04 September 2018

Mingo GC30: The oldest active (and unarchived) GeoCache in the world, located in Kansas USA

This cache, called Mingo GC30, is somewhat in the middle of nowhere, just off I-70 between Oakley and Colby, Kansas. It's near a small town called Mingo (which is where the cache gets its name). I went out of my way approximately 20 miles so I could find and log this famous cache. It was also a good chance to stretch my legs during a long day of driving. Unfortunately there was no fuel in any of the pumps at the unmanned gas station across the road.

The container and its contents
 Interesting facts -

  • The Mingo GC30 is exactly 8,700.4 miles (as a bird flies) from my home at Ngong town in Kenya. It is 297.4 miles (as a bird flies) from my mom's house in Omaha, Nebraska.
  • My log on July 28, 2018 was number 6,747 out of 6,762 (as of August 4, 2018). 
  • 2,550 people have indicated this cache is one of their favorites. 
  • People who have found it have uploaded 2,350 photos when they log it on the GeoCache app; I uploaded one of those. 

Later Kansas Stasher, the cache owner, added this, August 29, 2004:
"Over the last couple of years people have been saying that this is the oldest still active cache. I know for sure that it was the 7th ever created and the first in Kansas. I would like to thank everyone who has stopped and visited so far. And let's keep it going for a long, long time. I put it near I-70 since this was the best chance to get visitors in the middle of nowhere."

I dutifully recorded my GeoCache name on the physical log book.
And when I recorded it on the app, I got a yellow smile-y face! 

Here I am with the famous cache! My mom's car is in the background and you can see the path heading to the cache site.

This nearby cache, across from a corn field, is called 'Mingo the Merciless'

This very clever one, called 'There's a Bug on the Bump on the Log', was also nearby.

'There's a Bug' is located at the intersection of Thomas County roads 25 and K.

Explore each new day with desire to find Me. 
Before you get out of bed, I have already been working to prepare the path that will get you through this day.
There are hidden treasures strategically placed along the way.
Some of the treasures are trials, designed to shake you free from earth shackles.
Others are blessings that reveal My presence: sunshine, flowers, birds, friendships, answered prayer.
Search for deep treasure as you go through this day.
You will find Me along the way.
~ Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

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GeoCaching actually reminds me a lot of the spiritual sentiments conveyed in this quote!

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11 August 2018

2018 Home-stay - Jamaica: venturing out for a few walks

A rainbow in the clouds! / June 20, 5:50am

Sunrise at Yalla Salt Pond, just a short distance from the Caribbean Sea / June 21, 5:55am

Hibiscus stamen, beauty I also admire often in Kenya

Lovely tree, on my way to get a few groceries

I made this simple cairn (pile of stones) from pebbles I collected on the beach, which had been tossed and turned by the waves.
The word 'cairn' comes from the Scottish Gaelic: càrn ['kʰaːrˠn̪ˠ].

The best thing is to keep a balance in your life.
Acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. 
If you can do that, and live that way, you are really wise. 
~ Euripides (4th century), ancient Greek playwright

10 August 2018

2018 Home-stay - Jamaica: hanging out with family

Good times swimming in the ocean, fighting the rough waves! 

We all enjoyed a special Fathers Day meal!

Antonio and Maxwell

Mia, Aaliyah, and Lincoln

Creighton and Cadence 

There is something so fascinating, mesmerizing, and magical about ocean waves!

Shopping at the local grocery store

Making s'mores for my birthday!

The sun sets on another day

07 August 2018

2018 Home-stay - Jamaica: exploring the island

Several of us wedding guests traveled by bus (on a very narrow and very winding road) from Cerulean Bay Resort to Reach Falls

While at the falls, I also found and logged a GeoCache, near this Jack Fruit tree

After the swim, we headed farther north (on the same treacherous road) to enjoy chicken and pork at the famous Boston Jerk Grill

Freshly-made piña colada... coming right up!

Mike (from my old hometown, North Platte) and I enjoyed our drinks!

On a sweltering-HOT day, Victoria and I headed out to explore on foot

Typical view of the Caribbean Sea

And another beautiful view

We paused and chatted with these guys for a while

We also sat a spell at this nice spot - VIP Beach Lounge - enjoying the shade and a drink

A very wise saying indeed: "Failure is trying to please everybody."

WHAT is an 'international car wash'? HA!

18 July 2018

GeoCaching #3 - We were called 'fearless' by the owner of the legendary virtual cache on the equator, "Rift Valley" GC53

At long last, we got some motorbike taxi guys!

Hans-Georg Michner, CO
"GC53, Rift Valley is the earliest virtual GeoCaches and is perhaps the first on the equator. Located on a large sisal plantation, it's relatively easy to reach with an off-road vehicle when it's dry. Plan at least 1½ hours altogether from the main road."

"Because Africa can be tricky and because the place is somewhat remote I will describe the access here in more detail than I would normally provide for a geocache. The idea is that, if somebody has flown thousands of kilometers to reach Kenya and then driven for a day to get close, it would be needlessly frustrating to miss the cache or even to get stuck with the car."

That's how the cache owner, Hans-Georg Michner, described the cache on the app.

However... ignoring his advice about not going during one of Kenya's rainy seasons, my friend, Meidimi (GeoCache name: Nawesmake), and I went during an unusually crazy wet rainy season. We were forced to go by foot early on, as the entire area was saturated with water and there was a lot of flooding.

But we were up the challenge and were 100% determined to accomplish our task!

When we reached this water-logged area on the road, Meidimi parked his car and we went by foot in the hot sun!

The sisal plantation is over 3,000 acres in size and owned by a Greek man.

We walked a long ways in the hot sun!

We were unable to go any further due to the depth of the water and slippery mud below. Too risky to lose our phones!

According to two GPS sources, we were basically on the exact spot! Yippee!

We got permission from this AP police to enter the sisal plantation, in our quest to find the virtual cache.
And... finally! We had some motorbike taxi guys to take us to the area... and not have to walk all the way!

Here I am, standing on the equator, at the spot of the legendary first-ever virtual cache.

Hans-Georg Michner's comments about us on the GeoCache app:
"I'd like to congratulate the last finders, who fearlessly entered the area and got to the virtual cache despite the strongest rains the place has seen in many years. I wouldn't even have tried to get to the cache under these conditions. Particular thanks for the interesting descriptions and the equally interesting photos. I've never seen the place with so much water."

Michner's comments on his website:
The cache owner (CO) also keeps a personal record of people who have found and logged this cache. I must say - - I am rather proud to be called a 'fearless GeoCacher' by Michner!

Enjoying a cup of chai and the view of Lake Baringo, on another great day of GeoCaching

Excerpts from Meidimi's log:
Wow, this was quite the geocache. I went with my friend Deb who introduced me to this awesome activity. She came up to visit me and suggested we find it; I was very excited to go looking for it since it's the closest geocache in my area. Now we went in the rainy season and its been raining like never before in Kenya but we hoped the weather will be favorable for us to get there.... I tried to see if we could pass through barefoot but the water got deep and very slippery. If you go in the rainy season, please give yourself more than 2 hours. It took us close to 4 hours to reach the cache including traveling to it from 30 minutes away.

Excerpts from my log:
I'm very excited to log this one as my first virtual cache! It will be very memorable for me, as it was quite a fun challenge. It's likely I wouldn't have succeeded on my own, but luckily I was with my friend Meidimi.... After walking along the canal, we got as close as we could to ground zero. However, the entire area was flooded and we simply could go no further. Kenya's 'long rains' this year have been extremely heavy, with some saying it's the most rain in 100 years for all of East Africa. Meidimi (Nawesmake) removed his shoes and tried to wade through the water, but it was simply too slippery. I was wearing gum boots but even they wouldn't have helped the situation. We both feared we could drop our phones in the water... not a good thing!.... On the satellite view of the app, our blue location dot was smack-dab right on top of the cache location. 

Excerpts from Der and Die Holzmichelin (folks who found it just before us)
Achieving a milestone in geocaching has always been something special for us. A few months before our 20,000th find, we thought very carefully about which spectacular cache should be chosen for this jubilee. After extensive research we came across the legendary virtual cache "Rift Valley" listed as the world's first virtual Cache.

First we checked the risks behind this travel adventure on the African continent to Kenya. After an initial contact with the extremely helpful owner, Michna, all existing doubts were dispelled and our idea of a possible visit to the GC53 became a clear YES! We went to Africa!!!.... I am fascinated by our fantastic tour to the spectacular final coordinate 00°00.000 / E036°00.000 and very grateful for this very impressive geocaching experience.