Saturday, June 12, 2010

A rose by any other name...

This past week, I went on a short road trip to Northern California.  I know short is a relative term, but it was short for me in time, as opposed to distance since I put slightly over 1000 miles on the van, plus added two new front tires during the trip.

I drove up to Stockton, mainly to deliver extra "stuff" to my daughter, including a couch that she'd gotten from her grandmother, but couldn't fit in her car.  There would be a side trip to Santa Cruz to pick up my son as well.  Since he wanted to visit with his sister for a little bit, I picked him up, then drove back over to Stockton.  This should have been a 4 hour round trip, but it ended up being over 8 hours because a problem developed on one of the front tires and I had to get that fixed before we could head back.  Things happen and there's not much I could do about that.

Each time I drive up there, I try to take different routes.  I look at the different virtual flags that can be captured, as well as any possible dashpoints, plus geocaches and then I plan my route accordingly.  Waymarks and benchmarks are side possibilities, but for those, I just let them happen as opposed to me actively search for them.

If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you know that my most active waymark category is water towers.  I love driving into small towns and seeing their town advertised for miles by the large water tower in the center of town.  We have few water towers in Southern California, as most municipalities build large storage tanks in the hills above town which provides the same purpose of creating water pressure for the town's water supply.

Towns in the Central Valley of California and elsewhere where no hills are present create their town's water pressure by building water towers.  Usually, these water towers promote the city, but some support advertisements for local businesses.  The main water tower in Merced, California promotes the newest university in the UC system, UC Merced.

As I drove through the Central Valley this week, I happened to drive through the town of Wasco, CA.  I've seen signs pointing to Wasco while driving both Hwy 99 and I-5, but have never gotten off, mainly because the town is out of the way.  I've actually wanted to either stop in the town, or at least, stop and take a picture of a sign with Wasco on it, mainly because a geocacher, whom I consider a good friend and have met, goes by the name WascoZooKeeper.

Had I known a little bit about the town, I might have been tempted to stop there sooner.  Wasco bills itself as the Rose Capital of the World.  Every year it has a rose festival the weekend after Labor Day weekend and the water tower in the middle of town is plastered with a large red rose.  After getting home, I discovered that 55% of all roses grown in the United States are grown in and around Wasco by nine major rose companies.  It was a pleasant experience to drive through the fields around town and see rows and rows of red roses, then rows of yellow roses.  I know I've never seen so many roses in one place before.

If not for the GPS games that I play, I probably would have never passed through this quaint little town.  I feel, I'm richer in spirit because of this hobby.  If you happen to be in the area on the weekend after Labor Day some year, I think you could do worse than to make a stop in Wasco and take in their Rose Festival.

Pictures taken at the Wasco Water Tower:

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chaosmanor said...

That tower was our submission for the old locationless cache, "Water Towers, Plain Jane or Picturesque" (GC5285). It's definitely picturesque! Glad you waymarked it; I've been wanting to, but didn't for several reasons.

Steve Natoli said...

I've driven by Wasco hundreds of times without ever stopping either. Now with the rose information I'll be sure to drop in one of these times. Thanks for the travel tip!

Sarah said...

This is a perfect example of how geocaching (and in your case the other GPS-related games also) enriches our lives. We too have been known to take a detour or two or three from our route to find a cache that sounds interesting, and it has never been regretted - so many wonderful places we have discovered that we never would have known were there.

Coxydude said...

Hi the virtual flags link doesn't work. is it a game? and do they have any in the UK?

Webfoot said...

Coxydude - The Vexilla game appears to be down for some reason. It was up Saturday morning. I actually went out and found a couple of flags Saturday, but when I came home, the site was experiencing a 500 internal error.

It should be back up shortly. The virtual flag game is worldwide. Each flag shows up for a specific period of time, then vanishes, to be replaced randomly by another one. It continues ad nauseaum.

There are several other GPS games you can find by heading to this site, including the virtual flag game known as Geovexilla.