Saturday, February 22, 2014

Caching Humor

This was shared by my friend Diana on Facebook - spot on!

It's a Two-fer!

Out with TaGeez, grabbing our CaD in the dark. Wind was brutal, bouncing off this wall, and we did our best non-synchronized couples ice skating from the side street to this point. 

We were looking for a nearby P&G (GC4V3KH - HNY14 A Trademark BSW Cache!). We thought it would be rather easy as the coordinates were dead-on and no snow banks piled nearby. No luck. As a "trademark BSW" cache, we knew what we were looking for, but it was definitely gone. I started scouring the ground with my flashlight, thinking it blew away. TaGeez fanned out, and I sent a message to the CO.

Looking over, I saw TaGeez using a pair of forceps to grab something in a wall crack nearby. With a victorious smile, he proudly waved the black flat pack he had extracted from the wall! How did he do that?!? It's really dark out here tonight - we're in between lamp posts & it's a black flat pack wedged in a black crack?!? TaGeez definitely earned his caching hat tonight! 

But wait! We pulled out the log, it's pretty full! Dating back to 2011? Huh? Does a "trademark BSW" cache mean he re-uses his containers and old logs? Just then Team Gates called us - we had found an oldie (GC33Q34 - It's a Wall of a Cache), which we could keep & claim for our "Forgotten Caches Challenges". He also confirmed the location of the P&G, which he allowed us to replace & claim, too. As he stated later, "Of course it would be my BSW cache that goes missing!"

Signed both logs as TaCat - Thanks for the adventure, Team Gates!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Still Streaking....

About 10 days shy of two years. This winter was definitely a challenge to my skill, my determination, my bullheadedness. Until recently, this was still very fun but today involved thunder snow, Winter lightning, slush rain. Luckily I've had such great people supporting me!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

5/5 LPC's and Winter-Friendly Attributes

I listen to many geocaching podcast shows include Podcacher.  As much as I learn and enjoy that podcast, I do get a little touchy with Sonny's issue about LPCs.  I've seen some remarkable ones (PaRaDiZ has a nice Christmas vignette in one).  I've also hugged a few during my 2-year Cache-a-day streak.  This winter has been particularly brutal!  Wind chills of -26 degrees F!  Even the lamp post caches have been rather challenging!


Here are a few LPCs plus some other challenging finds from just the last couple of weeks!  And it's been a LONG Winter!  All of these were deemed "park and grabs!








Sterling Heights

Luckily, TaGeez is always a good sport!

Just a side note about Attributes.  I admit that I generally don't look at them except when I'm "streaking in Winter".  All the above caches had "Available During Winter" attributes listed on them.  I think, during snowy Winters like this one that cache owners need to really re-evaluate this attribute on a cache-by-cache basis.  Change them if it no longer applies. And, in many cases, just use them!  We've added a lot of unnecessary miles to the cachemobile when there were no attributes on a cache only to discover it was definitely NOT Winter friendly.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Picture Perfect on Belle Isle

I HEART Geocaching! TaGeez's Experience

I really, really love this LAB experiment!  I don't know what was more fun - completing mine or watching TaGeez find his?!! One of the biggest complaints I hear is that LAB caches are "one and done" - and that's OK because you can create such a fun, personal adventure without restrictions!

On Sunday, I sent TaGeez his "Game of Love" LAB cache URL in a pre-Valentine's email.  His mission:

As you keep telling everyone, is the best dating site! So it's fitting that to find your Valentine's Day gift I'm going to make you hunt for it.  This is part scavenger hunt, part Multi, and a puzzle about us. And it's all fun and filled with love!

At the posted coordinates, find the Geocaching Treasure Chest (you may have to lift the cat).  Inside, you will find an object with your name on it.  Follow instructions on the cover.  This will lead you to a puzzle and then your prize on Valentine's Day.

Have fun and know that, as in life, I'm with you all the way!

So, while I was at work,  TaGeez found Stage 1:

On Thursday night (which was supposed to be family sauna night - but, instead, he surprised me with MY LAB cache - see my prior post), TaGeez opened his Valentine's Day card.  Inside, he found his personal search-a-word puzzle.  53-words describing us! I've been working on it since the LAB announcements were made.

TaGeez's Game of Love LAB Puzzle

That was a lot of fun to make.  It was so hard restricting it down to 53 words!

Ginger helping TaGeez with the solve
When all words were found, the remaining message read "East LPC at your car wash".  His VD gift was right outside work!  I believe I had just as much fun hiding it as he did finding it.

I had contacted his son, Sean, ahead of time asking his assistance in hiding this cache/present nearby.  When I pulled in, Sean asked me how I was going to do it - the LPC was now buried in a HUGE snowbank and completely circled by a snow hill!  When I approached it from the parking lot, the snowbank was chest high and many feet deep.  No problem! I coudn't be deterred (smirk).   

It took some time, but I found a way around the snow "hill" (having to walk all the way back to the street).  I told Sean I'd be right back and started trekking around the piles of snow and then flanking the site by crossing a field, back towards the LPC.  Oh my!  An untenanted field!  No snow removal! I had only taken a few steps (in my work clothes) when I sunk knee-deep.  Now, I'm not very tall so having to create a geo-trail in such deep snow as exhausting! Oh my!  At several points the snow had rolled back into the freshly-made hole and my legs were trapped, with me balancing precariously above it. Sean, on the other side of the mounds, was laughing with great amusement.

This image is very misleading - I had to unbury the skirt
and the right side is a HUGE snow bank!
Look how deep my footprints are!
Sean asked if he should get out a shovel to create a direct path to the LPC for his Dad.  I told him not to bother.  I've seen TaGeez cache in this weather!  I had no doubt he would just go over the snow mound. Which he did the next day!  

After hiding the cache and heading home, with pant legs frozen and shoes soaked, I walked into the kitchen to find TaGeez making dinner.  He didn't ask about the state of my dress clothes - he just raised an eyebrow. If he only knew, right?

Inside the skirt TaGeez found a gaily-wrapped present, a Fisher Space pen, and the final clue to his Find Code. The question asked: What word, describing us, is missing from the crossword? You use it all the time.

And he does.  Whenever we find a small log during our daily cache run, TaGeez will sign the log TACAT (TaGeez + scrapcat).  I had the pleasure, hours later after I tossed him a PBN, of watching his face as inspiration hit and the Find Code finally hit him!  He spent the rest of the night chuckling and kicking himself!

This was a great adventure!  Happy Valentine's Day, Sweetie!

Friday, February 14, 2014

I HEART Geocaching! Scrapcat's Experience

Talk about having a bad, bad day yesterday. Things were crazy, busy at work with a new system's release next week.  I was feeling overwhelmed, tired, and hungry.  And, to top it off, it's Thursday.  Thursdays are family sauna night at TaGeez's house, and I wouldn't be seeing him this time.

As I was wrapping up for the night, TaGeez messaged me and asked if I had seen his email about my LAB cache called Loves Long Embrace.  Yes!  Bright spot!  I told him my plans were to enjoy my LAB cache (created by him), grab a bite to eat, and then accomplish nothing else tonight.  He was so sweet about it.  "Let me know when you found Stage 1."

Stage 1?  Oh, forgot.  He said a Multi.  I'm a little tired, but my mood was definitely in an upswing.  I clicked the URL on the email (for obvious reasons I'm not sharing my Valentine's Day email here) and off I went.

Pretty cool!  Did you know that you can click on the Download GPX link? It uploaded into my GeoSphere.  Ok, where are we going?  Home.  Yes, that's my house.  And looking at the clue on the webpage description, I know exactly where to go.  TaGeez and I have birthdays just 2 days apart, and he bought us a joint birthday gift this year, which was currently residing in my garage.  I smiled all the way home!

Stage 1 of my LAB cache
 Opening the garage, light spilled onto the box and this little fellow!  How long have you been waiting in there, little fellow?  And he came bearing gifts.... and coordinates!

My new co-pilot
Plugging the coordinates into GeoSphere, me and my new co-pilot were off!  Hey, I recognize that area!  I messaged my sister and told her I felt compelled to stop in for a visit!  I admit it - I was grinning and glowing the whole way!

When I arrived, she was waiting at the door.  "What are you doing here?"  She was projecting a halo of innocence.. that should've been a clue!  WikidKriket innocent? BAH! Directing me to the breezeway, she suggested I search high and low.

Isn't this sweet?  TaGeez, the bear, giving scrapcat a Bear Hug.  Yes, Bear Hug was my Find Code

TaGeez, the bear, giving "Bear Hugs" to scrapcat
 I squeaked! I squealed!  I hugged them and ran to my sister. I hugged her. 

I started to gush about my Sweetie and share my LAB plans for him when.... you guessed it!  My brother-in-law ran down the hall and tried to give me a noogie.  It was as thrilling as it sounded.

As I finally escaped his clutches, standing behind him all sweet and smiling, was my Love, my TaGeez.  He had hidden his car and had been waiting with them for hours until I arrived.  The final "stage" of my Multi was an early Valentine's Day double-date dinner with WikidKriket and SnakeyLicks at the Black Lotus Brewery in Clawson!

Valentine's Sweeties!
 The food was fabulous, the company was fun, and the night was magical.  I believe this is exactly what Groundspeak had hoped for when rolling out these LAB experiments!

SnakeyLicks, WikidKriket, scrapcat and TaGeez

I had an awesome adventure with those I love and laugh with.  And, I completed my LAB Cache.

Thank you, Sweetie, for another wonderful year of love.  Thank you, WikidKriket and SnakeyLicks, for sharing in the adventure!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Klikaklu - Another LBG

I was SO excited to head out to the Livonia event last night - we've been snowed in for so long, and I couldn't wait to hang out with my LTG geo-buddies.  This group meets at one of three Livonia-area restaurants (first Wednesday of each month).  We have dinner, enjoy a raffle and normally go out as a group for some caching.  As we are in the middle of Winter (and it's about 5 degrees F), we normally limit the caches to one, but, in warmer weather, we will cruise to 4-6 of them.  Older Cachers get to spend time with their best mates and newer Cachers will learn alot!

Mibbs, our hostess, is fabulous.  She normally makes cookies and is great about circulating around the attendees. Everyone feels welcome!  And she's also great about pulling out some type of game or exercise that really breaks the ice.

Last night's attendance was low due to weather, but, I must admit, it was probably one of my favorite meets!  After the group photo in the Laurel Park Mall's food court, Mibbs announced that the event cache was in the form of a scavenger hunt created by Commander Overloard!  What is it about scavenger hunts?  It evokes images of children laughing and sunny days and great explorations.  Everyone loves a good scavenger hunt.  And, although geocaching is a type of scavenger hunt, this was a nice change of pace.

So, all iPhone users were asked scan a QR code and download an app from the App Store called Klikaklu (pronounced "Click-a-Clue").  I'd never heard of it, but I soon realized upon opening it that it was a a modern-day scavenger hunt very similar to Sighter.

Using this app, you had to navigate to 10 stops.  At each stop, you had to locate an item, "capture" it using the camera on your phone, and, once verified, you were given the clue to the next site.

To capture it, you would click a button and your camera would open. You had to align the object's edges with white lines that appeared on your screen. Once you aligned it, you would get a MATCHED message.

We had a blast - as only some of us had iPhones, the others had to walk with us.  It was fun roaming the mall en masse.  We would look for items, capture the image, read the clue and take off to the next location.  A 10-stop scavenger hunt, mostly indoors, on such a brutally cold night!  Passerbys looked at us strangely and many approached to ask us what we were doing (I think our adventuresome spirit was contagious!)

As we navigated through the mall, I think each of us had a problem at one time or another.  My app crashed, but, when I re-opened the app, all my saved locations were intact.  Some people had a difficult time capturing one site - but the app allowed you to override and move onto the next stage.  It was really easy to navigate, and it seemed to have no problems tracking us inside the mall.

So, how did it end?  At the final stage, we received a message "now it's time to sign the log".  Too funny!  I think it took us so long to find the cache because there were so many of us looking for it we kept overlooking it!  And, not only was the scavenger hunt the "event cache", it was also a LAB cache!  Frito Bandito won the raffle and will be able to claim a find on this LAB cache.  Brilliant!

Just a few minutes ago, the event cache actually published.  It's called Can you follow my lead GC4XTAC.  You can use the Klikaklu app to locate the cache or, as it's a traditional, you can just go to the posted coordinates.  I know which method I'd choose again!

Favorite point for Commaner Overlord!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

LAB Caches: Easy as 1-2-3!

Ok, I wanted to give an update for anyone who had questions about the I Y Geocaching LAB experiment that Groundspeak is running through February.  I was a little wary as there were so few instructions, but I created mine and it was a piece of cake!  I think there were so few instructions because it IS so easy!

Before you begin, here is some peace of mind: You do not have to do it all in one sitting.  You can create it and return later to complete or edit it.

Here you go:
  • Click the link.
  • Watch the cute video for inspiration.
  • Click the Get Started button
  • It’ll open a new window which is a template for your LAB cache – it is very simple to follow the instructions.  (Note, if you have already Saved a LAB cache, there is where you can go back and edit it.  You want to edit it before you send your friend their LAB URL).
  • Your first step is to Select a Theme.  Check the radio button next to the appropriate theme.

  • Next, name your LAB cache.  You have up to 50 characters.
From this point forward, I cannot share screenshots as I’ve already created my LAB cache, and I don’t want to spoil it for TaGeez.
  • You can add an Optional Lab Cache Location.  You can use your current location or add coordinates. 
  • The next box is the Lab Cache Description.  You have a 1000 characters “to use this space to customize the experience and lead the player to the find code. Tell a story, write a riddle, offer clues -- whatever you want.”  Basically, what do you want the recipient to do?  Find a cache?  Go on an adventure? 
  • The next box is the Find Code.  After they have completed the mission (or found a cache, etc), the recipient will need to enter a code online to get credit for completing their LAB cache.  To get this code, you could write it on the cache or it can be the name of the mission’s location or the answer to a puzzle.  You have 10 characters.
  • The final field is the Award Message.  After the recipient enters the code, this message will appear on the screen.
  • Click the Save button.

After you click the Save button, you will be taken to a screen that displays the URL you will send the recipient so they can access this cache.  On this page, you also have the ability to “test” the experience so you can see what they will see when they click the link.   If any edits needs to be made, scroll down on the page, make your edits and click Save again.  When all is to your satisfaction, send the URL to the recipient so they can go forth and adventure. 

Make sure if you are going to test the LAB cache that you are in Test Mode.  If you use the recipient’s URL and use the live site, you could possibly “complete” the LAB cache, and it will be unusable by the recipient.

There are several other interesting items to note:
  • Currently, the LAB caches do not count towards your statistics in the traditional sense.  This is supposed to change.
  • When the recipient completes the LAB cache, a special icon will appear in their stats.  However, at this time, a special icon doesn’t appear under the originator’s “hide” stats.
  • You have until the end of February to complete this.
I created mine for TaGeez.  It’s a cross between a scavenger hunt, a Multi and a puzzle.  As this is an experiment, I didn’t want to make it too difficult, but I really think he’s going to enjoy his little adventure.  After he completes his, I’ll share the details with you.

So, are you excited?  Get out there and get started!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Unlike some of my grumpier counterparts, I’m very excited about I Y Geocaching and the LAB Caches.

According to Groundspeak’s website:

Geocaching Labs is beta testing a new way to show some love through geocaching. Premium Members can create a customized, temporary Lab Cache for one special person. Since this is a test of a potential new feature, we'd love to hear your feedback while sitting back and admiring your creativity.

It’s February.  We have cabin fever.  This is something new.  You get a cool icon.  There’s so many fun ways you can go about it. What’s not to love?  I’ve been noodling mine for weeks – can’t give anything away as TaGeez reads this blog, but I have a plan.  And it’s a good one!

One thing I was unsure of…… I couldn’t find any information on the website, the blog, the FAQ… was “Once I start creating my page, can I go back and edit it or do I only have one shot to get it right?”   I was worried because of the warnings on the FAQ page.  They warn that this is a single-use cache (and all that entails).  I didn’t want to click the button and screw this up.

Luckily, another cacher on Facebook already completed one.  He said you can go back and edit it as long as you don’t share the link until it’s ready.  So I did it.  I pushed the button, and I liked what I saw.

This is only a portion of the page, but it’s very clean and easy to understand.  Once I saw it, I knew exactly how I was going to execute this.  I hope you give it a try, too.

Do you have more questions?  Check out the FAQ on Groundspeak’s blog.