Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Some like it hot

I wasn't sure how I was going to title this particular entry. I thought about calling it, "I touched the Thermometer" but wasn't sure how that would go over, so I decided to just call it the name of the cache this is about, Some like it Hot. My friend 3blackcats and I decided we'd make a caching run out into the desert yesterday. She has some caches north of Baker, California and I was willing to go along for the ride.

About two years ago, I decided to run a Pocket Query (PQ) looking for all the virtuals in my local area. I didn't know where they all were and just wanted a general idea on the whereabouts of them. As I searched the map, I came across a virtual in Baker. Baker is located along Interstate 15 about two hours south of Las Vegas, Nevada. It also bills itself as the gateway to Death Valley, because the main road that runs along the edge of the park and eventually into the park starts in Baker.

Baker is also home the World's Tallest Thermometer. It's 134 feet high, which is also the highest temperature ever recorded at nearby Death Valley. It stands as a beacon day or night. It's been standing in Baker since 1991, so there's at least six different occasions that I've driven by it and noticed the temperature on the thermometer. Since all of the times I've driven by, it was during the summer, it was probably registering in triple digit mode. But the catch is, outside of yesterday, I'd never stopped and investigated it further, mainly because there wasn't any need to stop. I remember one springtime taking my two older children on a camping trip to Death Valley and we ended up stopping in Baker to eat lunch but didn't go over and check out the thermometer.

Once again, geocaching has gotten me out of my cocoon of a car to investigate and explore something a little bit more in detail. Not that this is anything spectacular; it's just a tall tower that also happens to display the temperature at the moment. But it's the kind of kitsch like this that has always made road trips by Americans memorable. Motels shaped like Indian Tee Pees, Bedrock City, where the entire place is devoted to the Flintstones, or the Trees of Mystery in northern California are all what we would probably call tourist traps. They are places that wouldn't hesitate back in earlier days to strap a bumper sticker on to the front bumper of your car so you could advertise for them.

Well, yesterday, I fell for the tourist trap. I got out of my car and walked up and touched the thermometer. And it was all because I wanted another smiley on my geocaching profile. It was fun. It was corny and if offered the opportunity to do it again, I would. The next time you're on your way to or from Las Vegas on Interstate 15, take five minutes to get a picture of yourself touching the thermometer. It's one of those experiences that you won't soon forget. Oh yeah. It is nearing the end of March, but we were there fairly early in the morning and the thermometer registered a cool 47° at 8:25 in the AM. I would be willing to bet that the temperature doesn't get down much below 70° on a hot summer day in the middle of the night.

Pictures were taken at Some like it Hot - by AquaDyne

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1 comment:

Just John said...

Neat spot. I haven't driven that route in a long time. We used to take a different route to Vegas when I was living in southern California last (via Amboy).

That would probably be a very quick stop in the summer!