Monday, December 20, 2010

The Wedding......Marathon Style and a Geocaching Honeymoon

Kris: I've been trying to figure out how to break apart the pages and pages of content floating in my head about our trip and finally decided I'm going to try to consolidate my thoughts as best as possible into ONE post with just a couple pictures and a link to the whole album.

(good luck, right Honey?) :)

Mark: Right........

Kris: We had so much to do in the two days leading up to our 6am flight out of MSP we collectively got MAYBE 8 hours of sleep.  We were SO tired but SO excited when we got on our flight.  We arrived in Vegas and to our hotel around 1pm, high-tailed it downtown to get our marriage license and then primped and prepped for a fancy dinner.  Our boss, Jeff and his wife Janna, gave us a wonderful dinner at Mesa Grill (yes folks....the real Bobby Flay Mesa Grill!!!!).   It was fantastic to start our Vegas vacation with an evening just to ourselves with a few fancy drinks, entrees and desserts :)

Mark: By far the best dinner I have EVER had!! Thanks Jeff and Janna!

Mark showing off his sweet new hat he bought for the trip :)
My pre-dinner martini at Mesa Grill
Kris: Friday was the start to a very exciting but very busy and somewhat stressful weekend.   We were up and dressed in our wedding garb and at the Venetian by 6:45am to be part of a chilly live news segment about the marathon, the Running Elvi and the Run-Thru Wedding.   We got to meet a few other couples that all had such fun stories and look silly running in place while the LV version of Ma Rosko interviewed a few of us live on camera.

Mark: Kris fogot to mention how cold it was. By comparison to back here at home it was balmy, but standing around in just our running outfits at 7am was just cold.

Friday AM at the local news segment about the wedding
Kris: Friday afternoon we scurried to the Expo (unfortunately no nap as we had hoped!) and picked up our race packets and nabbed our bracelets to get into the Sunday night After Party for the first 5,000 runners to stop by the Wynn booth.  I was a bit anxious to get those FIRST and then come back to look at everything in the Expo.

Mark: What Kris is leaving out is that we had to be in line before the expo opened and as close to the front of the line as possible to get the VS After Party, at least according to Kris that is. The funny part is that late in the afternoon, they still had plenty of bracelets left.
Kris:  We splurged a bit of money to get sweatshirts and RnR jackets.  We figured this would be our one big purchase for the weekend.   And yeah.....over $300 in apparel counts.  One of the most exciting moments was when we got to meet Mark McGrath (granted it took me a minute to figure out who he was).  Mark: Let's be honest honey, I had to tell you who Mark McGrath was. Kris: He was super nice and was so excited for us to get married during the marathon that instead of one Snickers Marathon Bar (he's a spokesperson for them) he gave us a whole box!  He will also likely be in our final wedding video as he was kind enough to say a few words of good luck to the camera when our videographers from Forever Films (Charlie and Mike) showed up.

Then, almost simultaneously Mark's dad got into town and he, Charlie and Mike showed up at the Expo.   We walked around and took some fun video, then it was off to a fabulous dinner with Mark's dad at Canaletto restaurant at the Venetian.   We even had a fun, VERY Italian waiter named Mario :)

Then we took a long bus ride down to see Fremont Street in the evening and were very lucky to get there just in time to see the Queen Tribute.   Mark was jumping up and down like a kid in a giant candy store.   It was loud and bright and so much fun to people watch.  Mike and Charlie even got some great footage of a Dale Ernhardt impersonator dancing with a trophy.    I do wish we had a few extra $$ to ride the zip line that went down through the Fremont Tunnel during the show.

Mark: Kris is right I was super excited that of all of the Freemont shows that we could have seen, it was the Queen show, I LOVE Queen!!

Meeting Mark McGrath at the Expo
Fremont Experience during Queen Tribute

Kris:  Saturday was up EARLY to get going to Hoover Dam.  Unfortunately due to VERY large parking ramps, we had a bit of trouble finding the car but even with the late start, we had plenty of time to check out the Dam, get some great video and photos and even do the Power Plant Tour.  Before we left the area, we quickly crossed the border into Arizona to get a Virtual Cache and then walked out on the new Memorial Bridge.  I had to admit, that was a bit scary being over 800ft in the air over the Dam.   What an amazing view though!!

Mark: An amazing view that Kris refused to even stand next to the railing on the bridge and would not look down to the river. I was kind of funny.

(l to rt) Mark and Kris with our videographers Charlie and Mike
Kris: The rest of the day consisted of attending our pre-race meeting for all the wedding couples (about 30 getting married and another 30 or so renewing their vows), then off to a buffet dinner with my parents as they just got into town.   I will say though a highlight of our day was FINALLY getting to meet our friends Brandon and Theresa.  We have been connected only by following each other's blogs for quite some time now so getting to meet in person, then run the few few miles of the race together and hang out at the after party was a blast!  (You two to ya from MN!)

Mark: We were running late getting back from Hoover Dam and walked into the pre-race meeting a little late, granted we underestimated how far the convention center was from our room, and the convention center was in our hotel. I agree with Kris, Brandon and Theresa are awesome! I am looking forward to seeing them during their trip back to Minnesota in the spring.

Kris:  Race morning was a little stressful making sure we had everything in line and everyone had what they needed but when we arrived our meeting was the start of a party!  The Running Elvi and Wedding couples met in the same area to take group photos and rock out to Elvis music.

Mark: It was fun to take turns with the other wedding couples taking pictures with the running Elvi.

Pre-Race Photo with the Running Elvi
Kris: Unfortunately the camera we usually carry during races took a tumble and we didn't get any photos along the course.  But we did get some video and so did Charlie and Mike so once that is done you will get to see more of the course.   Running the first half of the marathon on the strip was so much fun and the group ceremony went beautifully.   Here's a link to the local news that captured the ceremony live.  If you look very closely, you can just see us, we are up very close to the reverend's podium, just to the right and in front of the "Run Through Wedding" banner.

Mark: I have to be honest I was sort of expecting the ceremony to be a little cheesy but it was really nice, beautiful flowers and they gave every bride a bouquet.

Kris: I won't dwell on it here but I'm sure my personal blog will continue to have a lot about my physical/mental struggle with an IT issue that has stopped me in my tracks more than once and caused me to have to take almost two weeks completely OFF from running leading up to the marathon.   I got in two therapy sessions with a physical therapist before the marathon that I know helped me survive the marathon.   I was hurting, but not like it had been in the previous weeks.   My endurance was down from not getting in all my long runs and mentally that was hard for me to overcome.   We had to walk a lot more of the second half of the marathon than I wanted to but we got through it.  Hand in hand we crossed the finish line for the first time as Mr. and Mrs. Kuhn.   Charlie and Mike tipped off the announcer to who we were so they called us out just as Mark went to scoop me up and give me a big kiss.  We got an "aw!!!" from the crowd so that was a very sweet moment for both of us.

Mark:  Kris does not give herself enough credit, she did great on the course. My legs were very tired by the end of the marathon and when I picked up Kris I had the briefest moment when I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to keep standing. (That would have been bad to fall down while holding Kris) The vast majority of the wedding couples ran the half marathon and just a very small handful, 3-5 couples ran the full marathon. Besides the fact that I picked up Kris across the finish line, I think some of the "aw!!" was also due to the fact we were the first full marathon wedding couple to finish race.

After crossing the finish line, I was scooped up for a kiss :)
 Kris:  I couldn't get the smile off my face from finishing but as my teeth started chattering from the cold, we grabbed our mylar blankets and quickly spotted our friend Mike LeSage and his wife and friends.   They were also in town from Minneapolis to run the half marathon.   They were sweet enough to bring us a bottle of champagne and as we stood there chatting, our glasses kept getting re-filled and we quickly polished off the bottle.   Let me tell ya, after finishing a marathon and having very few calories left in the system we were feeling nothing but GOOD (and tipsy).   It was great :)

Mark: Not only did they bring us a bottle of champagne but they also got us a very nice set of champagne flutes to toast our wedding and finish with.

Kris:  Again we had very little time so no nap to catch up on sleep.   Just a quick shower, a chilly ice bath and then off to dinner with the parents at House of Blues where we managed to inhale everything that was set in front of us.   Then we left to go to the after party at the beautiful club at Encore called XS.   Not a place I think I would typically want to go to but considering it was filled with nothing but runners celebrating their victory, it was pretty sweet!   I was still battling quite a bit of stinging pain in the left leg but it was a blast to hang out with Brandon and Theresa and down a few free drinks.   Well ok chatting with Theresa while watching Brandon work the pole was right up there with the free drinks in terms of entertainment ;) lol

Mark: The club was open from 7-10 just for the runner after party and the first hour was open bar so that was fun and explains the two fisted drinking. I need to find more reason to wear my new hat!

Kris:  Monday morning was another fabulous buffet for breakfast before we said goodbye to everyone and headed out on our own for our "honeymoon" vacation touring the countryside and geocaching our way in a rental Jeep.   I think this trip has thoroughly solidified our decision that our next vehicle needs to be a 4-door Jeep Wrangler so we can go off-road geocaching and bring the dogs and our bikes :)

Mark: I have been thinking about getting a Jeep for awhile and this was the perfect oppertunity to really get a chance to test drive one. Our rental was a 2 door and it was great but we definately need a four door.

Kris: Our first day started by zipping up to Utah to fill in another state of geocaching.  Then as we came back through Arizona and Nevada, we were going farther and farther into "Open Range" territory so it was a lot of open road, open land, no cities and lots of cows.   Right after we got started on the Extraterestial Highway, we pulled over on the road, turned off the Jeep and just stood outside the vehicle.  I think that was the quietest, darkest moment I have ever stood in.  It was amazing.   There were more stars in the sky than I think I have ever seen and even without the moon, it was surprising how much the stars lit up the ground.   We saw a couple shooting stars and even a UFO! (ok well maybe it was just a test rocket or "something" from the nearby Air Force base but seeing a light moving across the sky and them promptly do a 180 was a bit freaky for a second or two)  Standing in the middle of the road under that beautiful sky was surreal.   And how often do you get to steal a smooch standing in the middle of the night on the ET highway? ;)

Kris:  To summarize our accomodations on Monday night....uh....let's just say after getting there and realizing we had NO cell service, NO WiFi, not even any TV connections, then seeing the rough necks behind the bar and the local guy drinking at the bar telling us about all these crazy big things he's done in his life (including a stint as a competitive accordion player), we carefully ate the sandwiches we ordered, went to our room in the divided mobile home and promptly got ready for bed by curling up in our clothes with the lights on.   In hind sight it wasn't that bad and the owners are actually really appreciative of the geocaching community bringing business to our area.   The rooms were just a bit.....well....rough at the Little A'Le'Inn.

Mark: Yeah the Little A'Le'Inn was not as bad in the morning but Kris is right, it was more then a bit creepy checking in as late as we did, especially when a inebriated "Agent 51" was shareing stories with us. No idea what if anything he told us was true but his claim about driving a Jaguar was true, there was a Jaguar XF in the parking lot. I really can find us some awesome cheap lodging!

Kris:  We got up early the next morning and had the most amazing geocaching day.  (I'll try to spare you and summarize....)
  1. 104 caches total with about 50 of them from the ET power trail. 
  2. We hid a cache in Rachel, NV
  3. Were carefully watched as we neared the entrance to Area 51 (the "camo dudes" drove by us 2x and parked looking right at us while we were taking pictures)
  4. Drove 110 miles to the nearest gas station,
  5. Got a great view from a rest area that only the Jeep could take us to,
  6. Picked up the oldest cache in Nevada and
  7. Saw wild horses out playing and crossing the roads
Mark: We also got to give the Jeep a good test drive. On the way to the olest cache, it was about 20 miles off the main road on a "minimum maintence" road that kept getting worse and worse the farther we drove. I actually put the Jeep in 4x4 for the trip out because it was REALLY muddy and I wanted to make sure we did get out, again no cell service to speak of.

Wild Horses roaming in Nevada

Mark at the location of the oldest cache in Nevada (GCF9)
Kris:  Tuesday night we made a rather lengthy drive to get into California and spent the night in Death Valley.  It was much too dark for us to see anything driving down into the park.   And when I say down I mean we were driving downhill for about 20 miles.  Waking up and seeing the mountains was amazing.  It's such a beautiful area with so many places to explore, one day was definitely NOT we're planning to go back for a much longer stay :)   We picked up a couple virtual caches, an earthcache and one traditional on the way out.   Our main goal in going there was to get the virtual cache at Badwater (which is the start of the infamous Bad Water Ultra Marathon.  Getting the park caches also put California on our geocaching state map :)

Mark: The virtual cache at Badwater is the lowest elevation cache, -278 feet below sea level, in all of North America. We also got our highest elevation cache during the trip as well, over 6000 feet. Death Valley is definatly on the list for a future anniversary trip..

Kris:  On the way back to Vegas we had to stop and scrub off the Jeep.   Believe it or not we had to sign that we would NOT be taking the vehicle off-road (seriously?   It's a Jeep people.....) so we spent about $12 to avoid the $250 penalty.

Mark: That was the best $12 investment I ever made! ;)

Kris: It's so hard to summarize our trip but there was my attempt :)  The whole experience was fantastic and one-of-a-kind and while it's hard to be back at home and back to our insanely busy routine, I'm very happy and lucky to now be Mrs. Kuhn ;)

Mark: And as much fun as we had, and as tough it has been to be back here in MinneSNOWta, I am very happy to have a Mrs. Kris Kuhn in my life.



Friday, December 10, 2010

Pre-Wedding Details - written Nov 20th (late posting)

(so I KNOW this is a late post as I am starting the blog posts for our post-wedding updates.  I just realized I never finalized the content on this one with Mark and had him post.  Ratz.....  But I think it's still worth posting and stay tuned for our post-race posts that should be up in the next few days)

Kris: Again I have gone much too long since I've posted anything so a quick recap to get you caught up. Weight loss has been going pretty good. Kind of hitting another plateau lately at 140-141 but that means I'm down 15 lbs from the beginning of the year.

As for training.......below is a picture from the Monster Dash 10-mile (Oct 30th)

And here is a picture of our backyard, two weeks later, Saturday Nov 13th

Kris: So how do you think training have been going. Shitty, shitty.... 1) because of the slippery, snowy trail conditions and 2) because my IT band has been giving me serious trouble, especially when slipping or trudging through snow.   Mark has been amazing trying to keep me from freaking out but.....I'm still freaking out. I've been taping, stretching, rolling, Adviling and havent run more than like 5 miles in two weeks. Yesterday we went out for a 12 and I thought everything was feeling pretty good. But again, mile 5 my IT started to freak out. Inside my head I was just pissed but we continued the 12 miles, stopping about every mile for a very quick stretch since it was really cold out and we didn't want to cool down.   And now this morning my entire IT band is on fire. running until Vegas :( :( :(   I don't want to further injure myself and I have done enough training that I have the endurance.  I don't want to hobble through my wedding so it's off running until Vegas. I'm a runner, take away the run in me and I'm miserable but I know it's the smart thing to do. It's potentially going to cause me to slow my overall pace and probably struggle a bit more through the last few miles but I'm counting on adrenaline to carry me though and the ultimate goal for me is to successfully finish my first marathon as Mrs. Kuhn, hand in hand with my husband, and celebrate our new life together (not on crutches ;)

Kris: Here's what I have so far and THANK YOU!!!!! to our animal babysitters while we are gone, Marks' brother Michael and good friend, Steve.
  • Just found out we get to be part of a series of LIVE segments that will be done the Friday morning before the race for the local FOX news :)   All I know so far is that we need to be in our wedding attire and show up by 6:45am at the Venetian.  Fun!!   I did ask and I will get the links so I can post them here for you all to see after the race.   But for any of my Vegas readers we may have.....get your morning coffee and watch for us! :)
  • Finally get to meet our blogger/runner friends Brandon and Theresa!  They will be running the half marathon.   Kick tail you two! :D
  • Thanks to a generous wedding gift from my boss, we will be having a really nice dinner out together one night.
  • Saturday evening we will likely be spending with the videographers
  • Sunday - RACE DAY!   We only know so far that the marriage couples will be in Wave 14 and you can sign up to "track" us here: Keep in mind our first split time will look really slow since we will be stopped for the ceremony :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

#Geocache365: Week 13 - November 1st-7th

Monday: Day 85 - No way is that a winter friendly cache. Glad we grabbed it before it snows.

Tuesday: Day 86 - Too bad it is not a football stadium, what a waste.

Wednesday: Day 87 - Looks like an old road goes by this Mouse House.

Thursday: Day 88 - 3rd and an opportunity to get a picture of both of us together. Thanks 3humps!

Friday: Day 89 - A View From a Cache.

Saturday: Day 90 - I can see THE Mall from here.

Sunday: Day 91 - What time is it? It is about time to find the cache! Nice find after the game.

#Geocache365: Week 12 - October 25th-31st

Monday: Day 78 - "above his chamber door, With such a name as 'Nevermore.'"

Tuesday: Day 79 - More worried about being blown away then being shocked.

Wednesday: Day 80 - Mazel tov! Never knew this was back here, something new everyday. Shalom.

Thursday: Day 81 - Wait a minute! I think I found a clue.

Friday: Day 82 - Here fishy fishy fishy. Here fishy fishy fishy. That's a good fish!

Saturday: Day 83 - Nice find on a beautiful late fall afternoon and a very creative container.

Sunday: Day 84 - Happy Halloween! A quick pic with my niece before finding our cache nearby.

#Geocache365: Week 11 - October 18th-24th

Monday: Day 71 - It's October in MN, shouldn't there be ice here?

Mark: Down in the area for a business social meet & greet and on the way home we looked around to see what we could find. We liked this container a lot, very creative.

Tuesday: Day 72 - The Robbinsdale skyline at sunset, the watertower is a benchmark.

Mark: A quick find after work and our run and the sun is beginning to set a little too early.

Wednesday: Day 73 - I'm tempted to post a picture of the cache but it's better without spoilers.

Mark: Quick grab on our way to lift and soak at the club. I was really impressed by this container, I have seen other like it but not with the flair of creativity this one has. Juat don't let the Sergent from Toy Story so the container.

Thursday: Day 74 - Our favorite hobbies are Swim, Bike, Run, Geocaching and making shadow pics.

Mark: I have actually shared this hobby in the past and someday I hope too brew some more. We had fun making shadow puppets in the noonday sun for our picture.

Friday: Day 75 - Found the cache, did we stretch the limit on that one??

Mark: This was our second attempt, the first time was at lunch time and there was way too many muggles around. This evening, no one was around but it still took us more time the the parking sign allowed to find this cache.

Saturday: Day 76 - Am I missing something? That has got to be the loneliest playground ever!

Mark: We spent the morning at a local apple orchard and on our way home we decided to clean out a rural park. Five caches in less than 30 minutes but my favorite was the playground out in the middle of an completly empty field. I am fairly sure that the kids who play here are few and far between.

Sunday: Day 77 - Out for our 20 mile run and parked the support car 71 feet from a cache.

Mark: Planning for our 20 mile run we needed to park one of our cars about a third of the way on our out and back route. After the run we stopped back to pick up the car only to discover that we parked 71 feet from a cache, made it easy to grab our cache for the day.

#Geocache365: Week 10 - October 11th-17th

Monday: Day 64 - Rats! We found it. Spoiler Alert, but it was just too cute to pass up.

Mark: Out at lunch for a Sampling Survey, we arrived a bit early and figured we would gab our cache for the day.

Tuesday: Day 65 - What? Pass up on a chance to Geocache and grab a Cup of Joe? Never!

Mark: Had a fun morning with a few of our geocaching friends, unfortunatly the coffee house was a bit late in opening up this morning so we had to play hooky for a little while.

Wednesday: Day 66 - Reason #1 to make sure that you have a water proof bag for the log. A soggy log!

Mark: Now this was absolute MUSH! Please when you hide a cache make sure it is water proof and or that you have a ziplock to keep the log dry.

Thursday: Day 67 - Oooohhhh, Aaaahhhhh, Sparkly!

Mark: I have been looking for a GeoGem for a long time, we were down in Apple Valley  to pick up my Wedding Running Shoes and Kris noticed that a nearby cache might have the gem in it. So without telling me why we were off to find our cache of the day and a prize.

Friday: Day 68 - Caching by the cars high beams.

Mark: Down in Bloomington to visit Kri's sister new townhouse we of course had to find a nearby cache.

Saturday: Day 69 - A Game of Hangman, Geocaching Style.
Mark: MnGCA Fall event and plenty of activities to do and this was one of my favorites. We quickly narrowed down the search area and I was litterly on top of the cache but due to it's unique container I missed it the first time.
Sunday: Day 70 - Crap! That was very quick and easy this time, I have no idea how we DNF'd it.

Mark: Like I said, I have no idea how I missed this one the first time. If you know what to llok for this one is obvious and it was the seconf time, just laying out in the "open"

Monday, November 1, 2010

Quick Wedding Updates

I just realized that we've been so geocaching obsessed on this blog that I posted wedding updates to my personal blog but not here.   Sorry, here goes....

Not much real planning to do any more without the reception so we're basically just down to making sure we have all of our outfits in line. Mark picked up his wedding shoes a couple weeks ago so we are going to use them for short, clean runs to get them broken in between now and the wedding. I picked up my tulle and some other shiny, sheer fabric. I've got some fun ideas for my veil but now just have to figure out how in the heck to actually put it together.

We have completed our first 20 mile training run (which I affectionately call our "wedding rehearsal") and we both have our nutrition down pretty well.  I have been having knee pains which have been annoying to rehab but it's tolerable so far.  Been trying to stay on soft trails for our long runs.  We managed to hold a 9:20-something average pace for the 20 miler so I was very happy with that.

We've also decided that we are just going to do a potluck type get together with our immediate families and a couple close friends at Mark's moms house in mid-January when the wedding video is finalized.   Not quite the grand unveiling and celebration I was hoping for but at least the important people to us will be together.
The Course Map and Elevation Chart are also available now if you are interested in seeing the RnR route. The second half is a LOT of twisting and turning but luckily the final 6 miles are nearly all at a nice downhill grade.

You can also sign up for runner tracking HERE if you are interested in keeping an eye on how we are doing on the marathon. We will be running all of the marathon together so you will only need to really get updates on one of us :)
FOR OUR GEOCACHING FRIENDS (my shameless plug) - Be sure to follow my articles for fun geocaching related news and events. Geocaching in Minneapolis

Friday, October 15, 2010

#Geocache365: Week 9 - October 4th-10th

Monday: Day 57 - Resorting to some night caching when we DNF'd before having dinner with the family.

Kris: Unfortunately DNF'd an attempt before dinner with Mark's family before his Dad headed home to AZ so we had to go after dinner and therefore, in the dark. Mark: Now that the sun is setting before 7pm, we are having to find more and more of cache a days in the dark. Having o find  cache on the fly that can be found in the dark can prove to be a challenge. I think we got lucky tonight. This cache was a milestone for me, it was my 1000th cache find in Minnesota.

Tuesday: Day 58 - A truly very EVIL hide! It is a good thing that the muggle drivers are unaware of the evil.

Kris:  Aptly named puzzle cache in a high traffic area.  We were heading down the parkway on the way to the lakes for the run and wanted to get this one to verify the final coordinate placement. Mark: The published coords for this puzzle are in the middle of the nearby lake and during a run earlier in the day we saw a great place for a cache hide but we figured this cache was nearby. After our run I spent some time solving this cache to see if our potential hiding spot was available. Unfortunately not, but the moment when I realized how to solve this puzzle was fun.

Wednesday: Day 59 - Thank You for Geocaching!

Kris:  Near our favorite Lifetime club we had to again go for one in the dark.  Weather has been holding out for us though so it's just fighting the dark for the find, not the cold...yet. Mark: One of the things that makes night caching for #Geocache365 an issue is not necessarily finding the cache (in this case it was very easy and i got us to ground zero just using the satellite map on my iPhone) but rather trying to figure out what to take a picture of, my iPhone does not take the greatest nighttime pictures. After struggling a bit Kris figured out this picture and it turned out to be very appropriate. A second milestone this week, this is my 1000Th Traditional Cache. So Thank You!

Thursday: Day 60 - Ready, Set, Go! No bug spray required.

Kris: Had to make a quick find nearby to home so Mark could get to the recycling center and drop off an old TV.  Plus I wanted to get home to start a batch of turkey chili :)  Wishing I had my hiking boots on though for this one. Mark: To often caches are in the woods and there is not much around that makes for an interesting picture, not so today. The cache was just off a single track mountain bike trail that I have ridden on several occasions and right next to the trail is the very backwater scummy pond which today looked very pristine especially with the power line tower. I was also amused by the cache "container" and I could not help from dropping a veiled reference in the tweet for the day.

Friday: Day 61 - Must be Homecoming?

Kris: Over in St. Paul to use our Living Social coupon for a comedy show and came across a nearby park.   Funny there were two houses nearby covered in TP.  Hence today's description.   Cache was in an obvious beacon in the middle of what seemed to be a somewhat abandoned park. Mark: It is one thing to look at the geocaching map sitting at my desk and pick a cache to find in Mendota Heights on the way to a comedy club but when you get on site things take on a different perspective and grabbing a quick cache is a lot harder then it looked. After driving by our original intended cache an realizing there was nowhere to park we resorted to this cache which work out rather well.

Saturday: Day 62 - A skirt lifter. Sure, but which one?
Kris:  We were on our way through my old stomping ground to a 30th birthday dinner for my long time friend and came upon a cache with a name that implied it should be a quick find. Mark: A cache named "Skirt Lifter"? Sure enough, made for a quick P&G. Took more time trying to figure out what to take a picture of.

Sunday: Day 63 - 10/10/10! A day full of events with a Cherry on Top!!

Kris:  A fantastic day full of geocaching events!  The final event was from 10:10:10pm until 12:01am at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Mark: Nothing like looking for a cache with about 20+ other people and spending far to much time not finding it. After taking a few pictures and watching everyone else for a bit I decided to get my hands dirty and really give it a good look. After looking around the structure for a bit I came to the conclusion where I would hide the cache which caused me to pause and look around. Sure enough Gilby was standing there with a few other caches and it was obvious that he had the cache in his hands. After staring at him for a few seconds he said I suppose I will put the cache back so others could find it. He put it back right where I thought it should have been.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

#Geocache365: Week 8 - September 27th - October 3rd

Monday: Day 50 - Park Here! Really? Are you sure I won't come back and have to say Hi to the nice officer.

Mark: Driving out to Waconia for dinner with Kris's parents and since we did not bring a dog with it allowed us to head into the woods to grab a cache.  Kris: Now as you can see this doesn't really look like an actual parking space.  It was a bit nerve-racking leaving the car (hoping a cop wouldn't be ticketing it when we got back) but we had a nice walk into the woods where there were a couple of obvious beacons.  Luckily the mosquitos were down and we made our way to the right one.

Tuesday: Day 51 - A quick P&G despite what the previous logs indicate.

Mark: I met Kris at Byerlys for some grocery shopping and then we grabbed a cache in nearby Valley Place Park.  Kris:  Nothing too special about this find as we just had to find something for the day.  With the nice weather though we did have to pretend to look like we were hanging out behind the sign with a purpose other than looking around in the rocks for a pill bottle!

Wednesday: Day 52 - Good thing the "May Require Swimming" attribute was not selected.

Mark: Met Kris for lunch and we decided to grab a quick cache after dropping off some ZapEvent fliers at Downtown Dog.  Kris: Always nice to go caching along the river.   There were two obvious types of beacons to search and it was hard to search both quickly (before the meter cops came around) with lots of muggles on the trail.   Luckily we found it and could sit on the ledge without looking like we were obviously up to something.

Thursday: Day 53 - There are a lot of bulls-eyes around here, not sure which one to target my search.

Mark: Down in Edina for dinner with a coupon and to see Zola Budd and the new Newton Trail shoes at Gear running store, we picked up another of the CoJ puzzles that I had the solution for.  Kris:  Mark already had the solution to this puzzle and we happened to be in the area.  Unfortunately this is one where I wish they gave an altitude along with the coords.  Took a bit longer to search all options before we found it.

Friday: Day 54 - Nope, no deer tonight. Well except for this one.

Mark: A very quick stop on the way to Byerlys to grab some dinner.  Kris:  This one had a cute cache name and was a quick find walking along the sidewalk.   Traffic made it difficult to grab and replace though without being seen.

Saturday: Day 55 - Hangin with Marcy, reading our Delorme Map books.

Mark: In St. Paul for the Twin Cities Marathon Expo, we had a chance to park right next to this cache and we grabbed it on our way out. Kris:  Great spot for some cute pictures (as you can see).   The description and hint pretty much lead us right to the spot but again had to be mindful of muggles and pretend to be bending down for a reason other than to search benches undersides for magnetic containers.

Sunday: Day 56 - Believe it or not this view is only a few feet from the road, just like the cache.

Mark: We spent most of the morning cheering on at the Twin Cities Marathon but we forgot to grab a cache at the ALARC 20 mile wall so we ended up picking up a non-winter friendly cache near the house.  Kris: A quick find just a few feet off the road and finally a day without a location full of muggles!  Leaves definitely cover up a lot more hiding spots in fall though so there was a bit more digging to check all the possible spots before we found the right one.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

#Geocache365: Week 7 - September 20th-26th

Monday: Day 43 - Going back to correct a DNF. Success!!

Kris: A little bit of a swampy walk off the trail but nothing horrible. Surprised we didn't find it the first time, must have been shoved in a little too far last time we were here. Lots of those sticky bushes to dodge on the walk in and out and the mosquitos are bad!  Mark: Recently we DNF'd this cache while we were doing the Golden Valley History cache. Not one of my favorite types of caches to begin with.  The mosquitos were vicious and distracting all at the same time. We originally spent about 10-15 minutes looking for this one before calling it quits. This afternoon, we approached from the other side of the "bridge" and I had the cache in hand in under a minute. Sometime the environment can be distracting enough to cause a DNF.

Tuesday: Day 44 - 1st time we spent 30 minutes without finding it, 2nd time we found it in less than 5 minutes.

Kris: Another one I couldn't figure out how we didn't see it the first time.  Very busy stairwell with lots of metal so our minds both went to look for something magnetic.  Problem here is you can get to GZ and not know which level to look on.  Mark: Looks like we are starting the week by cleaning up a few DNF's. This cache was one of the puzzles originally included in the Cup of Joe puzzles edition where they provided the answers to about 40-50 puzzles. That CoJ event was over two years ago and to this day you will often hear cachers talking about it and asking if you have the solutions packet. I have held onto my packet knowing that eventually I would go back and grab all of the remaining available caches. This was our second attempt, the first time we spent more than 30 minutes looking and it was after dark, which may have been a factor, but this time in the daylight I walked right up and grabbed it almost immediately.

Wednesday: Day 45 - Grabbing a quick cache at lunchtime, trying to beat the dark clouds on the horizon

Kris: Fairly simple grab once we got positioned in the right parking lot.  Luckily there weren't too many people outside on their lunch break or it may have been a bit more challenging to get to the cache and not look suspicious.  Mark: Running errands and grabbing a cache has become a common occurrence since we started the 365 challenge. We know there was a forecast for a lot of rain this afternoon/evening (which turns out was an understatement, this was the day that all of the flooding rains fell on southern Minnesota) so we decided to get our cache find out of the way before it started raining.  But as you can see the clouds were on the horizon.

Thursday: Day 46 - A Red Herring! No. A Yellow Herring. No. A Yellow Duck???

Kris:  Love this one!  Not only did we fall for the cute trick left by the cache hider but the actual hide is one of my favorites so once I was re-directed I got it right away.  Pulled up to GZ and we had to choose between a couple medium sized trees and a lamppost.  Where would you look first?  Mark: Now this was fun and one of those occasion when finding a cache leads you to something completely unrelated but makes you smile. Pulled up to the cache coordinate and I quickly had a container in my hand, but to my surprise it was not that easy. The cache hider had placed a red herring in the OBVIOUS beacon and it simply stated "You didn't really think we'd place the cache in a lamp post did you? This is not the the cache, please try again, thanks for visiting..." I even took a picture of the note and container intending that to be our picture for the day but after finding the real cache, about 20 feet away we saw a much more appropriate picture.  Because our #Geocache365 is more about our experiences while finding a cache every day, who can resist a giant inflatable rubber duck?

Friday: Day 47 - One of these things is not like the other...

Kris: Ah, another one of my favorites.  An easy grab for me as this type of hide sticks out to me.  One of my first finds was of this type and I thought it was the most creative thing ever!  Beautiful little spot with the creek flowing through and not too much traffic driving by.  Mark: Our first attempt at a cache for today was a lot of fun but unfortunately the cache itself was missing so we had to fall back and find another cache nearby to go look for. We pulled up and were looking for about a minute when Kris said found it, and she was surprised that I had missed it, and so was I as this is one of my favorite types of caches and based on GZ I should have known to be looking for it. It is funny how much a cache like this stands out after you find it but if you don't know it is there you would never see it even though it is right out in the open.

Saturday: Day 48 - When worlds collide. Trail running meets geocaching. Birkie Trail Run 2010

Kris: A gorgeous place for geocaching!  A quick, quiet walk down the ski trail and a few feet off into the brush.   Pretty typical forest hide since this is an area where I don't think many people get off the trail. Mark: After finishing the Birkie Trail Half Marathon we drove back to the start line to find our cache for the day. How appropriate that our cache was right near the starting line and we actually ran within 30 feet of the cache when the race started. A beautiful day and the colors were amazing as you can see in the pic. 

Sunday: Day 49 - Shameless Plug :) "Skol Vikings, Let's win this game"

Kris:  Figured a good downtown cache would be good for us today.  Picked one quite a ways out from the stadium so muggle traffic wasn't too heavy.  GPS wasn't locking us in to one spot but knowing the size of the container it narrowed us down to just a couple of obvious beacons. Mark: Yes, I know that was a shameless plug, but they did win (Kris: barely!). Kris and I have been parking in her work parking lot and then walking about 1 1/2 miles to the dome for the game, which of course gives us an opportunity to look for a cache on our way. We had to spend quite a bit of time looking for this one as there was not many places to hide a cache at GZ and it eventually required a hand search of every nook and cranny and then I ran my fingers over it and it popped of out it hiding spot and fell to the ground. When I put it back I was shocked that I did not see it at all before finding it. Off to the game!! Go Vikes!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

#Geocache365: Week 6 - September 13th-19th

Mark: This past week was highlighted by Geocoinfest 2010 Mega Event on Sunday and the other events associated with during the weekend.  Kris: I won't lie, I spent the whole week looking forward to Geocoinfest! (Nerd stamp for me :-P)

Monday: Day 36 - Our Journey to find the cache
Mark: Another Monday evening driving out to Waconia, this time bringing Journey with us. We saw this cache along the river and drove a little bit out of the way but still got to the Chiropractor on time.  Kris:  Just into the trees on a muggle-filled trail.  One we like to run on actually.  Not a hard find, just had to dodge the mosquitos and help Journey down the slope.  Then it was a brisk walk back to the car and some quick driving to get to my appointment on time!

Tuesday: Day 37 - Tuesday Night Lights

Mark: Drove to Dred Scott field in Bloomington to watch Kris' niece's football game.  Kris:  We figured we would have to wait until the game ended in order to grab the cache.  The game was over (Lily played awesome!) and most of the parking lot cleared out so we wandered back to this little building and took a seat on the bench.  Made the find without looking too suspicious.  Gotta love the "shoe tying" trick ;)

Wednesday: Day 38 - Sometimes you have to find them in between the rain drops and still run into another cacher

Mark: As we were debating about what cache to find for the day a new cache was published not to far away while it was raining and getting dark. Kris:  We can't resist a good dash to try for a FTF.  Fortunately it wasn't raining too hard when we parked.  Unfortunately we were parked on the wrong side of the pond so we had to leap the creek and saw a bright yellow jacket wandering in the woods.  Sparkfry was already at GZ.  It was getting dark but luckily Mark made the find but blindly sticking his hands into crevaces in the trees (not really my thing in the dark).  We ended up STF with Sparkyfry as someone else already signed FTF.  Gotta be quick around here!

Thursday: Day 39 - Not your typical cache and certainly not Tupperware in a Log

Mark: We had an errand to run down in Bloomington during lunch time and along the way I found this unusual cache for us to find.  Kris:  Wow now this is one where you are kind of uncomfortable no matter how many times you check "yes it really does say placed with permission!"  This one almost bordered on a multi or puzzle cache since it actually took figuring out a bit of trivia and then going to two locations in the building to find.  After doing the trivia, you end up with a 5 digit number and when you go to the Suite that is listed, the "cache" is pretty obvious.  Very fun and clever.  Might be a bit weird though when the office at that suite is actually open for business!  But I'm sure they all know what's going on and get a good kick out of it :)

Friday: Day 40 - Potluck, S'Mores and a random TB Frog

Mark: The GCF S'Mores event was in Crosby Park and we took the opportunity to get in our run before attending. The event was not our planned 365 cache for the day but due to really poor quality pictures taken in the dark at a cache we resorted back to a picture we took earlier in the evening at the event.  Kris:  Days are getting much too short on us in terms of daylight!   This ended up being a huge event with over 250 people in attendance and some super cool travel items to discover.   This big dude was my favorite and cool enough to be today's 365 picture.

Saturday: Day 41 - Trolley? What Trolley? Oh, I get it now. It helps if I actually read the entire description

Mark: Part of the GCF Minneapolis cache run, this cache was in a fairly remote part of Edina, we never new this was back here.   Kris:  I can't even begin to tell you how much I wish I had my running shoes on.  What a fantastic trail that we never would have discovered had it not been for geocaching!!  And this tree at GZ was beyond huge.  Wonder how old it actually is?

Sunday: Day 42 - MEGA Event!! Geocoinfest 2010 - Volunteering, Geocoin Poker, Pathtags and Geocoins! So Much Fun!!

Mark: The Mega Event was at the Holiday Inn near the airport and there was so much to do through out the day. What a great event!  Kris: Today was go, go, go!  We had to start the day with a 12 mile run and then off to the Geocoinfest event for all day fun!  First we volunteered at the Silent Auction table which was a blast since we got to chat with so many cachers as they browsed the table.   We scanned the vendors that were there and spent the afternoon chatting and pathtag trading.   We ended the day by playing in the Geocoin Texas Hold'em tournament.  I had no idea what I was doing but we both hung in there about half way through.  We stuck around to see the winner and made our way home, exhausted from a long, exciting weekend :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Geocoinfest 2010

Kris: This past weekend was go, go, go, go, go!  The Twin Cities had their very own super awesome nerd fest at Geocoinfest 2010.  There were events to attend Friday night through Sunday night.  So here's how it went for us....

Friday night - "Let's Make S'Mores!" event

We needed to get in a 3 mile run today so we decided to head to the event and run along the river trail through the woods in St. Paul.  Unfortunately we didn't remember to bring the GPS along on that run because our turn around point was within feet of one of the cache run caches.  We got back and filled our faces with potluck type food and a 20oz bottle of Mt. Dew.  Mark: After our run we were a bit warm and was still in our running gear during dinner. Afterwards we changed into some warm clothing so we could go caching. It was funny later in the evening when MnMizzou saw us and commented that we had put some clothes on. Kris: We had some time before the door prize drawings so we took off and meet up with our cacher friends Sharknose Bunnies and Trista74.  Of course it got super dark and with about 10 minutes to get back to the picnic area we all decide to trudge up a terrain 3 to pick up one more cache.  With like 2 minutes to get back, we made the find and started the trek back. 

Sharknose signing the log in the dark
Hope I didn't seem totally unsocial as I was power walking to make it back.  Never fails if I'm not there....I'll miss winning something!  (Which I didn't by the way but they had a ton of great prizes!).  We hung around to chat for a while longer, made a few s'mores and event traded a few pathtags before we headed out for the night. Mark: During the S'mores event another cache apporced us and asked if we had any of our Coffee Love pathtags with us, it turned out to be Mayberryman, who we ran into at a cache in Iowa back in April on our way to MOGA. It was really cool to talk with him and trade pathtags.

Saturday...Cup of Joe, Cache Runs and the Meet and Greet.
It was early up on Saturday to get to the Caribou at the MOA for the Cup of Joe.  There were so many cachers here and we got to chat with some folks from Iowa and Nebraska.   Also again got to trade a few pathtags :) Mark: At the event we finally got to meet Tank Hounds, who we have have found her pathtags in cache when we have been traveling on a couple of our longer outstate road trips. We also both one something during the prize drawings at the end of the event. Kris got a Cup of Joe geocoin and I won a trackable Patch.
Cup of Joe Mall of America - Saturday AM

At 10am we all took off to pick up caches for the cache runs.  We had to get a minimum of 4 caches from the cache sets designed for the LRT, Minneapolis and St. Paul.

We opted for the Light Rail first.   It was a bit crowded as there were a lot of people heading down town for the Twins Game (yawn!!!) but we got about half the caches on the route.  Due to time constraints we decided to get the rest of the LRT caches a different day. Mark: Which will make for a another fun afternoon, we can start at the new Twin Stadium (yawn!!!) and pick up the remainin LRT caches from the north.

 No idea what these are but they were at the 2nd stop along the light rail.  Made for cool pictures.

Next up we went for the Minneapolis caches and picked up some Jamba Juice for lunch.   I was so starving I was getting faint!!  We managed to find two really great trails that we want to investigate for trail running while picking up caches in Edina.  The one back to this one REALLY made me wish I had my run shoes with me!  We got back to the cache to find this enormous old tree! Mark: During the Minneapolis cache run we picked up 4 pathtags in the caches taht we found. Kris was hungry before our first Minneapolis cache and I kept promising that we were on our way to Jamba but out route took us litterly right by two caches, within 50 feet of one cache so WE HAD TO STOP, it would have been silly not too.

Mark showing his climbing skilz at Trolley?"

Then it was back up to the house to feed the kitties and let the pups out 2 P before we rounded out the day by picking up the St. Paul caches.   We were running late to get to the Meet and Greet so we found 3 along the river trail.

Cache in the rocks in St. Paul

(And by the way, not sure if you can tell from this pic but we are wearing our new trackable visors.  We had the idea to have custom visors made with the travel bug symbol on the front and a trackable number with our geocaching handles on the side.  Every one thought they were a really cool idea :)

Our last St. Paul hide was by this group of Snoopy character statues.  I couldn't help myself in this pic.  C'mon...he's holding a GPS!! Mark: And the cache was not even hidden at the statue with the GPS, it was hidden on one of the other charaters.

Me and Charlie GPSin' in St. Paul

The evening finished with dinner and door prizes at the Holiday Inn. Mark: Kris is forgetting to mention that she also one something at this event as well. They were drawing names in one of the conferance rooms and called Kris', she was in the Bar at the time and I ran to go get her as they were counting down from 20 if your were not ther to claim your prize. Kris slowly got up and I had to yell for her to run as quickly as she could. She got to the room as they were chanting 3, 2.... Close one. She won a pathtag.

Sunday - Geocoinfest!
Our morning needed to start with a 12 mile run so it was up early again.  We got in our run with the group MN Running Wild which worked out great and we met a few new running friends.   Then it was a quick stop at the Lifetime Fitness to shower and off to the main event!   Mark and I volunteered working the Silent Auction which was a ton of fun.   We got to small chat with so many cachers from all over the US. Mark: While we were working at the silent auction, I learned which coins were Mystery coins. For those who might not know, there are cachers who have geocoins made up so they can leave them anonymously in caches and events, even mailing them secretly to other cachers/coin collectors. All weekend long cachers were finding geocoins that had been left in various places during all the events. Unfortunalty we did not find any, but several of our friends did find coins. Kris did get a couple of geocoins that I secretly bid on for her during the auction.

There were a number of major geocaching vendors there selling some really cool shiny objects :)  And unfortunately we didn't win any door prizes but we got to do a mass trade of trackables that I currently had in my possession and again trade a few more pathtags.

The evening we decided to buy in to the Texas Hold'em game where the winner got a full set of non-trackable poker chip geocoins and got to split the pot of 144 unactivated geocoins with 2nd and 3rd place.  I held my own for about the first hour or so. I wasn't the first man down but didn't make it real long. Mark: Buy in was 3 unactivated coins per person, I had to buy a grab bag of coins from a cacher who was willing to save me the cost of shipping and brought them with them to Geocoinfest. During poker I was doing fairly well to start out and I did last a bit longer then Kris. We started with 6 tables and I made it to the final 3 tables. I went all in and Anne the Geocaching lacky decided to call my bluff. Thats was OK, becuase earier in the afternoon when Kris and I meet her gave us one of the 2010 Lacky coins.

This is what I look like when I have NO clue what I'm doing.

The evening ended with watching the final rounds of the Texas Hold'em game right around 8pm.   I was SO tired but it was such an exciting weekend of being a total nerd.  Just like I like it ;) Mark: Kris was gettting tired, a little bored and she was really hungry but I wanted to make sure that we stuck around to the end becuase traditionally that winner gives each player one of the poker chip geocoins that were used to play with at the final table. So we each walked away from the Poker event with two poker geocoins, one from our swag bag for just playing and one from the winner. We also got another pathtag in the swag bag so not  a bad evening!

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