Saturday, July 14, 2018

LEGO Trackable Fun

Our crew is down in Ohio on a bit of a joy ride, when we stopped at a pretty creepy, highly favorited TB hotel GC5RMA6.

We dropped off a few trackables and grabbed some new ones including these LEGO bricks. Aren't they a hoot? Sitting in our hotel room, we made a BBQ Smoker! Hook it up to the trailer hitch, TaGeez!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

TreasureX Trackable Giveaway

We saw this online an hour ago -- another trackable promotion! This time they've opened it up to more countries, and you have 2 weeks to request one.

We will randomly choose 3,000 people to receive trackables. Fill out this form to request one. Filling out this form does not guarantee that you will receive a trackable. United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Nordic Countries only. 300 lucky participants in the U.S. will be randomly selected to also receive a Treasure X toy in the mail.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Appalachian Geocoin Returned to the Trail

The last time this was logged into a cache was 6 years 7 days ago. After dipping it into Ferndale Recycles, I'm mailing it back to the owner tomorrow 📦

Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Reality of Augmented Reality

Last month Geocaching HQ announced that they are experimenting with augmented reality caches for a limited window.  Each cache has the same disclaimer:
This cache is part of an experiment that allows the use of Augmented Reality (AR) apps to find the cache. At the end of this experiment, Geocaching HQ will decide if this cache will be grandfathered or archived. Geocaching HQ reserves the right to archive this cache at any time if conditions change. If you have found this cache and would like to give feedback on your experience, please fill out this survey.”
Blog posts, podcasts and emails abound, but I was over my head in Salesforce development at work so no time for AR. Slamere72 was the first local cacher I was aware of to publish an AR_ cache. She was kind enough to answer a few questions, but still... no time.

Then slamere72 put a call on Facebook. She was creating a second one and wanted input from the local community. Sure, we're game. We submitted some photos and a simple geography question -- and that's how we found ourselves as part of the experience (lower right corner).

AR_Wally's GeoAdventure GC7RF90

Cutest Couple Ever

Our interest was piqued when both @BigTom and @Team-Gates both published AR caches for HBUSA.  What a hoot! These augmented reality experiences are a cross between Pokemon and Wherigos and onsite puzzles. 

I like the fact that we don't have to print out long cache pages to answer puzzle questions. On the down side, it doesn't work on TaGeez's Android. After completing @BigTom's AR_Augmented Reality Veteran's Memorial Pointe SQ and @Team-Gate's AR_HBUSA - George Needs Your Help!, I thought it was time for me to give it a go.  I created a free account on Metaverse, spent hours watching videos on YouTube, and writing up my own script. I finally set this new experience in motion and... failed. DRAT! An entire's day work, and I keep receiving network errors. 

Maybe my wizard fell asleep?

Metaverse - a free Augmented Reality creation tool
Get the experience player for your smart device: IOS: Metaverse and Android: Metaverse

Saturday, July 7, 2018

HBUSA: Happy 4th of Geo-ly!

Happy Birthday USA

TaGeez and I put out a call in May to all Michigan Geocachers (via social media or direct email) to hide geocaches for the Independence Day holiday, and, WOW! Did they come through!

On the 4th of July, 200* HBUSA geocaches plus 3 events were published (or hosted) across the state of Michigan! WOWWEE! What a thrill to wake up and have new cache notifications popping up on our smartphones like fireworks from 2 am to 8 pm across the mitten! 

They ran the gamut from Traditionals to Multis and Puzzles plus Wherigos. We even had some first time hiders like Detour429, B-Rat and TitanCacher09!  Congratulations, gang!

TaGeez and I ran into a few first-to-finders on our own 18 caches.

Detour, ACLCoordinator and LincolnsAunt

CITOcacher and SCOOK
To kick off the day, Team Gates hosted a flash mob (and listed it under my name... hmmmm... ) at Veteran's Memorial Park in Warren. 

FTF Crew!
Around 40 local cachers braved the heat for a puzzle FTF, a social half-hour, and a group picture. 

Team GMMP and Team Lareau
Note to everyone: You can get fun, themed photo booth props from Amazon on the cheap!

Alona Spiegel and Team Gates

DarrylW4 and ReneeW4

June17, BWY Gang, GSIXX, and DougPeterson

After the event many cachers teamed up and went on a new cache run around the tri-county area. I felt bad for RayQix, Probob and TaGeez, who had to watch from the sidelines due to work and family commitments, but each scored FTF's within the next 24 hours, too!

scrapcat and TaGeez

Thank you to all the hiders and finders and reviewers for your part in the day! Several people are already talking about next year  (I don't remember saying anything ABOUT next year - LOL). I guess it was a hit!

Oh, and the winners?

The Winners Are....

Congratulations to LucyLee (first place, winning the Signal America geocoin) and LincolnsAunt (second place, winning the Ducktales trackable donated by ShelleyJean)!

*Oh, and with a late publication by RayQix, final cache count was 204!

Visit the HBUSA bookmark list on

Sunday, July 1, 2018

World Turtle is in the Bag!

TaGeez and I decided not to mess around. We wanted our 13 souvenirs from's Hidden Creatures challenge, and we wanted them now! Ok, maybe not that forceful, but we've had busy lives and a run up to Ortonville for a little geoart fun seemed just the ticket!

Our original intent was to complete both Syfun's Honeybee and Honeycomb, but the U.S. was under a heat advisory so we scaled back our efforts and left home before sun-up on Saturday to beat the heat!

As you can see, we were victorious! We needed 88 caches to earn all 13 souvenirs, and we came home with 90 including 85 puzzles and 5 high-favorited ones.  

Lovely tour of country back roads, mainly dirt. In addition to 85 power drink containers, there were over a dozen wild turkeys, deer, horses, swans, chipmunks, blue jays, cardinals, biting deer flies and one pissed off next of hornets (TaGeez was attacked and two made contact - ouch!) There was also lots and lots and lots of poison ivy.

Not much Roadside America in this region of the state - all we saw was the Statue of Liberty north of Milford. There were, however, a number of historic cemeteries and one pioneer home site.

This one was quite sad. Dozens of victims of a cyclone at the turn of the last century. Poor little pup-pup waiting for a young master who will never return home.

This was  the 88th find of the day and the one that earned us the World Turtle souvenir! Woot!

But my favorite was the TB Hotel near Highland.  We didn't want to leave it empty and had no trackables to leave so we just discovered the trackables and left them behind. 

It was a lovely tour of the countryside, and we enjoyed earning every last souvenir. With weather "feels like" 105 degrees and the poison ivy so lush, maybe we'll wait until Fall for the Honeycomb. Victory dinner at Buddy's Pizza in Novi - yummy!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Stepping Into Michigan Central Station

Attending a Belle Isle event shortly after I started caching, everyone was talking about a new geocache at Michigan Central Station. Heading to Detroit's Corktown neighborhood, I was excited but anxious that I might miss whatever this ruin was. Little did I know that, well, you really can't miss it.
Michigan Central Station opened in 1913.  At 18 stories, it was the tallest train station in the world at the time. The station boasted a majestic Beaux-Arts facade and an interior lobby with soaring ceilings. [Source: Michigan Radio]
Once upon a time, it was beautiful, but, as the city declined, so did the station. For the last 30 years, Michigan Central Station has been one of the most photographed ruins in the city. Until now.

The announcement hit the major news circuit a little over a week ago. Ford Motor Company has purchased the building (and several other historic buildings nearby). Soon they will begin a 4 year renovation, but, first, a party! And the common folk were invited. TaGeez and I submitted our deets into an online form and shortly received confirmation that we would get the opportunity to tour the station with 25,000+ of our closest friends.

Our reservation was for Saturday morning, so we hoofed it down there to line-up at 8am for the 10am opening. We figured we could kill time by caching in the neighborhood, but, when we arrived, we saw the line forming. I would guess we lined up with the first 100 people.

Lucky us! They checked us in, stamped our hands, searched our bags and let us in a bit early! As that process took time and our early entrance, a handful of us had the station to ourselves for the first hour.

Souvenir sticker handed out at the front door

AMAZING! Ford cleared out the rubble, making it a safe environment. Most of the original glamour is gone, but they filled the emptiness with an industrial-vibe exhibit featuring Detroit history on one end and a large screen displaying their vision on the other.

This is so cool! Words of empowerment and hope streamed around the vaulted ceilings. Walk up to the iPad kiosk, and you will see your words scrolling along the ceiling medallions. 

Here is a long view of the room and a historic photo floating around the internet. Can you see the glory?

In one alcove, we saw these scenic images on the wall. Wallpaper? Paint on plaster? Can you imaging the grandeur?

I hope this video works. It's me standing in the center of the station lobby, panning the room. 

And now to turn to the self-guided tour....

We started heading back to the concourse.

Now here's a fascinating, unexpected turn of events. Someone returned the frame of the MCS clock! And others have been calling and offering to return other original artifacts, too!

TaGeez, are you waiting on a train?

Ticket window

In addition to the Detroit history exhibit, Ford invited several performers to entertain during the Open House included several noted urban artists.

Opposite the history exhibit was a large screen including bits of Detroit history documentaries, empowering words from the locals, and...

The Ford visit for the future. Not only did they purchase the Central Station, they also bought several historic buildings nearby. At least one is already occupied by a science/research team. Videos showed their mock-ups of the completed renovations and the campus at large.

After touring for two hours and now weaving through crowds of gawkers, TaGeez and I moseyed out the door to explore the surroundings (ever vigilant for new cache hide locations).

Luck held out for us. Not only did we earn one of the coveted registrations (there were waiting lists), park practically at the Station's front door, be one of the first 100 in, but we were also one of the first inside the nearby Mercury Bar when they opened their doors for lunch. IT WAS FABULOUS!

With both heart and bellies brimming with goodness, we decided to leave the crowds and head to Belle Isle, grabbing caches along the way, of course! I'm excited to witness the MCS and Detroit undergoing a rebirth!