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Your Webmaster arrived in Vermont on the 8th, taking the scenic, shorter, and more fun route up through Smuggler's Notch.

Why is it more fun?

At the top of the Notch the yellow lines down the middle of the road disappear, and you discover that you have to navigate your car around huge boulders where the road is barely wide enough for your car, let alone the guy coming the other way!

Beautiful day, though.  And along the way it was also going to be a great day for geocaching.  What's that?  Check it out...


Those in the UK (and other parts of the world) may be familiar with "letterboxing" where a box containing a rubber stamp is hidden somewhere and clues are provided to find the stash.  When you find the box, you stamp your log book with the stamp.  Sometimes there are little trinkets in the box that you can trade.  Geocaching is similar only you use a GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver to help find the cache.

Geocaches, like letterboxes, are hidden somewhere...anywhere...and they can contain all types of trinkets to trade, such as marbles, little action figures, small toys, and so on---nothing of real value, just fun things.  Much of the time geocaches are old ammunition boxes or plastic food containers.  Sometimes, though, they're a harder to find 35mm film container---or even smaller.  Sometimes the idea is to just lead you to a nice view or something else that's interesting.  And sometimes a geocache is a clue to another geocache...or a clue to another clue where you need to work out a puzzle.  How a geocache is set up and how you get to it is entirely up to the person who creates the geocache.  And there may be hundreds of them within a short drive of your house---in the city, in the woods, in the wall behind the Piggly Wiggly, atop Mt. Washington, at a rest area on a major interstate highway, hidden in a log in the woods---you get the idea.

To find a geocache you are given GPS coordinates, and you try to hunt down the geocache using your GPS receiver, any clues provided, and your wits.  When you find the geocache, you can fill in a log book (usually there's one in the cache) and trade some of the trinkets you find in the geocache if you like.  If you like, you can visit the main geocaching web site, create a free account, and log your finds there, too.

The GPS receiver I use is the GARMIN 60CSx.  It has a special mode for geocaching.  You don't need such a fancy GPS unit, though, as long as your GPS receiver tells you where you are and allows you to enter the latitude and longitude coordinates of a destination so you can see where you're going!

The geocache I went looking for in the Notch is called "'Smugglers Notch' Reborn".  Eventually I found it, but I'm not going to tell you where---that would spoil the fun!  It was a bit of a challenge because the Notch has a lot of tree cover, and that sometimes fools GPS receivers.  The cache turned out to be a yellow ammo box with a variety of trinkets.

In that cache were supposed to be "travel bugs" and "geocoins".  These are little objects that have a goal in mind, such as traveling around the world, visiting Florida, or visiting as many geocaches as possible in Vermont.  You can take these objects and move them to other caches that help the objects reach their goal.  Unfortunately it looks like someone got there before I did and removed the items, so I didn't get to move anything around to the other caches that I visited over the weekend.

Geocaching is a fun game, and it can be challenging at times.  Some caches are easy to find and obvious, others can be hidden well or buried in a puzzle.  One series of caches follows the old Middlesex Canal in Massachusetts, USA, and the only way to find the final cache is to work out the puzzle to find the first one, and using clues in the cache you find the second one, and so on.  There's about a dozen like that in the series.  Oy!  But many are just boxes tucked away somewhere and are relatively easy to find when your GPS leads you to the area.

Geocaching is fun for all ages.  Kids love the "treasure hunting" aspect.  All you need is a GPS and a bit of cleverness, and you're there.  Visit for more info.

After my big find at the top of the Notch it was time to find another further along 108...but I turned up nothing.  A geocache I tried to find later in the weekend left me hanging as well!  I went back to that one along 108 on my way home, and---this time---got it within a few minutes.  Sometimes it's like that.  It's all fun, though.

Not too far down the road from my geocaching adventures for that Friday was the Mellotron Ranch, so I topped off the gas tank in town and made my way down the dirt road to Casa Korb.  It's always good to see Jerry and Mali and hang out for the weekend.  This was no exception.

In addition to some food and a few brews, I brought along #805 to get a little bit of work done.  The audio was cutting out a bit, the pitch seemed a little unstable, and I wanted #805 to get the "anti flame-out mod" that Jerry came up with.  And, of course, we'd be unveiling the QDivision Mark II and doing a "virtual" unveiling of the Mark V.  So it was going to be a busy weekend!

Let's take a look at some of the "before" pictures of the restored Mark II and Mark V...-->