Monday, August 30, 2004

Mr. McGrew?

Hey, if you know me, you know I'm a Geocaching whore. Well, a Geocaching First Finder Whore, anyway. There IS a difference, as "Duck" of the Geocaching team of Duck-n-Deedy tells me. Since he's publicly admitted that he's one (a GFFW), then I guess I can come out from behind the LED headlight and admit that I am one, too.

So, you'd be surprised to find us (me, Eric and the kids) going on long day trips into the unknown to find old in our area and cleaning them off of our "to do" list, right? Yeah, I thought so, too, but we're doing it.

We spent one afternoon two weeks ago heading up Little Jones creek, where we found three caches, culminating at a cache at the GORGEOUS Sanger Lake. This lake is on a mountain top, almost literally. The views from all around are spectacular.


This is a photo taken from the "Rock, Rock, 'Til You Drop" cache. What a view!

The boys had a great time, and for late August the weather wasn't too hot at the higher elevations. At one point we were up on the plus side of 4,000 feet.

After making this trip, we decided to do a cache that we'd been promising ourselves to do for a long time: Mr. McGrew, along the McGrew Trail in Southern Oregon. Prior to the Bisquit Fire, the only way to access this cache was with a hardcore, dedicated rockcrawling 4x4. During the fire, dozers were brought in to level the road so that fire fighting equipment could get there and to dig fire breaks. This made the trip accessible for less than hardcore vehicles. We learned this when others who had normal, daily-driver 4x4's were finding the cache. If they could do it, we could!

Of course, that was when we owned the '00 Ford SuperCab 4x4 pickup. Now we own a '03 Ford Expedition. Two Wheel Drive. First time I've owned a non-4x4 since I traded my '73 VW Super Beetle for a brand new 1980 Toyota 4x4 pickup. BUT... I figured that with the total years of four-wheeling that Eric and I have between the two of us, we'd be able to make it... NO PROBLEM, right? Not only that, but using our MapSend Topographical software, we could map out the most logical route for the family "tank".

It worked! It took a long time, and the scenery was both spectacular and humbling. This is one of the most gorgeous areas on the face of the planet. The trees are huge, impressive and abundant. The trail took us to places we didn't think we'd ever see without the aid of a helicopter.

This is an image of the summit at Mr. McGrew. You can see some of the burnt trees, and beyond those the mountains surrounding us.

It was humbling to see the damage, even two years later, of the Bisquit Fire. Along the route there we saw evidence of equipment that had knocked over burnt trees to help build the fire breaks, dug ditches, and have since been back to build berms in the roads and do maintenance to prevent erosion. The berms made the road like riding a little kiddie roller coaster. At the top, one can see the devastation for miles.

Nature has interesting ways of putting us tiny humans back on our rung of importance along the Ladder of All Things.

My best-friend Dave was told about our desire to do this, and he and his son Travis and a few other assorted friends decided to make the trip from the opposite end of the trail - the one that the dozers never made it to. We sat at the summit for about 90 minutes waiting for them to crawl over the VW-sized rocks and through the dried creek beds along the true 4x4 trail. Dave came in his '01 Ford F250 4x4, complete with his pop-up cabover camper. His son Travis came in his beater Toyota 4x4 p/u.

They had a much tougher time of it, but they followed us out the way we came in. What a day! Oh, and we found the cache!

Friday, August 20, 2004

Dren Happens...

I've been watching a lot of Farscape. I love that series. It took awhile for it to grow on me, but having always loved Muppets, it was a pre-ordained love. I find it amusing that they have different words for "familiar" swear words. Isn't it true that one usually learns the swear words first in any new language? Ha! I won't print a compendium of them here, but I'm sure one exists somewhere. Suffice it to say, "dren" has an obvious meaning. "Frell" or "frull" seems to be a combination of "hell" and my favorite "f" word. I suppose that it doesn't matter what language one cusses in... they are still cussing, right? I'll never give up my evil, base language capabilities.

Well, all of this maundering about "dren" is due to my starting to bleed again. All of the stress of the past weeks has evidently made my platelet levels plummet. The nose bleeds are easy to keep control of: a little ice pack on the back of the neck and never moving without a partial roll of toilet paper in my hands seems to work. It is the female bleeding that really has me peeved. Four days? Yeah, that would be inconvenient but do-able. Even five days I could live with, but twelve!?! Frull that! I can't leave the house! I haven't been able to get out of bed for nearly a week without wrapping myself in maxi-pads. My wonderful Doctor Grossman has made me an appointment with a local OB/GYN. We'll see how that works and if he wants to pull the plug on my plumbing.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Keeping Up...

Well, here I realize that I haven't posted anything for a LONG time. After spending all of that time letting my folks and family know that they can figure out what is up and new with me by reading and *viola*, I don't post anything.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, I'm here now, right?

Well, the Event was a HUGE success! 34 folks came, members of 14 teams of Geocachers. There were a total of nine physical caches to find and though I can't claim that it all went off without a hitch, everyone seemed happy.

The hitch: Waiting until the last minute to make photo copies of all of the cache printouts, so that participants would have to grab them and head out. I had so many other things going on, like last minute dialing-in of the cache placements, running around, grocery shopping, etc. - and I didn't think about going to the office supply store to get copies. Duh... Eric spent the first few hours of the event either at Ray's grocery store using their crappy copier, which crapped out before he got everything copied, or at home printing fresh copies on my poor, stupid copy/fax machine that jams and hardly ever works. I love him so much. He really gets pressed in my schemes, and doesn't always do it my anal way, but gets it done anyway.

Second duh: no chairs. All of this planning and I didn't think of where we would all sit or if there were tables to set things on, read: FOOD! Lucky for me that the WindSpirits team (thanks Betty and Larry!) brought their two barbeques and a big conference room-type table. What a lifesaver!

The down of that was that I had no chair to sit at MY little card table under the great shade canopy that I made sure we brought, so ended up signing everyone up in the SUN for an hour. If you don't know me, know this: I'm a pale, freckled REDHEAD. I got FRIED. My eyes are blistered. My lips are swollen. My scalp is scalded! I have a migraine from Hell due to my system shut down from Stupid Redhead in the Sun Syndrome. Yep, being a skin cancer patient, I should have planned for this. But, NO! That warm feeling I had wasn't everyone's love for me and all of the work I did, it was my body reacting to Old Sol.

Other than my personal pain, everything worked, in one way or another.
- Eric made his spagetti but it got there after everyone had eaten, so we've been eating spagetti since Sunday!
- The Jed's Friends series of caches were a hit, even if some of them took a committee to be found;
- My best-friend Dave showed up and watched folks go nuts about finding tupperware and ammo cans. He also stayed with me while everyone else was off running amok and kept me company. Thanks, Dave!
- All nine Jeep Travel Bugs were raffled. We even made an extra $15 from the sale of raffle tickets. I still have it. I'm wondering if the ACS will take such a small donation?

The biggest high for me was when I announced that this would be an annual event and everyone cheered! So, so cool!

Well, I'm back to my ice-pack...

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Revised Score

The score is now Men: 1/Mouse: 0!
That isn't necessarily a good thing, though. As posted yesterday, the boys got seriously busy tearing toys out of their closet and search for aforementioned rodent. After they had pulled every single toy (and this alone is an enormous task -spoiled brats) out, they heard chewing behind them... at Matt's dresser! That got another flurry of fly toys dispersed. The mouse ran back into the closet. As he did, Matt dropped a box full of toys on the furred menace. They called Eric in to make sure that they had it trapped and the little desparado was on his back, kicking up his back legs and had his tongue hanging out. Eric scooped it up in an old coffee can, and since I was on a business call and unaware of their hunting success, he hung the mouse from the tail in front of my nose.

Much to my credit, I didn't scream, cry or use foul language. No. I calmly requested that he get it out of my face. I remained calm until I got off the phone. Even though this is a no-holds-barred (cussing allowed) blog, some of the epithets I spewed were so creative that I want to get them trademarked and copyrighted before I release them in text on the rest of the world. Yep, that good.

The big question remains: Was that the only mouse? Inquiring minds and my renter's insurance company want to know.

On another note, we drove to Lake Selmac in Southern Oregon to attend the JARS-ORCA Amateur Radio club's potluck and swap meet. I even got up early (9 a.m.!) to go. I was conjuring excuses why I couldn't spend an afternoon visiting with old men and discussing radio with young nerds in 100+ degree heat, when Eric came in and told me that Marci and Don Campbell of the Humboldt Radio Club were heading to the same function. I was thrilled! I adore Marci (and Don's is pretty amusing, too), and she and I need to stick together since we are the only two female Amateur Radio Club Presidents that WE have heard of. Solidarity!

By the time we hit the Oregon border, though, the Campbells were already heading back. Huh? They asked if they could buy us lunch at Taylor's Sausage in Cave Junction. Of course! We met them there and Eric ate a sandwich (all the while looking at Don's huge slice of dill pickle and asking him, "Are you gonna eat that?"), and the boys had ice cream. I had a water (I lose my appetite in the heat). We had a VERY enjoyable conversation. There are few people in the world that I could just talk to forever: My Mom is the first that comes to mind, then my best friend Dave, and now I must add Marci to that list. She is intelligent, amusing and just plain fun. After we continued on our way to Lake Selmac, Eric and I decided that we MUST invite them both to a barbeque at our house soon.

At the picnic/potluck/swap meet, there was the usual assortment of hams (most of them much older than Eric and myself), their wives and the single nerds. It was a nice place to have a get-together like this, and the weather really wasn't too bad. It was 87 degrees when we got their and under the canopy it was pleasantly breezy. There was a new huge play area nearby for the boys to play on, too. However, one of the main reasons I could never live anyplace like this: WASPS/HORNETS/BEES/FLYING ANTS were everywhere. I HATE that. They get into the food, and you can't leave your soda can unattended without getting a mouth full of stingers. My kids aren't used to them and so they freak out. Bring me back when it is cooler and the critters are hibernating. Next year maybe we could have it at the coast?

It was still fun. We bought our share of raffle tickets, won a little car as a door prize and Eric bought an antenna. Then, Johnny Jones GAVE him about twenty more used antennas! Yikes. Oh, and my best friend Dave was there. He was pretty burnt out from his recent trip along the Lost Coast, but I always enjoy his company.

We followed Dave home and he took us by way of the one-lane little-known short cut that avoids the 199 and seven miles of Caves Highway to his house. I saw cache hiding spots everywhere! Then we kept going up Caves Hwy to Little Greyback and retrieved the "Gone Bughouse" Geocache that we placed their Oct. of 2001. It had only seven hits in that time, so we'll recycle it. We stopped briefly at Dave's, found another cache on the way back to the 199, had dinner at Taylor's and drug our happy, warm butts home.

Is it bedtime yet?