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Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

1:30 am - Doylestown and Lancaster
Two hot summer days this weekend. Saturday's trip was up to Warminster, Hatfield, Doylestown, and Plumsteadville. Didn't skip past the difficult caches this time because I figured the remaining easy caches were getting way too far away. It's a matter of trying your luck sometimes. "The King of Doylestown", in particular, was a micro cache with 4-star difficulty in dense woods with poor GPS reception. It took a combination of a bunch of different things to find it: I had a feeling about a certain area and I found a pen that a previous cacher probably dropped that turned out to be pretty close to the hiding spot. With some indication that I was on the right track, it was just a matter of poking around until I got it. "Prickerland II" was a different kind of challenge. The biggest hurdle was finding a way to get through a wall of overgrowth into the woods. I guess that could've waited until winter but what the hey?

Sunday's trip was in two parts. I got some local geocaches before heading over to Lancaster for the rest of the day. Once again, I didn't avoid the difficult caches. "Gardening in Pike Creek", although not an easy search, turned out to be something I'd seen before. Of course, I started from the wrong end of the row of bushes so it took a while. "Otters Cache 1" was a long walk in Wolf's Hollow County Park but the trail was mostly pretty good. The cache locations in Lancaster covered the usual assortment of quaint and historic sites, such as a covered bridge, Boehm's Chapel, and the Byerland stone meeting house.

The caches...Collapse )

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Monday, July 18th, 2016

6:03 pm - Montgomery/Bucks
Saturday was another trip up Montgomery County, to Gwynedd, Lansdale, Hilltown and Perkasie, for some of the newer geocaches. Took a break in the early afternoon for some Munzee because it got too hot for any kind of walking, but resumed geocaching afterwards. Issues with brush and overgrowth were not as bad as last weekend, although there were a few where the going was tough. "Veterans Day - 2015" was the hardest to access. My approach was across a weedy field and a, thankfully, dry creek bed, and then into the thorny wooded area. Even the cache was in a fairly nondescript brush heap in a place with lots of bushes, so it took some work and quite a bit of luck just to catch a glimpse of it. "Lake Shore Drive" was funny because when I checked where I thought the cache would be, I saw only a frog under the bridge, sheltering from the rain. The actual cache hiding spot was a lot cleverer.

Sunday's trip was to the area east of Saturday's trip, specifically to Hatboro, Warminster, Jamison, Richboro, and Southampton. I tried to get as many of the geocaches that I'd skipped over on previous trips because I assumed those would be difficult or time-consuming. Some of them were, but some, like "Deep in the Jungle Gym" and "Undercover Cache", turned out to be fairly quick. Sometimes, it's just by chance that you happen to look the right way upon arriving at the cache site. "A Spot in the Nasty Woods" lived up to its name. It was a tough bushwhack, so I'm a glutton for punishment for doing that in the summer. "Come for the Cache, Stay for the Prickers" was just as bad a bushwhack, although not as deep into the woods. "The Evil That Men Do Lives After Them", on the other hand, wasn't as evil as I thought. I got a tip in the cache logs on the best way to approach the cache site and once there, it was just a matter of looking around. "DemonAnus #1", the cache whose name may kill this journal's G rating, wasn't as difficult as I assumed. I read enough of the cache logs to know what to expect and then it was a matter of being observant.

The caches...Collapse )

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Friday, July 15th, 2016

12:53 am - KoP, Plymouth, NW Philly, Willow Grove, Abington, Jenkintown
This weekend, I once again made circles to the west and north of Philadelphia to get the newest batch of geocaches. Saturday's trip was to Upper Merion, King of Prussia, Plymouth Meeting, and Northwest Philadelphia. Got some trail hiking in Northwest Philly because of a few series of geocaches going short distances into rugged Wissahickon Park. The most interesting caches of the day were near the Green Goats project in Bob White Park, Upper Merion. This project uses goats to get rid of invasive plants and poison ivy, and the goats are fun to watch because they move around and eat a lot.

Sunday's trip was to Willow Grove, Abington, and Jenkintown, focusing on the area south of the Pennsylvania Turnpike but north of the city. The most interesting cache site of the day was in the sculpture park at Alverthorpe Manor.

The caches...Collapse )

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Thursday, July 7th, 2016

4:59 pm - Anthrocon 2016
So that was it! My 20th Anthrocon! It's quite a significant milestone since there aren't too many things that I've been doing every year for 20 years. Geocaching and Where's George both started after the first Anthrocon. Of course, over two decades a lot has changed. The con has grown up significantly and in a sense, so have I. The con moved to another city (twice) and so did I. Can we look forward to another 20 years? I don't know. Let's take it one year at a time.

Once again, I shared a hotel room in the Westin with Marauder and Gatorman. (Well, Gatorman skipped last year but this arrangement was the same for the previous couple of years before that.) We arrived on Wednesday but this time, we stayed until Tuesday so we could spend July 4th in Pittsburgh. I didn't do too much at Anthrocon this time around. I was at the Recess fursuit games, the dances, the fursuit parade, and a couple of panels. I missed a lot of con events because the scheduling didn't mesh well with my plans or I had to go out for meals. Most of it is not the fault of con programming. However, when I answered the con survey, I pointed out that signup for the Team Fursuit Games was too early in the morning. 8:30am on Sunday morning was tough to make, especially after going to room party and a dance on Saturday night, and so I had to skip that event. That aside, the con is still very well-run. Panelists and guests were interesting and good speakers in their fields of expertise. Aside from the usual elevator line and fursuit badge line, I didn't notice any problems at all.

Sorry to say but conditions in Pittsburgh have deteriorated. This started on the day of my arrival when I saw that someone had a violent confrontation with an aggressive panhandler right outside the Grant Street bus terminal. It was an incident that required paramedic and police response. Walking around the city myself, I noticed that there were far more panhandlers than in previous years and some were more pushy than others. I heard from a friend too of an incident where he was accosted by a group of homophobes. It's scary if you're walking on your own in the city, especially at night. In addition, there was a shooting on the night of July 4th near 7th and Liberty, which is just a few blocks away from the Westin and DLCC. Luckily, I opted to watch the fireworks from the DLCC waterfront instead of going to Point State Park. However, my roomies were much closer to where the shooting happened at that time. And finally, I saw that someone had scratched my car on purpose with a coin or a key. However, I didn't notice that until the day after, when it was pointed out to me. So without further proof, I can't say whether it happened in Pittsburgh or anywhere I stopped along the way home. (Monroeville, Breezewood) My car has plenty of scratches already, so I didn't mind too much but again, it's another sign of the way things are going down the drain in that area.

The caches...Collapse )

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Monday, June 27th, 2016

5:30 pm - Limerick, Pottstown, KoP, Upper Gwynedd, Souderton, Perkasie
Saturday was one of the days when I intended to head into the Cache Factory area towards Doylestown but got sidetracked way off. It's all good because it shows that there are new geocaches everywhere and more than enough to make a day of it no matter which way I go. Anyway, I started in the Plymouth Meeting area. Instead of going northeast as intended, I hit groups of caches in Audubon, Collegeville, and Schwenksville. Once I was on the west side of the Perkiomen Creek, that side looked like it had more caches, so I continued onwards through Limerick, Pottstown, and Pottsgrove.

Sunday started in roughly the same area (King of Prussia) but this time, I did go the intended way to Whitpain, Gwynedd, North Wales, Lansdale, Hatfield, Telford, Sellersville, and Perkasie, although there was a little sidetrack to Skippack for a set of geocaches in Heebner Park. ("HP" series) Geocaches of the day were the lizard and the snake. The snake was only a decoration. I think it was meant to be coiled around the cache container but got separated. The two items are back together under the bush. I also found a real snake inside a hollow tree but it moved away too quickly for me to photograph it.

The caches...Collapse )

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Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

2:07 am - More local geocaching, Mercer-Bucks
Saturday was another day to get some geocaches in my area, to the northwest and northeast of home. Went from Newark to Pike Creek, London Britain, Kemblesville, Kennett Square, Concordville, Springfield, Newtown Square, and Lansdowne. Attempted some of the tougher geocaches as well, which meant tackling the overgrowth on some of the less-used trails in DelCo wooded areas. The funny cache of the day was "Class of 3:16", which came with its own action figure.

Sunday's geocaching trip started in Penns Grove and Logan Township, before venturing north to Trenton, Ewing, and Pennington. However, any area that even suggested picnic or swim hole was packed with people and parking areas were jam packed. Moreover, traffic was crazy on the New Jersey side. So, after getting a few geocaches, I decided to head over the river for the relative calm of Bucks County, PA. There were a lot of new geocaches, mostly from Taxman, in Newtown and Bensalem. Also, I was finally able to find some caches with which I had trouble in the past. "Cry Baby #5 * 8 - Newborn" was one such problematic cache. I'd been there before but encountered a vagrant hiding behind the fence, which really discouraged me from returning for a while! Finally found the cache this time and it turned out to not be that difficult, except for having to deal with the overgrowth in that unused slice of land next to the Wawa parking lot.

Couple of interesting geocaches on Sunday. The first was the cow-spotted box, which was furry on the inside! "Shadowy Span" was near an unusual sculpture of an armored horse. What the camera didn't capture very well was a golden heart behind the bars in the center of the horse's body. So that's some neat symbolism. And the last cache before dinner was a gnome, which ties in to the puzzle in "Where's Dog VII - Follow Your Gnome".

The caches...Collapse )

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Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

2:07 am - Chestertown and local, Celebrate Lehigh Parkway
On Saturday, I intended to stay local and get all the recently-published local geocaches, but somehow ended up going to Chestertown after a bunch of geocaches in Middletown and Millington. The one curious thing in the area was the Unicorn Fishing Lake, which, depending on the way you parse the sign, could be a lake where unicorns fish or a lake where one fishes for unicorns. The last stop of the day was back to Carousel Farm Park in Pike Creek for a set of toe geocaches, before I made my escape!

Sunday's trip was to Allentown for the "Celebrate Geocaching in the Lehigh Parkway!" geocaching event. It was a morning event though, so I was there only for the last five minutes before it ended abruptly. In that same area was another event celebrating the 175th anniversary of the covered bridge, so the geocaching event had to end before the next event began. I didn't stick around for the main festivities, so the rest of the day was spent getting the new geocaches in Coplay, Northampton, Laurys Station, and Walnutport, and walking on some of the bike paths in the area.

The caches...Collapse )

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Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

1:32 pm - WWFM XIII, Reading, Baltimore
Saturday was the day of the 13th World-Wide Flash Mob. I attended the one in the Reading area, simply because that's where I was going for the day. There are fewer WWFM events this year and attendance is down. I was told that this is because Groundspeak has stopped offering a special souvenir for this annual event. I thought that was a pity since I couldn't believe a mere virtual token was enough to make or break a decision to attend an event. Regardless, I had a good time at this one. It was at a dog park in Jim Dietrich Park, although most of us didn't have dogs. After that, I continued geocaching around Reading and Muhlenberg, and ventured out to Kutztown again. Creative caches included an election cache, a few owls, and a birdhouse. There was also a Devil's Trail but I didn't know what that was about since the sign pointed into a wooden hut.

Sunday's trip was back to the Baltimore area, around Edgewood, Middle River, Essex, and Dundalk. There were lots of new caches to get since I hadn't been there in a while, although the most interesting ones were towards the end of the day in Dundalk. Understand the Buried History of Riverview Park was in an underground pedestrian tunnel. Of course, you can't take GPS readings underground so the cache owner provided a good hint for finding it. Also, the cache page has pointers to historical information on the (early 20th century) amusement park and industrial plant located at that site.

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Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

5:13 pm - Memorial Day Weekend
Saturday's trip was to Hopewell Township, Titusville, and Washington's Crossing in Central Jersey with a brief foray into Yardley, Pennsylvania. Most of the day was a long walk along the D&R Canal to finish the "D&R Trail" series that I started 2 years ago. This time, I started from the north end, near Washington's Crossing. There was also a historical tour down the route George Washington might have taken in the march to Trenton.

Sunday's trip was to Lehigh Valley for the "LVG Memorial Day G.E.M." geocaching event. The event was in the late afternoon, so in the morning and afternoon, I got some geocaches around Lower and Upper Macungie.

Monday's trip was to Reading, Muhlenberg, Fleetwood, Moselem Springs, and Kutztown. In the beginning of the day, I tried to tackle some of the more difficult or time-consuming caches around West Reading to clear out the area. Wasn't entirely successful though. At Mini Menagerie, the final location contained a dead raven, presumably lying right on the cache! I decided to leave that one alone for now. (I noticed the cache owner has since removed the carcass, so we're just waiting until the remnants have decomposed.) On the other hand, "Frog Tour Multi-Cache" and "Sweet Dreams" were a treat to do. The former took me to a series of frog sculptures around West Reading, while the latter was in beautiful Trudy's Garden.

The caches...Collapse )

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Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

5:46 pm - Rainy day Berks countryside, the mascot gig that wasn't
Saturday was a rainy day. Contrary to what one might assume, the better bet for geocaches was to get out to the countryside north of Pottstown because there were many cemetery caches that weren't too messy to get to in the rain. The most notable cache site was the graveyard of Robocop! Actually, he was a different Peter Weller from the 19th century. There was also a split lamb in another cemetery. The cutest geocache was a mini mailbox outside the cache owner's house.

On Sunday, I headed out to Point Pleasant Beach to do a mascot gig for a CFF Great Strides event. However, when I got there, I saw Miss GEICO and realized that it was a totally different event. Turns out that the CFF event had been moved to the weekend prior but they didn't bother to tell Hi-4. Oh well. This is the second year in a row that something has gone wrong with the gig, so I might not sign up next year. But no matter. The rain had stopped and there were plenty of geocaches around Point Pleasant Beach, Brielle, Wall, and Manasquan, especially the little power trail in Sawmill Tract. The most humorous cache of the day was Pepto Cachemo. One dose cures cache withdrawal symptoms!

The caches...Collapse )

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Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

2:44 am - Reading/Hamburg, Sourland Mountain
Saturday was a rainy day, so I mostly hit the quick and easy geocaches in the suburbs and countryside to the west and northwest of Reading. (Cumru, Wyomissing, Bern, Leesport) Many of those were cemetery geocaches, thanks to the "Lying In Wait" cache series. Later in the afternoon, the rain stopped, so I took a mile-long hike in SGL 110. Then I hurried back to the parking area since the rain started again just as I was nearly done with that hike.

Sunday began with some dinosaur adventures at the hadrosaurus site in Haddonfield. Then, there was a walk across a pipeline bridge. Although it seemed fine, I wasn't sure if the walkway was sturdy so I had to be careful. And then, there was a geocache on a pedestrian overpass in Collingswood. Not so much of an adventure there. Later in the afternoon, I headed over to Sourland Mountain Reservation in Belle Mead. There were two cache series there, Sweet and Sour, which combined into a long hike from one park entrance to another. The "Sweet" series had some funny caches, like this deer skull with bloodshot eyeballs. One of the stops in Sourland was an abandoned blue Corvair, where the "Dude, where's my Corvair?" geocache was hidden. This was challenging to access due to the overgrowth but there was a faint trail from previous visitors to the abandoned car.

The caches...Collapse )

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Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

1:33 am - Lehigh Valley, Skillman
On Saturday, I'd planned to go to Allentown to get the latest "Play Anywhere" Wherigo caches, but how could I resist a little side trip to the Morton Morton house? Folks in Lehigh Valley have gotten rather daring with their geocaches. This big frog geocache, for example, is slightly hidden only because of the vegetation but I think they're really counting on no one venturing out to that side of the park. And then, there was the Tuma Butt geocache. And you thought geocaches couldn't be risque!

Sunday's trip was to the Skillman / Montgomery / Hopewell area since I wanted to visit MOOYAH Burgers again. As I discovered, this area is rather artsy. The parks are decorated with various sculptures and art pieces, such as historic house scale models, abstract sculptures, a mask, and a meditative figure. I spent most of the day though on the Skillman Park Geotrail, a collection of geocaches in Skillman Park, a relatively large park built on the grounds of a former state-run psychiatric institution.

The caches...Collapse )

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Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

1:42 am - Blue Marsh Lake, Reading West, Lawrenceville Jubilee
Saturday's trip was to the west of Reading to get some geocaches in the area of Blue Marsh Lake. I had no idea that April 30 was the last day before they started charging a park fee, so that was a bonus. After that, I continued westward to Heidelberg, Robesonia, Womelsdorf, Newmanstown, and Richland. It's an area with a series of small towns along Route 422, with ducks and lots of cows.

On Sunday, I went to Lawrenceville to do a mascot gig with Hi-4 at the Lawrenceville Jubilee. It rained the whole day so there wasn't much of a crowd and some vendors canceled, but the event still went on. TARDIS Kitty and I did the gig in the rain, which was a bit messy, although on the plus side, one can't feel the rain in fursuit. :) So we entertained the half dozen or so families who attended the event. After the event, I went a bit farther up route 206 to get some geocaches in Princeton, Rocky Hill, and Hillsborough, before heading to dinner.

The caches...Collapse )

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Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

12:54 am - South Jersey west side
This weekend was two days of geocaching up the west side of South Jersey since there have been many caches placed in this area at the onset of Spring. Saturday's trip was to Swedesboro, Thorofare (Riverwinds), Woodbury, Haddonfield, and Cherry Hill, and Sunday's trip was to Trenton, Hamilton, and Princeton Junction, hitting some of the big cache-filled parks like Veterans Park, Hamilton Park, and Mercer County Park.

It was a showcase of the funny, unusual and bizarre. There was an alligator cache, found in a sewer drain, naturally. Then there was a head in a barrel, which was funny but also rather shocking. And later in the day, I found a skull geocache that screamed when uncovered. Rounding out the creative caches were a Wawa coffee cup geocache, which was made from a real Wawa coffee cup, and a frisbee geocache.

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Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

5:50 pm - Princeton, Reading, Hamburg
Saturday's trip was first to Upper Freehold, including Clayton Park, Assunpink WMA and Etra Lake Park, before heading over to the Princeton area. I wanted to get in some hiking to get some of the older geocaches in the area before going to the built-up areas for quick caches. A strange thing I found was a panda hanging on a tree. The strange part was it had nothing to do with the geocache, which was nearby, so sometimes one just comes across random stuff in the woods. Also, Clayton Park had a lovely purple field. On closer examination, I saw that it's a dense patch of purple deadnettle. And the flock of guinea fowl in Etra Park in no way hampered the cache search, although they were very noisy.

Sunday's excursion was to get the new geocaches in Leesport, Shoemakersville, and Hamburg, although I did stop in Morgantown, Wyomissing, and Reading along the way. In Centerport, I arrived at a fork in the road! The town has a good sense of humor.

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