Saturday, August 29, 2015

Indiana Adventure: JASMER Completed!

According to the blog:
Jasmer Challenge
Popular in the United States, the Jasmer asks geocachers to find one cache hidden in every month since geocaching began in May 2000. To give you a sense of the difficulty of this challenge, there are under 150 caches hidden in 2000 still enabled. Geocaching road trip, anyone?
Actually, as of today according to one source, there are only 115 active caches worldwide hidden in 2000. And I found 9 of them - the last two I needed this past week!

Change is in the air for Fall, so TaGeez and I decided we should cap off the Summer with one last road trip. Funny how the last of the Year 2000 (Y2K) caches we needed to complete our challenges are in our own backyard.  We both need 2 in Indiana and TaGeez needs 1 more near Chicago!

On Friday, August 21st, we rented a car and headed to Indiana.  20 hours and 865 miles later, we nabbed many cemetery caches, interesting Virtuals and 2 Y2K caches! JASMER completed for me!

To begin, we couldn't leave Michigan without a cache.  TaGeez and I have been working on the Historic Caches of Michigan Counties challenges and realized we would be passing within a few miles of a critical Hillsdale County cache.  This one (below), in a beautiful old rural cemetery near Coldwater, is the last qualifier for the challenge cache. You can see it was a beautiful, sunny day.

corner stone GCQ229 near Coldwater

Michigan Spirit Quest #61 - "If It Ain't Red..." GC2YGCA

After grabbing a few more challenge and cemetery caches, we finally made it into Indiana and Indiana's First! Indiana's First is in a quiet area just outside downtown Elkhart with convenient parking nearby.  It did not take long before TaGeez made the victory shout.

Another historic cache down - 1 to go!
Indiana's First was practically a park-and-grab, which left time to visit downtown Elkhart for some Virtuals.

Seen near True 2 Life GCAA14

Along the side of the road

An island park in the middle of Elkhart, Indiana
You can see TaGeez off in the distance to the left

Hail to the Chief GCKN8T
There were so many lovely towns along our route!  Albion (Michigan), Elkhart, Indianapolis, and Terre Haute.  Vibrant, bustling downtowns of all sizes. Lovely to see them so well maintained.  Fresh paint and flowers.  Downtown Elkhart was adorned with painted elks!  Spiffy, eh?

Downtown Elkhart
Lily Tomlin as Edith Ann GC9C0A was not on our original list.  But we discovered belatedly that you can't drive directly from Elkhart to Terre Haute without passing through Indianapolis first.  This Virtual, with 144 favorite points, was just a few hundred feet off the road.  How could we not stop?

Lily Tomlin as Edith Ann GC9C0A
Boost me up!
As per usual on our adventures, we were running behind schedule.  Our plan was to return home by midnight, but, as we reached Terre Haute (and Fowler Wilderness Park) around 7pm (a 6 hour drive from home) we accepted that this trip would also be an all-nighter!

"Entrance" to Fowler Wilderness Park
TheGrundalows legal parking: N 39 20.789 W 087 21.060
This is it - the last cache needed to fill my grid.  November 2000.  There are actually 2 "November 2000" caches in Indiana, but TaGeez picked this one due to its proximity to Terre Haute. This cache also had less DNF's recently and time is at a limit. One day we will visit Turkey Run Stash GCC6 for that smiley, too.

The hill that didn't need climbing
After a few missteps and a hill that didn't need climbing, we made the find.  You can see how hot and exhausted we are below.  We are literally standing on the side of a steep hill, balancing precariously on a crumbling outcrop.  This is why we do this!  Can't you just hear the Indiana Jones music?

JASMER complete!
Hot, sweaty, tired, hungry, exhausted.  Mission complete.  But do we go home?  NO.  There are other things to be seen, including a nearby cemetery and downtown Terre Haute.  Meet Max Ehrmann, author of the poem Desiderata. According to the nearby plaque, Max spent many a day visiting this little corner of his hometown to write.

Crossroads of America GC8938

Terre Haute, Indiana
It is getting late, and we still have a 6 hour drive home.  TaGeez snapped this picture of the side-view mirror as we headed to Indianapolis in search of dinner.

Ok, we were waylaid.  After only nibbling all day, we needed food, but, again, there were Virtuals in our path.  So we made a stop at the Indiana State Museum in downtown Indianapolis.  

Downtown Indianapolis
It's a beautiful area filled with restaurants, hotels and museums right on the river.  This was our first trip stopping in town versus passing on the highway, and it is lovely.  Unfortunately, it was too dark to take pictures of the art lining the river, the Indiana Steam Clock or the terraced fountains.  Like many tonight, TaGeez and I strolled hand-in-hand enjoying the nightlife along the river.

We did make a point of visiting the Indiana State Museum.  They are known for their 92 County Walk exhibit. Encircling the building and the grounds, each county of Indiana contributed a piece of artwork that represented their county (Fountain County contributed a fountain.  Henry County contributed a 3D plane. LaGrange County had these cool pig reliefs).   We walked around this mammoth structure hunting out this artwork in the dark - such a huge variety.  Some pieces were embedded high up on the walls.  Some inlaid in the steps down to the river.  Look high! Look low! Look around that corner!

The one below made me laugh out loud.  As our flashlights panned up the museum wall, about 3 stories up we lit up the Delaware County exhibit!  Hard to see in the grainy photo, but, yes, that is Garfield staring back at us!  What a jolt that caused!  Delaware County is the birthplace of the Garfield comic strip!  What a hoot!

92 Counties GC6BFF
Delaware County
After exploring downtown Indianapolis, TaGeez and I finally managed to find a Perkins restaurant at midnight for dinner.  Then headed home.  Are you aware that most highway rest stops have geocaches, too? We finally pulled in at 5:45am Saturday morning.  Mission complete.


Below is a collage of my qualifying Year 2000 finds.  Clockwise is Chicago, IL > Atlanta, Georgia > Power Island in Grand Traverse Bay > Grayling, MI > near Erie, Pennsylvania > Terre Haute, IN > Elkhart, IN > near Columbia, South Carolina.

An amazing journey filled with wonderful adventures!  And I feel particularly fortunate that I was able to complete this massive challenge during the 15th Anniversary year of geocaching!

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