Saturday, June 1, 2019

Water Under the Bridge

Old Rodan at Ferrum College with Vaughan Chapel in the background
These days, I spend a great deal of time in Martinsville, where I grew up, helping to look after my aging mom. When I'm there, it's a real treat for me to be able to get out and about on a geocache hunt, especially in the rural areas of Patrick, Henry, Floyd, and Franklin Counties. A month back, there was a nice caching event at nearby Philpott Lake (see "Cachin' Passion in the Parks"), and 20-some caches came out in conjunction with it. I've claimed most of them over the past few weeks, but I still had one of those left to find as well as a relatively new one at Ferrum College, where I went to school somewhere back in the dawn of man.

So this morning, I drove my favorite back roads up to Ferrum to seek "Water Under the Bridge" (GC82ZH8), located under a nice little footbridge on a walking path around the campus. Upon my arrival, I discovered a major to-do happening at Vaughan Chapel, not far from ground zero, so I ended up parking some distance away. However, as it was a perfectly beautiful morning, I enjoyed the opportunity to get in a little extra walking. The campus has always been scenic, but it's far more so now than it was in those dim, distant days, thanks to numerous renovations over the years. Entertainingly, on my drive up, Sirius XM radio was playing a trove of the songs that were popular during my interment. Stuff like Led Zeppelin's "Trampled Under Foot," Pink Floyd's "Time," and the Steve Miller Band's "Fly Like an Eagle." Man, talk about getting into the mood. Upon seeing Garber Hall, where I had several science and history courses, a rush of memories swept over me, for Garber Hall was also used for the student cinema, and it was there that I saw The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the first time... an experience that culminated in the worst drunk of my entire life (see "Why I Don't Drink White Wine" for whole sordid story).
Not exactly a traditional signature, but in the
absence of a working pen, one must
sometimes improvise.

Once at ground zero, I dove down deep and commenced to hunting. I hadn't been there long, though, when a nice lady on a morning run noticed me playing troll, and asked if I was hunting for something. My response of "a geocache" drew an enthusiastic response. Turns out she works for the college, and we ended up having a lengthy conversation about caches, college, my writing career, dark lit in general, and folks we both knew or had known. Eventually, I found my quarry, only to realize I had discarded my non-working pen and failed to grab a new one. Since signing the log sheet is kind of a prerequisite for claiming a cache, I poked three holes in the log and took a photo of it to verify my find. Fortunately, I had a spare pen in the car for any further cache finds.

On the way out of Ferrum, I stopped off at the site of the old House Restaurant, where, back in the day, I frequently consumed massive quantities of pizzas, turkey subs, and cheap beer. There's very little left of the place, as it caught fire some decades back. A number of years ago, on one geocaching visit or another to Ferrum, I had managed to get inside and explore the ruins, although it's currently so overgrown and hazardous that I wouldn't even consider making such an attempt.

From Ferrum, it's not very far to Philpott Lake. In fact, during my college days, bunches of us spent considerable time at Horseshoe Point, Mines Branch, Ryan's Branch, Jamison Mill, and other recreation areas around Philpott Lake. My destination today was "The Guardian of Ryan's Cache" (GC86WN6), which I managed to find quickly.

Then it was back to Martinsville to run another few errands for Mom. I returned to Greensboro by way of Eden, where I was able to pick up a couple of newer caches. For tomorrow, there's a wee bit of additional caching planned with friends Suntigres (a.k.a. Bridget) and BigG7777 (a.k.a. Gerry). "I just can't get enough," as the song goes....
A frequent view during my Ferrum days. I lived in Riddick Hall (the left-hand building) during my
freshman year; Chapman Hall (the center building) during my sophomore year; and got kicked out of
Susannah Wesley Hall, the girls' dorm (the right-hand building), on numerous occasions.
Garber Hall, where I had several classes. The student cinema was also there, where I first saw
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Gross events followed.
All that remains of The House restaurant, where I once consumed massive quantities of pizzas,
turkey subs, and cheap beer. A few years ago, I went in and explored the ruins, but it's now
overgrown and too-near-collapsing to warrant any further such exploration.

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