Sunday, February 8, 2015

TOTT: Winter in Michigan

On some of the recent podcasts, they've talked about "essential tools of the trade (TOTT)" or "must haves" in your geocaching bag.  I was thinking about updating a blog post on that, but how different would my answers be? GPSr, iPhone, spare batteries, tweezers.....

Check out a handy summer kit here: Geocaching 101: Caching Kit Essentials

But one thing nobody seemed to mention was the need for different tools for different weather.  I have different gloves, coats, wellies/boots depending on the season.  Bug spray in summer and hand/feet warmers in winter.  In summer you carry extra water and bug bite remedies, and in winter you carry extra water and a different road emergency kit.

Winter finally struck in Michigan during the Super Bowl - we received 16.7" of wet, heavy snow.  I'm grateful it's not as bad as last year but am a little worried as I'm just 4 weeks away from completing my 3-year cache-a-day streak.

What is driving me to do this crazy streak?  I have no idea.  But I'm having a blast!

As you've seen in a recent post, the snow mounds are getting bad.  TaGeez and I are finding ourselves climbing banks and skidding down the other side.  If the bank is too high or too steep, TaGeez helps to propel me over it, both ways.  It's fun but tiresome on workdays.

On Thursday I needed a quick find as I was meeting Dad for dinner and didn't want to cache afterwards (the temps were supposed to drop drastically as night falls).  I stopped by one of RayQix "Happy Birthday caches" that I've been saving for such an occasion.  See the problem?

Happy Birthday Hawaii Vi - Chik'n House GC5APTF

This one disturbed me.  It was one of my "emergency CaDs" and it was buried.  There was no way to get it out without drawing MAJOR attention as it's in the parking lot of a Chicken Shack and located RIGHT up on a very busy road.  I had to use up another one of my emergency caches nearby.

You might be thinking about whining about nothing, but, after caching for almost 1100 days straight, the pickings in my area is getting slim.  And I had less than 28 more days to go with the threat of Michigan's unpredictable weather looming....

This one ate at me so early Saturday morning, after dropping TaGeez off at work, I circled back here.  I figured at 7 a.m. there would be little traffic (and a sparse chicken-buying public).  As I hadn't expected to go for this cache when I sleepily left the house, I arrived unprepared (don't ask where my emergency car shovel is - it's a sore subject).  Digging out my ice scraper, I set to work.  I can't imagine what the patrons of the family restaurant across the street were thinking, watching me wail on an ice block with the handle of my scraper, but I got it!

As I said later in my log, I've never worked so hard for a cupcake!

Afterwards, feeling all accomplished, I headed off for chores.  Stopping in the local hardware store, I spotted these babies and have added them to my winter caching supplies!  Kid-sized so they fit easily in my trunk and less than $5 apiece.

No snowbank is safe! And, yes, I did get my car shovel back.


Winter Streaking Tip:

I normally leave the house with a plan, but we know about the best laid plans, right?  This major snowstorm really did some damage. I find if I'm DNF'ing caches and still need the daily fix, I will check the recent activity of other streakers to see what caches they found accessible.  Nothing like pulling up to a GZ and finding footprints leading the way and the cache unburied! 

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