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Started: 2006-01-22 20:31:04

Submitted: 2006-01-22 20:50:53

Visibility: World-readable

This morning, while I driving north on I-25 on an epic geocaching expedition, I spotted a southbound semi pulled over to the side of the road with apparent mechanical problems. This isn't altogether odd, but its cargo caught my eye: three large concrete urns. I hadn't seen anything quite like that before, so I looked carefully and spotted something that looked suspiciously like a radioactive symbol on the side. I knew I had to learn more, so I took the next exit (which I was planning on doing anyway) and looped back on the frontage road. I shot two photos out the car window as I passed; I thought they might not appreciate it if I stopped to obviously photograph the truck.

Nuclear waste?

From what I've been able to gather from Google (once I limited my search to .gov sites to avoid vast quantities of alarmist NIMBY crap), this probably wasn't a spent fuel shipment. It may not have actually been carrying any live cargo because I didn't see any DOT hazardous cargo diamonds, and there wasn't much of an escort. Still, I thought it was fascinating.

As if anyone needed any further proof of how geeky I am, I mapped my GPS receiver's track log along with the geocaches I found (or attempted to find) today. I traveled roughly clockwise and was successful in locating nine caches. Two caches eluded me; I spent ten minutes searching for one next to a bridge over the St. Vrain River before giving up, and I abandoned one in Firestone because there were children playing in the vicinity and I didn't want to look too suspicious. (We call non-caching civilians "muggles".) One cache in Johnstown required me to do offline algebra to determine the correct cache coordinates; I didn't bring any suitable algebra system, so I gathered all the information I needed to and left. I'll return someday. (Two of the caches I did find were pure virtual caches -- instead of finding the physical cache container and signing my name (and, if the container is big enough, trading cache items), these caches involve answering several questions to prove I visited the site in question. These sites were monuments to Fort Vasquez and Fort Lupton, which have historical significance but won't support physical cache containers.)

While I was out, I did manage to locate Fort St. Vrain Generating Station, formerly Colorado's only nuclear power plant until it was converted to a natural gas turbine. Its cooling plume was clearly visible on the plains as I circled it to find the caches.

Fort St. Vrain Generating Station