most of those were rather creative. The most remarkable one was the motorized geocache. I only needed to bring an AA battery to use the gadget to retrieve the cache and log. There was also a dinosaur head geocache (yes, just the head), a multi-room travel bug hotel, and a funny geocache warning sign.

Went to the York area again on Sunday. I decided not to skip ahead to areas beyond Spring Grove, so I went northwest from York to Shiloh, Weigelstown, Dover, and Wellsville. It was a mixed day with some hiking and some difficult geocaches but nothing remarkable.

The caches...Collapse )

(2 comments | comment on this)

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

5:55 pm - South Jersey - Glassboro - Berlin, York V
For Saturday, I noticed a collection of new geocaches around Mullica Hill and Glassboro, so that's where I started. And the rest of the day was a trip around Turnersville, Williamstown, Waterford Works, Atco, and Berlin. I didn't intend for this to be a Weird NJ tour but that's how it went. There were a living room furniture set in the woods, a giant lumberjack (Mr. Bills Restaurant in Winslow), and the abandoned Atco drive-in.

Sunday was another trip to York after finding an Easter geocache in Lancaster. This time, I was on the north side of York, including Emigsville, Mount Wolf, Manchester, and part of West York. Easter was the perfect time for geocaching in York because nearly all the stores were closed for the holiday, so traffic wasn't so bad. On the other hand, it was a terrible time for getting dinner after geocaching because nearly all the restaurants were closed. So thank goodness there was a Chinese restaurant near the last geocache.

The caches...Collapse )

(comment on this)

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

5:51 pm - LVGC Breakfast 2015, Lancaster LXX, York IV
This weekend was a breakout event after a snowbound winter. Other than a few patches of stubborn ice on the ground, all the signs of winter were gone and geocaches were once again revealed to the world. Saturday's excursion began with "LVGC Breakfast in the Valley 2015", a breakfast geocaching event at Borderline Restaurant in Bethlehem. After an eggs benedict and some conversation, I headed out eastwards into Bethlehem, Easton, Palmer, Forks. There was the "WPBP" series on the Wilson-Palmer Bike Path, which I started last year but didn't have time to finish. Well, I got nearly all of it on Saturday! Also, there were lots of geocaches placed in that area within the last six months, including the "Farmers view" series and the "Holiday Shopping" series. And I also got the "Challenge Park" trio, which I thought were all pretty easy challenges, except probably to new folks who haven't found enough caches to fill the requirements.

On Sunday, I started with some geocaches in Mountville and Columbia, to the west of Lancaster City, and then decided to expand my territory into York County. I'd actually been there a few years ago but thought that it was too far for a day trip. It actually isn't, compared to Lehigh Valley, except that the roads aren't as good so it feels like a longer trip. Since I hadn't been there in a while, there was a variety of geocaches, although mostly clustered around some shopping centers and a few major parks in East York, Springettsbury, and Spry. My overall impression of York is it isn't as interesting (in terms of culture, scenery, and variety of geocaches) as Lancaster but I haven't seen the other half of York, which may change my opinion. I loved that they got permission for those geocaches. I stopped at a fruit/vegetable market in Hallam to look for a geocache and the friendly store owner, who already knew about it, came out to say hello even though the store was actually closed on Sunday.

The caches...Collapse )

(comment on this)

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

12:40 am - Mount Holly, Penllyn / Lower Gwynedd / Horsham
Early Saturday morning, I headed out to the Rt 38 Diner in Mount Holly for "March Meet & Greet". Although this breakfast geocaching event was a tad early for me to travel out to, I'd still have made it on time if a truck hadn't overturned on the NJ Turnpike and tossed construction material all over the highway. Apparently, there was an icy spot on the southbound side and half of the truck flipped over the center barrier. But it was only a 15-minute delay so I wasn't too late. After breakfast, I went out to find some geocaches that were placed for the event. (Mount Holly Rail Trail series) I ran into Stews Crew and Lusophile on that trail, so we got those caches as a group. It's funny that I go 40 miles into New Jersey, only to meet up with geocachers from Chester / Delaware County, closer to my area. For the rest of the day, I focused on finishing groups of geocaches in some parks around Mt. Holly, Hainesport and Lumberton. The ground was snow-covered but it wasn't too bad.

On Sunday, I decided to hit the Montgomery County Cache Factory area, but this time, I started in Audubon, Norristown, and Penllyn before hitting Lower Gwynedd and Horsham. The whole area was rather wet and mucky from melting snow, but I wasn't wearing the good shoes anyway so I just splashed around everywhere. That's how I found "Rock Pile (2)". I spotted the cache at the exact moment I sank ankle-deep into a puddle. So I called that the "Mud Hole of Seeing". It's part of a series of caches but I didn't know it was connected to "Wow, That Took Me A Minute (1)" until I noticed that there's a tunnel under Route 202. Relatively long walk but it was great to get caches on both sides of the highway without moving the car. Incidentally, "Wow, That Took Me A Minute (1)" would've been very difficult in the Summer because it's in the middle of a thorny thicket, past some neck-high weeds. (A tough search in July and August, as one can see from the cache logs.) So it was good to get this cache when I did, before the Spring growth kicks in.

The caches...Collapse )

(1 comment | comment on this)

Friday, March 20th, 2015

1:53 am - Pi Day, Lancaster LXIX Sticky Situation
Saturday was a busy day. It was Pi Day (3/14/15), so there were lots of geocaching events taking place. I picked three that didn't conflict and were all within 30 miles from home. So at breakfast time, I went to "A Breakfast Pi? S.T.R.A.N.G.E.!" at Wegman's in Downingtown. Then at lunchtime, I went to "Almost St. Patty's Day" at Charcoal Pit in Wilmington. Then at dinnertime, I went to "2015 NJ PI Event 3.1415" at East Garden Buffet in Sicklerville. Of course, there were other geocaches and some event bonus caches along the way. So all in all, it was quite a day. The funniest part was a group of geocachers from Chester County picked the same events that I did. So I kept seeing them every couple of hours!

Sunday was a comparatively laid-back trip to Lancaster County. I hit Lancaster and then worked my way north/northeast to Lititz, West Earl, Ephrata, Reamstown, and Denver. I love the humorous and creative caches that folks in this area place. "Spiders and Rats and Zombies, Oh My!" actually had a spider, a rat, and a zombie hand. Then, there was the toilet geocache. The story is that's the site of a hotel that was torn down but they left toilets all over the place. Later in the afternoon, I went for the "Sticky Situation" series in Ephrata, which had a bunch of neat fake food props. Among those were a spilled ice cream geocache and a donut geocache. I love these because it's obvious they're having fun with humorous and themed geocaches.

The caches...Collapse )

(1 comment | comment on this)

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

1:36 am - Quakertown and Lehigh Valley
This weekend was probably the peak of snow accumulation for the season. I went to the Quakertown and Saucon Valley area on Saturday and Lehigh Valley on Sunday, and the snow was pretty much knee-deep everywhere with some snow drifts up to waist deep. The worst part was the snow was semi-frozen so it was like walking on ice but falling through it on every step. I checked cache descriptions and logs to screen for ones were findable with snow on the ground, but I brought my shovel, stubby hammer, and chisel everywhere too, just in case. These tools came in handy at "Tree Hollow". I thought that one would be findable but the tree hole turned out to be completely below the snow level and the cache was stuck under ice. Still, I managed to find the right tree by trial and error, and got it out.

Sunday went much better. I went to Gracedale Open Space in Nazareth for the "GOS" series of caches. All of those were up in trees, shrubs, and stumps and definitely winter-friendly. There was one cache in that preserve, "Gracedale's Backyard", that was on the ground and completely buried under snow and ice. Although the hint was very specific, it actually referred to a nearby object, not the exact spot. But I took a guess at where I should dig and I was correct. That afternoon, I stopped at Wegman's in Hanover Township to see the Lehigh Valley geocachers at the "LVG G.E.M." event. It was a nice little gathering and after half a day of stumbling around in the snow, a bit of a break was welcome.

The caches...Collapse )

(7 comments | comment on this)

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

2:56 pm - Phoenixville, Limerick
On Saturday, I went to Phoenixville and Upper Providence. I'd planned on hitting some cache series in that area, although I didn't know how difficult it would be since there was still some snow on the ground. The Schuylkill River Trail still had long stretches of ice, so that was a bit dangerous. (unrelated sign) However, I was able to finish the "Unsure Trale" series, even though I thought I wasn't going to be able to find the third one in that series. (It was there, except that it had slipped out of its string tether and had gotten lost in the debris on the ground.)

On Sunday, I returned to the same area, but started in Collegeville/Trappe. There was a bit more walking on snow-covered trails and frozen creeks. It started snowing a bit before midday. When the weather changed to a steady rain of ice pellets, I decided I had enough of that and returned to Delaware for an early dinner.

The caches...Collapse )

(2 comments | comment on this)

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

1:40 pm - Snowstorm, Malvern, Phoenixville
There was a snowstorm predicted for Saturday but I wanted to see how many geocaches in Willisbrook Preserve I could finish before it started snowing. The snow started at around noon, a bit earlier than forecast, but I had already finished one of the two trail loops by then. I got out of there quickly because I knew secondary roads would get bad. For the rest of the day, I attended to accounting, taxes, and household chores that I'd been saving for a snowy day. (Cleaning the bathroom on a weekend? It's madness!)

After shoveling snow to clear my sidewalk and driveway on Sunday morning, I went to Coopersmith Park in West Goshen. I'd passed by those caches previously but this time, I brought the required equipment. "Smackwater Jack" is one of those caches where you need to bring water to float the cache container up a PVC tube. I really only needed the bucket and duct tape though because the nearby stream was flowing. The other cache in Coopersmith Park was also pretty neat. "Heard It Through the Grape Vine" was a bunch of grapes.

Then I returned to Willisbrook Preserve to finish what I started the previous day. There was another layer of slushy wet snow everywhere so walking around was a bit more difficult, but most of the caches were still findable. After that, I picked and chose geocaches around Malvern and Phoenixville. These varied in difficulty and some hill slopes were slippery.

The caches...Collapse )

(3 comments | comment on this)

Monday, February 16th, 2015

3:18 pm - Elmer, Vineland, Buena, local snowcaching
Saturday was a toolcaching day. I checked the list of geocaches in the Elmer/Vineland area and noticed that at least a few caches required some non-standard tools. So I put together what I needed ahead of time and brought the tool bucket with me. "Poor Papa's Parched" and "I Own a Puzzle" were similar. Both of them were tubes / pipes that you fill with water to float the cache to the top. I brought a big bucket and a small bucket. I used the big bucket to fetch water from the river and the small bucket for scooping. A funnel helped too, although it wasn't strictly necessary. I also used duct tape to close the drain hole at the bottom of the pipe before filling it. "No Idle Zone" wasn't really a tool cache, but I saw from the previous cache log that the cache was frozen in place. There, I used a hammer and chisel to wedge it out from the ice enough to open the lid.

The rest of the day was pretty much a lot of hiking around pine barren areas to try to get more geocaches before those come under NJ State Parks Geocaching Policy review. The impression I'm getting now though is they may not require all existing caches to be archived in April, but who really knows? There was a bit of light snow during the day, but a fast-moving storm in the evening dumped 3 inches of snow in about half an hour, so that made the trip home somewhat slower.

Sunday was very cold: 8°F in the morning, warming up to about 13°F in the afternoon. Because of that and very strong winds throughout the day, I decided not to travel out too far and just go for some nearby geocaches. Most of those caches were quick. The only walk of significant length was a 1-mile round trip on the snowy trails in Middle Run for a mortar tube cache. Yes, it was cold but I didn't notice it as much once I got moving. There was also a brief stop at the University of Delaware campus.

The caches...Collapse )

(comment on this)

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

2:43 am - Denton, Federalsburg, Millville, and Peaslee
After last Saturday's trip to Cambridge, I'd almost finished that section of Eastern Shore Maryland, except for Caroline County to the north. So this Saturday, I returned to the area. There actually weren't too many geocaches left around there, at least the ones that don't have strings of logs pointing out problems with the cache. You see, the problem with Eastern Shore geocaches is maintenance. Seems like a good many of those were placed and then never checked again. Nevertheless, I found what I could. There were some geocaches around Tuckahoe State Park and Recreation Area but the real meat of the day was Federalsburg. Those were all findable, even if some of the log sheets were wet. "Marina Walk" was the hardest one (Many DNFs in the logs and I was the first visitor in about 8 months) but I was lucky to see it without too much kneeling on the rocks. On the way to dinner, I decided to stop and try to find some caches I had trouble with previously. "Welcome to Seaford" was impossible to see because of the way it was placed. I reached up in a random direction and somehow knocked it over, probably about a 1 in 100 chance!

Sunday's trip was to the Millville area in Deep South Jersey. I seemed to have a lucky streak that whole day. For nearly every cache, when I started searching, I was already right where I needed to be to see it. That happened even at "Dam Micro". I was momentarily distracted because I saw the police pull someone over on the nearby road and stepped to one side of the rock field, and that's where the cache was! So I decided to try my luck on the Elvis Trail to see if I could find all 10 caches without help. And I did finish the series without too much trouble, even though some were tricky. These caches were all not far from a dirt road through the pine woods in Peaslee WMA, so one could drive to each cache, taking care to avoid the soft mud. After it got dark, I decided to hit the night cache in Belleplain State Park. "The Road to Hell is Paved..." was a bit confusing at first because it was unclear where I needed to start following the fire tacks. (Given coordinates were actually for the parking area, which I couldn't use because I didn't have a campground pass.) Also, some of the fire tacks, including one of the directional markers, were missing but I tackled the problems slowly and in the end, it was an enjoyable night trek to an easy geocache.

The caches...Collapse )

(comment on this)

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

2:39 am - Deep Eastern Shore and Deep South Jersey
On Saturday, I decided to hit Cambridge in Dorchester County in Eastern Shore Maryland. That's the last big collection of geocaches before I get to Salisbury again. Cambridge is a moderate-sized town with an upscale downtown area, suburban-like strip malls, a waterfront on the Choptank River, and lots of historical markers on the Underground Railroad. The most significant landmark though, appears to be the Choptank River Lighthouse, which looks unusual to me because most lighthouses are much taller. Of course, there was a geocache right there: "Cambridge - Former MML Geotrail 2013". I visited some of the surrounding areas too. In Trappe, there's a scale model of a house in front of the very same house at the Rural Life Museum. And in Easton, there's a neat metal sculpture of a bull.

I thought it would rain or snow on Sunday but that never happened. I figured I'd not venture out too far, so I hit Deep South Jersey, which is only 10-30 miles from home. (for crows anyway. Taking the bridge and country roads makes it a tad farther.) Since there was no hunting on Sunday, I took a hike in the Salem WMA, stopping long enough to look at the brick ruins. Then, there was a severed foot geocache: "Tagged: DOA", a wordplay in several different ways. ("Tagged" series of caches, log sheet inside the "toe tag") I also took a short hike to the top of a hill in Bridgeton, which I later learnt was Mount Trashmore. I thought they did a reasonable job capping the landfill, although I still had to watch out for some pieces of rusty junk poking out of the dirt.

The caches...Collapse )

(comment on this)

Monday, January 26th, 2015

3:53 pm - Jury Duty, Wye Mills, Kirkwood Preserve
Went for jury duty on Thursday morning. It was actually my first time because I wasn't eligible all the previous times I received a jury summons. The county courthouse in downtown Wilmington was pretty busy that day. There were 17 cases on the trial calendar, so it took most of the morning for them to sort through those cases. They whittled it down to 3 cases after settlements and plea bargains. I was in the third group of jurors to get called. After calling 35 jurors for jury selection in each of the first two cases, the bailiff decided to just call the rest of us for the third case. So nearly 100 people, including myself, had to take the elevator to a courtroom on the 8th floor. (Courthouse stairs were reserved for emergency use only.) It was like the elevator line at the Westin during Anthrocon. :) By the time we all got to the 8th floor though, the prosecutor and defendant had both agreed to a bench trial (trial by judge) due to the complexity of the criminal case, so they didn't need a jury after all. The judge took a few minutes to explain that decision to all of us and then we all went back down to the jury assembly room. By the afternoon, they decided no more jurors were needed so they handed out the juror certificates and dismissed us. Even though it was just a lot of waiting, I still thought it was an educational experience because the court staff explained what was happening every step of the way. There was still some daylight afterwards, so I went to Logan and Mullica Hill in South Jersey for a quick geocache run before returning to Delaware for errands and dinner.

Saturday had bad weather, with a mix of snow and rain, but I figured if I headed south to Eastern Shore, there would be only rain down that way. This time, I went to Wye Mills, Wye Island, and some of the fingers of land next to Easton. The hard part about geocaching in that area is the shape of the land. There are lots of fingers of land, up to 10 miles long, into the Chesapeake Bay with no bridges linking them. If you venture down one finger for a geocache, it takes a lot of driving and time to go back out of the finger and down another finger. So I picked only those fingers with a good collection of geocaches. Prospect Bay was nice. Even though it looked like a very exclusive community, no one bothered me and it looks like they leave geocaches alone too, even those really obvious cache containers that I saw sitting out in the open. Near the end of the day, I revisited St Michaels to finish the geocaches I didn't have time for last week, and ended the day at Claiborne Beach. (the only time that day the sun came out)

On Sunday, I hit the trail loop for 11 geocaches at Kirkwood Preserve in Newtown Square. There was some snow on the ground from the previous day's snowfall but not really enough to make it hard to find those geocaches. There was one geocache in Radnor that required climbing a concrete pillar. I brought my ladder but it didn't feel safe because the ladder didn't reach high enough, so I decided not to retrieve this cache until I can get a longer ladder. The shape of the pillar also makes it a lot harder to use long tree branches to knock the cache off, although some have done it that way. After that, I continued onwards to Lower Gwynedd and Horsham. Things were a bit rougher there because of some uncleared parking areas. "Up Against the Wall!" was findable despite the snow, although I had to dig up nearly a 10-foot line of snow before I saw it. Of course, I put the snow back for the next person! :) "Enterance[sic] to the Woods" was difficult for no good reason. That whole area was a messy mix of water and snow. After kicking away the snow fruitlessly for a while, I saw the cache just sitting out there on a tuft of grass. It wasn't a hiding spot that made sense but I think some caches just put the whammy on folks. I noticed in the cache logs that others took a while to find it too, just because of the weirdness of the placement.

The caches...Collapse )

(2 comments | comment on this)

> previous 15 entries
> top of page
 
LiveJournal.com