We were hitting Ghost Truck Stop (GC1GGE0) as a last cache of the day, but when we read the goal of this coin and realized one of its locations was only a couple hours drive, we decided ROAD TRIP!
Now you have to understand, we’re no spring chickens and the last time we did a spontaneous road trip, Reagan was in office (I think). We’re fairly new to caching too and we’d never done a night hunt that was anything harder than a 1. So we hit I-95 N for a few miles, then I-40 W to NC 24 W which brought us into Jacksonville (known to the local cachers as J’ville according to many cache titles). It was about 8:30 pm when we hit town and we started off with pictures on the roadside of the exit which would take us to the base gate. We stopped again and got pictures of the Camp LeJeune entrance sign including a close-up of the EGA emblem on the sign (with the coin in the pict showing the same emblem).
I knew there was no chance we’d be allowed on base (we’re civilians) but we did want to try for one last shot of the coin with the base gate in the background. Unfortunately the Homeland Security fellow at the visitor’s check-in told us we weren’t allowed to stop anywhere near the gate to take pictures. We snapped a couple of quick ones from the vehicle as we got back on the road and we’ve cropped them so no person or procedures of base security are shown.
Next up was finding a suitable cache. We wanted one as near the base as possible, but our first choice–J’ville Rails-to-Trails – Train Tressel (GC1MYY3)–was a full abort. Not that it didn’t look like a fun find, but the 5-mile hike was a bit to take on at 9:30 pm and we guessed that poking around a train trestle in the dark was a good way to break something vital (yeah, did I mention we’re civilians?) Instead we decided to try for the J’ville Rails-to-Trails – IHO Ranger TJ (GC1JQKR). That one netted us exactly what we needed–a well-maintained cache near LeJeune that was plenty big for the coin along with another item we wanted to leave as a hitchhiker should the coin’s next stop take it to Asia. The bonus for this location was that it is actually on base property. To actually get it “on base” really exceeded our initial expectations.
We found the cache without much hassle (a clever hide though for such a large container). We signed the log and put it in a second bag (we couldn’t get the original one to reseal). To the empty side of the GC’s coin flip we added a red and gold Flanders poppy pin. Our intent is that it should remain with the coin until it returns home and become property of the coin owner. We also up-sized its bag so there was room for a hitchhiker–Brucki the Wonder Bear (Brucki – der fraenkische Wander-Braunbaer, TB2ANBR). We figured if the coin gets Brucki to Japan, he could mark Asia off his list of continents and perhaps make the leap to Australia.
All in all, we were ready for the 2.5 hour drive home by 10 pm and we arrived back home happy to have had the opportunity to help out. Many blessings on the men and women of the Marines for keeping this a free nation.