Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: creativity, GeoCache, inspiration, nature, textures

Out with the old. In with the new… I hope!!!

2020 has been so dismal for many of us!
So much has changed in the world, and very little of it for the better.
But I’m bound & determined to kick-off 2021 with high hopes,
great expectations and good fortune for all.

And I figured the best way to invite good fortune… is to share good fortune!
So I did.

Fortune “cookies” that is!
Oh wait, and do I even need to mention that they rattle too?!!!

While I hiked at Illinois Beach State Park last Monday, it was fun to put out some good vibes, share some positivity and spread good “fortune” for everyone! I kinda liked the idea of leaving them there as I “found” Illinois Beach State Park during one of my “quarantine” hiking adventures… which I might never have done if 2020 didn’t shut the world down!

You know how much fun it is to find things randomly out in nature. Or how much fun Geocaching is… if you haven’t tried, you should! So, while I was hiking last Monday, I “hid” twenty-one handmade fortune cookies out there somewhere so people can find them, get excited and bring a little more “fortune” into 2021. Get it?… 21 cookies for 2021.

I’m sure some of them will be found quickly. Some might take longer. While others might just be swept out into the lake and “reclaimed” into the wild. I love finding beach glass… imagine finding “beach fortune cookies”!!!

So here they are…
twenty-one fortune cookies and some “hints” as to where they are hidden along the lakefront at Illinois Beach State Park!

Fortune Cookie #1 ————–

Fortune Cookie #2 ————–

Fortune Cookie #3 ————–

Fortune Cookie #4 ————–

Fortune Cookie #5 ————–

Fortune Cookie #6 ————–

Fortune Cookie #7 ————–

Fortune Cookie #8 ————–

Fortune Cookie #9 ————–

Fortune Cookie #10 ————–

Fortune Cookie #11 ————–

Fortune Cookie #12 ————–

Fortune Cookie #13 ————–

Fortune Cookie #14 ————–

Fortune Cookie #15 ————–

Fortune Cookie #16 ————–

Fortune Cookie #17 ————–

Fortune Cookie #18 ————–

Fortune Cookie #19 ————–

Fortune Cookie #20 ————–

Fortune Cookie #21 ————–

Categories: GeoCache, sunset

My afternoon flight took me back to Dover, Delaware
for more “glitter gig” planning meetings. But this evening took me for a run…
and a beautiful sunset over Dover Downs International Speedway.

It also took me out to find another GeoCache while I was outside playing!!! When I was here last year for the Firefly Music Festival, I searched a couple times for this one. Always discouraged by  the huge amounts of poison ivy crawling all over where I thought it would be. But this time, it’s earlier in the season and the poison ivy is much less obtrusive. So I pushed forward and found it!!! Another one off the list…

Categories: friends, GeoCache

Let me just preface this by saying that I went to Step Class this morning.
With three risers, the board and wrist weights the whole time.
With that said…

Today I went out to lunch with my friend Pam from Lillstreet.
And by “lunch” I mean ice cream.

Pam had just finished her class, and I had just finished stamping all of my cylinders.
So it was perfect timing. We walked over to Margie’s Ice Cream for some yummy
goodness. After laughing at their goofy menu, we settled on our “lunch” choices.
And were pleasantly surprised when they showed up… and they were HUGE!!!

Yes… that’s a Turtle Split… made with chocolate ice cream, banana, hot fudge & caramel.
Okay, for those who are counting, that’s three scoops of ice cream, two “gravy boats” of
homemade hot fudge and another “boat” of caramel sauce. But who’s counting?… And
yes, the banana is good potassium. Ice cream is a dairy product for strong teeth & bones.
Hot fudge is chocolate from a cocoa “bean”… so it counts as a vegetable.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

So much ice cream. So much hot fudge. So much fun. I was like a giddy six-year-old.
Remember, no judging… I went to Step Class this morning!!!

After we had finished our ice cream, shared stories, laughed and solved all the problems
of the world, we felt it was time to go back to the studio to make more stuff. I knew
I had a lot of trimming to do! But we’re never in too much of a hurry to get back that we
couldn’t stop for a quick GeoCaching adventure… Pam’s first!

As we were leaving I checked the GeoCaching App and saw that there was one just a bit
down the street. So we went to find it. We looked for a couple minutes and Pam found it!
Her first GeoCache ever!!! It was hidden in a small blue bag… can’t tell you where…
you need to find it yourself! Pam opened the bag to reveal  a small tube with a scroll
inside to sign in. Then we replaced it so the next person could find it.

Pam has known of my “fascination” with GeoCaching for awhile now. And has often
scoffed… but now, after the childlike excitement of finding her first GeoCache, she
may be addicted like the rest of us?! One more adventure I’ve hooked her up with…

Categories: art fair, friends, GeoCache, sunrise

It was a huge relief getting up this morning knowing that ART DETOUR was over.
And that my car was already packed and ready to head home. But first… another sunrise!

It has been such a wonderful weekend staying at the cabin on Moccasin Lake. Spending time
with my parents, Sarah & Julie. But this morning, they were all already gone. I had the cabin
to myself. Very quiet. But I couldn’t relax too much, as I had breakfast plans with Wendy in
Land O’Lakes. We were going to go to a different restaurant, but Wendy suggested we switch
to the Sunrise Lodge. Which was oddly ironic, because Pam & Pat had just suggested that
restaurant for breakfast a few hours earlier!! And they were all correct. I started with a
chocolate chip waffle. Which disappeared all too quickly. As it’s an “all-you-can-eat” place,
I then had a cranberry pancake. Yum!!! I was ready to go for another, but luckily, their
breakfast hours had already ended. So  I was “cut-off” from becoming a breakfast glutton.
Probably a good thing… for both me AND the kitchen!!!

Now this was ALL Wendy’s idea… she’s hooked!!! And she suggested we go GeoCaching!!!
Luckily, there was another one just down the road at the headwaters of the Wisconsin River.
So we followed my phone for clues and narrowed it down… and Wendy found her first one!!!
Giggling, laughing, so excited… just like a giddy little school girl…

All too soon, our morning fun was over, and I had to head home. Many miles to go!
I was heading home from Land O’Lakes and not quite sure how to get home the fastest.
So I thought I knew… and thought I was doing okay… but I kind of got a little lost somewhere
around Rhinelander. Until I saw the landmark Hodag – and then I knew where I was!!!

Categories: art fair, artists, GeoCache, nature

We woke up this morning with a sign on the cabin’s patio door windows! Apparently,
after we had gone to bed, my parents decided to put the signs on the window! Too cute!

And the morning kept getting better… with yet another beautiful sunrise over Moccasin Lake.

Followed by a fun birthday breakfast for Julie in Lake Tomahawk. A great way to start our day
before heading over to Amy’s for the start of the final day of ART DETOUR.

So we finally made it to Pigeon Road… and set up our booths pretty quickly. Then, before
the customers began to arrive, Wendy, Julie and I decided to go out on a quick “field trip”
to see more of the Northwoods and do a little GeoCaching at the same time! Neither of
them had done it before – but both were eager to try! So I checked my iPhone app and saw
that there was a GeoCache hidden somewhere near the boat landing of Horsehead Lake.

We followed the hints & compass on my phone and it lead us towards this tree. Upon closer
examination, I found the GeoCache tucked neatly in the crook of the tree. So we opened it up,
signed to log scroll and left behind one of Amy’s new buttons! It may have been their first
GeoCache find… but now both Julie & Wendy are hooked!!!

We made it back to Pigeon Road Pottery before any of the customers got there for
ART DETOUR. You know how Sundays are always a slow start at the art fairs.
What with church, brunch, hangovers, whatever…

It was another long day playing outside with customers. Two of my new favorites actually
returned with a homemade peach cobbler to keep us warm! Thank you Jean & Tony!!!

The end of the day, and the end of ART DETOUR, was signaled by the Oktoberfest clapper!
And Wendy was all to excited to get her tent taken down, get all packed up and finished with
yet another art fair. A huge sigh of relief for all of us!


Categories: bike, GeoCache, vacation

GRABAAWR – Adams-Friendship to Baraboo

Sun shining and ready to roll…

By now we are well out of the scenic wooded Northwoods. And getting more into the flatter,
more agricultural parts of the state. The sky was clear, and another beautiful day on my bike!

As the miles continued before us, it looked something like this… with such promise!
There’s nothing better than the feeling of freedom on the open road.

After a quick stop in Lyndon Station for lunch, we decided to take a moment to see if
there were any GeoCache treasures to be found. A luckily, just a couple blocks away
was one in the town’s Memorial Park. Just another hidden scroll to be signed…

Did I mention lunch?… we stopped at a little diner in town for lunch. Where I had possibly
the best pancakes ever! They were huge, I was starving and they had fresh blueberries
in one and fresh raspberries in the other! Yummy!!!

Further down the road, we pedaled through the Wisconsin Dells – which brought back some
childhood memories. We used to vacation there a lot and it was great to be back… even if
it was just to pedal through it quickly. But not too quick… Chris and I stopped in one of the
“tacky” gift shops looking for Mexican Jumping Beans and my favorite barometer dodo bird.
Sadly, we left empty handed. But had fun sharing our memories with each other.

Towards the end of the route, we passed the International Crane Foundation. I have seen
the signs on the highway for years and have always wanted to stop. Today was the day.
It’s a very nice wildlife park where they have collected some of all of the crane species from
around the world. It seemed very educational – including an area where they have workers
in actual crane costumes helping the crane chicks learn how to survive on their own.

And it wasn’t just cranes… there were a few others hanging out with the whooping cranes!

Plus some wonderful metal sculptures – each showing a different stage of cranes in flight.
And some beautiful yellow cactus that are apparently somehow indigenous to Wisconsin…
that Chris now wants to add to her own landscaping at home.

At the end of the day, we were in Baraboo. A beautiful evening with a beautiful sunset.
And a very welcome surprise… “My Friend Julie” decide to stop by. We met Julie a few
years ago as one of the SAG Staff for the ride. She and her husband Jim have been part
of the Bike Wisconsin rides for years. However this time she had to work for the week.
Tonight she stopped by to see her husband… and ME!!! A great ending to another great day!

Categories: bike, GeoCache, vacation

GRABAAWR – Rhinelander to Merrill

After another wonderful evening with some of my Northwoods friends,
it was back on the bike this morning heading from Rhinelander to Merrill.
The day started out a little overcast, and still gray from another overnight rain.
We set out knowing that at some point we would get rained upon. Inevitable.
Actually, my sunburned skin is pretty happy that today might be overcast & cloudy.
Even the rain doesn’t seem too bad… gives my skin a chance to calm down a bit.

The first water stop was a few miles into the ride and the clouds were darkening.
We decided to move on quickly hoping to make it to the next town before the rain
No such luck. We got soaked, despite our efforts to “duck out of the way” under some
trees and roofs along the way. When we made it to the little town of Tomohawk,
we stopped for lunch, and a chance to dry of a bit. By the end of lunch, there was
literally a puddle under my chair from my raincoat dripping. Luckily, a piece of pie
made the day much better. While we ate, the rain stopped as well.

While in Tomohawk, we also decided we should check to see if there were any
GeoCaches anywhere in town. And to our surprise we found out there were three
to be found. The first one was hidden in a tiny little container stuck on the under side
of a park bench along the main street.

The second one was apparently hidden by the same person, in the same manner
at the other end of town… and by “town” I mean like four blocks. Seriously.

The third one was a little tougher to find and it forced us to get off the main drag.
We had to check out some of the local woods to find the GeoCache. Chris found a
large box hidden in the nook under some tree roots. The box was filled with crazy
trinkets for you to exchange with.

Then it was back on the road… pedaling further. More rolling hills… which I love!
We don’t have many hills here in Chicago, so I’m much more accustomed to the flat cornfields
and even  flatter lakefront. So when I get to play on some rolling hills, I’m a very happy biker!!!

Further down the road, we found some incredibly beautiful horses standing on the side
of the road. At first we thought they might be statues… standing so still, standing so tall.
But of course, we had to stop and play for awhile. After getting off our bikes, and a little
encouragement, the horses finally came over to see us. There were two of them,
named Lincoln & Ford. They are Fiersian Horses – and they might be the most beautiful
horses I’ve ever seen?! And the friendliest. The owner came out to chat with us and explained
that the breed is know for being so sociable & friendly.

In the last stretch of our ride, the sky grew dark again… impending storm approaching.
We’re smart enough to know when it’s time to seek cover. So we did. Minutes after we were
safe under the roof of a deserted store front, the rain came pouring down… lightning…
thunder… and HAIL. Yes, hail. We missed the storm and watched a lot of other bikers
riding through it as we sat their in the dry entryway. When it cleared up, we started out again.
Only to stop a few more miles down the road under a forest preserve pavilion with a bunch of
other “stranded” bikers also waiting out the storm. This is where we met Liz. One of the most
upbeat & bubbly people we have ever met. Many people can become a little downtrodden
with the storms… but not Liz. She was just excited to be having this adventure!

By the time we made it to the finish school, we were finally dry and ready for dinner.
It was very hot & humid… with another round of storms predicted for overnight.
But nothing that a large hot fudge sundae couldn’t help with… especially when you have Liz
with for the trip. We invited her to join us for ice cream, and she never stopped talking!!!
Recently retired and ready to take the world by storm! Too funny… such wonderful energy!

Categories: GeoCache

This morning my new addiction took over… beside verbal alliteration…
The sunrise was a little anti-climactic after yesterday’s beautiful sky.
So I decided to play a bit more along the lakefront with my new GeoCaching affliction!

The first one I found today was located between the Waveland Golf Course and the lake.
Apparently, a little more “makeshift” than my first three. I was a little surprised to find a rusty
old Altoids tin as the GeoCache. It’s apparently been there for awhile out in the elements!
Even the scroll to sign inside has been a little water damaged & weathered!

The second one was on the other side of the golf course nestled in the hollow of a small tree.
It actually had a loop made out of duct tape to help you pull it out from the hole. Inside was
an old prescription bottle camouflaged with more duct tape, the scroll to sign and my first
actual “treasure.” Now my understanding is that I’m supposed to trade-out the treasure.
I’m supposed to take the dice and leave something else behind. But sadly, I was ill-prepared
and didn’t have anything to trade in my bike jersey pockets! So I just signed the scroll,
left the dice for the next person, and pedaled on.

My third one this morning was located in the Peace Garden. I looked a little bit longer
for this one, and finally found it amongst the rocks… carefully hidden by a rock that I had
to move. And again, another tube not-so-subtely-covered with duct tape. I guess if this one
weren’t hidden by the rock the colorful wrapping would have been a dead giveaway!
Again, signed the scroll and pedaled on… to finish my morning ride.

So for those of you keeping track…
these morning “treasures” were my GeoCache finds numbered Four, Five and Six!!!

Categories: GeoCache

After the rain… after the red sky… after the sunrise…
I had already turned around and headed home, so why not stop to play a little?!
So the “dorky” hobby continues. And I found two more GeoCaches!

The first one was just feet off of the lakefront bike trail. Literally like a foot!
Can’t tell you exactly where it’s at, but I can tell you it was very small and magnetic!
So you just unroll the scroll, sign it and put it back. Keeping it very discreet & secret
so that some stranger who’s not playing the game from taking it and ruining the fun
for everyone else! So it’s back in place… a foot off the bike trail.

The second one was hidden inside a small stump under a sprawling bush.
Hidden so much that you actually have to use another small twig to “fish it out”
to get to the blue tube cache! Unscrew the top, sign the scroll, then it’s back in the stump!

So, for the record… that’s my GeoCache #2 and #3.

Categories: bike, friends, GeoCache

Okay, so I was biking with my friend Chris up to the Chicago Botanic Garden
again this afternoon. And as we were pedaling along, Chris was describing
GeoCaching. I had heard about i many years ago when you needed to purchase
a GPS unit to participate in the scavenger hunt fun. It never crossed my mind
that my iPhone could do it too… you know, there’s an App for that!

Basically, the idea of GeoCaching is that you use the GPS to find small little “treasures”
that people have hidden around the world. You find the coordinates of any “treasure”
located in your vicinity. They give you maps, directions and clues to help you find them.
So of course, we had to give it a try!

So Chris and I were pedaling along and with the GeoCaching App running on Chris’ phone.
We were watching the moving dots, the bleeping on the screen, until we were close to one.
We rode past it. We went back. Until we realized that we had to park our bikes and go for a
short hike – straight into the woods!!! Into the thick of things looking for who knows what?!
The dots overlapped on the GPS so we knew we were close. We started looking everywhere.
For what, we don’t know?! It seemed impossible.

But then I channeled my best Russell Hantz and questioned “What would I do on ‘Survivor’
to find the Hidden Immunity Idol?” So I started to deduce where it could be. It had to be in,
on, or around something. It would never be just sitting there on the ground, right?!
Touching. Reaching. Flipping. Searching… and coming up with nothing.

And then, I saw this odd tree stump just sitting there. And it moved when I kicked it.

So I picked it up and found that there was a hole drilled in the bottom of it.
And stuck into that hole was a small canister. I pulled it out and found a small scroll inside.
Apparently, you’re supposed to sign it, add the date, and put it back into the canister.
Then, you need to replace the canister so that the next person can find it in the same place.
Apparently, some of the “treasures” are things you actually get to keep?! We’ll see…

I must admit it was a lot more exciting than I expected. The pursuit. The adventure.
The thrill of finally finding it. Sadly, we didn’t have a pen with us so we couldn’t sign it?!
We plan to stop by the next time we’re riding up that way… because yes, we’re dorks!

So I’ve now downloaded the App to my iPhone too. And looking froward to getting started
to see where the next “treasure” might be. And of course, I immediately questioned how I
could possibly turn it into a marketing possibility for me?! I could make my own “treasure”
location for others to find… maybe in my studio?… at an art fair?… by the totem pole
in my front yard? Haven’t quite figured that out yet. But I’m still working on it.

Until then… back to be ing a dork and searching for more “treasures”!
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