Wednesday, June 8, 2016


One of my Geocaching “things” is to log a cache in every county of a state.  They are called state county challenges.  About the only state in the West not completed is California.  I figured it was time to tackle it before old age sets in.  California has 58 counties so I knew it would take two trips.  I spent months planning my routes lining up geocaches in each county and trying as much as possible to pick motorcycle friendly roads.  San Francisco is a small county so I wanted to begin my trip on a Thursday so that I would tackle the Golden Gate Bridge on a Sunday morning.  I thought I had some idea of what the traffic would be like but I was totally wrong.  As it turned out the freeway and Interstate traffic wasn’t too bad with a few exceptions but some of the two lane roads were totally packed especially in northern California.

May 12th was my preferred starting date but I hadn’t gone 50 miles before I began having GPS problems.  I had an extra as a backup but it kept locking up.  My primary one showed no caches except some local ones.  I stopped at two different places in Hermiston, OR, where I was able to borrow a comp
Younger and better looking Mike Warnock
uter (a convenience store and a doctor’s office) copying files and trying everything I could but to no avail.  To make it even worse, my cousin in Salem was planning a family get together at his place where I would be staying.  There was nothing to do but turn back.  Early the next morning I was on the phone with Garmin and they thought the problem was corrupt files which I erased.  I also immediately placed an order for another GPS from Amazon.  I spent the rest of the morning changing motel reservations (not an easy task).  I had planned a 200 mile trip that Sunday to test things thoroughly but got rained out.  My tests in town indicated that things were okay so I planned another departure for the 19th.

Some of the Warnock clan
Tree with cache inside
Weather forecasts did not look nearly as pleasant for the 19th departure but I wanted to travel before school was out thinking the traffic would be lighter.  After my usual early start I had not traveled 50 miles until unbelievably my GPS began locking up.  I tried the backup with the same result.  Then I tried the primary unit using just battery power.  That worked for a while but soon it would occasionally just quit and I would have to restart it.  Back to the backup unit.  It worked well but with battery power but the battery saver feature turns the display off after a minute and you have to press a button to awaken it.  On top of these problems I had a horrific head wind all the way.  Since the unit worked on batteries I figured the problem must be the power cord.  I got to Salem about mid-afternoon and called a Sportsman’s Warehouse to see if they had a power cord.  They did and my cousin took me out to get it.  Hooray, problem solved.  I did not have another GPS problem the whole trip.

Geocache in tree
First coast sighting
I had a great visit with my cousin and his family and we had breakfast the next morning at his son’s restaurant.  I got a little later start (after 8:00) than usual and began traveling south on the Interstate.  It was overcast and I got into a little rain around Junction City.  I stopped at a gas station and donned my rain gear so naturally it soon quit raining.  It was cool and overcast however, and as the rain gear helped keep me warm I wore it most of the day.  Just south of Grants Pass I took Highway 199 southwest which took me through the Smith River National Redwood Area.  It was a beautiful ride and I picked up five caches to add to two earlier ones in Oregon although the first CA attempt was a DNF (did not find) which was a little discouraging.  Anyway, that took care of Del Norte and Humboldt counties.  I arrived in Arcata around 5:00 where I stayed at a Motel 6.  Soon after arriving it was raining hard and I wore my rain gear over to a Carl’s Jr. which was within walking distance for dinner.  Incidentally there was a Harbor Freight outlet there which I visited but alas
had no means to carry anything of significance.

To be continued M/W

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