Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Answer My Friend.....

This past weekend, I did a quick turnaround trip up to Stockton to pick up my daughter from college. I'm just recovering from the trip, but then again, most of us who are slightly older know what a 1000 mile round trip can do to the body, especially if it's done in only two days. I definitely know that I'm not as young as I used to be and can't just hop in the car and drive 12 hours or so without feeling the side effects.

Driving up, I decided to take the back roads, although they weren't necessarily the most scenic. There were several virtual flags just off the Interstate that it appeared that I could get close enough to, so I routed to those and also did some caching. Consequently the trip up took about four hours longer than usual, but it was an enjoyable extra time. Driving, then getting out and caching for a little bit tends to help keep me refreshed for the drive to come.

The side trips took me through the oil fields in the southern central valley around the town of Taft. Nothing really spectacular about this area, although I did get a little bit of a jolt at one cache. It's definitely heating up in the central valley and summer is upon us. The drive home, I noticed a time and temperature sign in Bakersfield that read 106°. Granted those you always take with a grain of salt, but even at 10 degrees off, that's plenty hot for May.

The cache that I found near Taft hadn't been found in over a month. Apparently, the seal on this particular ammo can was a really good seal. With the heat of the sun beating down on it, the insides were very warm and I have to theorize that the air pressure inside it was slightly higher than the outside. When I popped the handle on the ammo can, the cache hissed at me giving me a little bit of a start. This was one of those moments that I was glad that I had been caching by myself, because I know I jumped, which would have probably caused some laughter from any caching buddies that would have been along for the hunt.

Later on in the day, after getting back over to the Interstate, I took my second side trip, this time into the San Jose area, which is near the southern part of San Francisco Bay. Once again, I was looking for a couple of virtual flags and a couple of caches. The one cache that stood out in this area was a kinetic sculpture. While waiting at the light to turn into a business complex, I noticed the sculpture from a couple hundred feet away.

A quick glance gave me one of those, Oh, OK. That's kind of interesting. When I looked again, I noticed the sculpture had changed. Now this was interesting. Once I got up close to it and had parked the car, I realized the sculpture was two large panels that swiveled at their midpoints. They would wave back and forth with the wind, not a lot, but enough to get a different look every time you looked at sculpture. I took a couple of pictures, one while flat on my back so I could get it and the buildings behind it in the same shot. The metal had an interesting texture to it as well.

There wasn't any explanation, except who created it and what the name of it was, but I would have liked to know how much the panels actually fluctuated in the breeze. There was a gentle breeze blowing that day, but I wonder what the panels would do in a brisker breeze. We get gale force winds down in Southern California from time to time and I would imagine that can happen in the Bay Area as well. I guess, I'll just have to come back up here some time when the winds are really blowing to find out.

Pictures were taken at or near the following geocaches:
California's Other Gold - by feedle
Silver Gyrations - by N2Books2

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