Country Roads - Geocaching in Dale, Texas... Pokemon Style

One of our family's newest interests has been geocaching, where objects are hidden at secret locations to be found using GPS coordinates posted on the internet.   So for Father's Day we decided to try a collection of geocaches in a nearby town.  But better than just any collection, this was a collection of Pokèmon caches - one for each of the Pokèmon types --and with D and K, it just doesn't get much cooler than Pokèmon!
This unique string of seventeen caches is located in a 10 mile ring around the small Texas town of Dale.  Dale is about ten minutes east of Lockhart, and 90 miles south of nowhere ;o) 

This turned out to be one of the most picturesque and enjoyable afternoons that we have spent in awhile.  We searched through cemeteries with graves dating back to 1878, drove by gorgeous ranches with painted horses, found an old trestle bridge and even a derelict outhouse.
Probably the most interesting stop was located outside an old abandoned church.  Next to the church was a small one room, non-air-conditioned building, with a sole car parked outside.  Through the open door, we heard the loud rant of a fire and brimstone preacher (it was 11:30 on a Sunday morning).  As we approached, we found the one room was full of people -- they must have walked, though no houses were located any short distance away!  And as we tiptoed past, the powerful voice inside stopped from his sermon for a brief moment to ask, "Would y'all care to join us?"  Quietly we thanked him, but continued on with our cache.

The conclusion of the string of caches was a "puzzle cache" identified through clues from the previous 17 caches.  Each cache contained a small bit of information, either a longitude or latitude number or a clue about the location.  All of the information led us to Dale's one school, which we assumed held grades first through twelfth, as the sign did not designate any grade levels.  And there, in the back, we found our final cache, the Dale Poke-Gym. 

The total collection took us around 3 hours, and we finished just in time for a late lunch.  We piled back into the car and headed the fifteen miles or so west to get some barbecue from Lockhart.  Apparently, there are three well know barbecue joints in Lockhart: Smitty's, Blacks and Kreuz's.  Well, when we pulled up to Kreuz's, we found it was closed on Sundays, so we turned around and went to Smittys.  As soon as we walked up, the owners placed a closed sign on the door.  Apparently they were running out of barbecue. 

They did allow us to be the last in a long, hot line of waiting diners, but they couldn't promise there would be any barbecue left by the time we got to the front.  With two hungry and increasingly impatient children, we chose not to wait, but instead ran by Black's only to find the line just as long there. 

Without bothering to get out, we decided to take our two hungry children to a quick lunch from Whataburger.  The cashier at Whattaburger gave us a huge hint.  He told us we could bypass the entire line at Black's if we were purchasing take-out.  With that bit of information, we returned to Black's and bought a couple pounds of barbecue to enjoy for our Father's Day dinner later that night.

All in all, this was an incredibly fun way to spend a Father's Day!  Dave was just glowing; in the end, he scored nineteen caches and three pounds of barbecue.  And it just doesn't get much better than that!

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