Archive for the Geocaching Category

“Hi Boss, I’m Out Riding. I’m Gonna Be A Little Late” 3-18-2011

Posted in Geocaching, Images, Rides, Stories on March 19, 2011 by vinnylombardo

Today the weather was absolutely perfect for a ride; 78 degrees with a mild wind blowing. As luck would have it, most of my morning commitments got postponed, and I was able to get in 90 miles of saddle time before work! I did what I needed to get done in the morning,  and was out the door by 11 a.m.

I hatched a quick plan to ride out to Upper Black Eddy in Bucks County, and visit Ringing Rocks Park again, to grab a few geocaches there. It’s about 40 miles from home, and about 35 miles back to my job. With one errand along the way, a few photo stops and maybe a bite to eat, I figured  I’d have plenty of time to be at work by 3 p.m.

I headed out of NE Philly, made a quick withdrawal at the credit union and traveled north. Presently, there is a detour along Second Street Pike just past Richboro, so I took Worthington Mill over to Swamp Rd. There are some rock quarries in this area, and a lot of big trucks travel these roads. I had forgotten how much wind turbulence they generate for a biker!

I soon linked up to Durham Rd, and took that for a stretch before turning onto New Hope Rd. I took that until it basically turns into a horse trail north of Holicong Rd.  I pulled off there to snap a few photos from my cell phone.

Being in traffic on a bike can be somewhat unsettling at times, particularly when you have not been out riding in almost four months! Needless to say,  it was a relief to be the only traffic on Holicong Rd. I was feeling hungry and ready for a cigarette, so I turned onto Mechanicsville Rd. Then hit up Creamery Rd, and took Old York Rd. down the hill to River Rd, stopping at Dilly’s Corner.

I’ve gone past here countless times in my life but really only remember ever stopping here once as a child, and maybe one other time as a teen; both times for ice cream. So I took a chance and pulled in. From the outside, the place reminds me of Alice’s Restaurant in Woodside, CA. I glanced over the menu sign which features burgers, hot dogs, french fries and the like, and as a vegetarian, I was repulsed. But at the bottom, I saw they had black bean burgers, so I ordered one. The girl at the counter asked if I wanted dressing on it, and pointed to a sign listing 7 or 8 different options. I went with basil mayo.  Mmmm. It was really good. I washed it down with a pink lemonade. I know I’ll be stopping there again! I grabbed a quick smoke and headed north on River Rd. towards  my destination.

As I was riding, I noticed a waterfall along River Rd. but there wasn’t a safe place to pull over nearby, and I was pressing for time. But I wanted a shot of the Delaware River, so a few miles north of the waterfall, there was a safe place to pull off. I snapped a shot from each angle.

Near the town of Erwinna, I turned onto Headquarters Rd. and then Tinicum Church Rd.  This set of roads was my favorite part of today’s ride. These roads are, a bit twisty, isolated, and it was mostly uphill. On a motorcycle,  I enjoy going uphill slightly more than going down. Both are fun, depending on the road, but I always enjoy the climb more than the descent.

At some point, Tinicum Church Rd. becomes Chestnut Ridge Rd.  I was jamming along when something caught my eye. I  had to turn back and pull over for a photo.

I was jarred by the word “Peace.” But I think it was the contrast of the snowflake on this warm day that really drew me in. In any case, it was a stop and snap moment!

Within minutes, I had arrived at Ringing Rocks Park, and had logged my first geocache. There were two others, but I had to make it quick. I hiked 1/4 mile to the location of the second cache, but had a little trouble locating the container. The listed coordinates were off by about 25-30 feet.  I re-read the clues and soon found it. There was a third cache I wanted to log, which involved taking a photo of myself at the coordinates.

Yes it was a good day, but my fun had to end soon. It was 2:15 when I took this photo.  I had 28 miles to go and had to stop for gas too! So I quickly tromped across the rocks, and back to my bike. I took a few back roads out of the park, and eventually linked up to Route 611. I made my way to Route 413 and then 232, riding right into the detours,  arriving at work 20 minutes late!  Oh well! Luckily, my boss rides too, so he understood!

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Dark Hollow Geo-Cruise 11-22-10

Posted in Beer, Bridges, Geocaching, Images, Rides, Stories on December 1, 2010 by vinnylombardo

The weather in November has been fairly mild this year, with temperatures averaging in the high 40’s and low 50’s. The month offered a few days with warmer weather to ride, but with my work schedule at 6 days per week, it’s hard to get in serious saddle time. I’ve put on a few joyful miles here and there before work a few times this month. I have Mondays off, and a few of them it rained or I had other things to do like get my car fixed, or run errands, or watch my niece, etc… But on  Monday, 11-22, the temperature reached the low 60’s. The day started out much colder at dawn, but by 9 a.m., it was in the 50’s. I showered, dressed, and loaded up my GPS unit with geocaches to find. By 10 o’clock, I was on the road.I gassed up, and cruised around for awhile, zigzagging my way north along Swamp Rd. toward Rushland. Up until 1800, this place was known as Sackett’s Ford, as the Neshaminy Creek is shallow enough to reach the mill and store there. This is where I found the first cache of the day, near the end of Old Sackett’s Ford Road.

This seemed like a good spot for a hide. I really liked the isolated feeling of the dead end road there. I found the cache, and headed on. There were a few more caches nearby, so I  headed over to Dark Hollow Park, a place I’ve been to before, on my old Honda Shadow. Its a really great spot, but located right near private property.

Of course, I couldn’t resist the temptation to ride across the bridge  for a photo.  As I was getting back on my bike, a property owner came out and started yelling at me, so I took off empty handed without finding the cache here. Dark Hollow Rd. is broken up into sections, so I cruised around,  and hit up some of the fun stretches of asphault nearby (Mill Creek Rd, Penn’s Park Rd., Durham Rd. and Forest Grove) to get to the north side of Dark Hollow Rd. I was led to an abandoned lot, near some large power lines, and a long strip of county land . I hiked into the woods to find the cache, and it was located near Robin Run Lake. It was a nice little spot, tucked away from the utility lines. When I opened the cache, there was a diposable camera inside so I excitedly took a few pics on it, but forgot to take some of my own there! Ooops! Anyway, I hiked back out to my bike, and rode over to another cache a little further north on Dark Hollkow. It was on the opposite side of the lake, and when I parked I had to hike about three-tenths of a mile to locate the spooky tree!

Back to the bike, and onward to some other caches. I hit some familiar roads and ended up on Pineville Rd.,  which I haven’t been on since May 2009!

Yes! It is still NOT closed to me!

There was a multi-cache located here at the bridge. It was my first attempt at a multi-cache! For those unfamiliar, there are questions to be answered in order to get the proper cache coordinates. In this multi-cache the number of names on the bridge stone was combined with a geography and history question.

It took a bit of thinking, but I figured out the proper coordinates and located the cache. As I was perusing the contents, a LEO drove up, and slowly turned along New Hope Rd. but left me alone. I grabbed a token for a free beer at Triumph Brewery, left some swag in the cache, and took a snapshot of Pidcock Creek at dusk.

Pineville Rd. was a blast with no cars for almost two miles! I headed onto Stoney Hill Rd.  and hit up Aquetong Rd.  Last month, this tree was full of brilliant orange leaves.  On this day, it was barren.

I headed over to Van Sant Covered Bridge, where I discovered a cache that was hidden there! I also discovered that the scarecrow was still there too!

It was getting dark, and I had to find one more cache on my list, appropiately named, Run Dark Hollow. It was located in Dark Hollow Ravine not far away in New Hope. I found the cache quickly, and as I was signing the log, some muggles dressed in deer outfits were spying on me.  I took their photo, but they only showed me their eyes!

From here, I sneaked by the muggles to my bike,  and  headed over to the Triumph Brewery to  (cache) in my free beer token for a pint of Rauchbier. It has a smokey flavor, as the malted barley is dried over open flames. It was a delicious treat to end the day and unwind. I relaxed for awhile at the pub after one pint, and eventually headed home under the nearly full moon.

Fall, Foliage, Fun, and Photos – 10-25-2010

Posted in Bridges, Geocaching, Images, Rides, Stories on October 30, 2010 by vinnylombardo

Autumn foliage around these parts peaks in mid to late October, as the leaves change from green into a brilliant array of fall colors.  The temperatures have been moderately warm for mid-October, so the colors might last a little longer this year. But once we get a morning frost, those leaves will star drying out and turning brown, leaving the trees barren until springtime.

With Monday off from work, I decided to take an afternoon motorcycle cruise, and capture some of the autumn beauty before it disappears. I really didn’t have a route planned, but knew that I wanted to find a few geocaches towards Upper Bucks, and ride over into New Jersey a little. I hit up some familiar roads close to home, and decided to take some photos right away.

Chinquapin Rd.  is a short, fun,  little, detour road that links Bristol Rd. with Holland Rd. and Buck Rd. As you can see, there is still a lot of green left on some trees…

While others have peaked and are starting to drop leaves.

I motored up Chinquapin, and then turned around….

Heading back to Bristol Rd, I  then went north on Bridgetown Pike. The SEPTA West Trenton rail line runs over this road and it is quite a crazy corner.

The temperature reached the low 70s and the warm sun felt nice this late in the year. It provided some awesome shadows, too.

Some hooligan came buzzing through on a BSA while I was taking photos.

I wanted to get this angle to show the dramatic colors of the season.

From Bridgetwon Pike, I ended up on Woodbourne Rd. in Middletown, still not far from home. The sign promoting apple cider at Styer Orchards caught my eye, so I pulled in.

As a kid, my parents would bring me and my sister here. In the fall Styer makes great cider, and they have hayrides where you can pick your own apples right from the trees. They are also known for making the best pumpkin pies, and around Thanksgiving they always sell out fast. I went into the market, and grabbed a cup of cider. They have a big juice dipenser with cups, and use the honor system with a box for coins. This month Styer Orchards are celebrating their 100 year anniversary.

The sign says… “From November 25, 1910, until the present, The Styer Family Orchards have passed from generation to generation, dedicated to the cultivation and harvesting of produce for sale to the public and to the preservation of the site for the education of future farmers. The Styer Family has conveyed this 107 acres to the township of Middletown to remain in perpetuity as a living testimonial to our agricultural history.”

I rode around the farm a little to look for the old tractor we used to play on as kids.

The tractor gets moved from time to time. This year it is on display out near the pumpkin patch.

I headed off to find more fall foliage, piloting my ride over to familiar turf through Yardley. I turned off Sandy Run Rd. onto Reading Ave, and went past St. Ignatius, where I attended grade school, then checked out the beautiful colors on Oxford Valley Rd.

I motored on from here, through Yardley…

and went north along River Rd.

Along the way, my odometer turned another milestone!

Having hit 25,000 miles on the Vulcan, I have  considered selling it soon, and buying a  larger motorcycle.  But for now, it’s mine, and it’s still all smiles!

From River Rd., I went up to Lurgan Rd, and turned on Covered Bridge Rd.

Legend has it the Van Sandt Covered Bridge is haunted, so I figured with Halloween around the corner maybe the ghosts might be a little restless. All I saw was this guy off in a nearby field.

I wasn’t scared, but I did get out of there fast! There were more colors awaiting over on Aquetong Rd.

I headed along Sugan Rd. and stopped at another familiar spot.

Even though I’ve gone past them hundreds of times, the only time I explored the Mills ruins in New Hope was at night about 20 years ago, and I was high on magic mushrooms,  so I felt like it was a good time to see them once more.

The sign reads, “MILLS In 1700 Robert Heath aquired 1000 acres of land from an original William Penn grant to Thomas Woolrich. As part of an agreement with Penn, Heath built a grist mill here on the north bank of Aquetong Creek. The mill was powered by the contstant flow of water generated by the great spring. Mills continued to operate at this location for over two hundred years. The ruins of a grist mill and a cotton mill converted to silk mill still exist on the south bank of the creek. These mills and their workers were immortalized in several paintings by Robert Spence in the early 1900’s. New Hope Historical Society”

This is a view from inside the silk mill, looking out onto Aquetong Creek.

I was enthralled by these ruins, and took quite a few shots here.

The colored ivy growing on the walls was very pleasing to me.

This is a view from inside of the grist mill.

Another view from inside the grist mill.

As I was about to leave, I heard the New Hope Ivyland heritage steam train  going by, and snapped off a quick shot.

I left and went a few miles to find a geocache.

Success!

This spot led me to a road I had never known about, which ends in Union Square, the site of New Hope’s train depot. There is a dead line here and some old trains.

This old train looked very interesting.

Originally built in May 1963, this diesel locomotive was repaired, repainted, and restored to service in February, 1997. It carries freight and work trains, and is a substitute passenger engine.

I went into town, and ate some pizza before crossing over the bridge into Lambertville, N.J. My plan included finding some geocaches in and around Sourland Mountian, but it was getting late, and I was really enjoying the foliage in this preserve, while riding on some roads I’d never been on.

This was on Mountain Rd. in West Amwell, NJ.

I cruised a little more, and took a picture on Orchard Rd. as the sun was going down through the clouds.

I only had enough light left for a few more quick photos of fall foliage.

This was on Linavale Rd., also in West Amwell.

I filled up my tank in NJ, and headed down Bear Tavern Rd. to the Washington Crossing bridge. On my way home, I stopped for one last photo on Woodbourne Rd. near Lake Luxembourg.

All in all, it was another fabulous time spent riding. The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting cooler, and the birds are flying south, so I really cherish these last few warm days of the season. I’m hopeful I’ll be able to get in a few more good rides before winter!

06-29-09 Geocaching is Fun

Posted in Geocaching, Images, Rides, Stories on July 2, 2009 by vinnylombardo

I miss playing SBR Chip Chase. It’s fun to figure out the clues, and try to find the stash. Since I haven’t found a motorcycle rider’s forum around these parts that is anything like SBR, I’ve started Geocaching instead. It’s basically a high-tech version of Hide and Seek. The basic idea is to use a GPS device to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. On Monday, I signed up for a free geocaching account, got  a few clues, punched in the coordinates to my Garmin Zumo and went out to make my first find.

geocache 1st find 1

The cache was located along Rt. 13 in this roadside sculpture. It was a simple microcache where you find it, and log your visit.

geocache 1st find

I went out for another find, close to home. The GPS coordinates took me to a light post, in a parking lot, in an industrial area of Bensalem.

lightpole 1

At first I was stumped. I looked all around the base of the pole, but didn’t find anything. Next, I checked the pole itself for a small magnetized cache. No luck. Then I finally realized where it was!

lightpole 2

Its a lot of fun combining motorcycle rides with photography, and sleuthing!

lightpole 3

At present, there are 839,756 active geocaches around the world. The caches could be hidden anywhere. Under a rock in a park, on an electric utility box,  behind a store, in a log, anywhere. The game requires you to use the GPS device to get to the stash spot, but you must use your brain to find the cache! As of this writing I have found 7 caches. Only 839, 749 more to go!

geocache 3rd find 1