Prior to leaving Alice Springs, I checked for any new cache listings since I had left South Australia. What luck, there was a new one at Glendambo - only 940 kilometres away. And at this time no one had made a find on it. The cache is Dam Glenbo.
It is only 10 hours driving away. Sounds like a good spot to stay tonight and maybe grab a FTF as well.
Today was uneventful, however, it was getting cooler the more I headed south. There were clear skies all the way to Coober Pedy and then there were some rain clouds heading over from the west. It is probably a good decision not taking the Oodnadatta Track as I wouldn’t want to get stuck there (or would I )
I arrived at Glendambo just after dark, negotiated a few tracks to find a tree on the edge of town.
Out with a torch, found the cache, opened the cache to find a virgin log book – Yay, another long distance “First to Find”.
Another big drive tomorrow across to Loxton.
Today was a “rest” day of sorts. This meant that no long distance driving but take in some of the sights around Alice Springs.
I started at the northern end of town and drove what is left of the old Stuart Highway into the Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve. One of the popular spots for the locals is Wigleys Waterhole but there was no-one there today.
It was interesting that the track alongside the old rail line was in better condition than the Old South Road. Also managed to take in some of the track used by the Finke Desert Race.
Tomorrow is a 940 kilometre drive to Glendambo.
On the back of my challenge of the longest distance in a day for 2 cache finds (one in South Australia and one in Nevada), I thought I would do another challenge – longest drive for a First to Find (FTF).
The challenge involved having found a cache in every 10km band from your home location up to your age x10 so in my case 490 km.
I did the queries in GSAK and found that I had found a cache in the 49 distance bands required. Now to get the cache and hopefully a FTF.
I was heading north anyway so a long distance FTF was going to be a bonus.
Well after 4 days and 2902 km I arrived at ground zero (GZ) to find it all burnt out and on the ground were some burnt spray cans and a sorry looking eclipse tin. Surely this wasn’t it.
I looked over a couple of metres and there appeared to be something buried. I unscrewed it and it appeared to be the cache or was it.
I opened the container only to find a puzzle to be solved to find the final GZ.
Thinking caps on and a few texts to the owner on clues to solving the puzzle then finally about 10:30 pm I had the puzzle solved.
The only problem is that I would not be able to get to the final GZ for another 18 hours due to my commitments in Darwin.
It seemed a long day but finally the time came to find the cache.
I drove up to GZ, thinking surely the FTF would have gone by now. Opened the ammo tin, took out the log book, opened it up to find …… I was FTF.
So after 5 days and 2902 kms (plus a few extra back and forth into Darwin) I had a long distance drive FTF.
I guess now how many have driven further for a FTF …
What a great day for travelling – clear skies and not too warm and no wind (although there was a little cloud around Coober Pedy). Today was another big day on the road with a 700 km drive from Coober Pedy to Alice Springs.
After filling up and a quick drive around town it was time to head north. The landscape around here is a bit of a moonscape with all the diggings – you wouldn’t want to stumble around here in the dark.
Made the diversion to the Breakaways and was surprised to see no-one else out there.
The further north I went you could see the results of the good rains over the last few years with plenty of growth in both the trees and the grasses. The colour of the soil also changes to a deep red.
While at Marla, I checked wotif.com as I knew that accommodation would be scarce in Alice Springs including the caravan parks due to the Finke Desert Race having just finished. Although there were a lot of cars and bike returning south, the locals were cleaning up with their rates and minimum stays. I managed to book a room in a B&B for only $10 more than what the caravan parks were asking for an unpowered site. My digs tonight would be the B & B Pathdorf.
I had filled the tanks at Coober Pedy thinking that I had plenty of fuel to get through to Alice Springs. From previous experience, when the low fuel light came on there was about 10 litres of fuel left which equated to 80 kilometres travel. At about 80 kms out from Alice Springs, the low fuel light came on. I slowed it up a bit and took it easy into Alice Springs.
After arriving in Alice Springs, it was a struggle to find a petrol station that was open and eventually found one with only 4 litres of fuel remaining.
Through Facebook, I found that a work colleague was in Alice Springs as well so we met up in town and had some steaks at Bojangles Saloon – this place would look right at home in the Wild West and the meals were good too.
That is it for today. Tomorrow will be a bigger day as I have 1000 km to drive to get to Mataranka.
Another below zero start to the day and once again the Clare Caravan Park’s power system overloaded and our power went off (we had been lucky to miss out all weekend).
This meant that we packed up to keep warm in the cold conditions. The final event for the weekend was the Riesling Trail Recovery Ride but unfortunately I had to hit the road for Coober Pedy. After getting a few photos of the riders and waving them off I started north through the Bundaleer Valley grabbing caches along the way.
One of the caches was at the Bundaleer Aqueduct. This was constructed back in 1903 and is some amazing engineering for the time. If it wasnt for geocaching, I probably wouldnt have found this.
South Australia is starting to get a reputation for being the Geocaching Power Trail State of Australia. To keep the reputation going, I spent today out near Port Wakefield and Inkerman laying yet another Power Trail.
The series that I have put out is the “Premiers of South Australia“. Originally when doing the research, I thought. “how many could there be?”. Well there has been 45 in total since Parliament started in South Australia in 1856. Some like Thomas Playford were in for a long time (27 years) while others were only in for a few days such as John Baker. The early years of South Australia were obviously very tumultuous.
After spending a few hours hiding the caches, it was time to grab some of the caches that I have been passing by over the years due to lack of time. Most of these were along the coast and required a 4WD and some others didn’t but did require a lot of patience – a nano cache on a Leopard Tank.
It was a funny sort of day today. Bradley had his Year 12 formal last night and was needed to be picked up at 4:00 am. As I was on call, there was no guarantee I would be around the place so Jenny headed out to pick him up.
I had a few projects to do today.
The first project: Waeco Battery Pack. Our battery pack is a few years old and doesn’t hold the charge too well. A replacement is $335 so I bought a couple of replacement batteries for $150 but my soldering iron wasn’t up to the task. First stop was Jaycar Electronics for a soldering iron with more power and then replace the batteries. Both tasks completed OK.
Second Project: Sleeping Bag zip. One of our sleeping bags has had issues with the zip with the slide breaking. It should be easy enough to get a new zip slide. Headed to Spotlight but they only had zips. So grabbed a short zip with the right size zip and took the slide and put it on the sleeping bag. New slide on OK but there seems to be other issues with the zip.
On my travels, I returned the suit that Bradley wore last night for his formal. The suit had been hired from Ferrari Formal Wear.
It was a good afternoon to be out and about and there were a few new geocaches around the Edwardstown and Morphettville areas and I made 9 geocache finds. Even one down near Morphettville Racecourse while the historic race with Black Caviar was being run.
Third Project: Film Canisters. South Australia is starting to get a reputation of having geocaching power trails. These involve many geocaches hidden close together along a road in a country area. There may be 50 to many hundred geocaches in a power trail. I recently completed the ET Highway Power Trail in Nevada which had 1500 geocaches. I have plans for a couple of trails but not to the size of the ET Highway power trail. Today I readied 220 film canisters for this task. It involved printing log sheets and putting one in each canister, then printing labels and labeling each canister. Task complete now to go out and hide them
With the presentations all finished for the International Association of Wildland Fire Conference, I didnt feel like spending the evening in my room. I was originally supposed to be going Geocaching with some other Aussies but they bailed on me – something about rain. It is only water – you wont rust.
So I donned some wet weather gear and started to walk around Downtown Seattle. I headed south towards Pioneer Square as I had heard that there was a Firefighters Memorial in Occidental Park. Not quite opposite was the Headquarters for the Seattle Fire Department as well as a lot of homeless people. This seems to be the area that there are a number of food centres for them.
Following the GPS, I found myself on the wharf area and it was getting wetter and I was getting hungry and there was a choice or McDonalds or Ivars Seafood & Chowder. I chose Ivars for a nice big steaming bowl of chowder. There is even an undercover heated outdoor eating area where you can watch the kids feed the gulls or the Fire Station next door. They even have a statue of Ivar feeding the gulls.
The Fire Station next door is Station #5 and as well as the normal Fire Truck it also houses the Fireboats out the back. Continuing on after tea, I made it back to Post Alley and the Wall of Gum looking for a Geocache on the wall. After 20 minutes I was unsuccessful – all the gum looks the same.
Up the hill and back up to Pikes Place Market for a coffee at the Original Starbucks (the place was empty tonight) and then headed back to the Hilton Hotel as it was still raining and my coat was starting to let water in.
Tomorrow is the field trip for the International Association of Wildland Fire Conference and then it will be time to pick up Jenny and the kids – they have spent the week at Whistler.
Day one of the International Association of Wildland Fire conference. It was amazing the numbers of Aussies attending, in fact around half of the presentations were by Australians. The conference was similar to the Bushfire CRC conference back in Australia with presentations by researchers into fire science and the like.
After a big day as the presentations were only 20 minutes long starting at 8:30 am and continuing til 5:00 pm, it was time to head out and grab some fresh air.
As it happened, a couple of Aussie geocachers were also in town. It was Mary and Mark of Aussie M&M. Mark does some work at Boeing on and off. Tonight we would cache around Downtown Seattle getting some of the favourite caches as decided by other cachers.
It was a little drizzly but not too bad and after caching until dusk it was time for something to eat. We chose a random sports bar called Floyds Place which wasnt too bad. It was then back out and caching until around 11:00 pm.
We even got questioned by security around the Zoo but once we explained we were geocaching he continued on his rounds.
Paul Allen of Microsoft fame began acquiring and preserving these iconic warriors and workhorses, many of which are the last of their kind. Allen’s passion for aviation and history, and his awareness of the increasing rarity of original WWII aircraft, motivated him to restore these artifacts to the highest standard of authenticity and share them with the public.
We were lucky enough to be shown around by a World War II veteran (Chip Davidson) that flew many of these planes and was also stationed at Paine Field at the time. It is complicated but we met Chip through another Australian that stayed with him and his family many years ago on a Rotary exchange.
Chip took us on a very comprehensive tour of the collection and provided a detailed background of each of the aircraft. We were then taken to sample some local cuisine at the Speedway Cafe. This consisted of burgers you couldn’t climb over as well as drinks topped with “real” cream.
While we were out and about, it was time to check out a beach at Mukilteo Lighthouse Park, although the beaches aren’t what we are used to as beaches. Instead of the fine white sand we have at home, the beach is covered by small rocks. This park had a historic lighthouse and was the landing for the ferry to Whidbey Island.
One more stop for the day. Jenny and the kids wanted to get into a Costco and Chip was a member, so they got their chance. While they checked it out, I managed to grab a couple of geocaches in the car park. After they were kicked out at closing time we headed out with Chip and Joan to Chan’s Place at Woodinville for a Chinese meal.
Chip and Joans hospitality did not finish here. One of their sons is tied up with Stevens Pass ski field so after tea, he gave him a ring to see if we could be fixed up with some deals for tomorrow. We managed to get some vouchers for reduced ski hire.