Sunday, June 12, 2016


Now for the day I had been dreading or at least regarding with high apprehension.  My route would take me over to the coast and then northward hitting several counties with anticipated high traffic and congestion.  I headed south down I-15 in heavy traffic until I exited southwest on Hwy 76. The traffic was no better just fewer lanes.  This is where I cautiously did some lane splitting but only when the traffic was stopped.   I could hardly believe it but there was a cache located on this busy highway.  I pulled off on the shoulder and hiked down a steep hill and found the cache hanging on an old gate in the woods.  There were a couple of caches located right in Oceanside.  To my amazement the town was practically deserted this early Tuesday morning.  The first cache was located inside a business which was closed and the second one was a nano (one the size of the end of your finger) with no hint and, of course, I couldn’t find it.  There was only one more listed in San Diego County but there had been recent DNF’s posted to it.  I was so glad I had stopped and found the one on Hwy 76 which was in San Diego County.

Now I got on Interstate 5 and headed north for quite a ways before getting off in Laguna Hills in Orange County.  My first task was to find the other challenge cache called “California County Challenge”.  I wound around until my GPS directed me to the back of a parking lot showing the cache less than 200’ off the lot.  Problem was there was a cliff dropping off about 40’ just beyond the end of the lot.  So I left the lot going clockwise thinking some right turns would get me there.  Wrong.  After one right turn the street make an S in the wrong direction.  Now I turned around and tried a counter clockwise approach.  Finally I got to the lower parking lot and found a Mexican couple waxing their car at the cache location.  I told them what I was doing and eventually found the cache.  I signed the log but as with the previous one I couldn’t actually log it on line until I completed all the counties.

This Big Saw cache
Saw cache container
So I still had one to get in Orange County.  First I tried one located at a gateway to a park on a busy street.  It hadn’t been found in a while and I had no luck either.  Next I went to one with 23 Favorite points called “This Big Saw” located at a busy lumber yard.  It was a huge old steam operated saw.  I looked and looked without success.  In desperation I tracked down the lumber yard manager to see if he could help me (I was desperate) but he didn’t even know about it.  The only other one I had on my list for Orange County was a long way off and would require a hike up a trail.  And my day was far from over.  So I went back and meticulously searched around that saw and finally found it.  It was cleverly disguised as part of the saw.  It looks less hidden in the picture I took because of the flash.  Boy, what a relief to find that one.

Now on to Los Angeles County.  It was midday when I arrived and I quickly found a little Parks and Recreation Park and a regular sized cache hidden in a hedge on the back side.  There was another one nearby but it was located in heavy traffic so I called the one good and pulled into a parking lot where I got the last spot.  It was in shade from a small tree so I ate my sardine lunch right there under the tree.

I had six caches lined up for Ventura County so I felt chances were good.  However, my first stop which was right on the highway was a poorly done setup supposedly located behind a sign saying “No Trespassing Private Property”.  I didn’t waste too much time there.  I now see someone else tried that one the next day with similar lack of success.  However, I didn’t have to travel too far before I found another one on the highway just across from Thornhill Broome State Beach Campground. Good enough.

According to my list I had six caches listed for Santa Barbara County.  When I looked at my GPS I found none.  I dug out my other GPS and found the same result.  Of course, I use these caches as navigation points as a second purpose.  It was almost but not quite panic time.  As soon as I saw a sign saying I was in Santa Barbara County I took the exit.  There was no traffic so I pulled over to the shoulder near the top of the exit.  I have a geocaching app on my phone so that was my last resort.  I pulled out my phone and I couldn’t believe it.  There was a cache 368’ away.  It was however, on the other side of two roads but in less than a mile I was there.  It was in a little business park.  At first I couldn’t find it but the hint was “What the h…”.  There was a sign nearby and wedged behind an “H” on the sign was a small container with the log. Oh what a relief.  To come that far and miss one county would be a real disaster.

San Luis Obispo cache location

I still had a long way to go for the day but just one more county.  When I was searching my GPS in vain for Santa Barbara caches I also couldn’t find any for San Luis Obispo County.  Much later I found that they were actually there.  So at this point I didn’t have a navigation point and somehow took a wrong turn ending up on Hwy 18 heading east.  I soon discovered my mistake and stopped which was when I got a bee sting on the front of my neck.  Then I remembered that I had the motels in my GPS and used the Super 8 in San Luis Obispo for my navigation point.  That worked well and after arriving at the motel I found two more caches in that county within walking distance of the motel with my phone before discovering that there really were caches in my GPS for that county.

View from motel

This Super 8 was a bit run down but it did have a computer in the dining area so I was able to upload all the caches I had found to date and do the logs which saved me a lot of time after I got back.  They were also fresher in my memory.  To be continued. M/W

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