Wednesday, 9 January 2013

And now we have to be smart too!

Sunday 6 January

Sunday was a day of recovery, which we most definitely needed!  We didn't get out of bed before 10 or 11pm if I recall this correctly and breakfast.... Forget it! A cup coffee was all we could stomach.  We did sleep, but I can tell you, not very comfortable on a full stomach.  However, we have survived and it is just one more experience that we can add to all our memories. :-)  Later in the day we managed to eat a pieces of the  left-over Galette that Mireille had insisted we take home.  By then I felt a lot better and was able to appreciate it, which I would not have been able to the night before.  This was the almond paste Galette and it had the most beautiful fragrance and taste.  Frank was the lucky one to find another of those figurines, but handed me the crown.  I should't put the picture on the blog, because after the previous night I was still looking worse for wear:

The rest of the day was spend on recovery and working on my blog.  Not only the update, but as I had wanted to make it private for a while I thought it was just the time to do it.  Another headache, though, because everything to do with computers and internet is never straightforward.  I hope most of my readers/followers have now been successful.

Monday 7 January.

If the situation with the car would have been different we would have loved to make a trip to Geneva and/or Turin, as was our plan before the holiday, but with the situation in hand we have decided against it.  Instead we concentrate on short trips in the neighbourhood, which means: geocaching!

Late Sunday night I had quickly prepared another list, so early Monday morning we set off in westerly direction to cross the Rhône river into neighbouring Ardeche..  We haven't been much further than Hautrives yet, so time to go exploring.  On the list I had a multi-cache (2 and 3 stars difficulty), a few fairly easy ones and an 'unknown' or puzzle cache (3.5 and 2 stars).

We had planned to leave the multi-cache for a while, to see if we would have enough time left at the end of the day.  So we head for the first easy one on the list, just past Hautrives, but here we are off at a bad start, because after a fairly muddy path we have to cross the Galaure, a fast flowing stream.  Although we are in a 4WD, it's not ours, so we decide against it.  We may find a different road later on.

Next is Eglise Sainte Agnés, a beautiful little old church, again on top of a hill, like all the others.  We get there easily enough and also the cache is an easy find.  We walk around, take some pictures and since it is such a nice spot we have our morning tea in the grounds of the church.

I would love to come back to France in summer.
Such lovely picnic places everywhere.

Even a 'dunny'! (which I haven't tried out)

Real old leadlight windows (11th century)

Beautiful views of course

The priory.  A later addition of the 18th century.
The earlier one was destroyed during the religeous wars in the 1500s.

A remarkable type of window
Next one on the list is Japperenard.  The hint (miaule minou - the cat mews) doesn't make sense at all, but Frank finds the cleverly hidden cache almost instantly after we have established that the coordinates must be correct.

Poor Frank looks already worn out and we haven't even started...
Then it's time for more serious work: The puzzle cache.  It's a series of 5.  Four caches contain the puzzles which you have to solve to find the coordinates for the 5th one.  And even then you're not out of the woods yet.

Number one is La Hachoire on the Rhône river.  It's a pumping station which is translated into English as 'mincer'.  I don't believe the two have something in common.....  We thought it would be an easy drive, but our GPS is not helping us a lot today.  We're sent into a dead end near a stream.  We walk a distance, but there is no way we can make it out onto the road anywhere so we turn around and find a different route.  A more successful one.

The wrong route, but a pleasant walk...

Back to the car
The cache is an easy find, near this place:

The pumping station - I guess from this angle it looks a bit like a mincer...
The puzzle it contains is something else:

At home it took us a long time to solve this one.  I knew about Pascal's Triangle and the Fabonacci Sequence, but this one had me stumped.  It took the help of dear daughter-in-law to solve this one.  It appears to be a Look-and-Say sequence, and once you know what to do the number is easily found.
Anyone who wants to have a go?  No prizes, but I can give you the answer to this one. :-)

We could have walked to the next cache, but we didn't realise it was so close by: On va se baigner? It's also on the river, hence the question: Are you going for a swim?  Nope. It's so cold and windy, I wouldn't even dream about it.  Luckily this cache again is an easy find and gets us quickly out of the cold back into the car.

It doesn't look quite so inviting for a swim, does it?

This puzzle contains Roman numerals.  It's just a matter of converting them and adding them up.  No problem.  This cache also contained a TB (short for Travel Bug).  Our second one after "The Helping Hand".  It's a cute little lyon that wants to go back to South Africa.  Well, we'll take it home to deposit it in a cache downunder.  It's probably the long way around, but it might want to do some travelling.

On to the next one, which was to be: Le Chateau?, but since I forgot to look at the numbers on my list and the next one was also close by we walked to the wrong one: Tailwhip & Nollie-flip.  The walk led us between these old walls to a skate-boarding enclosure for the youngsters.

We found the cache, complete with puzzle, but had problems hiding it discretely as a young man was walking his dog.  He kept watching us.  I figure he thought that those two oldies without (!) skate-boards were acting a bit suspiciously.  :-)  Because of all this going on I forgot to take pictures, but at least I got a picture of the puzzle question.  (We take pictures of those things.  Much easier than writing everything down and you can't loose your notes.)

The question is sports related, and although we are not sports people the answer wasn't too hard to find.  It also helps when you have a rough idea what your coordinates should look like.  The question was: what number do the following sports have in common: cricket, soccer, field hockey and American football.

Back at the car we had lunch and when we were checking the coordinates for the next cache we discovered that we had skipped this one and had actually walked past.  So, back to the walls, however, on the other side of them:

A few acrobatics were needed to get to the spot

I got up there too for the search, but went down earlier so I could take pictures

And the last question was: Over a period of 4 years, how many months have 28 days?  A tricky one this one!

As there are two answers that I want to check at home and one that we can't even get close to solving there and then, we make our way home, with the intention to pick up one of the earlier caches that we couldn't reach and the last one on the list, which I thought was an easy one.  However, I had forgotten to save that one in the GPS and put in the difficult multi-cahche instead: Sur les terres de Rathérius. Fortunately it was still early in the afternoon and we had plenty of time for a walk, because walking we did!  The coordinates only led us to this information board

on which we had to find two numbers to calculate the coordinates for the next step.  This appeared not to be too difficult, but, as you know I still don't know how to input new coordinates in the compass of my mobile phone.  So, we use the trick that we have used earlier at le Chateau Bressieux and try to walk to the spot closest to the correct coordinates.  Not easy on a long distance.  We try several roads and paths until we get to one which allows us to look for the details that we need for the next stage, the coordinates for the cache.

One of the problems is that the translation for the newfangled wind generators does not appear in my 60s dictionary, so we don't know what we are looking for, until we see a number of those wind mills in the distance and try to count them through the haze of the afternoon.  From the angle where we are we can only guess the number of windows of a tower that we should see and with what we've got we put together the new coordinates, and...... start walking again.  However, without a map to project your N-S and E-W lines it proves to be too difficult.  We have a nice, but unsuccessful afternoon stroll instead and when the afternoon clouds roll in and it's getting colder we decide to call it a day.  One the way home, at a fair distance from where we were the GPS in the car seems to be able to pinpoint the spot for the cache, but we're too tired for another walk, so are going to check this at home first.

We might not have been as successful as we had hoped for, but we are going home to log 6 caches.  Not bad for a day's work.  After dinner we sit down to try and solve the puzzles, but by the time we go to bed we haven't made any headway with the first one, although I am sure the other three are correct.

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