Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A brief introduction to geocaching

I sometimes forget that some folks are unfamiliar with geocaching. It's been a little hobby of mine for several years now; I was first introduced in 2001 by my buddy Jeff and after a slow start (I didn't get a GPSr, a key caching implement, until 2004) I was hooked.

So whenever Marcy asks me, "When are you going to blog about caching?", I tell her I'll do it when I get around to it. If it weren't for the pesky business of actually writing the thing, I'd have done it a long time ago. Recently, though, I learned that someone took care of the problem for me by producing a nifty little video. You can watch it here or check it out at, where you can learn more and get started yourself.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

crazy people on the road

Spotted on our way home from Shenandoah Valley:

DSC_0174There are some crazy political people out there in the world.

physical therapy

About 2 weeks ago, I started down the physical therapy road. Based upon the recommendation from Emily, I chose to go Sport and Spine Rehab in McLean.

In my first visit, I met with Dr. Tersigni (a chiropractor) and he diagnosed me with chondro malacia patella – an irritation of the cartilage of the knee cap.  I also had some x-rays taken (I wish I had them – digital x-rays are so cool!) and they basically show that the lower parts of my knee caps have much less cushion then the upper parts.

Dr. T specializes in the Graston Technique which I like to equate to medieval torture.  The technique Graston_Technique_Instrumentsinvolves rubbing (I know terribly technical term) potential scar tissue and/or adhesions that are preventing the fluid motion of muscles and joints.  So Dr. T has used the bottom 2 tools all around my knees.  It’s really not so bad – I would never say that it feels good but it doesn’t really hurt either.  It just really feels weird and my skin gets very red.  I’ve even had it produce some bruising after the fact.

There’s also the electrical stimulation to reduce inflammation.  It also feels weird but mostly feels fine.  Some times it feels like the leads are working their way off my knees.

And, of course, the exercises.  I haven’t done too much having only been about 3 times.  Just some stretches – hamstring, quads, calves, and IT band.  Calf raises. Lots of standing on one foot.  Front-and-back and left-and-right on a one-directional wobble board.  Monster walks.

I’ll be going for about 12 weeks.  I’m hoping to get stronger so that I can get back to running regularly so that I don’t get fat.  Dr. T said that the “crunching and grinding” will never get better but we can prevent it from getting worse.

shenandoah valley

For our last day we went for pancakes in McDowell which involved the typical really long, long wait. But the pancakes were again tasty, the syrup superb and they even had sausage gravy. We failed on a cache that was on a beautiful bridge in McDowell.

So on our way home we made a stop for a final cache along the Civil War Battlefield route in the Shenandoah Mountains. We had a nice view of the valley.

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As it turned out, I took a picture of the cache location before Will actually found the cache.

After finding the cache, we called up Will’s cousin, Heather, and were able to drop by their house for a quick visit with the family. It was so much fun!

Monday, March 29, 2010

yum. maple festival.

It would appear that the main purpose of the Maple Festival is to eat:

  • buckwheat pancakes with syrup
  • maple-glazed donuts
  • fresh pork rinds
  • BBQ
  • maple candy
  • maple funnel cakes
  • kettle corn
  • all the various baked goods you can think of
  • deep-fried oreos

First stop was at the local Ruritan club for our buckwheat pancakes with fresh local maple syrup and sausage with Uncle Charlie and Frances.  Thankfully, we were travelling with masters and were wisely advised to start the day early.  As a result, we only had to wait for our pancakes, both buckwheat and regular, for about 15 minutes which is short by local standards.  I wasn’t totally sold on the buckwheat pancakes but the syrup was tasty.

Visiting sugar camps in the countryside is one of the other main attractions of the festival.  So after breakfast, we all headed over to our first sugar camp of the day, Southernmost.  They weren’t making syrup but it was pretty and they had the best donuts.

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And the last ingredient of the festival is the crafts fair in Monterey.

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It gets really crazy busy so when we found a spot, we took it and walked the rest.  After checking out all the various crafters and waiting forever for lunch, we headed out into the country to visit a couple more sugar camps.

The first sugar camp was Rexrode’s which is an old school one man operation – very cool.

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Sugar maples are kind of odd looking.  Most trees are tapped with rubber hoses these days as opposed to hanging buckets.

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The evaporation table.  Will outside the sugar shack.
They have one tree tapped in the traditional manner.

After stopping there we drove just a few miles down the road to Puffenbarger’s, a very modern sugar camp – it had been rebuilt recently due to a fire.  They actually use modified diary equipment to “milk” the trees.

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At some point in the afternoon, we simply pulled over to the side of the road and enjoyed the beautiful breeze and the sounds of the South branch of the Potomac.

It was a fantastic day.  We even managed to get sunburned.  Folks told us that the weather was the best anyone could ever remember having for the festival. 

the road to sugar

The weekend before last we drove into the Shenandoah Mountains to visit Will’s aunt and uncle and attend the annual Highland County Maple Festival.  We drove out after I got home a meeting on Friday the 19th. 

Since we were exploring new areas of Virginia, we had to stop and get some caches along the way. Three new Delorme pages were covered.

My enjoyment of caching is often getting to take interesting pictures.  It’s particularly enjoyable when the weather is nice – which it most certainly was that day!  I was also just enjoying my freedom after a very long week.

Dayton, VA
Cache location; Turns out that Dayton is Amish country

Harrisonburg, VA
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a very clever cache – up in a tree in the Veteran’s Memorial Grove
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There was a neat old broken-down barn by the grove.

We arrived at the Davenport homestead in Monterey, VA shortly before sunset.  Here’s the view from the driveway.

cousin’s birthday

The “real” reason we had gone to New Jersey for the weekend in February wasn’t to order our dresser but to go into Manhattan to attend my cousin William’s 50th birthday party.

For various reasons, we’ve missed most of the other celebrations that they have held.  So it was great to finally make one and be able see family.


Very often lately we find that babies love Will which I find hilarious because he isn’t terribly comfortable with kids. This little guy (son of William and Katia’s friends) just kept coming over to him.

Cutting the cake – Katia, William Hideki and the birthday boy
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Cutie pie Bridget; William Hideki eating cherry tomatoes – that kid eats lots of interesting things.

~ Family Pictures ~

The Elders
The Adults
The Babies (they’re not really babies though)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

amish country

Way back in February (I can say that since it’s going to be April on Thursday), we went out to Lancaster County, PA with my parents to visit Amish country and order our dresser.

First stop, Martin’s to order the furniture.  We had to wait because there was a couple waiting ahead of us who were very chatty and annoying (at least in our opinion).  DSC_0383

But we were able to get everything ordered the way we want it.   We're waiting for a finish chip to make a final decision on color but the dresser should be ready some time in April.

That’s me after our success!

Afterward we went to look for a cache on a covered bridge.  I took the opportunity to take some pretty pictures of the countryside in the snow.

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After the sadly failed cache attempt, we went to have a smorgasbord lunch, hit up the farmer’s market for some goodies and Kitchen Kettle Village (we got there right as they were closing but we still got jelly) before heading on back to NJ.

ah, live writer

On a tip from my friend Susan, I downloaded Windows Live Writer which is a desktop blog-writing program.  I tested it using the previous Spring post and maaaaan, it’s so much easier.

What does that mean?

I get to catch up on a whole bunch of blog posts!

Get ready!

spring has sprung!

The high today may have only been 59 – though it felt much much colder – and yesterday it was only in the mid-50s too but Spring is with us. 

I took a few minutes yesterday to take pictures of my favorite signs of Spring.

Cherry Blossoms
This is the DC area so a big favorite is the cherry blossoms.  They are planted everywhere including in our neighborhood.

DSC_0223  A lot of folks don’t like them because of the allergies they cause but I love when the Barlett Pear trees bloom.  They closely resemble blooming poplar trees.

Daffodils are a big deal in VA.  There are stretches of highways and parkways that are carpeted in them.  I actually slightly prefer tulips but they aren’t out just yet.

Forsythia – it may be pesky and hard to get rid of but I love it!

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I call them “Tulip” trees but we learned during a trip to the National Arboretum that they’re hybrid magnolias. – LOVE THEM!


They aren’t quite ready but the dogwoods – Virginia’s state tree and flower – are budding so they’ll be out soon!