Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Total Eclipse of the Cache - Heading Home

Last day of our adventure. Honestly, even though this was the big milestone day, geocaching was the last thing on my mind. It wasn't until TaGeez brought it up (we had some trackables to drop) that I took my mind off our recent bad news and started to search my phone for a likely cache.

I couldn't have planned it better! At the next exit was a regular cache.... the Kentucky Cache Across America.... at the National Corvette Museum! 


WOW! That put me in a better place. We grabbed the cache, dropped our trackables, and had some fun posing for pictures. What a neat place!

This REALLY made me crave a hot dog! Doesn't it look like...

... the old Plochman's mustard bottles Mom used to buy?

Cheered we returned to the road and started heading North. Traffic wasn't bad, but we decided to cut through Indiana versus Ohio to avoid that Cincinnati blockage. As we were cruising along, TaGeez said to turn off the road. He thought a pleasant drive through some woods would lighten things up. He was right!

Mammoth Cave National Park is beautifully picturesque with its winding, tree-covered country roads. We did stop at the Visitor Center but didn't take time for the caves (something to do with the teaming masses of tourists, long lines, and my irrational fear of heights). 

Ghosts & Goblins Virtual GC843A
I don't, however, have a fear of cemeteries, and we crossed paths with two in the National Forest.

This sign confused me. Is this LITTLE HOPE Cemetery or LITTLE Hope Cemetery? The first sounds so bleak!

Shortly, thereafter, we crossed paths with another Virtual. This time in Louisville where we were drenched with the only rain of the trip. 

Old Rough and Ready GCG7FT
President and Mrs. Zachary Taylor are buried the Zachary Taylor Memorial Cemetery. It's a military cemetery which dead-ends (no pun intended) on this lovely memorial site to the President.

President Zachary Taylor's Final Resting Place
I don't think I've truly appreciated until this last year how many Presidents were born or buried in the Midwest. We've visited quite a few in Ohio and now Kentucky.

President Zachary Taylor's Original Resting Place

One advantage to this last minute detour Louisville is the County Clerks office is open! The lady behind the counter knew exactly what we were up to! The lobby looks much nicer on the camera than in person!

Funny thing is that one of the joys of hotel-stay is FOODPORN! 

With no cable at home, TaGeez and I like to settle into our hotel at night and flip on the Food Channel. To my joy last night they were airing Diners, Drive-ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. And, coincidences of coincidences, the first episode they aired was this little place... in LOUISVILLE... called The Irish Rover!

We had to stop and, at 2:00 in the afternoon, it wasn't busy.


The food was FABULOUS! We shared the Beef & Bleu (a cold beef tenderloin and bleu cheese plate), Crab Cakes, and the Country Pie (featured on the show). The Country Pie is a beef stew with large chunks of potato and carrots in a crusty bread bowl; it's topped with the best homemade mashed potatoes and cheese. 

The restaurant had character, the waiter was friendly, the food was absolutely delicious and the prices very reasonable. It'll be worth the detour on another trip!

Satisfied with our tummies and our trip, we knew we needed to get home. A long highway under clear, big blue skies. We cached at rest stops, passed a Muffler Man near Fort Wayne, and made one last stop.

Why did they build this?
One more webcam, this one near Fort Wayne, in the books. It was iffy whether we would get there (and find the spot to stand and get the VLC app to work) before the sun finally disappeared on the horizon. 

As we pulled into the driveway, friends were already posting the dates for the next Total Solar Eclipse.  This one will pass over lower Ohio in 2024. And, yes, we will be there.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Total Eclipse of the Cache - GODZILLA!

I sent this picture to a friend...

He said it doesn't look like we are watching the eclipse. Instead, we are staring at...


What a hoot!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Total Eclipse of the Cache - Path of Totality

Total Eclipse of the Heart
It's the End of the World (As We Know It)
Moon Shadow

This was the start of our playlist as we left Louisville VERY early the next morning. TaGeez and I were warned about the eclipse traffic so we wanted an early start. We know at this point we could see the total solar eclipse anywhere, but we were determined to make it to Gallatin.

Elizabethtown Virtlual GCD13D


TaGeez and I rolled into town at 9am CST. We were the first in the parking lot so we decided to branch out and checkout the town. Cute little downtown with a geocache or two. I wonder if the population doubled on this day?

Downtown Gallatin, Tennessee

Because it is right on the Path of Totality. Gallatin is one of the few towns in the US which will experience the maximum totality of 2 minutes 40 seconds.

Today is day #1,999 on my cache a day streak! 

Lucky me! Everyone was gracious enough to gather for my celebratory photo. And look who is next to me! Monkeybrad, reviewer and of Captain Rodney fame! He had just completed a 16-day tour of the northwest (I'm following on Facebook) and was happy to be home with family for the big event. 

Day #1,999 of my cache-a-day streak

And look how cool these t-shirts show up in pictures! Best $15 on Amazon. So many people have stopped us throughout the day asking where we bought them.

Scrapcat is styling!

This is the amazing thing about geocachers. We are all practically strangers, but we converged from as far as New York, Montreal and Houston onto this little parking lot to become fast friends For five hours we suffered the 99 degree heat and humidity, finding brief reprieves in the nearby Big Lots and Taco Bells and under trees. And it was a smashing great time!

It's happening!
Starting around 11:59 am CST, the eclipse began. Over the next 1.5 hours, the weather became increasingly more humid and then noticeably cooler. The wind picked up, batting around TaGeez's sun shade. The closer to totality the air turned gray, and the surroundings appeared as if you were looking at a grainy photograph.

Source: Scrapcat
Now, I knew going down that I wouldn't be able to take pictures well enough to do the solar eclipse justice so I decided to live the moment and leave it to the professionals. Luckily we had some very talented photographers at the event, who have graciously allowed me to share their photos. 

Shared courtesy of Rubicon Cacher
Totality was amazing! At 1:27 we removed our glasses and looked at a view no camera could truly capture. Darkness had descended. After sweating all day the cold chilled our skin. The parking lot lights came on and the birds & cicadas in the nearby field and forest went crazy. Our group was hushed in awe.

Shared courtesy of Rubicon Cacher

Eclipse over Gallatin, TN

Shared courtesy of Rubicon Cacher

Shared courtesy of  Caretaker5

As the sun re-emerged, we thanked Southpaw for an amazing event It will be a long time before anyone can top such a spectacular experience. Thank you Middle Tennessee Geocaching Club!

Admittedly, as we pulled away, my mind wasn't grasping what had happened. The solar eclipse was a first for my 47 year old eyes - I missed the last one at around 7 years old. Heading back along the freeway, lining up behind other out-of-state cars exiting the fields and the drive-in and the Kentucky Downs, we were quiet. TaGeez and I are never quiet in the car.


After checking into our less-than-stellar hotel (no choice - everything is booked), we headed to Nashville for a little fun. First stop was the Vanderbilt University webcam.

These ladies graciously allowed us to interrupt their studies.
They had no idea they were on camera

Vanderbilt is a beautiful yet compact campus. This is outside their library.

So much to see, but so much time lost in eclipse traffic. We accepted that another visit is necessary so we focused on several key stops. First one was Centennial Park.

Did you know they have a Parthenon????

Athens of the South

"The Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee is a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens. It was built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition." According to Wikipedia, the structure was not supposed to be a permanent structure and fell into a terrible state over the next 20 years. Nashville residents rallied to rebuild a more permanent structure, which is now one of the top 5 museums in Nashville. Unfortunately, we were too late to enter it to see the 42-foot statue of Athenas Parthenos inside.

Before leaving the park we enjoyed 2 Virtual caches, a train cache and a boat cache. The Century of Bronze was challenging and fun. We ran into two overseas visitors, curious to our strange behavior (apparently we can't be stealthy in extreme heat). We described geocaching as best we could, and they became very animated after I pulled a fake spike off this boat.

A Century of Bronze GC55YNX
As darkness settled, we turned towards downtown for dinner and "a show". But first, a highly-favorited geocache outside Titan Stadium.

My brother, Jeff, strongly suggested a trip to Broadway at night. As we turned past the giant Hard Rock guitar, we saw a street filled with neon lights, drunken brides, music hounds and police on horseback. No offence, but it was a hick version of Las Vegas.

We had intended on visiting Nashville again before leaving the next day, but we received bad news later that night and turned for home. We will be back one day with WikidKriket and SnakeyLicks.

Word is out that the next total solar eclipse will be in 2024, crossing lower Ohio. TaGeez and I will be there, but this time we will book our hotel a little earlier!