mortonfox: (morton blvd)
Saturday's trip was to South Jersey, to Mount Laurel, Cherry Hill, and Haddonfield. The main goal was to capture the row of prize wheel munzees behind Centerton Shopping Center since I only needed a few more for the next prize wheel badge. There was a lot more to do as well since this is the area where a number of munzers deploy.

Sunday's trip was to York. I hadn't been to York in quite a while because of the difficulty in getting there. Once you get to Lancaster, US-30 is a divided highway to York, but there just isn't a good way to go from my place to Lancaster. Since I hadn't been there in a long time though, there were some new geocaches around York, such as the one at the Mt Rose I-83 traffic viewing spot. I also took the opportunity to capture some Munzee gardens in the area, such as the Manchester Town Center smiley.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (buggy)
It was the third and last Mission GC weekend. This time, I needed to find a mystery geocache for the souvenir and the very first cache on Saturday, "A really old Smarty-Pants", fit the bill. It wasn't a very difficult mystery cache, so I'm surprised I hadn't gone for it yet. All the information you need comes from a historical marker (that you can look up online, but don't tell the cache owner! >.> ) and it's pretty much a park and grab once you have the final coordinates. So once I was done with that, everything else was gravy. There were some challenging caches and a weird one, Hungry Roach. Mr. Charles was a nice character, although his geocache took some looking to find.

Sunday's trip was to Lancaster again to find some new geocaches, both traditional and puzzle, that had been published during the week since my last visit. There was a new Pokemon-themed series, although I only did two of those. Then there was a short tour along the Susquehanna River for a bunch of caches in Washington Township and Columbia, including this turtle cache. The interesting thing about Lancaster County is the locals archive and replace sets of caches every now and then to keep things fresh. I was sure I'd finished the caches along the Enola Low-Grade Trail two years ago but there was a new set of caches, which I may return to when the weather is cool enough for a longer walk.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (Walker)
Friday was my birthday so I took the day off and made it a 3-day weekend. I had lots of birthday coupons from restaurant mailing lists, so I picked the geocaching destinations accordingly, of course. Friday morning began with the free birthday Grand Slam at Denny's. Then it was a short trip around to Chester and Springfield, then Kennett Square, then Newark for geocaches. "A nice view" in Kennett Square was a neat location because it was next to an emu. This curious bird walks right up to the fence and makes little grunting noises when it sees any activity at all.

Saturday's trip was to Codorus State Park and Southwest York County, with a few stops in Maryland along the way. There were lots of creative and funny geocaches by Calamity Jane, including an outhouse teddy bear, one where Pooh got stuck, and a soccer bear. I actually got to meet Calamity Jane herself because she was in the area checking up on her caches. I was going for that Pooh cache and she drove in to the same parking lot in her bright red convertible classic car. What a character! She's a very nice lady and it was good to finally see who had been placing all those creative geocaches, both at the state park and near Prettyboy Reservoir.

Sunday's trip was to Northeast Philadelphia and Bensalem. I used to visit this area a lot but not so much recently because traffic delays are more common nowadays and the neverending I-95 construction does not help. It's also more trashy now than I remember because the city doesn't seem to clean up litter and new litter keeps piling up on existing litter. Anyway, the most bizarre geocache I found on Sunday was a raccoon plush toy. Because of all the litter I saw that day, I thought this too was trash at first because it was in a plastic bag next to a rock. It's very unusual but I don't think it's a good idea to keep a plush toy outside because it'll get soaked, dirty, and stinky after a while.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (create a fursona)
It was a 3-day weekend for the Independence Day holiday. On Friday, we first went to finish some local series of geocaches that I hadn't had time to get to during the week. First, there was the set of 4 that was placed for last Monday's geocaching event. Then there was a set of 7 caches placed by West Whiteland Township for their 250th anniversary. It's also a nice way for the township to promote their parks. Stopped for lunch at the Exton Square Mall and ran into the Chick-Fil-A cow. The rest of the day was a round-up of various smaller batches of caches around Phoenixville, Trappe, Collegeville, and Limerick.

Saturday was a geocaching spree in downtown York, Southern York, and Spring Grove. The downtown York area was not my preference but a slightly rainy day was actually perfect for that. Urban areas that would normally be busy were free and clear because of the drizzle, so there was no trouble getting those caches. The one scenic area of the day was Indian Rock Dam. It is used for flood control, so it is normally dry unless there is heavy rain. On the way home, there were 4th of July fireworks visible from the US-30 bridge over the Susquehanna River. It seemed like every town along the way had a display like that too.

I wanted to go to the LVG G.E.M. geocaching event on Sunday afternoon, so we geocached in Quakertown, Coopersburg, Bethlehem, and Easton, before heading to Wegman's in Bethlehem for the event. There were some new geocaches in the area but also a bunch that I couldn't find on my previous visits because of ice and snow. It's surprising how easy those caches are, now that they aren't under a foot of refrozen snow.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (create a fursona)
I think a reasonable daytrip would be capped at around 100 miles from home. York Township is already at the 80-mile point, so there isn't much new geocaching territory left. So on Saturday, I thought I'd revisit Southeastern York and take a stab at geocaches that I'd skipped previously for various reasons and also geocaches that were confirmed missing and replaced. Also, there was a collection of puzzle caches around Red Lion that I solved since my last trip there. It was a mixed day. Some caches really were difficult. Others were difficult but I knew the tricks. "The river view 2" had 6 DNF logs in a row. After looking around for a while, I figured it was not in the obvious spot where the last six visitors were probably focused on. Sure enough, it was actually a bit beyond the wooden posts and bush at ground zero, and not in a spot that stood out. "The Cybermen", which also has a few DNFs, is tough to access in the summer but I saw it among the undergrowth.

"Ma & Pa Heritage Railroad Village Cache" was the most interesting location of the day. Obviously, permission had been granted for the geocache because it was placed inside one of the historic buildings and the trick was to figure out what I could actually open, once I was in there, to reveal it. Anyway, some tourists came by just as I was almost done with the cache. I talked to them and told them plainly that I was putting the geocache back in place. They didn't question it. They just looked at some of the antique stuff in there and shuffled off to the next building, so they might've simply assumed I was doing maintenance work.

On Sunday, I went to Marple, Springfield, Radnor, and then farther north to West Norriton and Center Square. I was again going for a mix of caches I skipped over or couldn't find previously and some new ones. "The Brotherhood catapult" was a challenging one. It's in a tree branch overhanging a parking lot. Many cachers mentioned using a tool or parking under the cache (and standing on the car) to retrieve it, but I decided to try just pulling on the branch, starting from near the trunk. To my surprise, the tree branch wasn't as stiff as I thought. I gave it a tug and followed the branch hand-over-hand towards the cache. When I was done with the cache, I released the branch and it sprang back to its original position. I've seen this kind of cache placement a lot on young pine trees in the pine barrens, so the only surprise here is I was able to use the same retrieval technique on a non-pine tree. "The Willows Two-Step: Step 1" was a cache I couldn't find years ago because of poor GPS reception in the thick woods. I revisited the cache site and had the same problem again. However, the new hint helped and after criss-crossing the area for a while, I stumbled across the cache.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (jaws)
Saturday was the day of World Wide Flash Mob XII, where there are geocaching events all around the world at the same time. (Actually, I noticed that some WWFM events were at times other than 1pm EDT, but I just picked one.) This time, I chose the flash mob event at Penbrook Park in Harrisburg, reasoning that I'd have time to get some geocaches along the way there. I was actually a bit early so I helped with the setup. Then it began. The theme for this one was "Bring Your Hat", so I had my fox hat on. After that, I went geocaching around Eastern Harrisburg, Swatara, and Penbrook. Most of those geocaches were fairly straightforward, although there were a few with a bit of a twist and some creative ones.

Sunday began with a bit of catch-and-release at Goddard Park in West Grove. The cache page had a short poem to help you figure out how it was placed, but I didn't figure out the clues until I actually saw it out in the pond. I doubt it'll last long though. The plastic container is not watertight enough and had already taken in some water. Still, it was fun. After that, I hit a bunch of geocaches around Lancaster before heading to my actual destinations in Northern York County. Newberry and Lewisberry had a fair number of urban cache hides because of the built-up area near I-83, but I took a few short walks into the woods too. There was still time after that so I nipped over into Cumberland County to get a bunch of caches in New Cumberland. This town claims to maintain a small-town atmosphere despite being close to capitol city Harrisburg. I'm not so sure about that but it's a bit less busy than the part of Harrisburg I visited the day before.

That night, I headed back south to York to try the newest Primanti Bros location. This is a Pittsburgh-based restaurant chain that makes sandwiches where coleslaw and fries are stuffed into the sandwich. I first heard of them when Anthrocon moved to Pittsburgh and ever since I tried one, I'd been waiting for this chain to expand out my way. So I tried a Colossal Fish Sandwich, and yes, it really is just like the sandwiches at their Pittsburgh locations! At around 77 miles from home, York Primanti Bros is not quite in my area but I travel out that far for geocaching anyway so I definitely can return a bunch of times per year.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (face tree)
On Saturday, I headed up towards Hanover again via I-83 from Baltimore. There were still a bunch of geocaches to do before getting to Hanover. Those were mostly in Codorus State Park, itself a notable destination judging by the crowd and the two wedding receptions that day. (While looking for a geocache near a parking area, I overheard someone giving directions: "Go down the road. You'll see a Wedding sign but that's not ours...") After that, the next stop was Hanover town. Finally! It was everything I expected. The HGT series of caches is the Hanover Geo Trail. It's placed in a style similar to the Spring Grove GeoTour and highlights historic and other notable sites around Hanover. I got most of those caches in a day, although there are still enough for another trip out to southwest York County.

On Sunday, before continuing on to York County, I hit some downtown Lancaster geocache sites. There were a bunch of caches near some interesting public art sculptures: the lion fountain (the cache was actually hidden in his... uhh... no-no spot. :) ), bronze kids and dog sculpture, and Silent Symphony. (kinetic sculpture that spins in the wind) After a few more caches around the Lancaster suburbs, I continued onwards to York County. I got up to York Haven when the right rear brake locked up and the wheel wouldn't move. Fortunately, the car was on a quiet street when that happened. So I left it there and took a walk around York Haven for a few geocaches before calling AAA for a tow back home. The tow truck driver suggested that simply disconnecting the brake line may release the brake.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (create a fursona)
This weekend was two days of not quite making it to Hanover, PA. Which is good because I need to make York County geocaches last a while longer so I don't keep going out farther and farther. On Saturday, I headed up through Maryland, first to Jarrettsville and then to Stewartstown, across the state line. The real treat though was Spring Valley County Park. It's a rough part of York County, full of unpaved roads, but the geocaches were good. A bit of a hike away from the parking area was a 13-year-old geocache, which is in surprisingly good condition. They don't hide those like they used to. Coordinates were rather soft, probably because those were read using a handheld GPSr from back in the day, but the cache was in a very likely spot so there wasn't an issue finding it. There was also a gnome house geocache. It's up a steep trail but worth the effort to see that.

On Sunday, I again planned to go to Hanover. However, when I took the White Marsh exit in Maryland, I saw that there were so many new geocaches since my last visit (I don't go to that area very often because of the $8 toll) that I decided to make a day of it. What's funny is geocachers here seem to love populating cemeteries with geocaches. I visited 3 cemeteries and quickly found all those caches, which were mostly short hops from cemetery roads.

I got my car back from the auto body shop on Friday, so it took only 3 days longer than the repair time estimate. It's like getting 1/3 of a new car since they had to replace quite a number of pieces in front that were damaged in the deer collision. I also noticed that they cleaned the interior and washed the floor mats, even though I didn't ask for that. So detailing must have been part of the repair package.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (No hunting)
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 night )

The caches... )
mortonfox: (morton ave)
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... )
mortonfox: (hump)
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... )
mortonfox: (buggy)
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... )
mortonfox: (buggy)
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... )
mortonfox: (buggy)
Sunny, 70-75°F. I returned to Mountville/Columbia to find the geocaches that were placed for Tuesday's geocaching event. I didn't do those on that day itself because it was late and I had to leave for dinner. The six caches were all pretty quick and I did a bunch of other geocaches in the area for completeness before crossing over to York County. Once again, I geocached around some rural areas in York County before heading to the strip mall zone in East York.

Dinner was a breaded fish combo at Long John Silver's in Lancaster. However, I noticed that if I'd gone 3 miles south from the last cache of the day, I'd have come across another LJS. Maybe I'll try that one next time.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (buggy)
Cloudy, 55-60°F. It was raining this morning, but I timed my trip out so that I'd arrive in Mountville when the rain stopped. After finding a few geocaches in Mountville and Columbia, I saw that I was close enough to York County that I should just cross the Susquehanna River and tap the rich vein of York County geocaches. So I continued onwards to Wrightsville, Hallam, and finished up in East York. It was unbelievable how many roadside and parking lot geocaches there were. For variety and some exercise, I did also throw in a few walk-in-the-park caches. The area is definitely worth a revisit.

In the evening, since it was on the way back, I stopped at Trio Bar and Grill in in Columbia for the L.O.S.T. at Trios geocaching event. (L.O.S.T. stands for Lancaster Organization for Seeking Tupperware) There was a pretty good turnout that filled the entire party room. I didn't stay for the whole event, however, because Long John Silver's beats tavern food any day. So I went to the Manheim Pike LJS in Lancaster and had a chicken and fish variety platter.

When I got home, I decided I ought to use the Dunkin' Donuts birthday coupon before it expires. There's a 24-hour DD pretty close to home so I went there and had a strawberry coolatta. I think it's actually very convenient that they're open 24/7 because DD sometimes sends out pretty good coupons and I could use those when I stumble home from Lancaster late at night.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (buggy)
Sunny and 80-85°F. Went to southern Lancaster County to do the Hillbilly series of geocaches. This is now the only part of Lancaster County I can get to directly without running into major road construction along the way. Even then, there was a bit of roadwork. After doing the series, I visited Drumore Park, Muddy Run, and a few State Game Lands for more geocaches. Did quite a bit of hiking at Muddy Run and the State Game Lands. Also crossed over into York County and hit an SGL there too. "On Solid Rock I Stand" was probably the toughest hike of the day because of the elevation change and the lack of trail maintenance. Overall, the area reminded me of upstate New York. It's rural (all country roads, some unpaved), hilly, and rocky with large rock formations. However, the wooded areas had rather sparse undergrowth, which made for good backcountry hiking.

I worked out some Lancaster County puzzle caches on Wednesday. Since I passed through Leola on my way home and since the solution to "Carl Friedrich Gauss" pointed to a roadside spot that seemed safe to access at night, I did that one as an after-dinner cache. I'll have to return to Leola during the day for the other puzzle caches.

And finally, I have an MPG measurement using E0 gas on this Lancaster round-trip. Apparently, my car gets 7% better MPG when I switch from E10 to E5 gas. It's E5 because I had half a tank of E10 when I added E0. This is a significant result because going by energy content alone, I'd expect a negligible difference of about 1.5%. However, I have to make more measurements in case this one is a fluke. Another excuse to go to Lancaster again. :)

The caches... )

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Morton Fox

July 2017

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