Friday, September 30, 2011

Millenium Park & The Art Institute of Chicago

Today Chablis and I had to go to downtown Chicago and visit the Art Institute for a project she is working on for school.  Driving into Chicago during rush hour is a nightmare, so we left at 8 am and hopped onto the Metra train to go downtown. 

We rode the train to the end of the line, which is at Ogilvie Transportation Center in Chicago.  From there we had to walk just over a mile to the Art Institute.  We crossed over the canal and zig-zagged around, as there was a lot of construction going on.

Since the museum didn't open until 10:30, we decided to stop at Millennium Park first. 

Millennium Park is on the lake front and it's huge and beautiful.  It has fountains....

The Jay Pritzker Pavillion....

                                                              where I incidentially also found a geocache.......

(it's hidden somewhere close to this bench)

And of course, the world famous bean!!!!

The bean is so cool looking and I never get tired of visiting it.  Look at how well you can see the buildings across the street, reflected in the bean.  Isn't that neat?

It's fun to walk around and take pictures of your reflection....

You can even walk underneath it and take a photo up into it....

That's Michigan Ave. behind Chablis.....

The Art Institute is on the next block south of the park, so we just walked over...

I can finally say I caught a Lion by the tail!

There are some beautiful gardens on both sides of the museum and they have fountains and sculptures all over the place.

I even did a little phooning in front of a wall of granite....

Across the street from the Art Institute is a really interesting building called the Metropolitan Tower.  At one time it was one of the tallest buildings in Chicago, with 30 floors.  However, the cool thing about this building is the bee hive shaped tower at the top of it. 

I would love to get inside that bee hive!  I bet the view of Chicago from up there is amazing.

Come back tomorrow and I'll show you some pictures from inside the Art Institute.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Outdoor Photo Prompt - Goodbye Summer

Today I am linking up with The Outdoor Blogger Network because they're featuring an Outdoor Photo Prompt featuring everyone's favorite photo from Summer 2011.

So my favorite photo from this past summer is this.....

This photo was taken from the top of St. Mary's Glacier in Colorado.  This day was one of my favorite days ever!!  I was hiking in the mountains in Colorado, with my daughter, my sister and her family.  It was a perfect day, weather wise - warm, not hot, breezy but not blustery, and the air was clear and crisp.  We spent several hours up there, climbing around, walking in the icy cold lake, throwing snowballs and just relaxing while taking in the amazing view.  It was a damn near perfect day!

Jump over to The Outdoor Blogger Network and see some of the other sights of summer.  What's your favorite photo?  If you post it, come back and let me know so I can see it too!

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Funniest Caching Experience

My funniest caching experience happened on a caching excursion last year.  A group of us gathered early one morning to tackle the 10 stage multi cache “Out of Sight.”  This epic cache ended up taking us 6.5 hours to complete.  Another group of our caching friends (Mary’s group) had done the first 5 stages the week before and we had heard that they were going to try to finish up the final stages the same day as we were going to attempt the whole thing. 

Our group gathered and started off at about 7 am.  At around 10 am I got a text message from my friend Mary.  She said they could hear people in the woods talking and they were wondering if we were anywhere close to them.  We determined that they were still a few stages ahead of us, so I wished them luck and our group continued on our way through the stages.    

We were almost finished; in fact, I think we were headed to stage 9, when we came upon an old rusted out car in the middle of the woods.  How it ever got there in the first place was a mystery.  We had a good time climbing around on the car and taking photos.  Somebody even mentioned that the car would make a good spot to place a geocache, but none of us had the necessary supplies with us in order to do that. 

We went on our merry way, completed the final 2 stages of the cache and took a bunch of photos.  It was a milestone cache for 2 of our group with Wheels00 hitting 2500 and Dinaworks hitting 1000!

Afterwards we celebrated with a big smiley face cookie in the parking lot, said our goodbyes and everyone headed home.

That evening we all started uploading our pictures onto Facebook so we could all see each other’s photos for the day.  I uploaded my picture of 5 of us clowning around on the car.  All of a sudden everyone from Mary’s group started chiming in on my picture with these comments….

 “Way too funny . . . . . remember . . . . we were there before you!!!”

“That is freakin' hilarious!”

“Okay, guys . . . . check out GC2G5YM and guess where it is????”

“Name of the cache is "Needs a Jump" and it was placed by ShazamMan along with BAT and TomEagle55 present”

So, here's what happened.  When Mary’s group stumbled upon the same car earlier in the day, (actually about an hour before us it turns out) they had the same thought – great place for a cache.  One of them actually had a cache container with them so they placed it, finished up the stages for Out of Sight, went home and had the new cache published.  In the meantime, we came across the car and had our little photo session, never seeing or realizing that a cache was hanging from the tree right over our heads.   If you look on the tree branch directly over the hat of the guy in the middle of the picture, you can just make out the gold cache container.

I have to admit that it was pretty funny.  They then borrowed my picture from Facebook and added it onto the cache page.  You can see the actual listing at GC2G5YM.

You just can’t plan a thing like that.  We all thought it was hysterical.  Not only was that day one of my favorite caching days ever, it was also the funniest. 

I am now an Honorary Author over at CacheCrazy so from time to time my posts will appear simultaneously on my blog and theirs.  Be sure to stop over and see whats going on with them!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The River Wild

This morning we went to work and cut out by noon to do a couple of caches in the woods. One of them brought us to an area where I spent a lot of time when I was a kid. This particular section of woods is located in Chicago. Now you might think to yourself, “Woods? In Chicago?” But to tell you the truth, there are a lot of great forest preserves in the Chicago area and I spent my childhood running around in them. This mornings geocaching brought us almost exactly to a spot where I had an encounter with the river many years ago and I told Louie the story as we searched for the cache.

As soon as school was out for the summer, and before we left for our annual trip to Missouri, my girlfriend Carol and I spent most of our time at one of 3 places. The park across the alley, a prairie several blocks away where we ran around with butterfly nets and caught butterflies, moths, crickets and grasshoppers, or the woods. On summer mornings I would get up, eat breakfast and before we could leave the house, we had to do our chores. This consisted of making our beds and doing the ironing. Back in the 1960’s, when I was a kid, everything got ironed. (Today I only iron my clothes for church or if I have a meeting). Mom started us out on my dad’s hankies, then we moved up to sheets and pillowcases, and once we became ironing experts, she let us iron my dad’s work shirts.

(photo taken from google images)

We would drag our feet out to the enclosed back porch, plug in the iron and stare at the mountain of ironing in the basket. And we could forget about going out to play until that ironing was done. But believe me, the second we were finished, the screen door would be banging us in the ass as we hightailed it out of there.

Usually I’d spread some peanut butter and jelly between 2 pieces of Wonder bread (helps build strong bodies 12 ways), wrap it in a sheet of wax paper, toss it in a brown paper bag and jamb it into the basket on my bike. I’d pedal down the block to Carols house, where I would “CALL” for her. Did anyone else do that or was it a Chicago thing? See, back then, the front door was for “guests” and the back door was for family and friends. You would go down the gangway to the back of the house, stand on the stoop and shout out in a singsong voice “Yo, yo, Carol!” If Carol was home she’d come to the door. If she wasn’t, then her mom would stick her head out the window and tell me where she was. Anyway, Carol was usually home stuffing golf tee’s into a cellophane bag. Her uncle ran a golf course and he’d pay her 1 Penney for every bag of 10 tee’s she stuffed. She usually did about 20 bags a day. If she wasn’t finished, I would go in and help her and then she’d pay me when her uncle paid her.

Carol would make a sandwich too and then the 2 of us would ride our bikes about a mile away to the woods.

This was my ultra cool banana seat bike, except it also had a basket on front.  (photo taken from google images)

Now you have to remember, this was the 60’s, when it was very common for kids to be out and about. If we left at 10 am and didn’t come home until dinner at 5:00 nobody gave it a second thought. And nobody was worried. But if my mom said to be home at 5, then I had damn better be home at 5.

We usually headed over to the woods because there was so much to do there. In the winter we would ride our sleds and saucers down the hill but, in the summer, we would ride our bikes down the hill. More than once I took a nose dive over the front of the handlebars and then chased the bike down the hill. We hiked and biked over all the trails, poked sticks into the mud, threw acorns and pinecones at each other and climbed trees where we perched among the branches to eat our sandwiches.

The only thing we were not supposed to do was mess around the river. We usually heeded that warning and just threw sticks and stones into it or tried to catch frogs along the bank. But one day some trees and brush had dammed up in a narrow turn of the river and it was just… too…. Tempting….. We had never been on the other side of the river. It must have been after some heavy rains, because I remember everything being extremely muddy. We started to pick and climb our way across the dam when it happened. My leg slipped thru the tangle and I fell down between the logs, my shoe stuck in the muck and my pants got soaked to the thigh. Well, I’ll tell you, it scared the crap out of me. I worked my leg loose, but when I pulled it up and out, my shoe got stuck in the muck and then the river carried it away. I scrambled, heart pounding, back to our side of the river and looked down at my foot. Man, I was in big trouble. Those were the days when we got one new pair of gym shoes when school let out and one new pair of dress shoes when school started in the fall. And there I stood, 3 weeks into summer and I had lost a shoe. And I was full of mud from the river I was not supposed to be in. And I had to go home and get past my mom. It was not a good situation.

We pedaled home very slowly and I hit upon the bright idea of getting home, sneaking in the house through the basement door and washing my pants in the basement washtub before my mom saw them. I still had no idea what I was going to tell her about the shoe. So, there I was, tiptoeing into the basement and who do I run smack into, but my mom.  I swear she has eyes in the back of her head and super sonic hearing, as well as a 6th sense about when I was up to something.  Let’s just say that I never messed around on the river again and we'll just leave it at that!

So…. There we were today and it was fun to see the river again.  This is the exact bend in the river....

and it wasn’t nearly as deep as I remembered it.  We saw several bucks, a doe and a fawn while we were there.

Then we found the cache and hiked around a little bit.  It's funny how I remembered the trails so well.

Afterwards, I went home - with both shoes still on my feet!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Mustache with a Sense of Humor

We did a cache today that cracked me up.  It's called Waltus Cacicus Geo-stasche.  This cache was sort of placed in honor of one of our local cachers, who is known for his marvelous mustache.  His podcast partner likes to refer to it as the "70's Porn" stasche!

My daughter, Chablis, can do a wicked moustache imitation, and she can really drag it out...  like...  Moooo-staaaassssche!!  It's quite hysterical and always makes me think of Snidely Whiplash for some reason...

(photo taken from google pictures)
Anyway, the cache container is a cute little mustache shaped candy tin.  It's an easy hide, a park and grab really, but the fun is in taking a picture of yourself to post on the cache page....

Here's Louie, who really has his own pretty nice mustache anyway....

My dad, who has sported a beard AND a mustache for quite some time now....

Can you tell this is me??

Even Traveling Snoopy had to get in on the fun!

What do you think?  Cute idea for a cache, huh?  Go on, get your mustache on - it's kind of fun!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Please Welcome Bloodhounded from CacheCrazy

Please join me in a warm welcome to my blogger friend, Kevin, aka Bloodhounded, from over at CacheCrazy.  Without further ado, I'll let Kevin take it from here....
Hello, my name is Bloodhounded, aka Kevin, from CacheCrazy.Com.

Kim and I made a deal that if she wrote a guest blog for me, I would reciprocate. Let me start by telling you a little bit about our blog.
I started CacheCrazy.Com last September of 2010 and it got off to a great start. I never realized how demanding keeping fresh content on a blog can be. I applaud Kim for her work here at Snug Harbor Bay and being the solo author (except for Sunday’s when Tony does his excellent weekly tips) must keep her on her toes. I decided to take a different route. I enrolled a few excellent authors and challenged them to sign on as admin authors for a three month term. There is no pay, no benefits and no training but the work is very rewarding. I am blessed with a dedicated group and a fun bunch to work with. CacheCrazy.Com is comprised of five admin authors, 18 guest bloggers and some waiting to be featured. We receive about 7,000 hits per month and enjoy a fantastic group of followers, daily readers and quite honestly, friends. They fuel our fire and keep us going. Check us out when you have the time.

Today I want to discuss the future of Geocaching.
It is my opinion that Geocaching has yet to see its full potential. In the 11 years of its existence it has become a favored past time of millions of people worldwide however, if its growth rate continues, it will explode in the next five to seven years. If you talk to some of the cachers who started in the beginning, they will gladly tell you how the game has changed. From ammo cans to nanos and letterboxes to logbooks, they just don’t play the game the way they use to. And guess what? 11 years from now it will be different from today well alone 20 or 30 years in the future.

Join me now as we look into the digital log book of a Regular Geocache hidden as “Zelton” GC23000IGH623DF50001A entered by a geocacher named “Melbrain” in the summer of 2041.
“Wow, what a z’upper dynamic cache! I was trailing with Dembelton and saw this one come up on my encoded flash transponder. It looked Kool so we set out to find it. The heat sensory microchip was a real nice attachment from the cache guardian and we also enjoyed the lazar frequency scramblers as it made the find more challenging (how clever). Our geodynamicis where in high gear as we neared GZ and I had a feeling I knew where it was so I infrared the area and sure enough it came up on the screen. We viewed the histogram data of the cache and registered several traveling microbots after reviewing their missions and set them free. I traded the antique iPod Touch (still works much to my surprise) for a home Lasik kit that I tooled with the Melbrain 4D symbol etched into it.  TFHC!”

In all seriousness guys, the future of Geocaching lies in the hands of today’s young people and children. They are the next generation of geocachers and how we hide, maintain, and project the sport today is nothing more than the starting point for them to expound on for tomorrow.  This is why I often stress cache maintenance and keeping the “treasure” in the treasure hunt. When a kid opens a cache they are not only looking for the treasure it may hold, they are looking at the door to the future. No treasure, no future and 30 years from now someone will ask, “what WAS geocaching?”
Taking a kid caching is a foundation for the future to insure the longevity of our sport and it’s just downright FUN!

Thanks for reading and Kim thanks for having me!

 May the force be with you,
Thanks again to Kevin for a great post!  Please take time to stop over at CacheCrazy and check them out. 
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