Monday, September 29, 2014

What Does the Cache Look Like?

With enough experience...

The Jasmer is Jumping!

Just updated my stats. Isn't it beautiful? I have my JASMER filled from 2001 to present with a trip to the Woldumar Nature Preserve in Lansing this past week!

Woldumar Cache GC2A8B from 11/28/01 - It was quite the crowd with myself, TaGeez, two Michelin Men and my Wimpy Kid TB's!  

If all things go well, we will fill at least one more 2000 cache before Winter.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Gnomes Gridiron Madness Event

Had an amazing time at yesterday's Gnomes Gridiron Madness Event GC5A2EZ near Cass City! Attended with afishoutawater and Ratspazum. I ended with 34 caches including 24 event caches, 6 cemetery caches, 5 FTFs and 1 event!

This was my favorite! It's called "Missed"! Yep, it's in the poo!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

Releasing my Wimpy Kid trackable tomorrow. I feel like I'm sending him to his death. I've been holding onto him until our trip to Lansing tomorrow - to claim a special cache, you have to drop off a virgin trackable (New Wine in Old Bottles Challenge GC32XD9).

#trackable #travelbug #groundspeak #wimpykid #diaryofawimpykid #travelfleas 

Sent from my iPhone.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

SQ - Wandering Historic Woodlawn Wherigo

I did it!  Another milestone for me: Wherigo Author!

I LOVE Wherigos, but there haven’t been too many new ones recently.  That changed when Commander Overlord released 4 within a few weeks.  I talked to Bob, and he said he found this really easy Wherigo interface for cartridge creation called Wherigo\\kit

Wow! With a click of the mouse, you “drop zones” on a Google map, tweak the name and coordinates a bit.  Upload some pictures. Add some information (messages) and an (optional) question. Repeat. Voila!  Very user-friend overlay where you can plan routes, download to your phone or GPSr for a test spin, and easily upload to the official Wherigo site.

Before I knew it, I had a 12-stop plus final historical tour of nearby Woodlawn Cemetery!  It is the 210th Wherigo in Michigan!

This Wherigo will take you on a tour of Detroit's Historic Woodlawn Cemetery. The cemetery was established in 1895 and immediately attracted some of the most notable names in the city. The grounds encompass 140 acres, but this tour will only cover some of the more architecturally interesting gems in the Historic section.  You will visit 12 sites of interest. You can walk it or drive; many of your stops are grouped together. The final cache is not at the posted coordinates.

What a rush!  With the help of TaGeez, WikidKriket and SnakeyLicks (Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!), we took this cartridge on a spin using an iPhone3G, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, Samsung Galaxy 3G, and a Garmin Oregon 450T.  It was wonderful! I did have a glitch with some blank screens for the iPhones, but Ranger Fox was SO quick to respond with advice and answers. 

After taking the cartridge for a final spin early Saturday morning, I submitted it for publication and it went live almost immediately - DeRock was quick! And I can’t believe there wasn’t already a cache in this awesome spot!  With nervous excitement I waited for the verdict on the cartridge, the tour, and the final.  Happily, I received big thumbs up and Fave points from the FTF group (RayQix, PaRaDiZ, Kachehuntr, and BarGoofy – his first cache!) and from the STF, my Wherigo mentor, Commander Overlord!

RayQix is a local history buff who specializes in Detroit history and cemeteries.  From his log: “Wonderfully constructed whereigo, learned some things today that we didn’t already know, and had a blast on this nice late summer Saturday.” 
Commander Overlord wrote: “Very well done.  I had to come out and see how my pupil did on her first Wherigo.  The pupil is now the master. Learned more about the history of early Detroit.”

I’m sad that I had to omit many important historical figures to make this Wherigo a manageable length, but I wouldn’t change anything out it.  What a fabulous first experience!

I’m already brainstorming my next Wherigo.  I think in one of my next blog posts I’ll create a quick draft on using the Wherigo\\kit (if just for my own memory).  I think it’s a good idea to continue to include my Wherigo tips in my future Wherigo cache pages.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Just Call Me "Mr. Bib"! - Michelin TB Giveaway

Let me introduce you to Mikey!  He arrived in our mailbox Saturday, one of 2,000 free Michelin Quest trackables sent to U.S. mailboxes this week! 

I have to admit – originally, he wasn’t mine.  The moment I saw the promotion and requested one for myself and one for TaGeez.  I then shot the link to my sister for a third one.  Kriket and TaGeez each received one, but my mailbox remained barren… dark… empty… unfilled with trackable goodness.  Good thing TaGeez loves me and isn’t really into the numbers thing.  He sweetly gave me his.  I’m hoping, though, I’ll be surprised one day this week with a small manila package in my mailbox so he can have one, too.

We started taking him on adventures, but, typical of our caching buddies, he was more interested in donuts that pirate ships.

We’ll send him out soon so he can complete his intended mission statement, with a chance of him crossing your paths for prizes:

This Michelin Man tire pressure gauge is part of Michelin’s Quest for Adventure Anniversary geocaching contest.  Sharing a photo of this trackable could win you a set of tires AND a grand prize trip for two! 
125 years ago, the Michelin brothers dreamed of giving people a better way to move and travel.  The Michelin Man was a manifestation of that dream and he came to live ten years later to help guide people on their adventures all over the world. 
Share a picture of this Michelin Man on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and use the hashtag #MichelinQuest  from now until December 31, 2014.

What I found fascinating is the history of the “Michelin Man”.  Here’s some interesting trivia from the web:

  • Did you know his real name is “Bidenbum” (shortened to “Mr. Bib”)?  Bidenbum is Latin for “drinking to be done”.  In one of the earliest campaigns, he was promoted as having the ability to “drink up” obstacles.
  • The popular (and one of the oldest & most recognized) mascot was created by the Michelin brothers. During a visit to the 1894 International Fair in Lyon, they found themselves in front of a stack of tires. The shape of the stack reminded them of a man without arms, and thus the mascot was born.
  • The first Michelin Man ad was finalized in 1898. Back then, tires weren't black; they were light gray or beige. Since Bibendum was designed to look like a man made of a stack of tires, he was light in color.
In 1894, the Michelin brothers primarily sold
bicycle tires hence the thinner-looking rings
  • Mr. Bib has changed considerably over the years. In early Michelin Man ads he was characterized as well-to-do, often smoking a cigar and wearing opera glasses or a monacle. In other ads, the Michelin Man was portrayed as a kickboxer, a gladiator and even a ballroom dancer. Soon, Mr. Bib evolved into a driver's guardian angel, which is how he is depicted in Michelin Man ads today.

That’s fabulous.  And we have a particular fondness for the “tire guy” as we’re proudly from the Motor City.  I can’t wait to see the adventures ahead!


UPDATE - SEPT 16TH: I got one, too! It arrived in the mail yesterday!  How wonderful!  I gave it to TaGeez, and we will take them both out on adventures before releasing them!


He's ready for adventure now! He has his own train!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9-11 Memorial Geocoin

Thought it was fitting to pull this one out of my collection today and share it. #AlwaysRemember

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Do You Wherigo?

I love Wherigos.  I’ve found about 2 dozen so far in Southeastern Michigan and Ohio.  I think they’re a great way to tour an area – learn the history and see the sights.  In many instances, it’s like having a personal tour guide.  

Top (R): iPhone Wherigo App
Bottom (R): Android's WhereYouGo App
Left: Garmin Oregon 450T screen

In case you’ve never crossed paths with one:

Wherigo is a toolset for creating and playing GPS-enabled adventures in the real world. By integrating a Wherigo experience, called a cartridge, with finding a geocache, the geocaching hunt can be an even richer experience. Among other uses, Wherigo allows geocachers to interact with physical and virtual elements such as objects or characters while still finding a physical geocache container. A Wherigo-enabled GPS device is required to play a cartridge. Learn more at

In essence, you download a game cartridge into your smartphone or Wherigo-enabled Garmin and follow the instructions.  Some will lead you spot to spot (called ‘zones’) – once you reach the zone you will be given directions to find the next one.  Some will ask you questions at each zone before you can move to the next location.  At the end, you are given coordinates to find the final cache container.

Done right – they are a blast.

People gripe that it’s ‘exclusionary’ because you have to have a Wherigo player to do this.  I say BULL-PUCKY! Most people have smartphones and the cartridges work on the iPhone (using the Wherigo app) and Android phones (using the WhereYouGo app). In addition, one of the most fabulous aspects of this game is the community aspect of it.  I didn’t have an NFC-enabled phone so I teamed up with a group to grab the NFC POC cache – it was a hoot!

I’m just about to publish my first Wherigo (super secret right now – more coming!). I tested my cartridge on an iPhone 3, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, Samsung Galaxy S3 and an Oregon 450T.  Now, Wherigo cartridges aren’t perfect (they are still in beta testing and the cartridges have to be compatible to run across multiple platforms), so I thought I’d list a few useful tips when running one so you have an enjoyable experience:

1. Wherigo cartridges are created to run on multiple devices.  As a result, screen sizes can be a concern.  If you see an image but no text, scroll down.

2. For my Wherigo, there is a lot of tree cover.  If you “stop tracking” when heading to a zone, walk away and walk back.

3. I’m going to get controversial here…. GPSrs and smartphones have different levels of GPS accuracy (Yes, I’ve heard all about ‘today’s smartphones are just as good….” but I do a lot of Metropark caching and don’t buy that in tree cover….).  So, if you are running a Wherigo cartridge with someone using another type of device, “zone” results will vary.  You may have to walk an addition 20 feet depending on the level of accuracy calculated when you started the cartridge.

4. If your smartphone freezes, quit the cartridge, start it again, and press “Resume” to continue your game.

5. One of the downsides of using a GPSr unit is that if it freezes you may lose the entire game and have to start again.  When this has occurred, I’m batting about 50/50 whether I have to start it over again or not.

6. Since most Wherigos take a bit of time investment to run, TaGeez and I will take multiple devices (his Android, my iPhone and/or Garmin GPSr) with us.  That way, if we have any technical difficulties with one, we can continue with another device.

7. Finally, the Wherigo creator went through a lot of trouble creating this experience for you.  Make sure you block off enough time to walk through it, reading the screens and looking at pictures, and enjoy it.  I have yet to see a Wherigo park-and-grab.

I’ll let you know when I release my super-secret project soon and share all the fabulous details!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Who Loves the Michelin Man?


Especially when he gives us free stuff! New giveaways, my friends. First 2,000 lucky U.S. Geocachers can win free Michelin Trackables! Anyone who finds one and selfies themselves in the wild can win one, too!

I requested my TB - they said to expect it in 5-7 days. I'll let you know if I get lucky!

Outer Drive Series

TaGeez and I started the 206-cache Outer Drive Series this week. 33 down and 173 more to go!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Team FRL - Almost Famous Again!

Coolest surprise!

I received a text from Team Gates that I was “totally in the latest VLogger video”.  How fabulous is that?

Josh's son, Josh, Caching Fire, and DarrylW4
I went online and found Josh’s (the Geocaching VLogger) video for MWGB Lab Caches and there we were! All the attending members of Team Free Range Lobsters (myself holding Caching Fire, TaGeez, WikidKriket, SnakeyLicks and 3intheTree) milling around in the background.

Sorry for the lousy pictures – these were screenshots from the video. Check it out!  I love Josh’s enthusiasm!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Dinosaur Tail Bottle Cap

Classify this under "Odd Swag". Found in a HNY cache near Metro Beach