In my last post I eluded to another epic cache run being in the works. I’ve held back on making this information broadly known until the specifics were nailed down. I didn’t want to say too much before everything was locked into place because I feel that can jinx things or grow tiresome to those who would have to hear about it over and over. But now I feel is the appropriate time to spill the beans. In exactly one month, a group of us will be headed east to cache the New England states as well as Washington D.C. and Arlington National Cemetery.
Born out of a desire to replicate our epic cache run out west, discussions began with a simple question:
How can we top the Mingo trip?
Obviously this isn’t a competition, but I wanted to do something that would rival last year’s trip in terms of distance, states traveled through, and sites seen. Last year’s trip was pretty spontaneous, as we really only had about a month to plan for it, so by giving us more time, that would allow for more feedback and more planning. I don’t know about the others, but that trip awoke inside me a long-dormant sense of exploration and adventure. When I was a kid I loved the idea of taking road trips. Many hours were spent staring out windows at fast-moving landscapes during trips to my extended family’s reunion in the Cumberland Plateau region of Tennessee and Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg. There was something wondrous and exciting about getting in a car (or van, RV, etc) and heading on a long trip to a foreign (to me) location. The different radio stations, the regional stores, even the unfamiliar gas station names, just the thought of these give me goosebumps. As I grew older and started my family, that desire to hit the road never really disappeared, it was just hidden by the shorter trips to neighboring cities and theme parks. But after our trip out west, I’ve had a longing desire to do it again. At one point I even contemplated just redoing the route from last year with all new caches to try for, but this time giving us 4 full days to complete the trip instead of the 2 and a half from last year. The point is, I wanted to go somewhere!
The initial planning for this upcoming trip began way back in February. My brother (Team Duckman) and I were at a family function and had been talking back and forth about a trip up to Mackinac Island in Michigan that I had wanted to get the CIA group to do. There’s almost 70 caches on this island and would be perfect for a group outing. But as discussions continued, things started to divert. Suddenly we were talking about heading into Canada to be able to cache in another country. This then brought up ideas of taking a trip across the southern portion of Ontario, grabbing caches along the way, and then caching the Niagara Falls area and heading back home across northern Pennsylvania and Ohio. For awhile this actually looked like it would be our trip…that is until I started crunching the numbers and determined that not only would this trip come way under the 4-day requirement, but it was almost half the length of the previous trip as well. The final death nail in this route was the fact that rental vehicles (because who wants their own car to breakdown hundreds of miles from home) aren’t allowed to cross into Canada. So we put the kibosh on that plan, but it’s not totally dead…we plan on going into Canada soon as a family day trip, just to say we did.
So once we went back to the drawing board, we decided to call in some reinforcements on this to try to get a solid plan going. Team Adorkable and DynamicDs answered the call and, after some back and forth and brainstorming, we decided that a trip to New England would fit the bill in both longevity and epic-ness. With the large number of densely-packed states in the area, not to mention the sights, this will definitely rival our previous trip. Just look at the stops:
- Arlington National Cemetery
- Washington D.C.
- 9/11 Memorial in New York City
- Boston, MA
- Centralia, PA
These are the major stops we”ll be making. I say major because these are the stops where we will be spending at least an hour at. The route, however, will take us through these state:
- West Virginia
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- New Hampshire
Of that list, I only have finds in the first 2 states. That’s 13 new states I’m going to light up on our Geocaching map. With this trip, we will have cached in over half the country (29 states). So you can see why I’m so excited. Here, why don’t you just stare at the route in all it’s beauty and magnificence…I’ll wait.
While I won’t get into the deep specifics of what went into planning this trip (that will be a post later on the subject of planning an epic cache trip), I will say that it has been a rather exhausting task to get everything planned. When I assisted with the Mingo trip, the route(s) and caches had already been decided on and I merely made calculations of costs and time. This time around, it was my baby from the very beginning. I made a rough idea for our route, then started tweaking the major stops and looking for caches along the route to make sure we get credit for finds in the states we’ll travel through. Arlington National Cemetery was the first major stop I decided on and researched the caches as well as parking situation for the site. Initially the plan was to then walk across the bridge over the Potomac after we had finished at ANC, do a couple virtuals at the National Mall (Lincoln Memorial, Washington Memorial, etc) and then head back to the vehicle and continue onward, but there is such a large number of highly-favorited caches around D.C. that we really would be doing ourselves an injustice to not spend more time here. So we’re actually going to dedicate about 4-5 hours of some serious walking/subway-riding to snag some virtual finds at not only the aforementioned locations, but also near the White House, Capitol Building, Ford Theater/Petersen House, and up in Chinatown. Not bad for a whirlwind tour of our nation’s Capitol, huh?
Our next stop will take us into Philadelphia. Due to timing, we won’t be able to do any of the museums or historical sites, so what else is there to do in Philadelphia? How about eat a Philly Cheesesteak at the location of the original sandwich, Pat’s King of Steaks. There so happens to be a cache just outside of this location so we’ll be able to stuff our faces and then get a smiley to go with our smileys. I know it’s a weird choice to divert a trip just to grab a sandwich, but considering I’ve had faux-cheesesteaks all my life, I might as well get the real deal.
One of the goals of this trip for Team Adorkable is to see the Statue of Liberty. Initially we were going to take the Holland Tunnel into Manhattan and then find somewhere to park and hoof it to the 9/11 Memorial entrance, which meant that unfortunately we wouldn’t be able to get a good look at the SIL unless we found a spot on the New Jersey side. Luckily, Liberty State Park has excellent views of the statue and it just so happens to have a few caches there as well. But after talking with some non-caching friends who happen to live in the city, it was strongly advised to NOT park in the city if at all possible. Aside from the vastness of the city and confusion us non-Gothamites will surely endure on the city streets/subway, the price to park in the city on a weekend is absolutely ridiculous. I get mad when I have to pay $10 to park for several hours downtown when a Pacers/Colts game is happening. Imagine my shock when I found out that NON-EVENT parking miles away from our destination would cost $36 for 6 hours, and then we’d have to pay for mass transit to get us within walking distance of the memorial. And don’t even get me started on the cost of crossing into Manhattan, be it tunnel or bridge. So the plans to drive into the city were suddenly in jeopardy. Faced with uncertainty, I consulted with a co-worker who happens to be a native of Staten Island, who told me that the only way we should be getting into the city is by taking the Staten Island Ferry. Not only is it free, and the parking fee is reasonable at $6, but the ferry happens to take us right near the Statue of Liberty. So not only would we get a free ride into Manhattan, but we’d also get a full-on frontal view of the Statue of Liberty from the water. You can’t beat that.
Our next stop in Boston is bittersweet. Depending on how long we spend at the memorial and the travel time, we most likely won’t get into Boston until almost nightfall, and with this happening on a Sunday, the chance to do anything is pretty much nil. We’re going to spend the night here and then leave Monday morning, grabbing some area caches in the process. I would have loved to spend some time checking out the historical sites, but this trip is simply not geared for that sort of thing. So that will have to wait for perhaps a family trip out east to really take everything in.
As I said before, between Boston and our next stop, Centralia, we’ll roll through New Hampshire, Maine, New Hampshire again, Vermont, upstate New York, and back into Pennsylvania. We’re going to detour a little to visit the oldest Triangulation Station in the country, Buttermilk (this is a benchmarking thing), as well as make a pit stop in Scranton to see the famous “Welcome to Scranton” sign from the opening credits of The Office, which coincidentally is ending it’s 9-year run this very evening. The sign is no longer located along the road as it appears in the credits and is now located in the Steamtown Mall near downtown. So we’ll stop there, take some pics, maybe grab an Orange Julius or whatever they serve in malls these days, and head to our final major stop of the trip, the infamous Centralia, PA.
So there you have it. I tried to keep this as brief as I could, but the word count is still over 1900 so…oops! I think this time around I’m going to do something differently regarding this blog. Now that I have things sorted out, I’ve decided I’m going to do a journal during the trip. Each evening of the trip I am going to post that day’s experiences. With my Nexus 7 I can jot notes down of what happened and use the mobile app to piece it all together. This way I know everything I want to say will get said and I won’t fall into the trap of waiting too long to post so much and forget details. I have to try to post more frequently. Anyway, I hope you will follow along on our next adventure. The fun starts June 14th.