Friday, November 25, 2016

Hodgepodge 27/365 - Geocaching

I wrote several times in the earlier incarnation of this blog about geocaching, one of my favorite hobbies. It can take you to interesting, sometimes beautiful places; you can learn about local history, meet great people, discover new delights even in your very own community. Plus there's just the fun of the hunt, and of the creativity that goes into containers and hiding places and cache descriptions and log posts.

We recently ran across a "challenge" cache in San Jose that involves finding the twenty most "favorited" caches within a 20-mile radius of a spot—whatever spot you choose. I researched this the other day and learned that I need four caches to satisfy the requirements, my center point of course being our house. Yesterday we took care of one of those at Bixby Bridge, while out . . . um, geocaching. (Yeah, maybe it's my favorite hobby.)

Today, David needed to jump his Miata (another story), and so we decided to take the car for a nice long battery-reviving drive up to Castroville, famous for its artichokes, to find a "virtual cache" that we need for the challenge (it had 99 faves). I'm not crazy about virtuals: they typically involve going somewhere and finding specified information, then emailing the cache owner to get credit for having found the information. There's no container to search out, no log to sign. But oh well. We needed this one.

And it turned into a delightful late afternoon excursion. Here's what I wrote in the cache log: "Every time I drive past this 'giant' artichoke I have to snicker. Granted, relative to an actual artichoke, it's pretty darn giant. But I grew up in LA where there was this giant donut on the 405, and I guess I compare everything 'giant' now to that giant donut. This artichoke: not so giant, relative to that. Though now that I think about it, I guess this isn't really billed as giant. Just the world's largest. Which, how can one quibble with that?" 

Be that as it may, we learned from the young man and woman attending the veggie market/ deli counter that (and this was the information we needed to get from them to earn credit) the World's Largest Artichoke was built in 1972, is 20 feet high by 15 feet wide, and is made of cement, with rebar serving as the thorn tips. 

(Though it might just be the fact that the donut was elevated over all Los Angeles that made it seem so large. Now that I look at them both here, I'm questioning my impressions. . . . Quick research: no, I was right. The donut is 32 1/5 feet in diameter. It retains the Giant crown.)

As if our little giant artichoke adventure wasn't enough, our next stop was the Tin Man of Castroville, a whimsical metal sculpture about four feet high that graces a streetcorner outside an auto mechanic's shop. It is so lovely that people give us these gifts of creativity and humor! They help keep me sane (especially now).
After that we ventured into the ag fields for two more caches, one of which we did not find, the other of which I had already found but David hadn't—and he needed it for the afore-mentioned challenge. And there it was! (It's on the backside of that curious structure, which I gather had to do with switching train tracks when trains were still running.)

And finally: the sunset. 

Like I said, a great afternoon! Thanks to geocaching. (And at each stopping point, for the record, we kept the car running—just in case. It's all charged up now, good to go.)

The hilarity comes from being really
bad at selfies-with-giant-artichokes!


1 comment:

  1. I was wondering the entire time I read this about the car! So glad you kept it running. What a fun afternoon.