Texas Challenge 2014

This weekend, I attended another Mega event in the Lone Star State.  The Texas Challenge 2014 took place in/around Bastrop, TX.  It is a reunion and competition for cachers in the state and for visitors as well.  The competition is fierce among the "regions" (anyone can join any region for competition).  Congrats to North Texas for the win!

I was not able to make it to any of the pre-events, but I did get there for the day on Saturday.  I met up with my geo-buddies, AgNav and Scrapnphotos and we shopped a little, greeted friends and capped and deployed some Munzees.  There were quite a few virtual and mystery virtuals in the area of the main Challenge event. New ones that I deployed had quite a few hits over the weekend.

At noon, those of us that were not on the hunt teams for the Challenge met at the Old Iron Bridge over the Colorado River in historic Bastrop for the official Bridge-spitting ceremony where we learned the song.

Dirty Lil, Dirty Lil
Lives on top of Garbage Hill
Never took a bath and never will
(Spit)
Dirty Lil!

  We came, we saw, we spit!  We got our certificates that said we were official members of the International S.O.B. (Society of Bridge-spitters). After the ceremony, I got to meet Rob Vardeman (CoachV), president of Munzee.  What a nice, down-to-earth guy!  Thanks for the extra Munzees to put out!

After lunch at the Roadhouse, Nov64 (Patty) and I took off to complete some of the new Lab caches that were only in place this weekend.  We saw many interesting sites in/around Bastrop, including a bronze foundry. We saw several of the Buc-ees beavers there. There was a candy shop, wine shop, rock shop, rain water bottling plant and more along our route.  We put out some Munzees and capped others.  I even found a couple of Sights and created a couple on Sighter.  I did not get a chance to go into Bastrop State Park on this trip, but from Hwy 95, it STILL looks like a battle zone from the fires two years ago.  All those burned pines just break my heart.

We made it back to Mayfest Park in time for Patty to make it to the Texas County Challenge Reunion.  Yes, she has found a cache in all 254 counties in Texas!

We took a big group picture, waited through announcements and raffles, visited with cachers/Munzeers.  Then came the announcement for the winners of the Challenge.  Congrats to the North Texas team for the win this year!

Sadly, I was busy using my phone for locating caches and Munzees and did not capture many pictures.


Spring Break Fun

This week was my son's Spring Break, so I decided to take a couple days off work so we'd have a long weekend to spend in Louisiana with relatives. We didn't get to come at Christmas, so it's been a while since we were here.

Our cousin and his wife have a new baby. Our aunt wasn't feeling 100%. Dang allergies!  I sympathize for sure! We didn't want to intrude on them too much, so we took the camper and made reservations at Fairview-Riverside State Park in Madisonville.  I LOVE camping, but my son doesn't.  So we both got to do some of what we liked. He has been dying to go see the baby and we both have been craving beignets.  We got to do a fish fry for Mama Amy's birthday celebration, which was soooooo good! Good job Matt and Uncle Dane!!!  I love fried catfish and it just hit the spot.  Max fell asleep on my chest for a couple of hours and all was good until my backside started to fall asleep. :)

This was our first time to camp in a Louisiana State Park, so we added another spot on our Places We Have Camped map.  The staff was friendly and the campground was peaceful. Restrooms were available in the various areas of the park and they were nice, large and clean. There was a boardwalk along the river and throughout the Swamp Trail.  I love the Spanish moss hanging on the trees and blowing in the wind. I know they exist there, but we did not see any alligators.  It's still a little cold though.

There was one couple from Illinois that had an entire garden of solar-powered moving "plants" in the front window of their motor home. How cute!

On Saturday morning, there was a guided bird talk/walk. Our knowledgeable guide, Lori, showed us feathers, feet and skulls of various birds including a Bald Eagle, Barred Owl and a Cardinal. You can really hear the difference between feathers popped in the wind from a Peacock and an Owl.  We walked around the park to locate the species that were out in the day use area, the river and the swamp.  Just as we got started on the Swamp Trail, it began to rain and the group dispersed.  We got to see several and a couple of them are lifers for me. (*)  The little warblers were very active in the park.  Note to self:  bring birdseed and binoculars on the next camping trip.

Bald Eagle skull
Birds seen at the park on this trip:
American Robin
Boat-tailed Grackle
Carolina Wren
Cormorant
Crested Titmouse
Eastern Bluebird
Laughing Gull
Loggerhead Shrike
Mourning Dove
Northern Cardinal
Northern Mockingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-headed Woodpecker*
Red-winged Blackbird
Rusty Blackbird*
Swamp Sparrow*
Yellow-rumped Warbler*

I also got to do some of my favorite scavenger hunts on this trip.  I was unable to find the Munzee in the park, but I added a couple of my own. I did capture some Mystery Munzees on the way home, though. 65 points on just 2 of them.

On March 15, I completely filled my caching calendar on the Groundspeak site.  I had filled my calendar on March 28, 2012 with finds on multiple listing sites, but this is just on the one site. I like to share the love between the sites. Later on Saturday, we went down to New Orleans with my aunt, uncle and friends of theirs to attend the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

It's a bit like small Mardi Gras parade, but all in green. There were lots of small "marching" groups. Some in tuxedos, others in kilts.  The floats were throwing out beads, scarves, boas, cups and such. Everyone had some form of green on.

For the holiday, they also toss out ingredients for Irish Stew.  It's a treat to catch cabbages, carrots, potatoes, onions, noodles (packages of Raman noodles) and the like.  I'm quite sure that most of the parade walkers that were vertical at the beginning of the parade were not by the end of the parade.  Fun in New Orleans!

The camper is staying with both of my cousins and they will share it between themselves and with their spouses. They are excited to have it back on their side of the Sabine River.  I know they will get more use out of it now that they can use it together. Since hitting the teenage years, my camping buddy is not into it anymore.  On the way home, we fought a lot of wind.  It made for a tiring ride, trying to keep the car on the road. Good thing we weren't pulling the camper.

We used the Waze app on the way there and back.  It sure helps to see hazards (and police sightings) ahead of us.  There was a major accident in Houston and we were able to route around it to save a lot of time. I am now a Warrior Wazer. My brother liked it that I could send him our route and he could see where we were as we made our way home.




Learn OneNote Conference 2018 Kicks Off

The Learn OneNote Conference officially starts today. I'm so excited to be a part of this 3rd Annual event!  If you haven't signed u...