Archive for Real Places

Geocaching in Los Angeles California – Urban Geocaching

shutterstock_78502579Image: Gerry Boughan / Shutterstock.com

I had my first urban geocaching experience last week!

First, I have to confess to a major geocaching/travel bug faux pas. Sadly I must admit to picking up a travel bug,¬†Mini LED Flashlight Travel Bug Dog Tag, in March from¬†Gargamel’s Realm and just dropping it last week (July)! I did go and post in the logs that I still had it and I would place it ASAP. The travel bug has a goal of reaching all 50 states and seemed to be stuck in the mid-west. I thought I would help it out and bring it to California! I dropped it in Follow the Yellow Brick Road on July 16th. (Narrowly forgetting to drop it, leaving only a few hours to find a cache large enough to drop it in!)

Urban geocaching is a different animal from the more traditional traipsing through the woods alone type of geocaching I’m used to. It comes with it’s own unique set of issues.

Muggles. This is the by far the biggest difference. They are EVERYWHERE! You simply cannot get away from them, so you must be extra stealthy. Timing your searching for moments when no one is around, and waiting patiently while people pass you by – all while trying not to attract too much attention and get the police involved.

The police and or security. You see, in the woods people stop to look at things, and sit down and enjoy the view, and wander off the trail to explore all the time. In the city someone standing on the side of the road near businesses is loitering, or worse. Someone digging through city bushes or business property is cause for alarm. Placing or digging out and then replacing plastic or AMMO containers (right!?) is definitely a reason to call the police in my opinion!

Cross walks, dead end streets and parking. Parking in Los Angeles is horrendous! Near this particular cache that I found there was literally no parking at all. You had to park down a residential side-street up to 2 blocks away and then travel to the cache. This I guess would be the equivalent to parking in a lot at a park and hiking through the woods to the cache. :) When you’re looking on a map and you can see your cache and you see all the streets leading to it and or nearby you cannot assume that the rout you think is going to get you there will. You can encounter high fences, tall hedges, and extended/strange property lines.

I was parked near the street in Culver City that I would need to travel on so that was not an issue for me. I was on what I think was the south eastern side of the street, and the cache was on the north western side. I looked right down the block and saw a major intersection with a cross walk way down. I looked left down the block and saw a light with a cross walk close-by. The cache looked to be about half way to the right, and there appeared to be a street right there – and maybe a crosswalk? NOPE. should have taken the close cross walk to the left!

Once I got across the street it became clear that I would be digging in the bushes on Sony property. I assume they have cameras all over, and I know for a fact that there is security at every gate and this cache was very close to a gate. I would have to determine if I could see the cache or if I would have to actually dig in the bushes for it.

Leaving out major details so as not to ruin the find for anyone else, I did find it without any issues – dropped the travel bug and replaced it without being arrested or alarming any muggles. :)

I prefer the woods by far – the reason I got involved in geocaching in the first place, but this was a great and unique experience. Share your story below about a unique geocaching environment you’ve explored!

Day 3 in Seattle, WA Geocaching

Good morning!

It’s day three for us in Seattle, WA. We are having a great time. Day 1 we visited Madison Park, which is a really cute community garden, and Washington Park which is home to Japanese gardens and lots of tree-lined paths and cool things to see. (Pictures to come.)

I finished the second ultra short story of the Dream trilogy! She’s almost home! :) If you’d like to read her tale sign up on the home page with your name and email and I will send it straight to your inbox.

Day 2 was spent with over 3000 fellow geocachers enjoying everything geocaching and promoting our books/stories. I talked with so many interesting people. I met fellow authors, and several teachers who were very interested in these books and this concept. :) I learned that there is also a large population out there that would love to see a full length adult fiction book published. I’ll get right on cloning myself so I can get all these cool things created for you all!

So here we are on Day 3. Off to Woodland Park, suggested to me by Norman King, to get around 7-10 coordinate points for a full length book for Seattle. Maybe by this time next year I will be selling at this Groundspeak event instead of merely promoting!

Thanks to a very special and creative geocacher I also have a new concept for these books. You’ll have to stay tuned to find out what it is but it opens up a whole new world for this type of book getting into the hands of kids everywhere!

Sign up on the home page to get Dream 1, 2, and very soon to come the conclusion, Dream 3 – which ends in Los Angeles at one of my favorite sights.

Real Magic

Warning: Possible Spoiler Alert for Discovering Magic

The other day I went out to South Valley Park in Inver Grove Heights to reset and check GPS coordinates, and set a few more for the story.

I was at the coordinates for where the girls stop under the Sumac bushes. As I was finishing up there, I decided to set the coordinates for the Tree of Three Seasons which comes later in the book but happens close to this place.

I faced the direction I thought the girls would be facing in the book when a friend points in back of them and shows them where the tree is.

On a whim I turned directly around and looked in back of myself and there it was. In more ways than I could have imagined the Tree of Three Seasons was actually there. Directly in back of where I was standing. Where the girls will be standing when they turn around and discover it in the story.

Here’s an image. You’ll have to read the book to know why it’s so significant!

Tree of Three Seasons

Tree of Three Seasons

Discovering Magic – The New House

Almost every place that is referenced in the book, Discovering Magic, is a real place here in Minnesota!

The girls’ new home is a house located in Inver Grove Heights, MN. Madison and I drove by the house the other day, and it is almost exactly the same as it was when I was a young girl her age. Back then it belonged to one of my best friends. I spent many days and nights there exploring and making up magical stories with her. (This is the same friend who I explored and rode my bike through South Valley Park with day after day in the summer.)

Somewhere along the line the GIANT blackberry bushes that lined one side of the property were taken out. I have several great memories of getting lost in these bushes and eating blackberries until we were just about sick. If I remember correctly these bushes were a source for much blackberry jam, syrup, and pies!

Sadly the large Maple that was in the backyard has been since taken out. I don’t want to give anything away, but that tree is an exciting part of the book, Discovering Magic. My friend and I had many picnics under that tree and also played with clay sculptures of our own making in the hole made by two roots at the base of the tree. It was a magical place that offered two young girls hours of imaginary play and memories.

The old swing-set that used to be along the back fence of the yard has also been taken out. This is probably a very good thing. I remember it being on it’s last leg back in 1986.

Although a few things have changed, the chain-link dog kennel is still intact at the back of the garage, and the swing is still hanging on the front porch.

Back when I was a kid this house always smelled so good. My friend’s mom loved bee’s wax candles and the whole house smelled of them. Her dad also smoked a pipe from time to time. In the fall I can still remember the smell of that pipe smoke mixed with the waxy honey smell of the candles. Because of these wonderful memories I always have bee’s wax candles in my home as an adult. That smell will always make me feel warm and good inside.

It was great to drive by and reminisce about those days in my childhood. I am so happy that I get to share this house with all of you. I hope I can get across the wonderful magical aura that was always present there.