Friday, March 27, 2015

The REALLY odd places geocaching takes you!

It may sound like a cliche, but Geocaching really does bring you to some unusual places.  I think of all our adventures to date, this was the oddest assortment of sites we've ever experienced.

Last week Ratspazum (Mr. and Mrs. Rat) asked TaGeez and I if we wanted to go to Wapakoneta, OH. Really?  Why? They had seen a geocache puzzle with high favorite points that they were curious about. Well, typical for me and my Sweets - we willingly went along, no questions asked.

Before you are a handful of the 205 pictures taken during this odd and unusual adventure!

First thing you have to know about the four of us is our love of old cemeteries. We left bright and early on Sunday morning with a sparse list of caches because we knew we'd cross paths with many "must stops" in farmland Ohio. I would say, except for the very ornate mausoleums, this headstone is my absolute favorite yet.  It's located in Ft. Meig Cemetery in Perrysburg.

If you look closely, you will see a little doorknob! I tried it.
Near SQ - It Rhymes with Smathtags GC1K7ZA
In addition to cemeteries, we were on the hunt for historic caches, too.  Between us, we visited 4 Virtual caches on our route down I-75.

TaGeez and Scrapcat at a historic schoolhouse
This was a sad Virtual.  It was a cemetery for the Wood County Infirmary and Poor Farm (1869).  Most of the residents were buried with just numbered markers that were lost or removed in the 1950's.  It's only been recent that efforts were made to replace the stones and document the departed.
Ratspazum and TaGeez
 On a cheerier note, we found more cemeteries.  Of the 32 caches signed today, 16 of them were Spirit Quests (SQ).

Mr. Ratspazum, TaGeez, and Mrs. Ratspazum
Ok, so where's the unique and interesting puzzle I mentioned?  Welcome to the Temple of Tolerance in Wapakoneta, Ohio!  Built in the late 1990's, it's been called The Stonehenge of the Midwest and compared to the healing atmosphere of Sedona.  Not exactly what you would expect in the cookie-cutter red-white-and-blue childhood hometown of astronaut Neil Armstrong in middle America!

As we drove down the street, Mrs. Rat said something about, "That's an interesting place."  Come to find out that was the entrance to the Temple of Tolerance and the beginning of Mocopulence GCQ03E.  Owner Jim Bowsher (who we glimpsed briefly) opened his home to the public and has allowed geocacher, T-Hunter, to place a puzzle cache on the property.

It looked so small from the outside, but the backyard was such a HUGE surprise.
The block is shaped like an upside-down Nevada and owner Jim Bowsher's
property is the entire center of the block.
One of the first sights you see when you enter the back is the "Barrel House (1928) with bullet holes from a prohibition era shootout (claimed to be the only house in the US deliberately constructed to look like a barrel)."

scrapcat at the Barrel House
The glaciers which made Wapakoneta's flat farmland also deposited erratic boulders from many parts of Canada. In 1981, Jim started collecting these (using a WW-II surplus dumptruck) and arranging them into piles in his backyard, along with architectural elements which Jim scoured from demolitions (e.g. fences and gates from Cincinnati).
The Temple of Tolerance is the largest pile in the middle of this impressive garden.

Mrs Rat at the Temple of Tolerance

The altar and fire pit at the top
When we were planning this trip, I was wondering why nobody had a clear picture of "the temple."  I understand now. It's a collection of connected gardens, each with its own theme and artistry.  No one picture can do it justice.

View from atop the Temple

Another picture from the top
This, admittedly, was my favorite artifact.  It was a Wapakoneta jailhouse door. The part you don't see is the caption "First Men in AuGlaize County To Get The Death Penalty 1934."

TaGeez peering into the window
Eventually, it was time to gather our clues, solve the puzzle, find the cache and head out.  I had the eagle eye that spotted something "out of place" (which is amazing because this place had no rules!).

scrapcat, TaGeez, and Ratspazum
Off we headed to find several more cemeteries.  This one is fascinating.  Yes, that's an "upholstered" chair in the middle of the sizable Herbst Memorial in Greenlawn Cemetery. According to the town history, temporary railroad tracks had to be laid to deliver this massive monument.

Near Greenlawn SQ GC5E6VB
And now onto to more recent history. No visit to Wapakoneta is complete without a little geocaching at the Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum. After lunch at the Lucky Steer, off we went... into the wild, blue yonder....

near One Small Step for Everyone GCVZBQ

Can you spot the cache?
What is it about rocks around here?
TaGeez may be waiting awhile for a liftoff
After adding another dozen cemetery stops (including one in a mobile home park) to our list (so many wonderful Zinc headstones!), it was time to start heading home.  TaGeez and I talked Ratspazum into stopping at just one more at Teddy's Rescue near Findlay, Ohio.

Buffet TB Hotel GC3PZQB
And, as a team, our last cache ended with the Pure Michigan Welcome Center right across the border. They practically gave us the puzzle answer!

M-Dot swag!
As I mentioned earlier, have you ever seen such an oddball collection of artifacts in your life?  It was wonderful!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Elisa, that was an amazing day. So many interesting places. I probably could have stayed in the Temple of Tolerance all day. What a lot of . . . stuff.


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