Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Melancholy Road Trip

This past Sunday through Tuesday I was on a road trip. Knowing me, road trips cannot be a sad time, yet this one was a little bit, since I was, once again, taking my daughter back up to college for another year of education. The trip up was rather uneventful. Musicmaker drove half the way and I was amazed at how refreshed I was after 6 hours of driving. Usually, I'm beat, but the extra driver made all the difference in the world. I can remember driving 12 straight hours to get to my college and being as fresh as a daisy after the trip. I guess that's one of the prices we pay for getting older.

We found four caches on Sunday, plus a virtual United States flag just west of Visalia. The PQ I'd run for this trip was heavy into larger sized caches because I had a dozen travel bugs that I wanted to distribute. Micros don't work well when you're dealing with travel bugs although I did find a micro on Monday that was large enough to hold a small travel bug.

One cache was a virtual near the old city courthouse in Merced, CA but in all of the other caches we found, we dropped travel bugs. My daughter even found one of the caches. Now she would be the first to admit that she's not much of a cacher. She says she likes the idea, but doesn't have enough time to go out and look for them. But she was very excited when she spotted Preferred Cache and every time we mentioned to others on this trip we went caching, she made sure it was known that SHE found that cache.

Monday morning was devoted to unpacking the van. Why is it when ever you're moving someone, that person always has the room that is farthest from the staircase and is on the third floor of the building? 11 trips later, we had the van unpacked. My work was done. So I just sat in her room and logged my caches from Sunday while she unpacked all of her boxes and made her room a home. After lunch, I went caching while she decided that she needed to hang out with some friends.

The caching on Monday was very good. I found several large ammo cans in which I deposited more travel bugs and I also nabbed two more virtual flags, getting Argentina in the back yard of a farm near Wilton, CA and the red and white banner of Canada which was virtually placed on the top of a red and white storage shed in the garden center of a nearby Lowe's hardware store in east Stockton. The virtual cache near the Wilton post office was a very moving experience for me, being a memorial of rose bushes set up by people living in the area. The entire garden was full and could take no more bushes. I sought out a particular rose bush that had been planted in memory of the Unknown Soldier and took a picture of it for posting in my log.

Tuesday, it was time to start my travels home. I woke up, showered, went to breakfast, then dropped by her room again, said good bye to her and went back to my hotel, packed and drove home. Although we view this house as home, it dawned on me yesterday that Pacific is her home. She was in her element there and it was really fun to see the change from last year where she really clung to us and hung back, not wanting to get too far away from either of us during parent/student orientation. This year, it was, "See ya, Dad." Not as blunt as that, but it was really good to see her reuniting with all of her friends again, screaming and yelling when they spotted each other and hugging each other. I could have dropped her off on Monday and probably have gone home then, but it would have exhausted me. Not that she didn't enjoy my company and I hers, but it's different this year. A good different, but still different.

So the trip home was sad, but I enjoyed the solitude. The caching was enjoyable Tuesday as well. I chose a different route going home because there were a couple of dash points that I wanted to get, so I took Hwy 99 for the first leg, but diverted to Hwy 41 south of Fresno, connecting eventually back up with Interstate 5 at Kettleman City. I got the two dashpoints plus some more caches along this route. It was a good day to be alone with my thoughts as I pondered what it will be like next year, when I help two kids off to college. I listened to a CD that she burned of oldies and some of her music on the ride. When I hear any of those songs on the radio in the future, I will remember this trip.

Pictures were taken at or near the following geocaches:
Fig Tree View - by Oldhippy & Granny
A Walk to Remember - by George and Mary
Wilton Memorial Rose Garden - by DiaU
Red & Green's Travel Bug Hotel - by Delawares Blue Hen Chicken
The Grangeville Zoo - by Great Scott!

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