US Trip 2018 – Day 23 – HMD

In Out caching
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The route this day took us from Twentynine Palms to Twentynine Palms, via several hundred geocaches.
A long day, and a new personal record 😀

Approximate time on road/out caching:  15 hours, 40 minutes
Total miles driven: 233.4 mi / 375,6 km
Total cahes found: 561
Total DNF: 0
States visited: California
Famous places visited: None
Most memorable cache: GC6ZQNB Special Teacher
Biggest surprise: The traffic
Weather: Sunny
Highest temperature: 37,8°C+ / 100°F+
Lowest temperature: 25°C / 77°F

Early up, again

We know some people hate them, but we enjoy doing power trails. At least sometimes. They are a lot of work, so we would not enjoy doing them to often. Some power trails are better than others, and we’ve had very good experience with the Hearth of the Mojave trail (HMD) before. So this day we had nothing else planned than finding as many caches as we could.

We left the hotel in Twentynine Palms 4:45am, so we could get to GC45ZET HMD-0181 as early as possible. That was the first one we hadn’t found before. We logged the first cache (0181) 06:31am.

Traffic

We probably should have expected it (when caching on Labor Day), but the heavy traffic did surprise us a bit. Luckily for us, the shoulder was wide enough that we could park safely at every single cache. And the awesome car handled the softer spots very nicely.

Do we need gas?

The indicator for “miles remaining” got reduced with 10 miles per mile we drove. Not knowing the car well enough, and not wanting to risk anything, we decided to turn around when we got to GC461G5 HMD-0335. The closest gas station was behind us, at Vidal Junction. And we were driving further and further away from it.

The detour did cost us about 1 hour and 10 minutes, so we decided to buy a gas can and get some extra gas as well (spoiler: we didn’t need it). It was crazy expensive, but still better than running out in the middle of the desert.

It’s a sign!

We’ve been on this road before, and we’ve stopped at the crazy sign post before. But GC6ZQNB Special Teacher was new since last time, and a great reason to stop here again 😀

More traffic

The traffic didn’t stop yet, and it did cost us some time having to wait for the right time to get back on the road. It was annoying, but still manageable.

Much better

But when we got to GC46265 HMD-0422, and took the turn towards Twentynine Palms, we left the traffic behind. This part of the route was so much better. Both less traffic and nicer scenery.

Another beautiful sunset

We continued until we got to GC4666M HMD-0738, which was the last we hadn’t found along this part of the trail. We made it just in time before the civil twilight was over, and it got too dark to find caches without flashlights. We logged the last cache at 7:41pm, 14 hours and 56 minutes after the first of the day. That is roughly one and a half minute per cache.

We made it!

We started the day hoping we would get to 3-400 finds. But as the day progressed, we started to realize that we had the potential to actually find all of them (all along this stretch, without continuing towards Amboy), and set a new personal record. And we actually did it! A new personal best for both of us – 561 caches in one day! We stopped for some well deserved food and rest after finding the last one.

No need for extra gas, luckily…

We didn’t need the extra gas. But since we didn’t need, or wanted, to drive around with a full gas can, we decided to put it on the tank. That was easier said than done. The US gas cans are a lot more complicated than the Norwegian ones. And even though we’ve used them before, it seemed to be impossible to figure out how it worked today. I think the design have changed since the last time.

The task was too hard, so after spilling more on the car, myself and the parking lot than I managed to actually get into the tank, we just gave up. We gave the can (with the gas) to the nice hotel receptionist instead. We can’t bring the can home with us anyway, so that was the best solution 😛

Pictures

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