Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Woot! TaGeez and I received our free NCEES Surveyor trackables!

We headed down to Belle Isle this weekend for the Belle Isle X event (more pictures coming).

We stopped at the Coast Guard station off Mt Elliott Park for a Benchmark.

We actually had a hard time finding one.  According to geocaching.com, many in this area are missing or destroyed.

So we took advantage of this one while we could.

WOW!  That's an unflattering picture!  But we got it! #PSnoboundaries

Monday, March 30, 2015

Happiness is...

Team Free Range Lobsters!

WikidKriket, TaGeez, scrapcat and 3inaTree
Oh, my.  We were allowed to run amuck on Belle Isle another year!
More pictures to come!

Friday, March 27, 2015

The REALLY odd places geocaching takes you!

It may sound like a cliche, but Geocaching really does bring you to some unusual places.  I think of all our adventures to date, this was the oddest assortment of sites we've ever experienced.

Last week Ratspazum (Mr. and Mrs. Rat) asked TaGeez and I if we wanted to go to Wapakoneta, OH. Really?  Why? They had seen a geocache puzzle with high favorite points that they were curious about. Well, typical for me and my Sweets - we willingly went along, no questions asked.

Before you are a handful of the 205 pictures taken during this odd and unusual adventure!

First thing you have to know about the four of us is our love of old cemeteries. We left bright and early on Sunday morning with a sparse list of caches because we knew we'd cross paths with many "must stops" in farmland Ohio. I would say, except for the very ornate mausoleums, this headstone is my absolute favorite yet.  It's located in Ft. Meig Cemetery in Perrysburg.

If you look closely, you will see a little doorknob! I tried it.
Near SQ - It Rhymes with Smathtags GC1K7ZA
In addition to cemeteries, we were on the hunt for historic caches, too.  Between us, we visited 4 Virtual caches on our route down I-75.

TaGeez and Scrapcat at a historic schoolhouse
This was a sad Virtual.  It was a cemetery for the Wood County Infirmary and Poor Farm (1869).  Most of the residents were buried with just numbered markers that were lost or removed in the 1950's.  It's only been recent that efforts were made to replace the stones and document the departed.
Ratspazum and TaGeez
 On a cheerier note, we found more cemeteries.  Of the 32 caches signed today, 16 of them were Spirit Quests (SQ).

Mr. Ratspazum, TaGeez, and Mrs. Ratspazum
Ok, so where's the unique and interesting puzzle I mentioned?  Welcome to the Temple of Tolerance in Wapakoneta, Ohio!  Built in the late 1990's, it's been called The Stonehenge of the Midwest and compared to the healing atmosphere of Sedona.  Not exactly what you would expect in the cookie-cutter red-white-and-blue childhood hometown of astronaut Neil Armstrong in middle America!

As we drove down the street, Mrs. Rat said something about, "That's an interesting place."  Come to find out that was the entrance to the Temple of Tolerance and the beginning of Mocopulence GCQ03E.  Owner Jim Bowsher (who we glimpsed briefly) opened his home to the public and has allowed geocacher, T-Hunter, to place a puzzle cache on the property.

It looked so small from the outside, but the backyard was such a HUGE surprise.
The block is shaped like an upside-down Nevada and owner Jim Bowsher's
property is the entire center of the block.
One of the first sights you see when you enter the back is the "Barrel House (1928) with bullet holes from a prohibition era shootout (claimed to be the only house in the US deliberately constructed to look like a barrel)."

scrapcat at the Barrel House
From peace.maripo.com:
The glaciers which made Wapakoneta's flat farmland also deposited erratic boulders from many parts of Canada. In 1981, Jim started collecting these (using a WW-II surplus dumptruck) and arranging them into piles in his backyard, along with architectural elements which Jim scoured from demolitions (e.g. fences and gates from Cincinnati).
The Temple of Tolerance is the largest pile in the middle of this impressive garden.

Mrs Rat at the Temple of Tolerance

The altar and fire pit at the top
When we were planning this trip, I was wondering why nobody had a clear picture of "the temple."  I understand now. It's a collection of connected gardens, each with its own theme and artistry.  No one picture can do it justice.

View from atop the Temple

Another picture from the top
This, admittedly, was my favorite artifact.  It was a Wapakoneta jailhouse door. The part you don't see is the caption "First Men in AuGlaize County To Get The Death Penalty 1934."

TaGeez peering into the window
Eventually, it was time to gather our clues, solve the puzzle, find the cache and head out.  I had the eagle eye that spotted something "out of place" (which is amazing because this place had no rules!).

scrapcat, TaGeez, and Ratspazum
Off we headed to find several more cemeteries.  This one is fascinating.  Yes, that's an "upholstered" chair in the middle of the sizable Herbst Memorial in Greenlawn Cemetery. According to the town history, temporary railroad tracks had to be laid to deliver this massive monument.

Near Greenlawn SQ GC5E6VB
And now onto to more recent history. No visit to Wapakoneta is complete without a little geocaching at the Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum. After lunch at the Lucky Steer, off we went... into the wild, blue yonder....

near One Small Step for Everyone GCVZBQ

Can you spot the cache?
What is it about rocks around here?
TaGeez may be waiting awhile for a liftoff
After adding another dozen cemetery stops (including one in a mobile home park) to our list (so many wonderful Zinc headstones!), it was time to start heading home.  TaGeez and I talked Ratspazum into stopping at just one more at Teddy's Rescue near Findlay, Ohio.

Buffet TB Hotel GC3PZQB
And, as a team, our last cache ended with the Pure Michigan Welcome Center right across the border. They practically gave us the puzzle answer!

M-Dot swag!
As I mentioned earlier, have you ever seen such an oddball collection of artifacts in your life?  It was wonderful!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

FTF Magazine: My Milestone

I received a message from Laurel Mackenzie that I'm in this month's FTF Magazine in the Milestone section!

5,000th find and 1,000th day of my cache-a-day streak!

And (eventually) there was sun.... on Belle Isle

Just two more days until the 2015 Belle Isle event!  Woot!  Every year the Belle Isle cachers hide 45 new caches on the Isle, and there should be a good turnout this year.

TaGeez and I didn't finish last year's (he had to undergo surgery), so we decided last Saturday to go out for a few more (they get archived on Sunday).  At first, the weather didn't cooperate - it was blistering cold and rainy.....

Look at the ice in the river! Mini icebergs everywhere!

TaGeez standing over blue ice!  It reminded me of the underside of icebergs.
The water was flowing fast and wayward ice sheets were crashing against the buoys.

You can see the ice sheets piling on the shore.

TaGeez looking for stage 1 of a multi on the new peninsula bridge.
We found the final!  First people to find this 3-stage Multi in 11 months!

A view of the new bridge from stage 2.

But, eventually, the sun came out!

This was a fun, little bushwhack.  Can you see the ice piling at the mouth
of this inlet?

Ice floating on an interior lake

A great view of Canada.  Can you see the rocks on the riverbed?
Can you see the lighthouse in the distance?

Livingstone Memorial Lighthouse

Look at the awesome swag in that 3-stage Multi?  The unactivated geocoin
(trackable pin) was left by the last finder 11 months ago!

Saunder's Cream Puff cake in celebration of an awesome day!
We managed only about a dozen caches but half were Multis.  We even ran into the Belle Isle Cachers who were out taking measurement for this weekend's event.  I'll post more pictures then!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

NCEES Surveyors Trackable has arrived!

Look what arrived in the mail!

My free NCEES Surveyors Trackable from Groundspeak and the National Association of Professional Surveryors in celebration of National Surveyors Week.

I first heard about it on Facebook from afishoutawater -- our group, the Southeastern Michigan Geocaching group, is really great about sharing good news.  Yesterday while opening my mail I discovered I was one of the lucky 2,500 American cachers to win one!  Mine is called Mapping the World - NCEES Surveyor Trackable  As promised, I will send it out into the world within two weeks, so lucky finders can participate in the contest:

Take a photo of yourself and the NCEES Surveyor Trackable at a National Geodetic Survey (NGS) marker and share it on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #PSnoboundaries on or before June 1, 2015. NCEES will review the photos and select one lucky winner to receive a trip for two to the 2015 Geocaching Block Party in Seattle! Visit geocaching.com/mark to learn about locating NGS survey markers. 
But first TaGeez and I need to find a NGS marker for a chance at a lovely trip....

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ritz Quackers was STOLEN!

Ok, you ready for this one? 2 years ago, Lorna and I each released 4 Rubber Duckie Trackables at MWGB in a race to reach Tacoma, WA. They were heading to Tacoma in honor of the 29,000 rubber duckies that were lost at sea on THEIR way to Tacoma.

Two of mine made it within 30 miles of Tacoma WITHIN THE FIRST WEEK and then were MUGGLED! Another went missing in a family-friendly cache 18 months ago.

I just received this email from Bluedrgn52 about my last one, Ritz Quackers http://coord.info/TB51QEP :

"So I went to drop off Mr. Quackers (Duckie Race - RITZ QUACKERS (magenta tag)) when I was visiting my step daughter this weekend in Bellingham, Wa. We put him in her purse and hit the gym, then were going to drop him off on our way home. We put our purses into gym lockers and when we came back from working out, her gym locker had been broken in to. They tampered with mine, but I got lucky and they weren't able to get into it. However, Mr Duckie was stolen along with her purse, iphone, wallet, and all her important info. 

Poor Mr. Quackers. I have no idea if the thief will throw him away or possibly get into geocaching due to stealing him and help him on his way. However, he is no longer in my hands, I am sad to say. I had hoped to get him pushed along. :(

I wanted to inform you of these tragic events. Poor Mr. Quackers. :("

My ducks are jinxed! This is actually pretty funny (except for her poor daughter losing her important stuff). I guess duckies just aren't meant to reach Tacoma!

Congrats to WikidKriket for the win!

Gin in a Box Geocoin

Saturday was a gorgeous day to be out in Southeastern Michigan.  It was the first warm, sunny Spring day, and TaGeez & I had an urge to explore.  We decided to head to Belle Isle to finish up some caches (before they release the new ones next week). We are behind this year due to his surgery, and we wanted to take advantage of a free afternoon.

Ice sheets building up on the shore

TaGeez taking pictures of the swiftly passing icebergs

We didn't find as many as we'd hope.  There were a lot of fabulous Multi's, and the Belle Isle Cachers don't do "park and grabs".  We made a list and tried to focus on some of the more recently found caches.  As we were winding down our day, near the beautiful Livingstone Lighthouse, I had an urge to try one more.

1956 Bill Muncey - 26 GC521RB

Foolish, really, as it's had a series of DNF's since its last finding in April!  But the sun was shiny, and doing this Multi meant crossing the new peninsula bridge near the lighthouse.There was some confusion whether this was a 2- or 3- stage Multi.  TaGeez found stage one on the bridge (Good thing.  Even though it was brand new, I was a little wary of it).

TaGeez at the new peninsula bridge
Stage two brought us to a little peninsula (which I vaguely recall being under water in the past).  This is where the previous finders failed since April!  Amazing to think it had a handful of finds the week it released and then nothing. 

View from the peninsula back to the bridge
Look at the ice sheets!
Admittedly, we almost gave up.  The coordinates put the next stage 30 feet into the water. But then we read a previous note from the cache owners.  It seems that stage 2 had gone missing in the Fall when the site disappeared - they had replaced it but at a new location. As they didn't have to move it too much, they never updated the stage one coordinates.  So we fanned out.

It was with a great crow of excitement that I shouted, "I found them!"  Oh, so faded.  We both twisted and turned the object into the sunlight.  We tried to take pictures hoping to darken it.  Finally, we took an educated guess and headed off to the final.

View from the final
 It was a nice walk, moseying hand-in-hand.  We made it to the coordinates, and, with great relief, uncovered the lonely container.  As we sat on the log, smiling from our victory, we were surprised one last time.  Inside this wonderous box was a geocoin!  Woot!  I was so excited, thinking I'd take it to Wapakoneta the next day (that's another blog post).

Unactivated trackable geocoin pin - gift from SEWdaugh
Imagine my greater joy when we arrived home to discover that it was unactivated!  A gift from SEWdaugh, the last finder of the cache!  I'm calling it "Gin in a Box" as it looks just like my Ginger.  Such an amazing end to a fabulous day!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Free NCEES Trackable + Contest

It's that time of year! Another free Trackables promotion from Groundspeak/NCEES, in celebration of National Surveying week! Limited quantities: http://bit.ly/GeocachingNCEES

50 State Traveler Cache GC4241

Carni Grewal and friends drove in from the Hamilton, Ontario area for a southeastern Michigan visit. After a brief layover in Canada, they brought the 50 State Traveler GC4241 cache "home". 

Here's me holding it aloft at The Canucks are Coming... Eh! Event GC5NDH3!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Did You Unlock the Secret of Pi?

I spotted this yesterday and the web is abuzz today... Did you notice the GC code "hidden" in yesterday's souvenirs? GC31415 takes you to an "event page" and a new Geocaching.com video contest! Ooh, be still my heart! How creative!