Archive for March, 2012
After a late night to bed, it was an early rise with the sun in the Nevada desert. There is something eerie about watching the sun rise over the bow of a flying saucer but I guess that is normal here in Rachel, Nevada.
After sorting out what we were leaving behind and what we could fit in Bobs car it was time to hit the road for a big day on the ET Highway. It started out with clear skies and a gentle breeze but this was soon to change.
By the time we had hit around ET #450 or so, the wind started to reach gale force and was whipping up the dust and sand. It was soon relegated to me to head out of the car mainly because you needed some strength to open and shut the door without getting it ripped off the hinges.
I kept grabbing the Geocaches for the next 300 with the support crew in the car doing the driving, logging and signing. By the time we hit ET #700, I was ready for a rest and took over the logging role.
We eventually got a reprieve from the conditions when we drove into a gorge, so took the time to have a bite to eat as well as grab a couple of the non ET highway caches including an earthcache.
Back on the trail and the wind picked up as we exited the gorge and so did the dust. Not long after we arrived at Warm Springs or what is left of it. It was supposed to have been some sort of resort in its time with hot springs flowing water out of the hills, however it now all boarded up and abandoned. We continued until dusk then headed towards Tonopah, making sure to find enough Geocaches along the way to take us to 601 finds for the day. This bettered our last year daily find of 524.
We were all pretty beat and Bob dropped us off at all our hotels. There were a number of conventions in town so couldn’t all get into the same hotel. We were to find out in the morning there wasn’t a lot of choice in town so we were lucky to get rooms at all.
After logging a few of today’s finds it was off to bed to rest the weary body.
This was to be a day of travel. Started out moving out of the Grand Sierra Resort, flying to LA, only to pick up a car and drive back to Nevada, albeit at the bottom end of the State to Rachel (where??). Rachel is a little one horse town out in the Nevada desert next to the infamous Area 51 and it uses its location to promote the ET stuff but more importantly it is a central base to tackle the ET Highway Geocaching Power Trail.
This trail originally consisted of 1000 Geocaches over the roads around Rachel, but ended up being taken down by the Nevada DOT. After a huge backlash by the Rachel community and Geocachers, the original hiders met with the Nevada DOT and a new trail was borne with certain stipulations, this time with 1500 caches. There are currently plans to extend it even further to add another 500 caches which would make it the biggest power trail in the world, but I think it is already.
It was a mistake to try and head east on a Friday towards Las Vegas as it seemed that the whole LA basin was on the road with me. With a few accidents and other delays I finally arrived after a 10 hour journey (4 hours more than it should have).
Well I thought I would sleep right through but no. It was 3:00 am and I was wide awake. Mucked around for a while before dropping off again for another hour and awake again at 4:30 am then again at 6:30 am. Oh well I might as well get up.
Richard “Jeditrekr” was picking me up for breakfast and then off to do some Reno 4WDing Geocaching. Breakfast was at Hog Wild Cafe and if you wanted to fill up the stomach and the arteries, this is the place for you. It was pretty popular for early on a Saturday morning and I tried to pick something on the menu that wasn’t going to be a mountain of food. I think I got it right with the Sunshine Bread which in its simplest form is toast, bacon, eggs, onion and potato but still a plate full.
After filling up, there was time to grab a couple of geocaches before heading to the Meet ‘n Greet prior to the 4WD Trip. These events have been a bit a bit of a tradition for the 3 years I have been coming to Reno. The local cachers put on an Event to coincide with my visit. This year it was called Fun in the Dirt (Meet the guy from down under).
There wasnt a bad turn out for a Saturday morning with 8 4WD’s turning up with 14 geocachers. One of the attendee’s was the Worlds #1 Geocache Finder. He is Alamogul with over 64000 finds – unbelievable. After meeting everyone – some old faces and some new, exchanging pathtags it was time to head east into the hills.
The caches we were going to were out the back of Hidden Valley Regional Park. As we drove up the first valley, the ground was littered with thousands of shotgun shells – an ominousness sign of what was to come. The first cache was Gunpowder Butte. We had only just got out of the cars and the bullets were flying. We were unsure of where they were going but soon found they weren’t being shot in our direction.
As well as geocaches hidden in the area, it is the local haunt to go and shoot anything that doesn’t move and I am sure things that move are aimed at as well. There were only a couple of groups set up when we went in but 3 hours later when we came out just about every spot was filled with shooting groups setting up all sorts of targets. Nothing quite like the smell of gunpowder and the constant bang of rounds going off.
We drove through some spectacular country similar to the Flinders Ranges if it wasn’t for the snow on the higher peaks. There were no challenging roads but there were some challenging climbs to some geocaches. they certainly tested out the heart and the lungs.
This wasn’t a big numbers run but there were 2 “first to finds”, some good company and some great scenery.
We finished around 1:00 pm, Richard dropped me back at the Grand Sierra Resort and there rest of the day was easy going, even having a massage to relieve my back.
Well it has come around again. I have the opportunity to travel to the US to attend a couple of conferences for work – one in Reno and one in Seattle. The only drawback is the long flight in 3 legs.
I decided to take advantage of this by finding a geocache (2031 SA Geocaching Awards) at 7:30 am in Adelaide South Australia before getting on the plane to Reno Nevada to find a geocache (Name that Tune series – Part Eight) at 3:30 pm. That is a cache in the northern and southern hemispheres on the same date and 13275 kilometres apart – you have to love the International Date Line …
The first flight from Adelaide to Sydney was late getting off the ground due to the plane arriving late into Adelaide. Once airborne, the flight was very smooth and soon (1.5 hours) we were in Sydney. Thought I might have time to meet up with a mate, Paul Baker, but due to the late departure it was not going to happen.
Over to the Overseas terminal, through Immigration but a hold up on the security check. They wanted to have a look at what was inside my carry on. Doesn’t everyone carry a couple of GPSr’s, satellite phone, GoPro camera and a whole lot of associated cables.
Looking out the window at the A380, it is an impressive site, you have to wonder how it actually gets off the ground.
We were soon all loaded and despite being fairly full, I managed an empty seat next to me. The only drawback was that I was over the wing so the view was somewhat diminished.
The flight was smooth all the way. I think this maybe an advantage of being over the wing. You don’t notice the turbulence as much. Even though the plan was to get as much sleep as possible, only managed 3 hours in the 13 hour flight.
Immigration and Customs was a breeze but there was a show at the baggage carousel. Not sure what sparked it but there was security running from everywhere to restrain one person – he was carted off somewhere.
A short walk to Terminal 4 to catch a plane to Reno and through security again – they didnt even want to see what was in my bag
We all loaded onto the plane on time, not much sitting around this time except when we were about to go. It was discovered that a fuel cap was missing and they were sourcing a new one. Once replaced, they had to get clearance from Dallas to fly the aircraft. We ended up leaving 45 minutes late. The pilot tried to make up time and my GPSr was indicating speed of 850 kph. Not bad considering this was a small plane. The A380 was doing 980 kph on the Pacific leg so this was impressive for a small plane.
It was very spectacular flying over the snow covered mountains with only a bit of buffeting as we were landing in Reno.
Arriving at the Grand Sierra Resort, all I wanted was my room, a shower to freshen up and then head out for a walk but unfortunately my room wasn’t ready. So left the bags with the Bell Hop and went for a walk to find a geocache then off for some culture at Walmart. I had ordered a phone a week ago and it was to be here today but no it wasnt. Plan B was to grab a prepaid phone and use it for a few days then post it onto Jenny once she arrived, so not all is lost.
Headed back to the Grand Sierra Resort to find the room is still not ready (it is now 4:30pm) and I think the Check In girl worked out I wasn’t a happy camper so an alternative room was found.
Time for a shower, some tea and then finally getting to bed around 9:00 pm. I had been up for around 32 hours so was ready to crash …
Today was a public holiday here. It was for the Adelaide Cup – a horse race. For this 20000 go and watch some horses race and the rest of us (1 Million) get a public holiday. I will take them however they come.
After a little sleep in this morning it was time to do some Community Service.
One of the members of my Volunteer Fire Brigade – Coromandel Valley Country Fire Service, lost his son in a motor vehicle accident last week, so it was decided that the Brigade would spend this afternoon helping out around their orchard to get them back on track.
We started out burning off old fruit trees and accumulated timber, then went down to the cold stores and washed out the fruit bins ready for the fruit which is currently being picked. They are in the middle of harvesting plums and pears.
After a few hours working on the orchard it was time for a BBQ then head home.
The day was finished off with a visit to the car wash to rinse off the weekends dust from the Riverland.
It has been a big week but here we are at the final day of the Clipsal 500 Race Meeting.
Another early start, even getting Jenny out of bed early to bring the car home so that I didn’t have to drive home at the end following the Thankyou BBQ.
The weather for today started out with relatively clear skies with occasional cloud and mid 20′s.
The first race for the day was Aussie Racing Cars and they certainly put on a show with a rollover in the first lap and the car shedding its shell in the process.
After a couple more incidents it was time for the Formula 3 and another couple of racing incidents leading to race cars circulating on the back of tow trucks.
The Touring Car Masters were relatively well behaved compared to the previous races, although we did one have a engine failure leaving a trail of oil along Pit Straight before catching fire on the start line, ending up in the gravel of the chicane.
Next up were the GT Championship where we only had 1 car having a off in the chicane.
A crowd favourite was the Qualifying for the V8 Supercars when Greg Murphy drove hard up the rear of a slow moving Jonathon Webb that was heading back to Pits.
V8 Drivers photo completed and one more race of the Carrera Cup before the main event and all were well behaved.
A bit more circus on the grid and then it was time for Race 2 of the Clipsal 500.
For the first time for a long time, we managed to get through a race without a safety car. Unfortunately it was a Ford win though ….
It was hard work getting out of bed this morning (I thought there was only one 5 o’clock in the day and it is in the afternoon). By Day 3 it is almost like Groundhog Day with leaving the track in the dark and arriving in the dark as well.
The weather today was probably perfect with periods of cloud.
Today was a full program with races for the V8 Utes, Dunlop V8 Development Series, Formula 3, Carrera Cup, Aussie Racing Cars, GT Championship and of course, Race 1 of the V8 Supercars. There was even some Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars putting on a show.
The notorious Turn 8 claimed a few more scalps during the V8 Supercars with one crash taking out 3 cars.
The V8 Supercar race was a nail biter with the last lap deciding the winner with Jamie Whincup passing Will Davison just a few corners before the finish line. A Holden over a Ford win certainly brought most of the pit straight grandstand to their feet cheering.
Although we didnt have any fires today, there certainly were plenty of recoveries.
Another late night with a twilight race for the GT Championship with some light rainfall to make it interesting. Will be looking forward to as much shut eye as possible tonight.
When we left the track last night, there was a couple of severe weather warnings. South Australia had a tropical feed coming from the north west which was east of Adelaide and there was a cold feed coming from the south east which was west of Adelaide. We were right in the middle of the 2 strong systems.
We were lucky to have missed out on any heavy rains but did get some hammering with strong winds. I had one of the roads coming in blocked by a downed tree. Seemingly there was some repairs to be made around the circuit as well.
Even though the 2 weather systems persisted, they were still missing Adelaide and we had periods of sunshine today.
Today we had an extra 10 firefighters which took the pressure off a little trackside, giving a total of 110 firefighters for fire and rescue.
Most of the cars behaved themselves but some couldn’t help themselves and hit the walls anyway. One of the recoveries didn’t take long to get onto the tow truck but took quite a while to get off as the gear box or brakes locked on.
Well it was quiet until the end of the day when the V8 Utes, V8 Development Series and Carrera Cup came out, then all hell broke loose with carnage all over the track. This kept us busy until the end of the day and the sunset finish. The end of a long day.
Well the 2012 Clipsal 500 was upon us and we thought that it was going to be washed away. All day yesterday being the last day of summer, it rained constantly with temperatures in the low 20′s. Apart from doing the setup and pulling out bogged trucks, it was all ready to go.
Move forward 12 hours and it was a different day. The rain had stopped but was still overcast and the ground was starting to dry up.
An early start and briefing for the 100 fire marshals, many of which we had not seen since last years race meeting. Even though we were down a little in numbers, we still had enough to maintain a safe presence on the track.
The obligatory hit of caffeine before heading up to Race Control and it was time to bring on the cars.
It was a relatively quiet day on the track with only 24 recoveries and 1 fire.
After a senior officials briefing at the end of the day, I managed to make it home before dark but only just (lucky we still have daylight saving).