Friday, September 7, 2018

NEA18: Cape Code to Home

Last full day of adventure before turning home. After a restful evening lazing around the hotel we were ready to adventure. Hey! Aren't there three webcams in Cape Cod!?! We rushed our checkout, tossed our belongings in the car, and floored it out of the parking lot.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

As we crossed over the bridge and arrived at this beautiful, blue Heaven called Cape Cod....

The Chatham Bench Cam only takes a photo twice a day!
GPS ETA says arrival after 8:10 am!
Oh, wait! The cache page reads 10:10 not 8:10?
What? The bench sign says 9:10! Hurry!
What? Who's on the bench!?!
A fellow cacher from New York, appreciative for a little company.

Afterwards we caravaned to downtown Chatham for the 9:30 webcam, where we ran into another couple visiting the Netherlands. Cheese!

Going our own way, we backtracked to visit a pretty beach in Chatham. Across the street is a Soldiers & Sailor monument, a Seaman's Cemetery, a lighthouse, and a Coast Guard station.

It's lovely having the time to stroll out onto a pretty Atlantic Beach and dip our toes into the water. The sun is hot and the water nice and cool.

Geocaching? Who can think of geocaching at this point?

Relaxed and coated in sand, we settled back into the car and cruised along up the coast to the last webcam. Ah, this one was a trial. First, reading the logs, we expected no internet connection so we dialed ShelleyJean, who had our back. Second, the drive took twice as long with all the single-lane beach traffic heading to P-Town, and then the admission fee. As we pulled up into the parking lot, we were blocked at the gate - they wanted a $25 fee to park - oh no!

Luckily, TaGeez turned on the charm, and we were allowed a few minutes if we parked next to the porta-potties. (Classify this under "Glamorous Live of a Geocacher"!) Wandering around the lot, we had to take it on faith that SJ had enough time to snap a few webcam photos for us as a return trip was out of the question.

Thank you, ShelleyJean!

Cape Cod was fun! And we made some great memories there!

Lobster Rolls!

Plymouth, Massachusetts

Plymouth was fun, too. We started with the Old Burial Ground -- wow! That was quite the climb to the top of the hill! 

Untold Tale of Plymouth Rock GC7B7BK

Fabulous, historic headstones with a beautiful view of the ocean!

Which rock is which? We did the obligatory visit to Plymouth Rock, but it was the least impressive stop on our jaunt. According to the nearby Virtual, 
Wait—the Plymouth Rock legend rests on a 94-year-old's recollection of second-hand info he learned as a child that was otherwise unknown and unrecorded for 121 years?

Duxbury, Massachusetts

What was impressive is the Miles Standish Memorial in Duxbury. I had never been, but TaGeez really wanted to stop. He's a very distant relation. I was expecting a 6-foot obelisk or something. I was not prepared to see the figure of a man elevated above the tree-line atop a cliff! You could see Miles from quite the distance.

TaGeez climbed all 125 steps to the top of the tower...

... where he could see for miles!

And even earned himself a certificate!

With all the new Virtual rewards, I'm shocked when we cross paths with an edifice so historic and so impressive and it is not a Virtual! And, yet, hamburger stands and park benches are. Not fair.

The park ranger at the Memorial directed us to Miles Standish gravesite, also in Duxbury.  TaGeez was giddy as he walked along the headstones.

Examples of deviations from the Puritan attitudes. Wild!

Rhode Island and Connecticut

After Duxbury, it was time to turn East and our hotel in Danbury. The geocaches we nabbed in Rhode Island and Connecticut were not very memorable. We did stop at UCONN to TaGeez could get his "Y" on at our final webcam stop.

We rolled in late to Danbury and were delightfully surprised by Hotel 0 Degrees ("Refreshingly Unique!"), a last minute choice. Stunning property, beautiful rooms, the bathroom ceiling was double high and the bathroom door is a sliding barn door. Breakfast the next day was the best all week! We slept well!

Heading Home

We were off to a good day starting with this sunny view from our breakfast table.  TaGeez and I would like to come back for our Central Park adventure next year.

Off to an early start, we enjoyed the hills and roads through central New York and Pennsylvania.

Positron Emission Tomography GCXX6A

Did I mention "hamburger stand" Virtual rewards? You can't scoff when the food is this good!

Wow...Whatta Burger GC7B64W

Signal seems happy! Fried pickles!

Why is it that whenever we return home, it's raining in upper Ohio/lower Michigan? 

Twice we had to pull off the freeway because visibility was non-existent, but it was an amazing sight to see!

It was an amazing adventure with beautiful backroads, magnificent ocean views, favorited geocaches, and the love of my life. Stealing from the welcome sign as you cross into Maine -- "The Way Life Should Be"!

Signal had a great time, too!

It was a hoot posing my trackable friend at some of the most memorable stops on the adventure. We logged him at every geocache along our path for a permanent record of our trip. He was the best companion as he never complained, didn't leave wrappers on the floor mats, left the buttons on the dashboard alone, and was willing to go wherever we wanted. 

Saturday, September 1, 2018

NEA18: Concord to Boston

Today is our Boston adventure... and it's raining. Not just a sprinkle - it's the kind of rain where even the lining of your wallet is wet for three days. A Northeastern soaker. Warned that it was supposed to rain throughout the morning, we decided to postpone the ride into Boston until the rain lightens up.

So.... what do you do? Well, you troop through a few cemeteries, right?

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery - Concord

First stop is Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord.

"The cemetery is the burial site of a number of famous Concordians, including some of the United States' greatest authors and thinkers, especially on a hill known as "Authors' Ridge."

Funny thing is, Concord has those "little roads", too. You know the ones... they look suspiciously like narrow roads, but turn out to be pedestrian paths. Not that I'm admitting anything here.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was easy to spot. Fitting as our hotel actually overlooks Walden Pond. I understand his inspiration.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

View from Author's Ridge

Little further down the path is Louisa May Alcott and the Alcott family. We spied the tokens on her grave before realizing who it belonged to.

No, TaGeez. That is not swag.
Nathaniel Hawthorne had tokens on his headstone, too. This felt worlds away from the site of his grandfather's burying ground visited yesterday.
Born on July 4, 1804 as Nathaniel Hathorne, he added the "W" to his name so he wouldn't be associated with his ancestor John Hathorne, who was the only judge involved in the Salem witch trials. []

Shocking to us was the humble Henry David Thoreau grave. It was tucked behind a larger family stone.

Also behind that stone was a survey marker commemorating his time as a Surveyor. It's this type of find that should be made into a virtual.

You can't visit the famous author's graves without solving a cemetery puzzle. I won't give the GC - it's a spoiler - but I will share pictures from the amazing Concord Public Library. (I'm not giving anything away - it says the final is in the library).

This place is a booklover's Heaven! Again, classify as "fantastic places that Geocaching takes you to!"

Paul Revere's Ride - Concord

We didn't expect to be in Concord this long, especially long enough for the library to open for that puzzle final. A little further up the road was an old Virtual with many favorite points. It's this part of the trip we had to accept we couldn't do all the Virtuals so when one is so highly rated we had to take notice.

Revolution GCH7AE

What a fascinating turn this trip has taken! Concord was never on our original agenda, but here we are! Following the end of Paul Revere's Ride, the site of his capture and the Battle of Concord.

This multi-stage Virtual started at the site of the battle and worked its way backward. First the Old North Bridge, the site of the Battle at Concord....

Old North Bridge - site of the Battle at Concord
... and then the site of Paul Revere's capture.

We became very knowledge on Paul Revere's ride with a stop at the National Park's Visitor Center, his grave, his house, and the Old North Church. More on that later.

Mount Auburn Cemetery - Cambridge

The skies have opened, and these pictures do not do the deluge justice. We thought, "No problem."  We'll just tour the other famous cemetery nearby. Little did we know that most of Mount Auburn can only be viewed on foot!

Mount Auburn Cemetery is the first rural cemetery in the United States. 
It is the burial site of many prominent members of the Boston Brahmins, as well being a National Historic Landmark. Dedicated in 1831 and set with classical monuments in a rolling landscaped terrain, it marked a distinct break with Colonial-era burying grounds and church-affiliated graveyards. The appearance of this type of landscape coincides with the rising popularity of the term "cemetery," derived from the Greek for "a sleeping place." This language and outlook eclipsed the previous harsh view of death and the afterlife embodied by old graveyards and church burial plots
Speaking of the Boston Brahmins, imagine our surprise to round the corner and see this female Sphinx! Sending a picture to ShelleyJean, she emailed back a clipping telling us that it was donated to the cemetery by the Mount Auburn Cemetery founder Jacob Bigelow as a memorial to the Civil War. 

"American union preserved. African slavery destroyed.
By the uprising of a great people. By the blood of fallen heroes."

Parking our car and hoisting our umbrellas, we moseyed down the tree-lined lanes viewing the rich funereal artistry of the cemetery plots.

Scottish Gates

William Frederick Harnden gravesite

Last stop was the tower at the highest point of the cemetery. From there, I'm sure on a clear day, you would see a spectacular view of Cambridge. Just not today.

Angelfield GC168E

Boston Common

We decided to risk it and drive into Boston. I've driven Detroit, DC, and Boston before plus we thought the roads would be less crowded with the rain pouring down. We scored a cheap and central parking spot right along the Boston Common.

No amazing photos in the rain shower, but we made many great memories. It was peaceful walking through the Common, rain tapping on TaGeez's umbrella, footsteps disturbing the puddles.

Many years ago I worked one street away. I was a military wife, and we were stationed in North Quincy. For three years I took the "T" (subway) into work at Barnes & Nobles in Downtown Crossing. Today I found the Common had changed greatly in two decades and, yet, not at all.

Ducklings! Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey was a topseller in our bookstore, and here they are in the Common. Although still raining, this was a fun Virtual to complete.

Make Way for Ducklings GC787WP

It's raining and we're getting soaked through. We decided to bypass the tourist trap (AKA Cheers) and head across the Common to the Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile walk visiting many of the historic sites in Boston.

Granary Burying Ground - Boston

You can't visit Boston without visiting a famous cemetery, right? What do other people do on their vacations? This is normal, right?

This cemetery, set alongside the Common and the Massachusetts State House, is the final resting place of some very famous Bostonians including...

John Hancock

Mother Goose (allegedly - the dates don't align) 

And Paul Revere. Funny story: While standing near this grave, one of the reenactors/tour guides shared an interesting historical fact. One of the many inaccuracies of Longfellow's poem Paul Revere's Ride is that there were three men, not just Paul himself, who made that ride. The guide said the reason Paul, at that time very little known, is featured in the poem is because it was easier to rhyme "Revere" than "Dawes" and "Prescott".

Paul Revere's House and Old North Church

Heading through the North End, we finally made it Paul Revere's house - a stone's throw from the Old North Church. With the rain and construction and pedestrians afoot, we decided to let Signal stand-in for us for the Virtual's photograph.  There was not much to see here at this time.

Paul Revere's House GC7B7AZ
I guess I forgot how hilly the North End is. It was a bit of a hike up to the Old North Church, stopping every few feet to avoid bumping into the tourists in front of us.

Two if by Sea! GC788EN
Quick photo and out. We were drenched and exhausted and hungry (the Italian brat on the Common seemed like ages ago).  This was a wrap on our Boston adventure.

Copp's Hill Burying Ground

Oh, look! A cemetery. Ok, maybe we could be talked into one more stop on the Freedom Trail

Old North Church

First Mass GC74

Back in the car with water dripping off of us, windows steamed with our hot breaths, it was hard to feel our legs. We decided to head back to the hotel for a hot shower, a cold drink and warm clothes. That was until I realized how close we were to Massachusett's first geocache (October 2000)!

I told TaGeez that we would just pull in and have a look. According to the satellite map we could practically drive right to it. We pulled into the parking lot and realized we could go no further. The cache, however, was still .26 away. No problem, right? Did I mention STRAIGHT UP!?!

Man! You simply forget that a D/T 1.5/2 on an oldie is total crap! We struggled and we wheezed and we almost broke our ankles on the really large rocks lining the tiny, upward path!

Made it to the top and found the cache!
We won't give any spoilers away, but it took forever. I was to the point of panic setting in as we were so tired and yet so close! TaGeez, doing a daring impression of a circus monkey, found the elusive container and signed our names. 

You can see here how high up we are! We were higher than the power poles!

Funny end to this tale. As we were descending, we spied a man, probably a decade older than us, out for his daily run up that hill. He jumped more than he ran, as surefooted as a billy goat even straddling the rock-filled paths. 

When he got to the top, he stopped and asked, "You aren't going that way, are you?" 

Well, yes. That's the way we came.

"No. Wait for me to do my loop and then follow me down. I know an easier path."

Hey, he looked like he knew what he was doing, and we enjoyed the break under the first blue skies of the day. And he was right.  There's always an easier path when you exit a cache site, right?

With that we called it a day. Hey, even though it was late afternoon, we were paying good money for a really nice hotel in Waltham. Hot pizza and Food Network seemed just the ticket to wile away the rest of the day. Did I mention our hotel room overlooked Walden Pond?