Sunday, 13 October 2013

Southern California Honeymoon and Caching (Part Four: San Diego Zoo, Sea World and Home)

So here it is, finally the final chapter of our honeymoon and geocaching adventure in Southern California.  I am sorry it took so long to get these written and published.  You all waited so diligently and I appreciate that.

Well we left off getting back to our hotel after a long cold and wet day of caching in San Diego.  Of our trip that was the only horrible weather day we had.  But it left us cold to bone, and before turning in for the night we had to get warmed up.  So an order of pizza, hot drinks and hot hot showers did the trick.  So we turned in and got ready for another long day on our feet.

The next morning we got up and had our breakfast at the hotel, got ready for a warm yet exhausting day at the San Diego Zoo.  We had the hotel call us another Taxi (if you read the last post you will know how displeased we were with this), and we got there just before opening.  When the ticket booths opened we headed to the one that seemed to be taking vouchers, and presented ours.
Of our entire trip this was the first place to seem to not understand the vouchers we had.  Eventually they let the issue go, and we got our tickets and started walking in the direction of the Virtual Cache that I wanted to do in the park.  This was the first of two that I wanted while here at the zoo, but the other one was located outside the gates.. So that one would have to wait until later when we left.

On the way to the Virtual Cache we wandered through a section
showcasing beautiful birds of Australia and Africa.  We even got to spy us some Kookaburras, and heard their famous call that sounds like laughter.
Rounding a corner we made a slight detour and walked through a section that had African and Australian mammals.  Just Leafy Sqee'ed in delight to see Rhinoceroses, Giraffes, and Koala Bears up close.
after that we rounded another corner and we were right where the Virtual was located.  Here we had to identify an animal that is depicted in stone in a open square, and I think the name of the donor that founded the new enclosure for that animal.  Well we collected that data very quickly, snapped a no-spoiler picture in front of a nearby sign and were on our way, and that was one of two caches done for the day.

We had a fantastic time wandering the park!  It was amazing to have seen so many interesting animals, some of which we never knew existed.  It was especially cool to have seen the Gorillas and the Giant Galapagos Turtles.  I word from us to you all if you go, walking around all day really does a number on your feet.  There are these foot massage chairs located around the park and only cost a quarter... USE THEM!!  They really make a difference, trust us!
Soon the day came to an end and we had to leave, so we exited out the front and made our way to the Traditional Cache that was located nearby.  But as we arrived there were muggles sitting on the bench where it was.  We sat on a nearby bench and tried waiting them out, but they were just not leaving.  30 minutes later and when the guy working the taxi lineup called that all taxis would
be departing, we had to give up.  But we logged it anyway, because we could see it.  So we took picture proof with Just Leafy sitting on the bench next to the muggles pointing to the hide.  Contacted the CO later via email, and they were fine with that as proof.

That night we had a fantastic dinner at the Ricky's that was in our hotel parking lot, and turned in to rest up for Sea World in the morning.

It was another bright and sunny morning when Just Leafy and I hopped in the taxi to take us to Sea World.  Our one and only cache of the day would be another Virtual Cache, and this one didn't require us to even be inside.  It could be nailed right from the parking lot, since that was where GZ (Ground Zero) was posted.  All we had to do was post a picture of us with the observation tower in the background.  So that was easy enough for sure.

With that out of the way it was time for the park.  Sea world has a ton of attractions, from shows with the sea mammals to observation tanks, and even some rides.  Sadly here I couldn't ride any of the rides except for one... Turns out I am too fat, and so I had to do the fatman's walk of shame from every attempt I made.  But an upside is that there were a few munzees in the park, and I was able to scan them for a few points.  If you want to learn about munzees check out their website at

Besides that, we had a great time.  We wandered around all day going in and out of the exhibits and
checking out all the sea life that we could.  It was an amazing experience for Leafy, she loved it.  She would get all excited and would be pointing out things to me like the size of a giant sea turtle, to how pink the flamingos were, or even how colourful the fish were, and oh those rays look like they are smiling.  In the end it was a fantastic day, and we enjoyed every minute of it.

We returned back to the hotel that night to another dinner at Ricky's and to pack up our stuff.  For this would be our last night in Southern California.  But the nice thing is we would not be leaving until the evening, so we finally had another sleep-in and relaxing day before heading to the airport.  And then it was done, and in a short few hours we were back at home talking about our memories of the trip and reliving our favorite moments.

Thank you to all my readers for waiting so long to learn about our trip.  Again I am so sorry it took me this long to bring you the details.  Also thank you for being you, and for reading my stories.  It really means a lot to me, and I am honored to share them with you!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Southern California Honeymoon and Caching (Part Three: The Trip Continues)

So here it is, another late installment of our blog about our Honeymoon and Geocaching adventure.  I apologize for the delay again, but life moves forward so quickly and I keep loosing time.  But without delay lets move forward.

So our days in the magical kingdom soon came to an end, and Just Leafy and I began looking forward to the other attractions that were in our schedule.  First up was Knott's Berry Farm.

In Knott's there was only one Virual Cache for us to do, but because it had over 13 stages attached to it I decided ignore it.  So this day was just for rides.
We loaded onto our bus and headed there, which is only a 15min drive away from Anaheim.  While waiting for the park to open, a man walked up to me and asked if my tattoo was a real trackable.  I responded "Yes!" and this made my day!!  This was the first time I was at a place where I was truly discovered by chance.  After a quick conversation He headed back to join his family, and I was left feeling pretty good about myself and my trackable tattoo!

Knott's Berry Farm was something I had been to in my youth as well, but it had been a long time ago.  And what happens when time goes forward?  Things change!  This was no longer the park I remembered.  The moment we walked in all I was greeted with  was tall and insane extreme rides.  The family friendly rides had disappeared (or so I thought).  We got in line for one ride called "The Ghost Rider", and I chickened out before getting on.  But Just Leafy was brave enough, and she did it while I waited.  Well I tell you when I met her at the bottom and she was white as a ghost, I knew that I had made the right choice.  She even said so too, in fact she said "You would have been so upset after that, I am glad you didn't go on it"
We walked a little deeper into the park and found the rides I was looking for, and really enjoyed the whole day.

The following day we went to Universal Studios, and for this one there we just no feasible caches nearby.  But we really enjoyed this day.  Universal has a ton of great rides, and the famous Back Lot tour.  That is what we did first, and Just Leafy loved it.  She got to see some recognizable sets from films and shows that she has watched, and she also got to see some cool special effects.  In fact at one part of the day she got to be in the special effects show that they put on.  We even got to see the guy that does stunt performances from Dexter at the Water World show.  In the end, it was a fun but long day and looked forward to turning in once we got back to the hotel.

We finally had a day of rest after Universal Studios, and that was something we needed.  Our feet were
really starting to feel the strain of long days of walking and standing on pavement, so we took advantage of the break.  Soaking in the hot tub, napping, relaxing in the sun, and finally getting out for a dinner for two at a restaurant called "Fire & Ice" which is located at Garden Walk Shopping Center.  That is an amazing restaurant, and we recommend it to anyone who is staying in the Anaheim area.

The next day we checked out of our hotel, and headed for the train station.  This was how we were going to get to San Diego.  I haven't had a train ride since I was a kid, so this was going to be really cool.  Just Leafy had ridden one more recently than I had, but yet she was excited too.  The ride would only take us 2 hours to get there, and we were really happy to discover that there was free wifi on the train.  This allowed us to connect to Facebook, post some info and pics, and communicate with friends.

We arrived in San Diego and took a taxi to our hotel.  This is when we learned that their taxi system was the worst in the world.  Why we say that is how they will not let you use your credit card. There are several reasons, but not valid enough to force me to use my cash intended for other things.

1) Because they want all the profits (their bosses charge 15% extra if someone uses a Credit Card).

2) If someone pays by Credit Card they won't see that money until they are cut a cheque (which could be a couple of weeks).

3) Because cash is harder for the bosses to track, so they can steal from their bosses and skim of the top.

Anyway we were not too happy about that for sure, and sadly this leg of the trip required quite a bit of taxi involvement.

We arrived at our hotel we checked in, and got ready for our geocache adventure.
Once ready we headed out and walked 15min to our starting point of a paved trail similar to the Galloping Goose trail here in Victoria BC.  This was the the San Diego River Trail, and it is a nice walk. Sadly for us this is when the sky opened up and it literally poured.  It did this for an hour, but we cached on and eventually it stopped.  Soaked to the bone we found many of the caches we were looking for, but had to give up on a few.
We met many of the local homeless along the way, and were shocked to find they not like any of the homeless back home where they constantly ask you for money.  Here in San Diego they all cheerfully said hello to us as we passed by under the overpasses, and the only time we were asked for anything it was for the time!

As our light began to fade the wind picked up and we started to get chilled, but we pressed on until we reached Ocean Beach.  Here we needed the involvement of my dad back at home to capture a image of us on a webcam for a Webcam Cache, so we gave him a call on my US based cellphone.  What is a "Webcam Cache?" you may be asking.  Well it is a rare cache type that does not exist anymore, except for a few grandfathered ones.  The best way to describe a webcam cache is:

"These are caches that use existing web cameras placed by individuals or agencies that monitor various areas like parks or road conditions. The idea is to get yourself in front of the camera to log your visit. The challenging part, however, it that you need to call a friend to look up the web site that displays the camera shot. You will need to have them to save the picture to log the cache."

 But sadly the light had faded so bad that my father could not see us on the screen back home.  But I was desperate.. So on a whim I told Just Leafy to turn on her cellphone flashlight, and my dad exclaimed "Hey I saw that, there you are!".  So I did the same with my phone while I had him on speaker phone, and may dad snapped the screenshot and emailed it to me.
We said our thanks to my dad and hung up, and then made a short visit to the pier and took a (sigh) taxi home.  Needless to say we were frozen to the core by now, and we had to take hot hot showers to get our core temperatures back up.  Soon we headed to bed to rest up for our full day at the San Diego Zoo.

Stay tuned for the last and final chapter, Part Four where the adventure continues!!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Southern California Honeymoon and Caching (Part Two: The Trip)

Well it feels good to be back in the writers chair.  I feel a bit rusty, but it is nice to get these memories written down to share with you all.

In the last blog I shared with you I told you about the preparation for the trip geocaching wise.  How I was disappointed with the lack of caches around Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm and Universal Studios.  How the I was even more disappointed in the couple of virtual caches that were there due to them being virtual-multistages with 13 stages to them.  And how ecstatic I was to find a virtual and earthcache that I could do, along with the mother load of caches in San Diego.

So lets move along and talk about the actual trip and the geocaching.  I may have to do a part three due to content size, so you are forewarned.

The days before leaving were horrible. Rain, wind, and more rain were all we were seeing.  My father Postie Bear came down to take us to the airport in the morning, and to do us a favor and house sit for us while we were away.  It was early in the morning that we had to leave, and could I sleep that night... The answer would be no.  Stupidly I had a caffeinated coffee too late in the evening, and that screwed me up something good.  So when the time came to get up and go, my father was shocked to find me on the couch watching Family Guy.

We did our final rushing around and quick check of belongings and passports, and soon we were on our way.  Surprisingly the weather had calmed down a bit this morning, which was good because we didn't need any crazy wind delaying our departing flight.  Just Leafy and I checked in for the flight, said our farewells to my dad, and headed in to airport security.  And after a brief wait we boarded our flight to San Francisco where we had to go through customs and meet our connecting flight.

The flight to San Francisco was uneventful.  Just Leafy was able to get a bit more shut eye, but I was wide awake.  But with headphones on and some good music I whiled away the time, and soon the first leg of the journey was over.  We got through customs met with our connecting flight and were on the final leg of the trip.

 Just Leafy was so excited, this time there was no sleep for her. And as we started our decent, she was nearly bouncing for joy.

After getting out of the airport we took a cab to our hotel "The Staybridge Suites", but since we were so early (before 3pm) they did not have a room ready for us.  This was when we met Pam, the Front Desk agent for our hotel.  She was so awesome and answered all our questions and put our luggage in storage for us so that we could head straight to the park.

One of the nice things about Anaheim is they have the ART (Anaheim Resort Transit) system.  It is just like The Duce in Las Vegas, where you pay a small fee and have transit that runs every 15min that takes you from the hotels to Disneyland.  Only difference is that it does not run 24/7 like The Duce does.
We hopped onto one of these buses to the park, and when we arrived Just Leafy almost ran away from me in joy.

When we got to Disneyland ticket booths we used our vouchers to check in and get our passes, and the nice lady gave us our badges.  If you ever go there for a reason, be it Honeymoon, First Time, Anniversary, Birthday, they have a badge for that.  The nice part about badges is the cast members see them, and will congratulate you, or do random nice things like take you to the front of the line.  Don't expect it, just go about your stay and let the magic happen when it does.

Once we were inside we headed straight to the rides and had a blast.  The park was only open to 6pm that day due to a special function, so we only had maybe 4 hours.  But we were able to get 7 rides in, which by the way is amazing.  We only had 5-25 minute waits at any ride we went to.  We had such a good time, that the 4 hours passed super fast and it was time to go.

Thankfully I was able to get a good nights sleep that
night, because the next day would be the first full day in the park.  And not to forget a Earthcache and Virtual to get too.

We headed to the park nice and early so that we could be through the gates when they opened.  Just Leafy
and I rode the rides with amazingly short wait times yet again.  We were having such a great time that I almost forgot about the caches that I wanted to do.  But when we took a break that is when I remembered, and Just Leafy suggested that we do them now.  So off we went towards the edge of Fantasy Land and New Orleans where they were located.

First up was the Virtual Cache called "Disney's Horseshoe Review - GCG926".  This was fun to do since it required that we stop in at the Golden Horseshoe (a mock up of an old western saloon) and have our picture taken while the "Horseshoe Review" (a comedic show) was going on.  And we lucked out and walked in while the show was in full swing..  So ding, one cache down!  We took the required photos of us at the saloon while the show was on, and slipped out to take a few outside too.

With that one out of the way we headed over to do the Earthcache.  This didn't require us to go too far since the petrified tree was only a few steps away by the Rivers of America.  This cache was called "Happiest Earthcache on Earth - GC3FQY7" and this required checking out the petrified tree that is here and answer basic earth-science questions about it.  After collecting the info we felt was correct we took a few pictures of us here too.  And then headed back to the rides.

We had a fantastic rest of the day riding 15 rides total and had dinner at Ariel's Grotto in California Adventures, followed by the World of Color water and light show. And when the park closed we had to literally drag ourselves home to the hotel.  And on the third day was able to ride 26 rides total in California Adventures.

To bring this blog post to a close, the rest of our stay at Disneyland and California Adventures was amazing.  We met some wonderful people that we become friends with, and still keep in touch with today.

Stay tuned for Part Three where the adventure continues!!