Those Are Rookie Numbers!

To say that there was caching this weekend is a bit of an understatement. Saturday I went south with the girls and we did a little caching, picking up a few and a challenge I once DNFed.

This ultimately involved a return to San Marcos (this time with windows installed) and San Antonio (not pictured). But walking and driving and finding was done. Sunday was the bigger deal, however. Several pieces of geoart appeared northeast of here at the end of last week, resulting in a rush of cachers vying for those sweet FTFs. Many groups from all around the state converged and some hardcore caching got done Friday and Saturday. Alas, I could not take part in any of that because I was working or taking the girls on a drive south. However, I was invited to join a group on Sunday. They had been hitting FTFs hard (they walked away with around 300 of them) and were going to take Sunday to go around to caches that they had skipped because they had already been found. How could I say no? I was especially keen to because, well, I had never been part of something like this thus far. Understand: my best caching day ever up to this point was 29 in one day and that was at GeoWoodstock XVII. So spending the day rolling seemed like it would be a rite of passage.

We chose the ad hoc team name FILG, initialization of Found It, Let’s Go (though, as time wore on, “Found” was often replaced with another, less family friendly word). It began with poles (and almost a Slovak, as well) and continued on down road after road after road. We found tubes with magnets and others in cracks. We found ones in trees and others on telephone poles. At least one (not currently pictured here) earned one of my stingily hoarded favorite points. The group had found it the day before so they brought me to it and wow. They were literally guiding with gentle jesting and I couldn’t find it. They even told me how many times I had placed my hand on it and I still couldn’t find it. Eventually I found it because the last person to find it didn’t screw the lid of the container all the way on, making it loose enough for me to feel. Had it been screwed on tight, I never would have found it until it was literally pointed out to me. And between the fake rocks and the ladder climbs, we joked and laughed all the way around.

Eventually I hit a milestone. I found and claimed my 100th cache of the day. By this point I had stopped logging them because it took too much time. The mapper was keeping track of them all and they could all be logged from the privacy and comfort of home. Of course, we were not without…issues. At one point we logged a cache at the edge of someone’s property. As we were driving away, the owner, riding on his tractor, saw us and lifted his hand in the somewhat universal hand gesture meaning “Why?” Since we had continued on down the road, we didn’t particularly respond. We continued on to the next cache down the road. While grabbing the next cache, we noticed that there was a tractor slowly following us. We found it silly, but continued on down the road to the next cache. I jumped out for this one, found and claimed it and the slowly unstoppable juggernaut bore down upon us. Now here’s the thing… In a certain Charlie Chaplain/Buster Keaton/Harold Lloyd kind of way, it would have been hilarious to speed down the road every 528-ish feet, grab and sign a cache, and then continue on down the road with the tractor unable to catch us. But that said, I sometimes have fat fingers and lack the efficiency that others might have. I took too long, and while we may have been able to beat a hasty retreat, he showed no signs of stopping. So I decided it was better to talk to him and get it over with.

I’m not confrontational by nature, but when I do have to go into one, my years as a bouncer start to kick in. Control the situation as best as you can, especially when the other party may have an advantage (a multi-ton vehicle [I didn’t plan to get run over by a tractor, but weirder things have happened], a possible firearm [this is Texas after all], legal superiority [this is a county where law enforcement is…problematic at the best of times, and their reactions when race is involved is not “{their} best of times]”). So I asked him if I could help him. He wanted to know what I was doing on his property. I pointed out that the telephone poles are part of the easement along side of the road, and are not his property. He didn’t like that answer and asked me “who [I was] with”. I didn’t officially represent anyone and to make something up could have been a crime, and I most certainly was not going to tell him about my friends. And (I’m not going to lie here) my ego didn’t want to give up the high ground I was trying to hold/take in this conversation. Therefore I responded “None of your business!” He reached into his pocket…and pulled out a phone. “I’ll find out who you are,” he replied as he started taking my picture. So I smiled and waved back.

What the heck was he going to do? Turn us in to the Sheriff’s Department, Agricultural Unit? If he had access to the kind of technology that would allow facial recognition that could figure out who I am from a photo, he shouldn’t be growing corn, he should be working for the NSA or FaceBook (though, on second thought, perhaps it is better to keep to your corn and not give those folks the keys to the facial recognition kingdom). He took his photos and I walked back to the car. Jokes flew at his expense, but let’s be honest here: while he probably had no cause to follow us (no matter how comical and ponderous the means of conveyance), I might share some of the blame here. He may or may not have had reasonable suspicions about seeing people at the edge of his land. I may or may not be correct about the borders of his land versus easements because I am neither a lawyer nor particularly versed in real estate law. Ultimately, he saw something he thought was suspicious and decided to investigate, something I’ve done at home more than a few times myself. So no ill will (and no legal admission of guilt, either). At least from me anyway. Besides, we had something more important to do: go on down the road…

In the end, we walked away with about 150 caches. For me, this is more than I could have hoped. I was only wanting to hit 30 and that was blown out of the water. This total is literally adding 10% to my lifetime number of finds on one single day. And there’s already talk of going to Vegas to do the E.T. Highway. Am I ready for that? I’m not sure. But after today I’m more willing to give it a serious consideration.

And, of course, credit where credit is due: thanks to Paintballvet18, KidWrangler, LadyBlackCat, and Carrot Killer for helping me do all this. I couldn’t have done it without you, primarily because I don’t have a pole!

10 thoughts on “Those Are Rookie Numbers!

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