Thursday, January 30, 2014

Jingle Jangle of Geocoins

During this bitter winter, TaGeez and I are still attending weekly Geocaching meetings around time.  At the last few I've been handed geocoins to move along.  As there is a high disappearance rate when left in unsecure caches, it seems like everyone is passing them hand-to-hand to ensure their safety.  

This morning I was browsing through the latest bunch and thought I'd share 3 interesting ones with you.

Pretty cool, eh?  I will move them along shortly.

Happy Thursday!

I Love Reader's Digest!

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Michigan Central Train Station

Did you know there was a cache here?

CITO 2014

Cache In Trash Out!

Groundspeak announced this year's CITO weekend as April 26th - 27th! Attend a CITO event in your area to earn a smiley and this souvenir! I will be at Belle Isle, again, for the third year running! Come join me? Clean up where we play and give back to the community!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I (Heart) Geocaching Experiment

I'm so geeked! It's on all the podcasts! is making personal LAB caches available in February! The "I (Heart) Geocaching" experiment is available to all Premium members next month.

The Geocaching Vlogger explained it best on YouTube.

You get a smiley AND a special icon! 

TaGeez and I are going to do something for each other so we each get the icon under Hides and Finds! Now to think of something special.....

Come Dance in Detroit

A few weeks ago I shared my adventures to the Vanity Ballroom on Detroit's East side. On Friday, TaGeez and I stopped at her sister ballroom on the West side, The Grande Ballroom. It was a puzzle location for RayQix's Come Dancing: The Grande Ballroom GC45WAW.

This Moorish Deco landmark was a gem in Detroit's vast musical legacy. Generations of Detroiters share stories of their parents meeting there on the weekends; their brothers seeing Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin; they saw Detroit's M5.

Ray does a fabulous history, including pictures of the ballroom's heyday, on his cache page.

Unfortunately, when we stopped to see it on Friday, there wasn't even a whisp of that Golden Age ghost present among the ruins. Even the Vanity still held some of its architectural charms. 

My two takeaway memories on that bitter afternoon were:

  • The tree that was growing within the ruins, whose branches were spied peeking out one of the broken windows.
  • The initials of the original owner's kids still etched along the second-floor line.
I was sad as we pulled away from and headed towards the lights of  Xochimilcos in Mexicantown.

TuL Medium-Point Gel Pens

Awesome pens specially for Winter caching! Steve bought a bunch of them. Even in -12°F, they write smoothly, even on icy logs, and have a nice heft to them. Now if he would just stop giving them away!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Polar Vortex Geocaching Steaking

From my log (GC4W6PV):

Polar Vortex (n.) - The polar vortex is circulation of strong, upper-level winds that normally surround the northern pole in a counterclockwise direction -- a polar low-pressure system.  These winds tend to keep the bitter cold air locked in the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. On occasion, this vortex can become distorted and dip much farther south than you would normally find it, allowing cold air to spill southward. 

Polar Vortex Geocaching (n.) – The single inspiration to heed all weather warnings and stay indoors as arctic weather sits atop the Midwest region, draining all energy and desire from searching for containers in the woods.  Participants may, however, suffer the overwhelming desire for direct sunlight, pang at the denial of exercise along nature trails and cabin fever.

Polar Vortex Geocaching Streaks (n.) – The decision by many to leave one’s brains at home and venture out to -2˚ F weather with wind chill of -12˚ F, braving the chance of a freezing death, to find a frozen container buried under 8 feet of snow holding a tiny piece of paper that is either encased in ice or too tiny to unroll with frost bite fingers for a smiley and another day on your calendar.

Guess which one I’m suffering from?  Quick find – thanks for the series!  TNLNSL

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sighter in Birmingham

What a fun (and cold) adventure today!

I heard about the newest location-based game called Sighter on a recent GeoGearhead's podcast.

Sighter, found on both iOS and Droid, is a cross between Wherigos, Virtuals and Munzee. The app, using distance, a compass and hints, directs you towards "places of interest". Once there, you use your smartphone app to take a picture of the object. If you do so correctly (the right angle and zoom), you get a point for the find and (hopefully) additional information. To ensure you've met the qualifications, the site compares your captures to the original capture and checks your GPSr location.

Today, members of Team Free Range Lobsters (TaGeez, WikidKriket, SnakeyLicks, and myself) met up with GeoGearhead's DarrylW4 in downtown Birmingham, MI. Darryl just released one of the first Sighter trails in the US, and we were trying it out.

This tour centered around the sculptures of Marshall Fredericks, Birmingham legend whose work is part of the Smithsonian Art Collection. It was a fabulous 7-stop art tour around downtown and a nearby cemetery. The group shot was taken at Frederick's grave site underneath his famed piece, Leaping Gazelle.

It was a gray, 20°+ degree day ("feels like" in the single digits thanks to the wind). As well as the tour, we also grabbed additional "sights" like the Birmingham Theater, the old Edison building and Royal Oak's wooden Mad Hatter statue.

We were victorious. Snapping away, we found 22 sights and each created another 2. As there aren't many playing the game yet, we topped the weekly leaderboard for both Michigan and the World.

I have several observations:

- Don't do this on a 20° day. Brrrr..... However, snow didn't effect the capture/verification process.

- It worked well on the 4S, 5 and 5C iPhone, for the most part. However, the 4S kept crashing in the creation process.

- At different times, each of us were unable to capture a sight. Even in the exact spot and trying different angles, we would get the "Sorry" message. Once, I walked in the HOT zone (as in "you are getting hotter"), and snapped something totally different and got my point.

- There is no social aspect, currently. No way to see if my sister had been there, etc.

- Although you use your phone's camera, it doesn't actually take a picture or save it to your photo library.

- It was fun and the interface was easy to use. However, don't get "caught up" in capturing sights that you forget the art you came to see.

I can't wait for Spring so that I can create many more. This will be fun as we explore new places while geocaching.

Happy Sightering!

Friday, January 17, 2014

My Earth Cache Resolution

Earth Caching has always seemed like a chore to me.  You drive out to some place distant, and you use up a lot of time trying to find answers to vague questions to get a smiley.  Don't get me wrong..... I love water, rocks, and trees, but not the hoops involved in satisfying an Earth Cache's requirements.
"While standing on one foot, look at the sediment at the bottom of the lake. Does it consist of sea horse poop, the dandruff of the Loch Ness Monster, or tobacco spittle from a frolicking leprechaun?"
In my 2.5 years of Geocaching, I've only completed 15 Earth Caches.
With the 10th anniversary of the placement of the first Earth Cache looming, the topic of Earth Caching arose amongst my caching buds.  Their main argument is that I’m not going to the right Earth Caches.  They argue that if I get out of Detroit and its suburbs I would be overwhelmed with the beauty and glory of nature that I would enjoy the challenge associated with ECs.
They may be right.  I’ve only completed one distant one – in Dayton, Ohio – and my sister & I had a blast (not because of the sheer majesty of that waterway, however, but because we were together).  

And my first one, up in Tawas Bay, was deeply moving and the gale winds were powerful.  
Can you see the storm rolling in?

And you can’t forget the Detroit Salt Mines or the Masonic Temple – those were fascinating ECs!

So, on January 10th, 2014, I attended the 10 Years of Earthcaching – Keep it going! Event (GC4VMV6).  Unlike other recent events (gossip central), we actually talked about the most fascinating and the most fun(ny) ECs we’ve experienced. 

I told them my two favorite tales:
·        The time we were at one of the local Metropark and needed to take the PH level of the flowing river only to discover that my brother-in-law brought a PH kit for mead-testing.

·         Another time I was at a different Metropark and had to place a “Needs Maintenance” log on an EC.  The multi-ton glacial boulder was missing.  Yep, just a big hole in the ground like it had just rolled away.  Later we discovered the park moved it closer to the water to install a plaque on it.

So, as part of my New Year's resolutions for 2014, I'm going to make an effort to complete more Earth Caches.  I'm hoping my new 10th Anniversary Earth Cache geocoin (TB69BCT) will inspire me as I carry it arround Earth Cache to Earth Cache.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Another Event? Sure! It's Warm Inside!

The weather recently has been unbelievable.  I heard somewhere that if you are under 40, you've never experienced the cold in Michigan like you did these past few weeks.  Boggling when my weather app states that it's -12 degrees F but "feels like -26"!

Going in for the find!

Even though I'm still on my cache-a-day streak, we played it safe.  We dressed appropriately, went out during the warmest parts of the day, did only quick park-and-grabs, and attended events.  Yes, events.  Because it's warm inside.

Actually, the last week was riddled with them.

Wednesday was the SE MIGO (Southfield) event.  Happens the 2nd Wednesday each month at the Panera in Southfield, Michigan.

Lordy, BSW found a shirt.

KacheHuntr is the youngest of our cachers
Thursday was the 5000th day of Geocaching.  As was mentioned on this week's Podcacher (around minute 12:00), I heard about this milestone on Podcacher and told some friends, the Grundalows.  So they hosted an event at the local Chipotle in celebration.  We were excited to get out of the weather and enjoy a BRRRRRITO!

BSW, Team Gates and TaGeez

This was WikidKriket's 1000th find!

I hang out with some weird people

Sisterly love

KacheHuntr gets around!

The Grundalows: Burrito-hoggers!

Just a few of our crew

As Ben asked, whose photobombing who?
Then Friday was the 10th anniversary of the first Earth Cache.  Captain Obvious hosted an event at Qdoba (because we didn't get enough beans in our diets).  This time my event dragon, Caching Fire, was able to make it!

Chilling with the peeps

Nurse Nanna and Paddling Pirates

I got your nose!

DarrylW4 and Cyclops

Now that's just silly!

KacheHuntr shares his toys
He's just adorable

My favorite pic!  June17 feeding the Fire!

RayQix shares, too!

Not sure which makes the best faces!
WOW! I hang out with some weird people!

Luckily, things have warmed a little, but we're not taking any chances.  Steve and I are attended another event tonight!

Stay warm!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Day #677

And the streak continues!

It took longer to get dressed for this weather than it did to drive to the cache, find it, sign it, log it, and drive home!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Toasty Toes!

Out grabbing my Cache-a-Day with TaGeez today. The weather is 1°F ("feels like" -13°F) so we made a quick dash. My feet are still thawing.

They weren't toasty like they were on New Year's Day. After the Roseville event, we trekked through piles of snow grabbing new caches. My feet were warm and happy because TaGeez gave me the best advice:

> Put on a pair of thin socks (see blue cotton in picture).
> Adhere toe-warmers in the toe area (Never adhere toe-warmers directly to your skin).
> Cover with wool socks.
> Wear your water-tight LLBean duck boots

Wool socks give an extra layer for warmth, wicks away perspiration, and holds the toe-warmer in place as you slide on your boot.

I never noticed the cold on Wednesday and we were out for 10 hours in Arctic-like conditions tramping through the woods.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New Year 2014!

Had a fabulous time at the HNY-14 event (GC4Q44X) with TaGeez, WikidKriket and SnakeyLicks in Roseville on New Year's Day!

Meeting in the church basement, about 150 Cachers from Michigan, Ohio, and Windsor gathered for this  5th annual event. Knights of Columbus served a pancake breakfast. The Eastside cachers held raffles and gave out door prizes, and Caching Fire (my event dragon in a cool bow tie and a new top hat) was a hit at the Trackables table. 

After socializing, we grabbed our loaded GPSr units and headed out for 308 brand new caches! TaGeez and I contributed six caches each. 

This year the crew also sent out an email .GPX file with all the cache listings. Super-easy upload into our smartphones. I feel we definitely had an advantage after mastering GeoSphere over the last year. Kriket and I each created FTF log templates for quick logging and easy time-stamping.

Team Free Range Lobsters garnered about a dozen FTFs and a half-dozen STFs in the (high of) 18° weather! Our first targets were in a "park" near Partridge Creek. It turned out to be an undeveloped tract along the river - over icy hill and snow packed dale (atop frozen ponds and matted down tall grass - filled with lively mice) - exhausting! The boys were like children in the snow - drawing 2-toed bird tracks and "hiding" behind reeds. It's so great they get along so well!

We were joined after a relaxing dinner at Hamlin Pub by Fiona-the-wonder-geo-pup, ProBob and GeoConsumer for our last 5 FTF's!

All-in-all an awesome day! It wasn't a numbers run - it was quality family time! 

It was an exciting way to kick off a new year. I'm so geeked I created my 2014 New Year's Geo-resolutions:

1. Continue my CaD to at least my birthday (March 2nd = 2 years)
2. Find 38+ Multis
3. Find 10+ Earth Caches
4. Complete the MGA14 series
5. Start attending other area's events
6. Continue our focus on Larges and Virtuals
7. Money-permitting, grab Power Island
8. Grab the Virtuals in downtown Chicago

I'm wishing all of you a healthy and successful 2014!