Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Adventures in Geocaching

A coworker of mine recently introduced me to the sport/hobby of Geocaching (pronounced, "geo-cashing"). What the heck is geocaching, you ask? Well, geocaching is sort of like the techno-geek's answer to treasure hunting. Here's the idea: First, you need to have a GPS device - handheld, preferably. Then you go online and join a geocaching site - is the best one out there. Next, select a "cache" (stash) to search for using either the cache listings or integrated Google Map search utility. Once you select a cache, printout the cache's page, which provides you with GPS coordinates and details about the cache and how to look for it.

Now the fun part! Put on your sneakers or hiking boots and get outside to track down your treasure. You'll probably drive to a nearby location, first, then park your car and head out on foot with your GPS turned on and keeping you going in the right direction. Many hidden caches are somewhat easy to find (especially for veteran geocachers, who know where & how to look). But some can be quite difficult and frustrating to discover. But that's all a part of the challenge of geocaching! Once you find a cache, you remove it from its hiding place, open it up, sign the log book that's inside of it, and then put it back the way you found it, carefully hidden away. (Part of the challenge of geocaching is not being seen removing or replacing the cache, since folks might plunder the stash after you leave.) There may also be little prizes inside the cache that you can swap out for a trinket you brought along with you to put in.

Finally, you return home and go online to login your discovery at the geocaching website.

Now, doesn't that sound fun?

My own recent adventures in geocaching have brought me to a number of places I would otherwise have never bothered to visit. Thus far, I've found six caches and failed in my search for three of them. Last Saturday, in the midst of a day-long downpour and high winds, I was out there in the wilderness, tracking down stashes. Bad weather and evening treks are actually good times to go searching, since most [normal] folks are indoors and there's less of a chance of being seen taking out a cache. That's what I told myself, anyway, as I slid down an embankment and tumbled to the wet ground in the middle of Forest Park. All I could picture was the headline in the newspaper: "43-year-old man breaks leg searching for treasure in park."

And my ordeals are bound to be even more treacherous as the winter season approaches....

Profile for WDusty

Geocaching is a worldwide phenomenon. Just stop by and do a search, and you'll be amazed at how many hidden caches are in your community alone. The craze began around the year 2000. I've been searching for caches now for only about two weeks. It gets me outside more often, and gives me something to do on those "nothing to do" days that always seem to creep into my schedule.

How much does it cost? Only the price of a handheld GPS device (starting at $100) and gas in your car.

So there you have it. Now there's no excuse for you to be sitting on your couch on a weekend afternoon, watching TV as life passes you by. Get on out there and take up the hunt!

More info on geocaching:
- A Beginners Guide to Geocaching
- Geocaching Wiki
- Geocacher University


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Friday, October 26, 2007

Now That's a Muscle Car!

While having lunch last weekend, my date and I passed by this armored car parked in a shopping center parking lot. We pulled over and I snapped a couple of photos. As you can see from the second photo, it was even registered with the DMV, complete with license plate.



Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Feminists Have More Fun?

In an article I found on, scientists are reporting that their findings show that feminists have more fun in their relationships than non-feminists.

Personally, I find this hard to believe. And it's entirely possible the folks who answered the surveys involved in this study might have fibbed a little. I've always found feminists to be unbelievably boring and anal in their perspectives on life and living. (Just think Gloria on "All in the Family".)

Non-feminist chicks like to get drunk and party. What's so wrong with a fun-loving attitude like that? Of course they probably have a higher probability of getting pregnant, too. Hmm.

Oh well. There it is.

And here's the article to read yourself.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

At the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival

Each year my family meets up for a final camping outing by visiting the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival. The festival began in 1990, with an attendance of 425 garlic lovers. From that modest beginning, this year's attendance reached 53,000 visitors over two days. I can tell you first hand, we were glad we beat out the largest of the crowds, as we arrived at about 11:00am on Saturday and departed by about 2:30pm. As we drove away from the festival, mile after mile of cars lined the roads...

The power of garlic.


One of my first stops at the festival is the Boy Scouts tent, where I indulge in a garlic beef-on-a-stick as an appetizer.

There were about three or four bands playing in different areas of the Festival.

By about noontime, the crowds began to pack the festival streets.

Most garlic growers also had taste testing available for curious visitors.

There was garlic shrimp and garlic chowder...

...garlic & pork sandwiches...

...and even garlic ice cream (which I passed on).

There were non-garlic offerings, as well. I tried out the Jambalaya at this place.
It was delicious!

Other freshly-harvested alternatives to garlic included these peppers.

There were also several gift and souvenir vendors.

Wherever I go in my travels, I always try to pick up the local weekly newspaper. On this weekend, I found two such papers, both published by Ulster Publishing. The Woodstock Times had a feature story on - what else? - a marijuana bust. While the Saugerties Times had a sobering story on a local murder. The Saugerties Times also had a guide to the weekend's Garlic Festival. Surprisingly - since I'm used to the free papers in these parts (The Reminder and Valley Advocate) - neither weekly paper was free. The Woodstock Times was $1.00 and the Saugerties Times sold for 75 cents.

I also picked up a Garlic Festival program, which was selling for a mere 25 cents.

My purchases at the festival included a lot of food, plus a festival t-shirt and a tub of garlic cheese and a bottle of Bear-Man barbecue sauce.

Below is a short video I took while walking around the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival...

There are also more photos to see over at Flickr. You can see them all by clicking HERE.


Also, for anyone interested, I stopped by the Eastern States Exposition on Friday, September 28th, and did a little piece, including a video, for my other blog, The Springfield Intruder. You can check that out HERE.

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