Sunday, April 18, 2021

Sunday Soloing

Sundays are almost always geocaching days, but it’s rare that I go out solo on a Sunday. Today, circumstances just worked out that way. A half-dozen caches came out recently on the Kernersville Mountain Bike Trail — which, until they did, I had no idea even existed. It’s been around since 2013 but no one had ever placed caches there until friend Feathered Friends (a.k.a. Big Tom) learned of its existence and set things to right.
I think the spiders got ’em one.

The park has only a wee tiny parking area, and when I arrived this morning, it was full (and then some). So, I hied myself over to nearby Triad Park and cut across country to the bike trail. It’s a lovely wooded area, with 3.9 miles of well-maintained trail. Given the number cars in the lot, I was afraid I’d end up running into quite a few cyclists along the trail, but I actually did not — I only had to yield to one bike on my entire hike. Since I mostly cut across the winding trails, I ended up putting in 1.9 miles (and burning 880 calories, according to my Health app).

The northern section of the trail winds around and across a couple of streams, with numerous accompanying deep ravines. Some of those ravines brought to mind the spider pit from King Kong (1933, not that more modern claptrap). In fact, based on the visual evidence I came upon, I’m pretty sure the spiders got themselves one.

I couldn’t have bought a more beautiful morning in the woods. I’ve another busy, breakneck week ahead of me (following a long string of the same sort), so this little respite from the pace was just the ticket. This evening, I’m going to try to make some headway on Georgia: The Haunting of Tate’s Mill, my current Ameri-Scares novel-in-progress.

Till next time.

An all-but-dried-up waterfall
Looking into one of the ravines
Why use a regulation bridge when you can cross on these?*
*I opted for the regulation bridge. This time.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

At First Just Ghostly

Do you see anything a little creepy in this photograph? I took it at the old homestead in Martinsville on Friday night. A friend was trying to recollect the layout of the rooms there, so I took a shot of the wall with the cameo silhouettes of my brother and me (above and to the right of the lamp; they were rendered by an artist at Walt Disney World in May 1975). The dark room on the right is the dining room. Hanging on the far dining room wall is a framed, oval mirror, and... yes... when I looked at the photo on my phone screen, I clearly saw what appeared to be the reflection of a human figure — where there could not possibly be a human figure.

For a scant few seconds, I was pretty creeped out. Then — almost to my disappointment — I realized there was some shmutz on the phone screen that happened to be slightly reflective and perfectly positioned to create a weird illusion. What you see above is actually a Photoshop rendering of what my eyes saw. I’m posting the actual photo, sans shmutz, just below.

But for that one brief moment, my face at first just ghostly turned a whiter shade of pale.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Alone on the Laurel Bluff Trail

Wee little frog sleeping on a leaf

I needed exercise, and bad, and I really wanted to hike after work today. I have no geocaches in town to hunt, and when I hike, I’ve gotta hunt things. Yes, I’ve just gotta. So, having found all the caches on all the trails nearby, I broke down and decided to hunt Munzees. There’s a shit ton of them on the Laurel Bluff Trail, just north of Greensboro, so I made that my destination. At least I got to satisfy the need to find things in the woods. It was a beautiful, almost chilly afternoon, and — much to my surprise — I found the trail almost totally bereft of other human beings, which delighted me no end. More often than not, you go into the woods seeking solitude, and the trails turn out to be like goddamn I-40 at rush hour. Over the course of nearly three hours, I saw exactly three other people on the trail. Not a bad hourly average. I put in just over four miles — two miles out and two miles back — so I did go out bit farther than a lot of casual hikers do. So, color me happy. I did indeed find a shit ton of Munzees, as well as the odd bone stuck in a tree; a few wee, tiny frogs sleeping on leaves; and a pair of slightly sore feet. I did take the opportunity to check on a cache of mine called Hellraiser (GC4D26T), which lurks a short distance from the trail near a big beech tree in which someone carved “Hell is just ahead” in 1961.

When I got back to the parking lot, I was surprised to find it full of cars. I really don’t know where all the people were, since it seems that if they hiked out on the trail, our paths would have crossed. I dunno, maybe they were all sitting in their cars for hours, as muggles will do.

Stoopid muggles.
L: "Oh, the leg bone's connected to the tree bone...." R: You're not my stepping stone....

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Godzilla vs. Kong

It took three attempts, but I finally stayed awake through Legendary’s Godzilla vs. Kong. To be fair, these days, it doesn’t take much to put me out, given the degree of fatigue with which I regularly end far too many of my days.

Attempt number one: as soon as G vs. K came available on HBOMax, I opened an account and cranked up the movie. A long day it had been, and though I really wanted to soldier through it, the endeavor was doomed from the start. Attempt number two: easily the most fun of the three, this one took place at the Eden Drive-In Theater. I must say, Godzilla and drive-ins have gone hand-in-hand since I was just a wee little kaiju nerd, and this experience proved largely delightful. Largely, I say, though not wholly. Constant rain ended up marring the viewing, as did — again — a willing spirit but desperately tired flesh. However... finally... on attempt number three (again on HBOMax), mind and body managed to remain focused.

Spoilers here, there may be.

As with its predecessor, Godzilla - King of the Monsters, G vs. K eschews anything like engaging storyline and characters in favor of CGI spectacle. While one could hardly expect anything different these days, the endlessly-cynical-yet-ever-hopeful movie buff in me still feels a tad slighted. “But it’s a giant monster movie,” I hear you cry. “You go to see monsters, monsters, monsters, and it’s ridiculous to expect anything more.” Well, no, it isn’t, any more than it’s ridiculous to expect more than a CGI extravaganza in any movie, be it superhero, action-adventure, science-fiction/fantasy/horror, comedy, or pure drama. But movies play to their perceived audience, and the perception is clearly that a monster movie needs little more than a big-ass budget, a few recognizable names, and a houseful of kitchen sinks to hit the mark.

So be it. On those terms, G vs. K isn’t exactly a waste of time. Legendary’s version of Godzilla turns in a more entertaining performance than he did in either of his previous two films, and he even boasts a marginally better design. Now, our big guy is still a weirdly proportioned walking mountain, with a tiny head and bloated physique; however, this go-round, his proportions appear a tad better balanced, and his posture and movements convey a distinctly reptilian menace. Not since Shin Godzilla has an incarnation of Big G emitted more high-powered light rays and fried more shit from exceptional distances. I do love the fact that this film treats us to an honest-to-Godzilla rampage that reduces a lot of city-shaped pixels to rubble-shaped pixels. I suppose I could even go so far as to credit many of the Godzilla scenes with keeping me awake longer than I might have otherwise managed, even if the story had been more engaging.

Kong, who looks pretty much like he did in Kong: Skull Island, only bigger, spends a lot of time airborne. Leaping, flying, floating, and — in a worthy nod to Toho’s original King Kong vs. Godzilla — traveling by way of a balloon airlift. Another (slightly) pleasant surprise is that Kong’s interactions with young Jia, a deaf-mute girl who is able to communicate with him via sign language, take up a relatively tiny portion of the film’s running time. From the trailers I had seen, I had feared this potentially saccharine trope might overwhelm the film’s other, slightly less saccharine tropes. It did not. Jia, who is played by deaf actress Kaylee Hottle, is treated respectfully, and of all the kids ever to appear in a giant monster movie, I might categorize Jia as the least annoying ever. I suppose that is something.
Hallo, how are you, nice day.
Eiza Gonzalez as Maia Simmonds

The human cast? Ah, the human cast. Not much happening here. Not due to lack of talent, just a lack of material. Alexander Skarsgaard plays the boyishly charming Dr. Nathan Lind, who leads an expedition into the hollow Earth (established in the previous film) to find a nebulous power source that exists there as well as to take Kong “home.” He has to take Kong home because, if he doesn’t, Godzilla, as a rival apex predator, will be duty-bound to whoop up on him. Rebecca Hall plays Kong expert Ilene Andrews, whose primary job — apart from being Jia’s mother — is to remind us every few minutes that Kong bows to no one (“no one” meaning Godzilla). Naturally, Millie Bobby Brown returns as Madison Russell to spout conspiracy theories, offer the occasional snarky line, and walk everywhere with a rapid, purposeful stride. For our requisite lovable, conspiracy theory–driven protagonist, we have Bernie Hayes, played by Brian Tyree Henry. On his own, Henry comes across as engaging enough, though he is unable to conjure up an ounce of chemistry with any of the other players — a criticism that could be leveled at the entire cast, actually. Young Julian Dennison, as nerdy Josh Valentine, rounds out our eccentric group of do-gooders.

The do-gooders are trying to find out what Godzilla has against technological giant Apex Industries, run by smarmy Walter Simmonds, played by Demián Bichir. I give nothing away by saying he’s not a good guy. Nor is his daughter, Maia, played by Eiza Gonzalez, whose specialty is slinging insults fast and hard. Move over, Boris and Natasha.
Alexander Skarsgaard as Dr. Nathan Lind, Rebecca Hall as Ilene Andrews, Kaylee Hottle as Jia Andrews
Julian Dennison as Josh Valentine, Millie Bobby Brown as Madison Russell, Brian Tyree Henry as Bernie Hayes
Demián Bichir as Walter Simmonds
The reward for sitting through the occasional character interaction is to finally witness what Apex Industries hath wrought. At first, I can’t say I was much taken with it, but it does actually seem to be growing on me. At worst, it offers an effective visual reminiscent of the scene of Lt. Goro Gondo’s demise in Toho’s Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989). If that description means anything to you, my hat comes off.

I am giving G vs. K three out of five Damned Rodan’s Dirty Firetinis, and leaving it at that. Thank you.
Hallo, how are you, nice day.

Monday, April 12, 2021

The Black Stone Is in the House

My contributor copy of The Black Stone: Stories for Lovecraftian Summonings arrived today, big and pretty enough to prompt a huge, happy, and hideous smile. This new anthology features “Threnody,” which, I’m pretty sure, rates as one of the creepiest creepy things I’ve ever written. Edited by Raffaele Pezzella, The Black Stone also features tales of terror by authors such as David AgranoffGlynn Owen BarrassRamsey CampbellEdward MorrisKonstantine ParadiasPete RawlikBrian M. SammonsLucy SnyderSarah Walker, and bunches of others.

About Threnody”: From my first reading of H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Music of Erich Zann,” sometime in my college days, I found myself smitten with the author’s portrayal of music as an eldritch force. Once bitten by the fiction-writing bug in the mid 1980s, I frequently gravitated toward tales that featured music as an expression of power — physical as well metaphysical. “Threnody” was the first of several stories for which “The Music of Erich Zann” served as a jumping-off point, the centerpiece of these tales being a book of music written by one Maurice Zann, whom one could rightly assume to be some relation of Lovecraft’s title character.

For me, “Threnody,” which I wrote in 1986, stands out as the culmination of a personal aspiration: to create a truly eerie theme and atmosphere that might be considered “Lovecraftian” without relying on the ubiquitous tropes and nomenclature of the Cthulhu Mythos. Over the years, “Threnody” has remained a tale that readers seem to respect and remember fondly. I hope its reprinting in The Black Stone will offer folks a pleasurable shudder, whether for the first time or otherwise. I do hope that anyone of the irate persuasion will refrain from sending me rotten fruit, body parts for which I have no use, and/or sushi that is more than 48 hours old. You will have my eternal gratitude.

Please avail yourself to The Black Stone. You can get it as a trade paperback or for your Kindle. Order it here.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

This Way It’s Easy

Before Joe the Fireman, there was Industrial Soldier, a wonderful little band my brother and several of his compadres formed in their college days, early- to mid-1980s. In 1986, when I lived in Chicago, Phred sent me a cassette tape of Industrial Soldier, which I listened to no end because it was freaking good. The musicianship was incredible, far better than any college town band I ever heard back in my day, save REM, whom I saw semi-frequently in my UGA days in Athens, GA. Sadly, despite having turned this house upside-down, I have been unable to locate that old cassette. I know it’s got to be here... somewhere. I played it for Brugger several years ago — so wherever I put it back then, that is no doubt where it is now.

This is one I believe Phred wrote while he was in college. An awesome tune. You can listen to it on Dropbox here: This Way It’s Easy

This Way It’s Easy
©Phred Rainey, Industrial Soldier

Wheel up in my eye
Offends the sky

Take my space to fill this place among
The pioneers of waste
Anything you had to do and more
That way was hard

Do what you would never do if
You didn't have time to do it
The real kind of patriot's dream I see
Is mine, you're welcome to it
I got no damn complaints
Whiskey ain't for saints
Or me

Dog's back in town
Pushed me around

Take my space to fill this place among
The pioneers of waste
Anything you had to do and more
That way was hard

Do what you would never do if
You didn't have time to do it
The real kind of patriot's dream I see
Is mine, you're welcome to it
I got no damn complaints
Whiskey ain't for saints
Or me

Friday, April 2, 2021

Renovating the Casa di Rodan

Casa di Rodan is undergoing some pretty drastic renovations, after many years of little more than routine maintenance. Yesterday, we had the living room painted — the walls and ceiling, anyway; we’ll do the baseboards and trim after the old carpet is removed and new flooring installed. Brugger and I have painted the kitchen walls and ceiling, and are about to paint the cabinets. New countertops and floor will follow. Big jobs, lots of work, all very much needed. It’ll be sweet if I can get this place habitable, at least for anyone other than this old hermit, before it’s time to kick off.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

It’s Lovecraft Kind of Sky

“It was just a colour out of space.” So goes the quote in H.P. Lovecraft’s classic tale, “The Colour Out of Space,” from 1927. That was my first reaction upon seeing the western sky at sunset, about fifteen minutes ago. We’d just had a pretty good dump of rain, and when it let up, a red-pink-violet light poured in through the living room windows. I took the photo above from the front porch, and it came out pretty cool, but it fails to quite capture the other-worldly quality of the light. I have seen tornado skies any number of times, and this was much like those, only more vibrant, more pervasive. It really was kind of weird. A good many folks on Facebook in the area remarked on it as well. No doubt it’s the result of specific atmospheric conditions and the timing — right at sunset.

Or maybe it was a harbinger of doom, a foreshadowing of the return of the Great Old Ones. Either way, it was pretty cool.

After a week-long trip to Michigan, my first full day back home was both invigorating and relaxing. First thing this morning, I met a gang of august old farts (Old Robgso [a.k.a. Old Rob], Diefenbaker [a.k.a. Scott], and tbbiker [a.k.a. Todd] — the latter quite coincidentally) at the nearby Haw River State Park to hike and hunt a few new geocaches placed by friend Skyhawk63 (a.k.a. Tom). We undertook a four-mile hike under gray, occasionally drizzly skies, found four very nice caches, and brought home a crapload of mud.

For the rest of the afternoon, I took care of some estate business; watched a few episodes of Dark Shadows, which I had started from its beginning a short while back; took care of several chores; and cooked up some fabulous, very hot chicken wings for dinner. If my eyes and brain can stand it, I think I will finish out the evening making a bit more progress on Georgia: The Haunting of Tate’s Mill. It’s gonna be a busy week coming up, with house renovation, more estate business, and — hopefully — quite a bit of writing.

Be seeing you.
Marsh-a, marsh-a, marsh-a!
I see old people.
Diefenbaker, Old Rodan, and ttbiker on the hunt

Saturday, March 27, 2021

From Midland to the Mothman

Brugger and I received our first COVID-19 vaccinations on last Wednesday, so we’re halfway there. Yay!

Saturday, March 20, 2021
At the ass-crack of dawn, we left Greensboro for a long-planned visit with Ms B’s folks in Midland, MI. Happily, Del & Fern got their rounds of shots several weeks ago, so, barring vile variants or other unforeseen complications, they’re well defended against death cooties. Regardless, Brugger and I isolated ourselves even more than usual for the past week or so. As on our previous trip this past September (see “Midland with a Twist”), rather than fly, we opted to undertake the long drive. This time, we took a slightly different route, which added a few miles but shaved some time. We stopped a handful of times for pit stops, a picnic lunch, and a scant few geocaches, and arrived in Midland just after 8 p.m. As is our custom, we sat up fairly late with Del & Fern watching programs about good food, this time, Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy. Kimberly and I particularly enjoyed this one, as it showcased a number of locations we had visited on our trip there in 2019.
The Rodan Mobile arrives in Midland right at sunset
Sunday, March 21, 2021
A beautiful morning, and there are tons of new geocaches in and around Midland, many right in the neighborhood. So, after a pleasing breakfast of pancakes and bacon, I hopped on the bike and pedaled around to a few of them. Quick finds, the lot of them. Following this little adventure, I made revisions to a new short story for the anthology editor. And then... lunch from China Palace, a tasty and non-trivial quantity of food.

Meijer. Whenever we visit the Bruggers, it’s family tradition to hit Meijer to stock up on supplies for the week. No breaking family tradition this trip. I found a Life Magazine Godzilla edition, so on a whim, I bought it. It’s evidently from 2019. Anyway, I’m sure it doesn’t offer a word about Godzilla I don’t already know (if you know me at all, you know I have been a devoted Godzillaphile since the age of four), but it seemed novel enough to warrant picking up. It’s almost funny that, after collecting daikaiju memorabilia for years, spending thousands and thousands of dollars in the process, this is the first Godzilla publication I’ve picked up probably in 25 years or more.

After the shopping, I hopped on the bike again, this time with Ms. B. accompanying. We rode over to nearby Plymouth Park, hunted a handful of geocaches (and met some friendly local geocachers), and then put in a few miles pedaling around the neighborhood. Another mellow evening in the family room for some quality family time, and my blood pressure is probably at an excellent level tonight.
Ms. B. at The Labyrinth at Plymouth Park. She casts a mean shadow.

Monday, March 22, 2021
It was another beautiful morning fit for bike riding, but today I had a slightly different plan. I needed to return to Meijer to pick up a couple of items, so I headed out in the Rodan Mobile, snagged a half-dozen caches around the Midland Mall area, and then did my shopping. Another family tradition is for me to play chef for a day, and today was the day. Del and Fern had seen pics of my recent bout with Bolognese and decided it was only fitting I should treat them to some. So I spent the rest of the morning in the kitchen while they went off in search of a new toilet for one of theirs that had decided to go south. It’s possible I got the better end of this deal.

And the verdict is in: the Bolognese was some pretty good shit.

After letting the big dinner settle, I finally headed out on the bike. Put in quite a few miles this go-round, and picked up several more caches. Ms. B. got a new laptop, so once I returned, we spent a little while getting things set up. Lord, Microsoft used to be a pain in the ass. It’s now a fucking ludicrous pain in the ass, getting in the way of almost everything you want to set up that isn’t specifically Microsoft. There were words.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021
I have put in some lengthy bike rides in Midland, but I believe this morning’s pedal set a personal record. I covered the entire northeast quadrant of Midland and then some, snagging 19 caches (and failing to find several others) in the process. Most of these were of the typical park & grab variety, though a few proved a bit more interesting. One of them had reduced some poor, unfortunate geocachers to naught but bones. At another one, I felt I was being watched the entire time I spent looking for it. Near there, at a church where the cache was hidden, a churchy muggle accosted me and invited me to come for a visit on Sunday. On my long ride home, I saw Ms. B. and the family in the car heading the other way — out toward Clare to visit some antique shops.

Rarely has a shower, leftover Bolognese, ice cream, and fresh hot coffee been more welcome.

For the afternoon, I made some forward progress in my newest Ameri-Scares novel, Georgia: The Haunting of Tate’s Mill.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Although I woke to another beautiful Midland morning, there was no cycling on today’s docket. I had to deal with some of my brother’s estate business, which ended up taking more time than I expected (and I had expected quite a lot). Then our crew hit the road for Saginaw, the Brugger folk for antiquing, the old fellow for geocaching. Now, I would generally not associate a place called The Antique Warehouse with a fantastic Italian beef sandwich, but this place has ’em. We enjoyed an excellent lunch together and then parted company. Off I went for some caches. The first was right there on the store’s property — or, rather, it was supposed to be. After a lengthy search, I couldn’t find the damned thing. I did find ample evidence of severe flooding, so I suspect the container ended up in the Saginaw River or something such. However, from there, I went after several others, and succeeded admirably with these.

Once antiqued out in Saginaw, the gang wanted to visit Warmbier Farms, a big old gift store in Williams Township, about midway between Saginaw and Midland. I have cached around that area on other outings similar to this one, and I did the same again today. Only one cache required me to walk a significant distance. It was at this cache, when I had reached farthest point from the car, that the bottom fell out. Big rain. Big, BIG rain. Big, WET rain. Wet ME. Believe you me, I got wet.

Needless to say, as soon as I got back to the car, the rain stopped.
Before the rain: Old Rodan and the Zilwaukee Bridge over the Saginaw River
A fun fellow with ammo can we
discovered in the forest

Thursday, March 26, 2021
The morning turned out a bit gray and chilly, but Brugger and I went forth, as we had planned, to the Midland City Forest, a short distance north of Casa di Brugger. Over 20 miles of trails wind through the forest, and after a few trips out there, Ms. B. and I have set foot on quite a few of them. This morning, we headed for a section I had never explored before, so a good many caches awaited my attention there. I managed to find most of those I hunted. There were tough caches, easy caches, creative caches, fun caches. We found a man made of wood carrying an ammo can around; a meteorite; a diamond in the rough; a birdhouse that wasn’t; and a bridge with a troll under it. Well, there wasn’t a troll down there until I went under the bridge, but... well... there it is. Ms. B. got in a wee bit of nature photography, which she most enjoys. I tell you this, I have exercised on this trip like I haven’t exercised in a long while, and I can surely feel it — in a good way, of course, except maybe for the pain of it.

Afterward, we set a course for Mancinos, which is one of those places you do not fail to visit when you are in Midland. Brugger ordered her usual Italian grinder, which, as I can testify, is one of the best sandwiches on earth. And I opted for a Mango Habanero Steak grinder, which, as I can now testify, is also one of the best sandwiches on earth. A worthy rival to the Italian beef sandwich I scarfed down at The Antique Warehouse on yesterday.

A little forward progress on the creative writing endeavors, a final trip to Meijer, and what a fine penultimate day of our Midland trip this has been.
There are some rough-looking trolls in Michigan.
And the occasional meteorite lounging about in Michigan.
If you look carefully, you might see Ms. B. checking out real estate in Michigan.
And if you listen, you might hear a chorus of peeping frogs making a mighty racket in Michigan.

Friday, March 26, 2021
After a wonderful, relaxing yet invigorating week, our time at the Bruggers’ in Midland had come to an end. Ms. B. and I rose relatively early, loaded up the Rodan Mobile, said our farewells, and hit the road, now bound for Point Pleasant, WV, home of the infamous Mothman. I had visited Point Pleasant in September of 2018 while researching my Ameri-Scares novel, West Virginia: Lair of the Mothman (see “Lair of the Mothman,” September 30, 2018). I had loved the place, the lore, and... of course... the geocaching! It made for a perfect overnight stop on the long haul back to North Carolina. A while back, I had made reservations at the historic Lowe Hotel, where I had stayed on my previous trip. After a long and less-than-relaxing drive — traffic was bonkers all the way down — we arrived in Point Pleasant late in the afternoon. Pronto, we bolted for the Mothman Museum, so we might spend a little time there before it closed. I had explored it in depth on my last visit, but Ms. B. was keen on checking out the plentiful paraphernalia, especially props from the film, The Mothman Prophecies. Once done, we walked across the street to the Lowe Hotel and checked in. Since I was a return visitor, the proprietor was kind enough to give us a suite for the same price I would have paid for a single room. (As an aside, on the Lowe Hotel website, the header image with the room key is actually the key to our suite — which is officially what room 328 now is: OUR suite.) I can hardly recommend the Lowe Hotel highly enough. The place is exceptionally clean (as it ought to be during the pandemic); requires masks (as it ought to during the pandemic); and is, above  all things, haunted. As on my previous stay, I saw no ghosts, but this hardly means they are not around. They simply don’t care to be traumatized by the character of certain guests, whose names shall not be mentioned here.

Once ensconced in our lodgings — and feeling the great starvation — we ordered a pizza from Village Pizza, which has its own connection to the Mothman. In 1966, the first individuals to witness the Mothman in the TNT Area, several miles north of Point Pleasant, fled the site and stopped at the location that is now Village Pizza. Our pizza? Well, it was fucken good. Once we finished our dinner, just after sunset, we hit the road once again — this time bound for the TNT Area, which had provided me with a big day of geocaching on my previous visit. Last time, however, I had experienced the place only in daylight, and I was dying to experience it after dark. We drove deep into the heart of the forest, once the site of a massive ammunition manufacturing/storage facility. From last time, I recalled the location of an open TNT storage bunker (these are called “igloos”) and made tracks for it. Sure enough, there it was, its doors still gaping wide, its interior as dark and creepy as all get out, just as I remembered (see accompanying video).
Interior of the Lowe Hotel, Point Pleasant, WV
Point Pleasant sunset, viewed from our window at the Lowe Hotel
View from Tu Endi Wei park of the bridge into Point Pleasant over the Kanawha River
View of the railroad bridge over the Ohio River from the Point Pleasant river walk
Since Ms. B. is less a geocacher than a sometimes-almost-willing accomplice, on this night, I figured I really should refrain from geocaching in earnest. However, one nearby cache looked particularly promising, so, once we quitted the igloo, I set my sights on it. At GZ, I found a huge, flat rock, as mentioned in the cache’s description. I located an opening underneath the rock that appeared perfect for a good-sized container. Then, upon aiming my flashlight into this gaping maw, I discovered, not a cache, but... a possum! Possum gives me a pretty scary leer, for he clearly had not expected visitors. Fortunately, he quickly vacated the premises. Seeing he was gone, I shone my light back into the opening, and this time spied the cache. Using my hiking stick, I was able to extract the container from its cubby. And once done, I re-hid it in a nearby, equally secure opening so that Possum could settle back in his preferred surroundings, if that was his desire. I hated to disturb him, and I really hope he doesn’t hold a grudge.

From there, we drove back to the hotel. Ms. B. was particularly keen on watching The Mothman Prophecies, so we decided to stream it on my laptop. The film diverges considerably from the “true” events, but it’s an exceedingly well-done movie, engaging to both emotion and intellect, drawing just enough from the source material to tell a compelling, original story. I love it. Along with Night (Curse) of the Demon and John Carpenter’s The Thing, it rates as an all-time favorite fright film.

And thus ended our week-long respite from the world. Our drive back to Greensboro turned out to be a bear — almost non-stop raging rainstorms, generating roughly 600 billion metric tons of human stupidity on the highways. But we arrived safely home, and this trip goes into my personal history book as one of our best ever.

And so, for now, I shall bid you good night.
Inside the Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant