Friday, June 23, 2017

Who Let the Geo-Dogs Out?

With some recent changes in the neighborhood, TaGeez and I had a brainstorm about a new geocache hide.

Who Let the Geo-Dogs Out? GC77K1N

Oh, I wish there would always be…
Endless days caching with you and me!

Leave all your worries behind…
As I will make your geo-find.

Our caching count will go up-up-up!
Thanks to your loving geo-pup!

It was a lot of fun collecting photos from our geo-friends of their furry buddies.

ShelleyJean cracked me up with her comment about Chloe (lower left corner below). She said for a geo-dog, she was not very observant!

Makes you all warm and fuzzy, doesn't it?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Even Assassins Have Birthdays



Two weeks ago I received a message from the cAche ssassin (further called TCS) of San Diego. Half of Team Assassin, Ezio Cachitore, had moved to Troy and TCS wanted to surprise his buddy for his birthday. As my geocache was closest to Ezio's house, TCS wanted to know if we'd tuck a picture from a very special trip in there. TCS would send Ezio a bottle of Scotch, same as the one they enjoyed on their trip.

What fun! Well, TaGeez and I couldn't let it stop there. Let me introduce you to Even Assassins Have Birthdays GC76NPF.  It sounded like a good excuse for a party and a new geocache!

With very little time to spare, messages and calls went flying! The geocache contained a gift from TCS (an End-of-Days spinning geocoin and a photo album), a special logbook and lots of new toys for interested girls and boys! TCS even sent along Team Assassin stickers for the container.

I can't believe we found this great spot! Public enough not to draw suspicion being in the area but private enough to duck in and make the find.

TaGeez hiding it between the retaining pond and freeway
The big day arrived way too quickly. Ezio received his bottle of Scotch days before his birthday with coordinates on the label. Then the wait began. With the cache publishing the evening of June 15th, we had no clue if Ezio had visited or not. He didn't even know it was a cache - just coordinates on the label!

Mission from the Geocache page
TaGeez and I were in the area Thursday night, and I couldn't wait any longer. Let's go see if he found it! We happened to be standing at the opening of the geotrail when the email notification pinged and the cache was live. Ducking in, we pulled out the container and found....

FOUND! Pre-publication FTF. Not only did he grab his Birthday gift, Ezio left a signature item, 3 trackables, and an Assassin's Creed video (snagged by the post-publication FTF, Team Lareau).

Ezio left a great log!
I want to tell you about the time I almost was outgifted. I never thought it would happen to me. Not at this age. Beaten. Outsmarted. How did I get into this fix? How did it all begin? No, no, no. If I go back to the beginning that will take forever. 
Earlier this week, a courier enticed me with his suspicious looking container, if only I would exchange my signature. A 15-year scotch was revealed. What good taste, this one has! Conspicuously affixed where one might expect branding, a clue was to be discovered. GPS coordinates and vehemently urging to hurry. 
Use the key 
Miniature as it were, but nonetheless of great importance. Existing obligations made tardy my journey. Was it weeks that passed, or merely days of anticipation, rolling the key between fingers and pondering what fate awaited? Eventually, destiny allowed for a journey on one muggy, overcast June evening. In what one might describe as the La Jolla Business Park of Oakland County, fear instilled that perhaps some Katz desired new cabling and this key was merely weak protection for a plastic box in the MPOE. Abated quickly, horrible feeling, as approach to the GZ lifted one's spirits. 
Yes, in a never-ending competition to do better by one another, the cachin assassin had managed to coordinate an exciting scavenger hunt halfway across the country through enigmatic finagling and a most honourable assistance from Team TaCat, cachers of a level one truly aspires to reach. Thank you both for making this the most wonderful surprise an assassin could never ask for. This was likely the most thoughtful thing anyone could put together for me and on such short notice, even more impressively executed. My hood pulled back to the cachin assassin. 
An assassin always pays his debts, and now this one owes you. 
The cache contents made me feel like the center of attention (normally avoided) but for such an honor so great, this time I reveled immensely. TB's swapped and a few assassin-themed swag items were placed for the first non-assassin to discover this cache, along with one of my signature bills. Happy birthday, everyone!
I was geeked to see an appreciator of the Assassin's Creed was the next finder. Loved seeing the cache on @Lareau67's daily Instagram post.  Great log, too!

Ezio added a sticker

Very fun adventure, and I'm looking forward to seeing the future finds.

Welcome to Michigan, Ezio!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

RIP Othum


We lost a very dear friend today. Steve Elsbrie (AKA Othum), lost his battle with cancer. 

Whether you were the fifth or five thousandth newbie to cross his path, this friendly Canadian always had a funny story to tell... on and on and on....

Steve was always surrounded by friends because he was down-to-Earth and very welcoming. Seeing him in his golf cart at GeoBash or across the New Year's Eve table at Frito, he always had a smile and another funny story or tall tale to share. Sometimes he would be so pleased with the upcoming punchline he would trip over his own smile. Even in a rant, he made you laugh as he looked on with that gleeful gleam in his eye.

As usual, surrounded by friends (Essex event)
The only one looking at the camera - far right

Steve was in the throws of his battle with cancer at the MIGO Winter Social in Lansing in February. It's a testament to his life that so many people lined up to share their love with him.

With his trademark hat and a smile!

He was able to make it to one last Belle Isle event this year when we had two Steve's manning the grill -- one with a broken leg and another in a wheelchair. I wonder which one was sharing a taller tale and a larger smile?

Cancer sucks, but Steve didn't let it get him down. I'm going to miss you, my friend.

Sunday, June 11, 2017


DRAT! I can't believe we missed CITOcacher's flash mob yesterday. It's 91 degrees out, and she was serving ice cream!

I've mentioned CITOcacher and SCOOK in the past. One of my favorite memories is SCOOK emerging from some shrubbery with a big grin on his face for his geocache find, and CITOcacher right behind him overloaded in overflowing CITO bags. She likes to CITO... ALOT.

At their last CITO (Cache In Trash Out), SCOOK gave me this really great CITO kit!

The kit included:

Log Book with recycled paper
CITO pins, pens and pencils
Diabetes Test Strip container (for bags or use as a geocache)
Tempo tissues (European tissues like tough paper towels)
Folded grocery bags for spontaneous CITOing

We already used the Tempo, bags and Wet Ones -- we did maintenance on a pretty gross container in a swamp, but the kit been replenished and returned to the glove compartment.  My only addition was a small packet of Band-aids -- TaGeez gets hurt... ALOT!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Thank You, Rock Chalk!

I believe in good karma. I must've done something right recently....

Out with TaGeez, and we found this trackable in a geocache.  We didn't realize until we reached home that it was an unactivated lackey tag gift by Rock Chalk!

Rock Chalk recently came to Michigan from Seattle to grab Power Island and Geocache 612. I'm very grateful for his generosity and thrilled to have 'crossed his path'!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Memorial Weekend: Smitten with the Mitten

Sunday arrived and ShelleyJean was in the mood for an adventure. TaGeez and I understood - we had the same itch the day before. Well, what do you want to do? She was in the mood to be Smitten with the Mitten!

This series was just published this weekend - find 14 geocaches to gather clues for #15 the Final. The series included Traditionals Multis, a Letterbox, and the Puzzle Final. This was an excellent excuse to geocache Grand Rapids - both ShelleyJean and TaGeez needed it for their maps.

Simply an amazing day with wildflowers, sunshine and white-tailed deer. There were also brambles, poison ivy, mosquitoes and possibly ticks. 

SwtM - Ishpenning G7346Q

Midway through we did make a slight detour - you can't pass up a Virtual and a webcam. School Spirit is one of three remaining webcams in Michigan. Go Green!

Scrapcat, TaGeez and ShelleyJean
School Spirit GCK2M9

After lunch at Smokey Bones (yum! Loaded potatoes with pulled pork!), we returned to a progressively tougher terrain.

We apparently took the long way....

Can you see the road we walked in on? It's that one... the dot... in the far, far distance!

According to ShelleyJean, we walked over 20,000 steps and climbed the equivalent of 58 flights of stairs! OUCH! I almost fell over in Tai Chi class two days later.

SwtM - South Haven GC7346W


We looked hot and exhausted and VICTORIOUS!
TaGeez, Scrapcat, and ShelleyJean

Tired, sweaty, and satisfied, we turned the car East but not without grabbing two more special geocaches.

The JASMER Challenge (Michigan Edition)

Both meant a great deal to us, and the TB Hotel deservedly earned it's 140+ Favorite Points. We even met one of the cache owners on our way out - she has a trackable code inscribed in her dental work!

Garden View TB Hotel GC3NEX3

And here it is! We received our path tags today from Brettina! Another trail with a successful conclusion!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Memorial Weekend: Our Thumb Adventure

Saturday of Memorial Day weekend dawned, and the weathermen were wrong. It was sunny with blue skies, a light breeze and in the 70's. Perfect weather for an adventure!

With no real plan in mind, TaGeez and I decided on a driving tour of "The Thumb". Yes, Michigan is shaped like a mitten and Michiganders give directions by pointing out spots on their hand. When my sister & I went to Galena last week she pointed out she was off her map!

(Source: Wikipedia)

The Thumb is known for it's peaceful country roads through farmland leading to the beautiful, blue waters of Lake Huron. We had a vague notion of site seeing, shopping and grabbing lunch on our road trip.

And, of course, geocaching. Our first stop was a fitting one - a Veterans Memorial in Sanilac County. We were able to make finds in 4 counties - filling out TaGeez's map on Project-GC.

Veterans Hill GC2Z3HW

We just missed the ceremony at the Sanilac Cemetery and the parade in Bad Axe. We did make it to the quilt shop before they closed. No enticing caches nearby, though.

Taking a wrong turn in Albuquerque... er.... Bad Axe, we ended up at Harbor Beach. Funny thing about Michigan, even taking a wrong turn you eventually hit water. We grabbed a special Multicache (Finally! Stage 1 and the final were 100+ miles apart!) and then headed to Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse on the tip.

We met some lovely ladies who stamped my lighthouse passport in the gift shop and then enjoyed taking pictures near the water's edge. We also grabbed Keepers of the Light where TaGeez found it humorous in taking his time to sign the log while I was knee-deep in the greenery. Did I mention the two boys behind us who just found a pair of live snakes?

Keepers of the Light GCKXFC

While leaving the lighthouse we received  a message from Mibbs and family (dear friends we met through geocaching) who were at their cabin near Caseville. We turned our car westward to join them for dinner, still grabbing caches on the way. It's fabulous having a geocaching friend who understands "geocaching time"!

We didn't want to miss the Michigan Lost Town Cache Series (MLT). "The Michigan's Lost Towns Cache Series has now celebrated Twelve years of existence! This cache series was created to promote geocaching in towns that have little to nothing left. It has spread from the middle of the mitten to the Upper Peninsula and continues to expand!"

MLT - Huron City GC30PAT

For many of these towns, the geocaches are sometimes the only remains of a once-thriving community. Be sure the read the geocache pages.

MLT - Historic Grindstone City GC30DD6

Many of these towns disappeared as the lumber boom ended. Flooding and disease wiped out many towns, too.

MLT - Village of Port Crescent GC26KQ8

We also had to stop for several of Mibb's geocaches, too. Nobody Beats Walt's Meat and Your girlfriend will love Walt's Meat  are two of my favorite signs at our next stop!

Poor Walt GC3K7RT

Here's the beaches near  The Yeps GC3QF1G in Sleeper State Park.

TaGeez, Scrapcat, and Mibbs

As they day wound down, TaGeez and I stopped off in a park near Caseville to enjoy the lovely sunset.

An amazing way to end our day!