Thursday, August 13, 2015

GA to AZ Part II: Memphis to Chicago

After our two day stay in Memphis, we hit the road for our next destination: Chicago, IL.  We left Tennessee around 6:30am and made our way to Arkansas then Missouri.  Along the way, we grabbed a few geocaches and stretched our legs.  There was a lot of construction going on, especially once we hit Illinois, so we made sure to not get off the interstate unless we really had to.

We had two main objectives today:
1.) To see my childhood friend that I haven't seen in over a decade
2.) To grab a geocache that was placed in November 2000.
Jen and I after lunch

We arrived in Charleston, IL around 1pm and met Jen for lunch.  We had a great time catching up and eating good food.  I would have loved to stay longer, but she had to go to work, and we had to get back on the road.

After lunch, we made a detour to Terre Haute, Indiana to get the November 2000 geocache.  You non-geocachers probably have no idea why this date is important.  Besides just finding geocaches, there are several challenges you can achieve, and one of those challenges is finding a geocache that was placed for each month since geocaching was created (May 2000).  This challenge, the Jasmer, may seem easy, but it gets difficult when you are trying to find older caches, like those that were placed in the years 2000-2003.

Anyways, our Jasmer grid was missing the November 2000, so I did a search to see what geocache(s) meet the date in the United States.  Believe it or not, there is not one close to Georgia.  To get a November 2000 geocache, you must travel to New York, New Jersey, Indiana, or California (to name a few).  Since we were planning on going to Charleston anyway, Terre Haute was just an hour away.

Anyways, since you now understand (hopefully), Brandon and I made the drive over to get the Fowler Park Wilderness Stash (  We arrived at the parking area and attempting the hike.  We discovered that there was an easier and faster way to get the cache, so we drove on over to another area.  We walked on over and met with the bike trails. 
We continued to hike (which felt good after sitting in the car all day) until the gps pointed uphill.  We both went uphill, in different directions, to find the geocache.  I got stuck in thorns, spiderwebs, and dead limbs.  Oh, and I was wearing flipflops and getting eaten alive by mosquitoes.  I felt terrible for not helping Brandon, so I told him to look at some of the photos on the geocache's gallery.  He was able to find the tree that was pictured in several photos and found the geocache.  We quickly made it back downhill and back to the car in one piece.

Fowler Ridge Wind Farm
By this time, it is 5pm EST, and we were staying at an AirBNB in Chicago at 7pm CST.  We got back on the road and took a country road towards the big city. During our ride to Chicago, we passed two wind farms!  There were hundreds of wind turbines along miles and miles.  Also, they were all running and producing power!  It was such a thrill to see this sustainable energy being produced in the "middle of nowhere", Indiana.

We arrived in Chicago and had a "blast" with traffic.  There were so many interstates, turnpikes, and bypasses that we were getting on and off.  We didn't pay the first toll on accident because we didn't realize "electronic" meant the I-PASS.  Whoops, but we paid the rest of them! 

We arrived at the AirBnb around 8pm.  Our host, Ken, was very warm and welcoming.  He lived on the outskirts on Chicago, and 5 minutes for the Beverly geocache (next post!) which was perfect for our next leg.  The room was nice and comfortable.  We were able to sleep with the window open which felt nice....yay fresh air!  The price for the bnb was cheaper than a hotel.  We unfortunately didn't get breakfast.  Ken asked if we wanted any, but I told him that we were planning on leaving early (6am), and I didn't want him or his wife to wake up that early.

Overall, very busy day with about 12 hours on the road.  This will be our longest day driving, but it took us to two geocaching benchmarks, and I was able to see my childhood friend!

Stay tuned for part iii.....

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