Category Archives: Geocaching

Thursday Doors: The Queen Mary

CoinFrontLast weekend my husband and I went to a Geocaching mega-event called Geocoinfest. If you don’t know what a Geocoin is, the header at the top of my blog is actually taken from one: the 1000 finds Geocoin. I bought it several years ago when I started this blog, in honor of my thousandth find (I am currently at 2881 finds, but who’s counting?)

The event was basically an opportunity for geocachers from all over the country (and world) to get together, swap stories and trackables, and to find more geocaches. It was held on the Queen Mary, docked in Long Beach.  The first Geocoinfest on a ship! And my first time on the Queen Mary.

02MainHall

The old Queen is looking a little faded these days. It is still a nice place to be, and definitely worth a visit there on the water in the lovely SoCal weather (and surprisingly, the air was much better down there than up near us because of the North Bay fires). But on the main deck and in the common rooms, you get more of a sense of past glory and times gone by, than current grandeur. The wood is polished and shiny, but the ceilings are low and the pipes are visible. And, I think I see a . . .  phone booth?

On the ship there were a couple of interesting models, one of the SS Normandie, one of her sister ships. Look at the tiny doors, along with tiny-everything-else!

And another model of the Queen Mary made entirely of Legos. More tiny Lego doors!

Out on the ship’s deck itself, there were more doors leading to mysterious places:

Although it looks like potentially a good place for them, there weren’t any geocaches hidden on the ship itself. But there were plenty around the dock and harbor area, and some special “lab caches” made just for the event. We found them all and got a souvenir.
Congratulations

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time) at Norm 2.0’s blog here.

20KarenwithQueenMary

 

 

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Layers of October

As we head into fall, days get shorter and the light changes. It’s also time for seasonal CITO (Cache-In-Trash-Out) events. We go for walks in the Baylands and instead of looking for geocaches, we look for trash. As I’ve written before about this park, it’s pretty clean. We never get enough trash to fill our bag, and end up taking the trash bag home to use it for household garbage so as not to waste it and defeat the purpose of the event. Continue reading Layers of October

Thursday Doors: Hutong

Beijing Hutong with scooter
Beijing Hutong with scooter rider

Before our trip to Asia, I read Paul French’s Midnight in Peking, about the unsolved murder of a young British woman in prewar Peking. Much of the shadier action in that book takes place in the city’s hutongs, a type of narrow street or alley commonly associated with northern Chinese cities, especially Beijing.

Our first afternoon in Beijing my husband got an alert about an “FTF” (first to find) opportunity. A new geocache had been published in the city, but not found yet. Geocaches are relatively rare in China in the first place, and this author makes the point that you are trying to find those few caches amidst a billion muggles.

Another problem with geocaching in China is the “great firewall.” Google maps, Apple maps, and the geocaching apps that are based on them, do not work there. If you try to use one of these internet maps, it has an offset. For example, my app, Cachly, showed the cache almost 0.3 miles from its true location.

The door is closed?
The door is closed?

Fortunately, when the subject is geocaching, my husband is prepared. Before we left he did some research, and found that OpenStreetMaps, with user-created data, would still work in China. See this discussion thread for more details about the problems with using online maps in China. No matter what map we were using, however, we were directed around the main train station, and that meant hutongs! We set off. This would be a feather in our cap: two Anglos from California get an FTF in Beijing!

The first doors as we approached the station did look a little sketchy. The air wasn’t too bad, we could see blue sky, but the weather was still very hot and dusty. Many people were riding scooters and they could be seen parked outside.

People were friendly and one tried to help but didn’t speak English. They seemed bemused more than anything else by foreigners wandering around outside the station looking at their phones. They were less amused when we tried to buy water with a 100-Yuan note. And I don’t think we wanted to see what this public bathroom looked like on the inside.

Public bathroom in Beijing hutong
Public bathroom in Beijing hutong

As we went on, we started to see more welcoming storefronts and doors.

Eventually, all our water already gone, we did get to the park where the cache was to be found. More doors next week!

This post is for Norm 2.0’s Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. I’ll be sharing doors from my recent trip to East Asia for the next several Thursdays. 

 

 

Mundane Monday: Platform

This week was the start of a busy end-of-school-year time. From my son’s birthday in late May onward, it usually doesn’t let up until we go on vacation. My son turned 14 this year, and I took him and some friends to see Guardians of the Galaxy II. I’d already seen it, so I went to find a geocache nearby behind the Googleplex.  Continue reading Mundane Monday: Platform

Mundane Monday: Broken Path

Driving around the North Bay near Suisun City, we came upon a geocache called (ironically, as it turned out) “Beautiful Downtown Denverton.” According to the geocache page description, “in 1878 the town [of Denverton] had a store and a blacksmith shop, a wheelwright, a meat market, a hotel, a school-house, and a Good Templars Hall.”  Continue reading Mundane Monday: Broken Path

Mundane Monday: CITO Events

This past weekend was Earth Day in the United States. There were marches in support of science in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, which I agreed with and supported, but didn’t end up going to. I am an introvert and don’t like crowds. Continue reading Mundane Monday: CITO Events