A new spot




We had plans to head over to Pat & Leanne's after church this morning for a nice Easter dinner. On the way I decided to take my time and take a couple of roads that I don't normally drive. I ended up going down the Schultz Road between the Rice Lake Road and Howard Gnesen. Along the way I passed a yellow gate that I don't recall ever seeing there before (probably because I hardly ever take this route). I backed up and read the signs posted at the gate which identified the gated road as a St. Louis County Forest Management Road open to basically all traffic except vehicle traffic. With some extra time to kill I parked the truck and headed in for a hike.

I was surprised at what I found. I was never aware of this huge parcel of land here before. It was full of trails. I came upon a family that was taking advantage of the beautiful morning on a 4-wheeler and 3-wheeler plus one doing some hiking. I spoke to the hiker a couple of times (the mom) and she gave me a good idea of the size of the land as well as where it's boundaries are. I'll need to go back with the GPS now (and a couple of cache containers) to locate a couple of good hiding places that help other cachers to realize the area. I hiked in, heading SW mostly, for about a mile before turning around and heading back to the truck. She told me on the way out that I had likely reached the limit of the land heading in that direction, but that the land came very close to the Poulin Road as well as Howard Gnesen.

After I left I realized that I've been on this before as a kid, but not from this direction. I remember having a campout on weekend in Boy Scouts where we hiked for quite some distance behind one of the leader's houses. It turns out that we were on this parcel of land as it stretches from the Howard Gnesen Road to the Rice Lake Road.

I'll definitely need to get back here and check this out further. I'm thinking I can put 3 or so caches in here and have them spaced a great distance apart....



Grandma's Sports Garden, Canal Park




Natalie and I headed down to Grandma's Sports Garden in Canal Park tonight for dinner. We had a 2-for-1 coupon and haven't been there in many years (I think I was still in high school the last time I was there).

Now I'm not one to really review restaurants as I don't care much what I eat but I'll make a slight attempt here. Who knows, I may even get better at it as time goes on.

We ended up starting out with the Honey BBQ wings as an appetizer. I'm not sure why we get the appetizer as most of the time we end up taking half of our meal (or more specifically, half of HER meal) home with us each time (although not this time). Anyway, the wings were excellent! Usually when we order wings at a restaurant we'll get some sort of buffalo wings (be it hot, mild, burn your face off, whatever). I wasn't too keen on getting the BBQ wings at first figuring they'd be bland and boring but I was pleasantly surprised. They had a very good honey taste to them. Makes me want to go back just for the wings...

Once we finished up the wings the waitress brought out the food. I ended up going with a New York Cheese Steak sandwich. I must say that I was less than impressed with the sandwich. At first appearance it looked great - it was longer than most similar sandwiches I've had. The problem was that, while there was more bread and cheese than most places, there was a similar amount (or less) steak IN the sandwich than most places. It resulted in the steak being spread very thinly over the sandwich. I had numerous bites of the sandwich that were nothing more than bread & cheese. Unfortunately (for me) I didn't order the bread & cheese sandwich - I ordered the steak & cheese.

We also had the problem once the main course arrived of never seeing our waitress again. Well, that's not quite true. We saw her many times as she walked by, tried to flag her down once or twice for some refills, but didn't get any refills until near the end of the meal.

Like I said when I started, I can't really review food too well as I don't care what I eat, but there are limits. The number one thing that irritates me when we eat out however is poor service which is what we received here.

We took the comment card that was included with the check and filled it out. The comment card says to drop it in the comment box near the door, which we looked for and didn't see. Maybe we missed it or maybe it wasn't there.... I'm planning on mailing the card in to Grandma's along with a short letter to let them know of our experience.



Caching policies




Busy couple of days for the MnGCA. We received word on Monday that caching has been banned in Eden Prairie parks. We've been working quickly to organize a group of folks to work with the Eden Prairie Parks Commission to restore caching to their parks. That was the bad news.

Today we received word (totally unexpected) from Cloquet that Cloquet has adopted a caching policy which, when you read it, reads very similar to Duluth's.

Someone mentioned to me today that while the policy is great, no policy would have been better. I told him that I wasn't sure that was true. A policy on the books gets cachers in the front door, so to speak. The best sort of policy (for both sides) is one like Duluth's (which I consider the model policy). If you don't have a policy on the books then it's easy for a community to come along and say that they don't allow caching. Once it's there it's harder (in my mind anyway) for them to take it away.



Caches in Jay Cooke




I decided a couple of weeks ago that it was time for me to put out some more caches in the area. I have a number of them out there (30 including two disabled for maintenance), but I've slowly been archiving the ones that I'm less than happy with. There are a few that are on my mental list to archive but I don't want to go through the effort right now (ie. I'm lazy) to go retrieve them (it's easier in the winter), so they'll probably sit until then. Once winter comes I'll be able to easily get to the cache site, but probably not be able to find the cache, so then they'll sit until the spring. Then the cycle repeats itself all over again.

One of the ones requiring maintenance (Point of Rocks) will probably get pulled in the next day or so. I'll get the logbook and contents dried out and hopefully will get it back in place in a couple of days (weather permitting). The other one (The Signs of Rice Lake) I haven't decided on yet. The container may be missing which should make it interesting as the last time I did maintenance on the cache container I couldn't find it myself and had to have a recent finder show me where it was. If I can find it I'll probably replace the container with something a little more weatherproof (probably an ammo can).

So, back to the title... Caches in Jay Cooke. Like I said earlier, I decided a couple of weeks ago that I wanted to place some there. I've actually wanted to do this since the MnGCA worked to get the ban lifted. I mentioned to Esko yesterday that I was planning on putting a number of caches (7) out there. I had scouted out my locations on the map and was planning on calling the park manager to discuss it on Monday.

Esko told me that Jay Cooke was the target of a new cache he was planning which would, when finished, cover a very large portion of the park, east to west, on both sides of the river. I think he said something like 24 stages. A true Gauntlet cache. He offered (multiple times) to work with me since I also had my eye on the park. Esko was way ahead of me on the planning stages however - he had hiked his cache route twice and had spoken to the park manager (who was very receptive) twice. I had only done a little bit of chicken-scratching on a map that night.

In the end we decided that I would work on putting a few caches in the park and we would work them into his Gauntlet cache. Thanks Esko!



Caching in the rain




Since I get out of work a little earlier on Sundays (usually 10:30pm), I normally try and hit a cache or two if there is one that is relatively close to my route home (relative is really.....relative - sometimes it's within a mile or two, other times it's within 10 or 15 miles).

There's a P&G at UMD that I've been going to do for a while (only because it's on my 'nearest' list and I know it's one I can do quick and easy). I figured that, since it's raining, I may as well do that one. I had scouted it out some before with the kids in the truck and then talked to Esko and DLH to get a decent idea when to do it. I knew that, given the location, late on a Sunday night would be the best time.

First off, when I approached I found an excellent hiding spot in the "work of art" that was there. A spot that was not visible to 99.9% of people in the area yet would support a magnetic container pretty well (I assume it was steel), or even a small container on the ground. I checked the spot out a couple of times as I couldn't believe the cache wasn't there. After consulting with my GPS I learned that the cache was actually a lamp-skirt cache. This is the second lamp-skirt cache that I am aware of in the Duluth-Superior area.

To top the story off (don't get excited - this isn't exciting): While I was signing the log, in the mist, at about 11pm on a Sunday night, crouched next to a lamp pole behind some bushes, an older (for a college campus) guy comes out of one building and headed over to the sports building. I am pretty sure he was a maintenance guy that works at UMD. Why he didn't stop and question me, or at least call the cops (or maybe he did?) is beyond me. After looking the area over for myself, I looked like I was there waiting to do something...bad.



Summer is here?




Hal says that summer is here. Obviously weather in LA is a lot different than northern Minnesota. It snowed here.



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