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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Oxford, NC - Rail Road Track Series Coming Your Way

It all started out so innocent.

Found some interesting rail road signals out in the middle of no where near Oxford, NC. Liked it so I much I put a pretty hard to find cache right on the tracks. Then I did a little more research and found an entire railway system that was sitting there doing nothing. People drive by it or over it everyday and do not realize it was there. Well we gotta do something about this.

So I created a series called "Playing on the Train Tracks", which currently has a total of six caches but I have a feeling I may have a boat load more soon.

Some have as pictured here, no tracks on the streets but they are nearby. Others have tracks that are in secluded places where there are no other signs of the rail road anywhere and some of the tracks are completely gone but the maps still show them as being there. Usually there is just pieces of existence like old electrical boxes or part of a signal station.

Still going through the series shows you things of a time gone by. If anything else you can enjoy some nice scenery in North Carolina and a fun road trip. I plan on doing this series from Henderson all the way south of Raleigh. Will take a while but I will get there.

In any case I hope you enjoy this series as much as I enjoy finding more spots to put caches.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

First To Find!

First To Find! Oxford, NC

I hit the wrong browser selection which just happened to bring up the Oxford, NC area in google maps. Normally I see nothing but a bunch of smiley faces looking back at me except this time one wasn't smiling - it was green! A new one I think to myself, a real new one just listed! WooHoo - I burst out the door and head up the road two miles... Where, where, where? Ahhh, there it is..

Another First to Find to add to my collection. Just love them clean sheets. Signed the log and put cache back in it's happy host.

Post From HeadHardhat's Phone

Cache Found! Henderson, NC

I am not even going to go into this interesting cache. 'Cept note the use of tweezers. Many times you are going to run into nano sized caches which usually need tweezers to get the log out. A very good item to have in your backpack.

BTW all the hoopla over this particular cache site can be read about by looking up Reminiscing ( GC1BHRB ). All I can say is, memories......

Monday, April 28, 2008

So What's In Your Backpack?

A couple of days ago and right smack in the middle of a fast food burger, fries and diet libation a young lad noticed the back of my caching sack. "Hey Mister", he said in between bites of a kid meal. "What is that hanging out of your pack"?

"That's a grabber", says I. " I use it for picking up stuff".

"What kind of stuff?", questions the little tike.

"Hidden treasure", says I. His eyes grow wide and in a high pitched voice he squeaks, "Really?"

"Yup, wanna see some", says I.

"Oh yeah", he says.

Then I pulled out some geocoins and put one in his hand. His eyes grew even bigger as he looked at one of my FTF coins. The series of ooohs and ahhhhs went on for several minutes as I pulled out my swag bag and let him choose a goodie or two.

The father noticed the geocache patch on the back and had heard of geocaching before but never tried it himself. Spent about another 10 minutes or so going over the places I've been and the type of caches I have found. Then the discussion turned again to my backpack and the different things that I have needed to have out of necessity.

So far I have accumulated some absolute have too haves.

Grabber - an absolute must for getting at things out of reach or in places I don't want to reach in.

Magnetic reach pole for getting 35 mm out of signs or high up out of reach.
Needle nose fish lure extractor - also good for getting 35mm out of signs when stuck or stubborn.

Tweezers - micro logs and ticks...
Bug / Tick spray
(not used yet)
Baseball Hat and Gloves
6 different sizes of plastic bags
Geocoin bag
Travel Bug bag
Swag bag
(trading stuff)
Bigger trading stuff (first aid kits, maglights, bungee cords, etc.)
GPS Garmin Etrex
Handy Dandy Logbook and pens

Palm TX

Garbage Bags

Not quite up to dynamite and pick axe yet but getting there. The night vision goggles have been ordered.

This of course does not include the storage container of assorted caches from bison tubes to large ammo boxes, plus a bunch of lock boxes and those Rubbermaid soup holders. Hey ya never know when you have to put a cache somewhere. Wouldn't be the first time I have repaired someone else's cache, just love telling someone that, my motto always has been "be prepared and stuff".

Anyway as I was going through the discussion of my backpack contents and it occurred to me that if I have this much just after a couple of months I wonder what I will have in another year?

So as the young tike asked me, I now ask you..... What's in your backpack?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Bison Troubles

Getting a log out of a bison can be a tricky thing indeed.

I couldn't help it, driving down the road I noticed a farm that happened to have a few of these guys wondering around. Then the first thing that popped in my twisted little mind was, "Boy getting the log out of THAT bison would be a real bugger...". Ba- dump, dump, tsch!

But seriously folks, I'm here all week. Try the veal.

This is also why I'm keeping my day job as a QA Engineer but that's another story.

Anyways, started a new cache called "Bison, Bison Everywhere". In which you do not look for an ammo box on this one. Care to guess what you do look for? Bet you guess on the first try.. Bet you do.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cache Found! Falls Lake, NC.

Cache Found! Falls Lake, NC.

HeadHardHat Has No Excuse

Well it's finally happened, I have finally gotten a Round Tuit.. Yes, yes, I know it's hard to believe. Me being the ever loving Mr. Procrastinator has now been able to get a "Round Tuit", sigh.

Actually as geocoins go this one is sweet. It is black enamel with glow in the dark green enamel mixed in. The front of the coin has the word "Tuit" with promises of logging caches, going caching, going back to missed sites, uploading pictures, etc. and on the back is the secret decoder for deciphering hints found on geocache.com.

This is one of about 9 different types of geocoins I had recently purchased. Several of those types including a Round Tuit will be going out into the system in the next week or so. The Round Tuit actually went into a Cache in Garner, NC this morning. Keep an eye out, you just might find it.

So I now officially have a GeoCoin collection started and I couldn't be happier. The weight of the coins just feels great and the whole pirates treasure thing is cool in itself. Oh and by the way, I have several FTF coins that have not been activated yet. Some rather cool series troves are in the works and these coins will be in them. Keep posted for more details...


HeadHardHat finally gets a Round Tuit.

HeadHardHat finally gets a Round Tuit.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Post From HeadHardhat's Phone.

Cache Found! In Cary, NC.

Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold.... or not.

Greetings GeoCache Fans,

You may or may not have read one of my past posts called EU457. This little gem was about a particularly troublesome cache hidden by Oxford, NC's own Ringer2410. Long story short, I had to eat some crow and get a hint to find the darn thing.
Yesterday I get an email from Ringer asking if the coords were correct for that cache and if so could I give him a hint. Well look who's glove is on the other foot now? Recently, I put out a new cache called, "Playing on the Railroad Tracks" and ole Mr. Ringer is having some difficulty finding my homemade cache. Well, nanners....
Err or not, I wish I could be the vindictive type but the truth in the matter is Ringer is a really nice guy and since we seem to be the only ones putting new caches in the Oxford area I better be nice, cuz he's a clever dude and I will most likely be the next one to need the hint...
Sooooo, needless to say, when I was going back to the cache site this morning to revalidate the coords guess who I see scouring the tracks? Yup, Ringer. I stayed a goodly distance away and watched the man work. He only took a couple of minutes and it appeared he had found my cache. Shortly after putting everything back in place he started to drive away. That was when he noticed where I was parked and came over to say hi. After a brief talk and just before we parted he handed me a GeoCoin and said for me to put it in a good spot. I didn't think too much about it until did a little research about out it. Then I realized it was a coin Ringer had just taken from a 5 /5 cache site. The hardest you can find and/or get to. That was really cool in my eyes so I am going to take it down to a particular cache of mine in Garner where people will appreciate the find.
Ringer2410 is a class act and I look forward to caching with him at some up coming event.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Spending Time In Kittrell Confederate Cemetery, North Carolina

I have cleaned out 98% of all the caches in the Oxford/Henderson, NC areas. That is a shame because it is such a great stress relief to go out on my lunch hour and do some caching. Not sure why I went today, I had already picked up four caches this morning. For whatever reason I went out even with the threat of rain to get one of the last one available. It was in a Confederate Cemetery of all places, just outside of South Henderson, NC. Found the cache almost immediately but spent another 20 minutes or so just looking around. You could almost feel the history in the air. While walking around there were dozens of stones for Confederate Soldiers and also nearby farm folk.

I have always loved history and even though my recollections have faded over the years I have a soft spot for the Civil War. To be in an actual Confederate Cemetery for the first time gave me a different perspective of my understanding of history. This was hitting too close to home since my wife's son Josh came home from Iraq a couple of years ago. It dawned on me that even though he was hurt, he came home. These gents did not make it out of the hospital alive. Doesn't matter what the date is on the stone, it is someone's son or daughter.

Found this rather odd looking tree and thought it worth showing...

Quick Jaunt To Henderson, NC. Missed FTF By That Much.

Here again was another new cache that I was hoping to sneak in a fast FTF (First to Find). Long story short I missed it by "that much"! One of the well knowns beat me to it by going out last night (darn night vision goggles). Ahh well, that's how it goes sometimes. Just shows you though how many want to jump on FTFs.

This area is quite nice and I actually want to come back when I have more time. It was an old mill that no longer is in production. The cache was found fairly quickly and the sounds of the running water and the scenery around the area is quite loverly.

Three Caches Found and all FTFs!

I really wanted to get to this brand spanking new cache area first thing in the morning. One because it was newly listed and two because it had three caches about .10th of a mile apart and there is nothing like quick grab and go's.

Besides, it was on my way to work (okay, about 5 miles out of my way, but hey).

So I shot out of the house and reached the site about 6:10am. Perfect.. Nobody around and I appeared to have the whole road to myself. Fantastic, I decided to work on the three caches from the farthest one out and work my way in, ohhhh, this was going to be fun.

Hit the first two with no problem and just started looking for the third when a white pickup pulled up. There was a very nice gentleman inside and as he walked up to me he had a big smile on his face. After reading the back of my car which promptly states "Hard Hat Brotherhood: Fun, Farting and Friendship - Join Us!", I think he knew who I was.

"I recognize you", he said, "You must be HeadHardHat".

"That would be me", I replied and put out my hand in friendship. The gentleman's name is Zuni (1208zuni) a regular in this area and quite the geocacher with almost 3000 finds.

We spent a good 10 or 15 minutes shooting the breeze and scouring the area for the final cache. Zuni was able to recover it first and said we should co-FTF this one. Very cool. Had a real pleasant conversation that I would have loved to continue but had to cut it a bit short due to that whole "work" thing. Before we left I was invited to an upcoming event and look forward to many more talks with Zuni and the rest of the Geocaching community. What a great hobby to be a part of and some really great people to get together with.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Cache Found! I Just Love FTFs...

What can I say, this FTF in Henderson, North Carolina was meant for me. My email sent an announcement that a new cache was close. It was sprinkling out but hey this is an FTF we are talking about. Took an early lunch from work and busted a move getting to the cache site.

Just as I drove up to the cache area the clouds parted, the birds twittered and I could have swore I heard angels singing... Okay, NOT, what really happened was the rain did stop, a bird used my windshield for target practice and the only thing I heard was my stomach growling but what kind of story would that be?

The area needs some serious CITO (Cache In Trash Out). I filled out a whole garbage bag in about a minute and you can hardly tell I was there. Found the cache rather quickly once I maneuvered around some brambles (briers). Signed the log and went out for lunch before returning to work.. Nice lunch hour...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Cache Fest...

Had a great time caching today with several hours worth under my belt. Here is the overall list and it would appear that I walked over 8 miles. No wonder me dogs are barking.
Found - Rock Pile, North Carolina

This was a beautiful walk. The cache itself was quickly found but again with all the green of North Carolina, why rush?

Found - 'Cause You Love Me For It, North Carolina

Ever have one of those caches where you know where the cache is, you can hear it breathing, there is even a clue telling you it's there.... yet you can't find the dang thing.. Looked for 10 minutes on this one until finally success. Phew!

By the way saw this at the cache site... What is it? Benchmark maybe?

Found - Watta View, North Carolina

This was fun. My parking coords did not put me near the cache and I did not take the time to Google Earth the area.. Big mistake. Tried to find an entry point to what is actually a well used park. Ended up going up a road that I thought was part of the park. Instead it turned out being an area next to the park but the owner said if I parked down the entrance way I could enter the park there. Cool! Found the cache after some frustrating tries and then enjoyed walking several miles from beginning to end. Not because I had to mind you but because I wanted to. The view was fantastic and I wanted to see more.

Found - Parking Aside, North Carolina

A rather quick cache that include a bit of a hike to actually get to the site. This was the first of three separate places today where I spotted deer walking around.

Found - Crowder Cache, North Carolina
Had to laugh at this particular cache. Apparently the other caches in this area have been muggled. The owner of this cache took extra steps to make sure it didn't happen again.

Found - The Fairview Roundabout, North Carolina

When I stopped near this area I confused what I thought was a roundabout and the actual roundabout itself. Turns out this roundabout is in a church parking lot. Had an added challenge of a squad car parked about 50 yards away with two fine officers doing paper work. So I do what I always do and put on my backpack and head off into the woods. I guess I didn't look suspicious and they never stopped me. With my caching done I waved as I drove off. Received another woodlen scare when I found several deer in this area too. That do make the heart start a pump'n.

Found - Mack's Micro IV, North Carolina

I really wanted to do this particular cache for several months now. Though the thought of a briar patch and some serious bushwacking did not appeal to me. Determined even with the possibility of some good scrapes I grabbing my favorite bushwacking stick and swiped through.
Note, I don't have a problem showing the cache here because the owner tells you straight out what you are looking for. Finding it is entirely another matter. After several minutes of searching I found my prize and not a scratch on me.

DNF :( - Keys to the Cache-l Part 2, North Carolina

This one makes me want to wallow in my own beer. Spent over 90 minutes looking for an ammo box high in the hills of South West Raleigh. The walk included some very deep woods trails to the point where I was thinking to myself - dang this is some deep stuff. Cell phone had five bars so on I went. Then there was a rather steep climb to the upper levels. This 300 pound cacher made it up with a little wheezing but felt great doing it. Then after scouring the country side came up with nada, zip, nothing, etc. Long story short, a whole lot of exercise but that is about it.
Will have to take another whack at this when I get a chance. Saw all sorts of swamp areas, ponds, streams and other wildlife like more deer.
All in all a great day of fun and lots of walking. Going to lose this weight one way or another. Might as well enjoy how I do it!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Headhardhat's Big #100th Cache!

Well the benchmark is finally here. I am now in triple digits - WooHoo!

That may not be such a big deal to some but hey I just started this hobby.. I'm absolutely tickled pink and can't wait to make it to four digits. So let us take things one interesting cache at a time.. Next up.. 101 and counting...

Two New HeadHardHat Caches in Oxford, NC

Come and get it! Now have two new caches in the Oxford, NC area.. Enjoy! FTF's abound...

HeadHardHat's GeoCoin Hotel - Oxford, NC


Playing On The Train Tracks


Friday, April 18, 2008

Three New Caches in Two States Open For Business

Woo Hoo! HeadHardHat now has caches in three states. Just opened for business today..
Check it out:

Take A Load Off - Virginia
HeadHardHat's GeoCoin Hotel - Ohio
Do You Want A Cache With That? - Virginia

Several More Coming Soon to Oxford, NC.. Should be ready by noon Monday.

Post From HeadHardhat's Phone

Cache Found! GARNER, NC

Had a grand time trying to find the best access point to this cache.. Did spend some good quiet time on the trails. What a cool place..

As I was wrapping up the cache I heard someone walking up the trail. Knew instantly it was a cacher. The tell tale signs were there. Eyes focused on a Garmin, head down and walking on 25% of the actual trail (just kidding).

Bumped into WillGoodHunting who just became a member. We talked for quite a while and discussed what travel bugs and geocoins were. Gave some basic tips and helpful hints to help him survive. What a great guy, hope to meet up at an event sometime.

North Carolina to Michigan Road Trip Summary

Wow! What a road trip and I know I had fun cuz I feel like a truck ran over me...

Here is a quick summary of what I encountered in three days:

Visited States: North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan.

Number of miles: 1700 +

Caches Visited: 34

Caches Found: 29

New Caches I placed: 1 in Ohio and 2 in Virginia

New Travel Bugs Placed: 1 in Ohio and 1 in West Virginia

Photos of my sidekick TB Mantis taken: Lost count and it now has a rather big head about the whole thing.. See it's TB page here:

Cache Environments:

Hiked at least 1/2 a mile into three different wooded areas (Virginia and West Virginia). No I did not see any bears, darn.

Hiked 1 1/2 miles into a swamp land for two caches. Granted the trails were way above par and wood chipped through 90% of them. The photos are breathtaking. (Ohio)

Must have hit every rest stop and service plaza through route.

Did a bunch of scouring in the St. Clair Shores area of Michigan and found the urban way of caching quite different to what I am used to. Introduced Geocaching to Brother Scott who now is completely hooked. He suffers from the same "shiny toys" syndrome that I do. I expect that a Garmin will be in his stocking any day now (why wait for Christmas?).

All in all a really great time though when you plan a trip like this you have to be very careful of how much caching you are going to do. I did not realize and the next thing I knew the 12 hour normal trip turned into an 18 hour very long trip (each way). So a note to the wise is to plan some overnight stops instead of plowing straight through.

Oh and if you want to see every blow by blow of my road trip. Please check out below from April 15th thru the 17th. All of those entries were sent in via my cell phone. Isn't modern technology great (when it works). Enjoy!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mantis Sighting! Home in North Carolina.

Mantis Sighting! Home in North Carolina.

Cache Found! WV

Cache Found! WV

Mantis Sighting! Charleston, WV.

Mantis Sighting! Charleston, WV.bye State Capital!

Have a wonderful trek Farmers Daughter

Have a wonderful trek Farmers Daughter TB! A cancer awareness tribute to my first wife. Bound to Germany and back.

Swamp Trek!

Swamp Trek! Ohio - WV border. Cache Found!

Finally, First Cache Found Today. Ohio.

Finally, First Cache Found Today. Ohio.

Mantis Sighting!

Mantis Sighting! Pro Ball Hall of Fame. Akron, Ohio.

Hid my first Ohio cache.

Hid my first Ohio cache. Shhh... Don't tell anyone.

Mantis Sighting! Lake Huron, Michigan.

Mantis Sighting! Lake Huron, Michigan.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Post From HeadHardhat's Phone

Cache Found! Ohio, first today!

Yes I'm in a pine tree in WV

Yes I'm in a pine tree in WV

Cache Found! 3 in WV!

Cache Found! 3 in WV!

Post From HeadHardhat's Phone

Cache Found! Bluestone Lake, VA

Mantis Sighting!

Mantis Sighting! On HHH's backpack in Virginia.

Cache Found! Virginia.

Cache Found! Virginia.

Post From HeadHardhat's Phone

Cool birdhouse cache near Mt. Pilot.

Cache Found! Winston-Salem, NC.

Cache Found! Winston-Salem, NC.

Cache Found!

Cache Found! Greensboro, NC. That's 2 at this rest area.