Thursday, January 27, 2011

Clayton Marshall is awarded Eagle Scout

.
My nephew, Clayton Marshall is awarded Eagle Scout in Cypress, Texas.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Team Fits Tackles- One Huge Smile Series

On January 14, 2011 a group of 9 intrepid geocachers & 1 geodog assembled on the northwaste side of George Bush Park in Houston, Texas intent on tackling the infamously thorn-laden One Huge Smile series of 25 caches deep in the scrub bush and swampy bogs. The team consisted of veteran cachers, HoustonControl, MuddyWaterGirl, TeamTroglodyte, and Ags91; sub-1000 find cachers Nebulus703, myself, and Latitude_Attitude, along with the sub-100 finders mom/daughter team SavvySireGirls 1-2 & geodog Eowyn.



I had spent the last few days worrying over the near freezing weather and over-analyzing everything from the terrain, food, and how much water to carry, to how many layers of clothes I would need.
Let me back up a bit – I did this series October 1st, 2010 by myself and it was 80+ degrees and later hit 90 and back then to my amazement, the park was in full pollen bloom, most of the open areas had waist and higher vegetation and the hike took me 7 hours with not a single break, other than to sign a cache log, or untangle myself from the multi-layer thorn matrix. I also depleted my water and towards the end of the search, I was pert-near staggering.|

                           

Thus you can see my concern going out this time.

Of the 25 finds in this series, I lacked 2, as they were missing. Since then, cache maintenance has been performed and frankly, I just wanted to go along, grab the missing 2, visit with this good bunch, and get in some exercise, so I volunteered to tag along and shoot a silly video to boot.

We started off at the crack of 8am and entered the woods and within 10 minutes we realized we had ran into a wall of thorn bushes. Making a group decision to push through, it wasn’t long before we arrived at #1 and signed the log. We all high-fived around and congratulating each other began to pick-off the next caches like mutual veterans.

Latitude-Attitude had an aerial view of the smile (the course was laid out to project a giant face with eyes and a mouth with a circle going around it as the head) and a proposed course for us to follow and since it was his idea to mash-up and tackle the series, we all gladly followed his route.

One by one we made our way to each cache with me finally checking off the 2 that I did not have. Along the way, most all of us took a thorn strike (or 10!), stumbled, became entangled, fell flat on our face or buns (ouch), stumbled again, had a vine wrap around our leg or foot, or had our hat ripped off our head. No one complained, not even MuddyWaterGirl when she stepped off in a hole and fell so hard, it broke a strap on her pack. Our traveling geodog, which was a leashed pit bull, had to be dethorned a number of times also.

Our group was a unique mixture of ages, sizes, gender, and experience, but what amazed me is how equally all were treated by each other. The veterans did not show-out or put on airs and were quick to help out those of us with less experience. They also get tripped up just as fast in the heavy thorns and bush.

We saw no snakes on this trip, but we saw numerous deer and a herd of feral hogs ran in front of Latitude_Attitude. We had a great time and when we exited the woods we were met by 4 Constables wondering what all of our parked vehicles signified. We ‘splained to them our hobby and I gave away a couple of my Baytown Bert wooden geonickels after giving them my name, rank, and serial number. It was a fine geocaching day to remember and we will meet again soon on yet another geocaching adventure.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Eagles get some gravel? Not Yet.

 .

This just in from Steve Green who has been working hard to get the roadside on Tri-City Beach Road stablized so photographers can take photos of our bald eagles:

"Today as I came by the Baytown Eagle there had been several loads of material spread on both sides of Tri-City Beach road! No longer the mud-hole of last week but more can be done I am sure .

Thanks to all who called and e-mailed the County and City.

It seems now the credit go's to Roy Rodriguez of the City of Baytown Streets Dept and Harris County Maint Sup. Alton Chislom. They both worked this Work Order as I understand it.

So if you call them to thank them politely ask for a little more (surfacing/material) in the future as I don't believe they appreciate the numbers of folks that frequent this area of true majestic and natural beauty.

Good Job Baytown Photo Club............. SG

*I guess this is a start. I'll hold my praise a bit longer.  BB
.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

From Deadhorse Alaska - 1-4-2011

 .
My sister Connie is working above the Arctic Circle in Deadhorse Alaska.  Here is her update:

Most of the time I was at home this last rotation, the weather here was horrible. More than 40 below zero and wind chill factors more than 70 below. The temps killed our truck, in fact. The day I landed in Anchorage it was 44 degrees above zero, and the next day things began to warm up on the slope.

I flew out of Anchorage in perfect weather, but a blizzard was raging on the slope. It was warm enough to snow…minus 7 degrees, but the chill factor was about 40 below. When we landed, winds were gusting to around 60 mph and the plane was rocking like a boat on waves. Again, I have to tell you how amazing these pilots are.

Getting off the plane was a trick, I’ll tell you……..the first few steps there is nothing to hold on to and the platform was really slick. I grabbed the hand rail and wrapped my arm around it and got down the stairs to the tarmac. The snow was already drifting in piles even though it had just been cleared. I made it to the bus and got on without falling, but at least one other person wasn’t so fortunate. I don’t know how the folks managed that had to walk all the way to the terminal, or like my alternate, Jack, who had to walk from the terminal and get on the plane to fly out.

You would think they wouldn’t be able to fly in that kind of weather, but not so. When you get off the ground, all that stops…..you can see and the wind is no longer a factor. And the sky is so beautiful; the horizon is a soft blue and there is a red glow where the sun looks like it may be going to rise. I often think about the experience Jodie Foster portrays in the movie, “Contact” when I look out the window of the plane. She is so overwhelmed by what she sees that she can only say, “It’s so beautiful.” That’s how I feel sometimes.

Anyway, the slope was in phase II, approaching phase III weather conditions and my coworkers had all been sent home. The bus was escorted by a snow plow to the BOC, so I was in my office pending calmer weather. The weather did not improve, so I ended up in a room at the BOC for the night, because it was not safe to travel to my camp.

The weather since has been great. It’s hanging around zero and pretty clear and calm. This is a strange place!

There is a phenomenon here with the ice crystals in the air and light that I’ve never experienced anywhere else, though I have lived in quite a few really cold places. When the weather conditions are just right, lights do not glow outward as we are accustomed to when we see things like street lights or ball-park lighting. Instead, the light makes a vertical shaft that goes hundreds of feet straight up, like a laser beam. Sometimes it is a light here and there, but once in a while it will be every light. It is spectacular, and I wish I could explain it in a way you could envision.

Picture this in your mind: A circle about 10 miles across with a road running through the middle. The circle is made up of buildings and structures covered with lights. Most of the lights are white, but some are yellow and others, such as the airport’s are green or red. Now, picture these thousands of lights shooting straight up as far as you can see in perfectly defined straight columns. It’s magnificent to behold. Twice while driving to work in the morning, all the lights have been this way. I wish so much that I could share it.  Connie

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Geocaching, Baytown, Texas Style - A Story GC2KQAA

.

January 2 by Nebulus703 (728 found)

Co-FTF with Latitude_Attitude and a member of Baytown PD @2:31 AM!

This one was fun! I was at a party with a bunch of friends and their parties can go on all night. While I was there I decided to check my email just in case there was something interesting going on. Sure enough, a brand new cache! I called up LA (Latitude Attitude) and woke him up and told him the news. He agreed to come out with me and help find it.

I parked on the side of SH-146 and I had my hazards flashing just in case someone didn't see my black car. I took off for under the bridge and started looking for the cache. After about a minute of searching LA showed up and began to assist me.

We looked all over for this one. I was even climbing up the metal girders to see if it was hidden in some weird angle. Then I went down close to the water to get a better view and I encountered yet another nutria rat. This little guy didn't take off like the last time I encountered one. Instead he was frozen with fear. I told LA to come down and check him out so he could see it. The poor little guy looked so scared! We left him alone and went back to searching.

After a few minutes of searching I decided that I would go up higher to see if I could see it from a different angle. As I was walking back I noticed a car pulling up behind LA's van but there was something different about this car... oh... those are police lights. Uh-oh... I called LA back to where I was so we could get back to the cars before they got ticketed or towed.

We talked to the officer and told him what we were doing. He seemed really skeptical at first but we went more into detail and he started to seem intrigued. We even told him your name and lucky for us, he's heard of you! He just told us that LA's hazard lights weren't on and that they should be. We were free to go and the officer drove off to let us continue our search.

We searched high and low again and still came up with nothing - when out of nowhere a third flashlight appeared! Who the heck was that? Oh, it was the officer that we ran into earlier! He decided to give us a hand! After another minute of searching LA looked up in the same spot we've looked at about a hundred times and the cache magically appeared! How did you do that, Bert? A vanishing cache...

We signed the log and I made sure to write Baytown PD on the log as well because he was with us. How's a FTF for a first find? Pretty cool! #727 Nebulus703

January 2 by Latitude_Attitude (571 found)
Nebulus pretty much told the tale for this one but I'll add my two cents. When I got the call I was sound asleep but I had a stomach ache earlier so I was on the couch or I probably would not have heard the phone. I was about 50/50 on whether I would go for it, but being as it was the weekend I decided to give it a shot. He told me that he would meet me at the GZ (ground zero) and would already be searching for it. I was pretty sure that he would find it before I arrived but when I got close he was still searching - so I joined in.

I was having trouble with my GPSr because some errr...Uhm...structure was blocking the signal so we had a general search area like about 30-50 feet! I kind of had one particular spot narrowed down by taking readings on the GPSr away from the structure but Nebulus and I had already covered it before a few times. We decided that maybe it was something above so Nebulus walked up and spotted the Officer, and we so walked to meet him.

Of course we told him about geocaching. Honesty is the best policy and when we told him that the cache was hidden by Baytown Bert he knew just who we were talking about. He seemed very interested and we told him that there were at least two hundred caches hidden in Baytown and about the containers etc... I also mentioned that there was another officer geocaching (USMCGecko) He said that he was going to check it out and told us that we could continue the search.

Nebulus went ahead and started checking from the higher location. But we quickly realized that it was too dangerous up there especially if the road got busy (not too bad at 2:15am though). So I started to look again and I saw someone calling us from the other side with a flashlight. He asked if we had found it. At first I thought it was another cacher but it was the officer that we had run into a few minutes ago. He wanted to know what we would find and how it was hidden. I was sure hoping that we would find it now. Nebulus walked up and I started thinking about where Bert would hide it so as not to be easily found and I had a idea of a hiding technique that might have been employed. Sure enough It was actually in the spot that I looked! FTF at 2:31 am.

The officer actually was able to knock that cache loose and for Nebulus to grab. When Nebulus opened the cache the officer asked to see the log to read the information printed on the log. He then handed the log back to Nebulus. Nebulus signed the log for both of us and the officer said "go ahead and sign the log that Baytown PD was Here". So the officer was able to get the FTF on this one as well! I told them that I was going back to bed and headed back home.


January 2 by Jolly0311 (1 found)
Ok, I didn’t find it but I signed it anyway. I observed two suspicious cars that were unoccupied, parked along the 146 feeder. Like a good patrol officer that I am, lol, I had to find out what these cars were doing out in the early morning hours. After a couple of minutes I was unable to locate the owners of the vehicles so I was going to tow the car because they were traffic hazards. A short while later I was approached by two white males who advised they were looking for a hidden object that was placed by Baytown Bert. I was not buying at first and asked more questions.

After talking with both I started to believe what they were saying, so I asked for the web site they were talking about. I told both they were free to go and asked if they had found the hidden object yet. Both said no and they were going back to look for it and I left. After leaving I became curious and parked my car under the bridge and located the two males I was just speaking with, I told both I wanted to see what they were looking for and asked if I could help find it. A few minutes later one of them said they found it. I was surprised and started to laugh. After they signed it I asked one to say Baytown Police was here too, lol. Anyway that was my story and I wanted to say thank you for the break. Jolly0311

Customer service is not what it used to be

I was called by a local business today to pay for a maintenance service on my in-ground pool. My debit card on file had expired. ...